Welcome to the official website of freelance writer Mark Hill, created because I’m not popular enough to have an unofficial fan page. You can find links to my work and my contact information above, or read my personal work below. Enjoy!
I am a white man. I can walk down the streets of any city in America safe in the knowledge that the police will not consider me suspicious. I have black friends who cannot say the same. What would be a routine, polite encounter with a law enforcement officer for me could end in their unjust death. That simply isn’t right. And that’s why I threw a brick through a window of this 7-11 and am now helping myself to several bottles of Dr. Pepper. I’m quenching my thirst for justice.
There are no easy answers to this problem. Obviously, the racist stereotypes that follow young black men to this day need to end. A black kid isn’t just a thug or a gangster. He’s someone with goals and passions and loved ones. He would enjoy these Twizzlers as much as I would, because we are both human beings.
But we must also remember that police officers are not robots. They are also human beings, humans capable of making poor decisions while under extreme stress. What seems like an obvious act of brutal, race inspired violence can be, at the time, a series of bad choices made while trying to process a flood of strong emotions in a potentially dangerous situation. Don’t get me wrong—any police officer who shoots a civilian should be invested to the fullest extent and, if appropriate, face relevant criminal charges. But we must resist rushing to judgement like I rushed through the shattered glass of this family owned business’ window so I could start shoving things into my backpack, because that’s just another form of stereotyping.
I think all of us, black and white, can agree that the culture of police militarisation in America needs to change. Peaceful protestors should not be dispersed with tear gas. Police officers should not be encouraged to use lethal force at the first sign of trouble. The man who chased me out of the Domino’s Pizza I looted earlier should not be wearing more body armour than a soldier deployed to a war zone, although in this particular case I’m not complaining because it slowed him down and let me make a clean getaway.
We are capable of effecting great change. Protestors of all races with their signs and shows of solidarity are making it clear to this country that we will refuse to tolerate racial discrimination, that we will refuse to tolerate a lack of accountability for police brutality, and that we will refuse to accept that getting gunned down in the street for no reason is a risk black men just have to put up with in life. And protestors like me refuse to let business owners who are probably racist continue to make a profit selling these Cool Ranch Doritos, profits that are part of the corporate system that supports America’s military-industrial complex, a complex which in turn enables police militarisation and disables my right to free junk food.
We are upset. We are saddened. But most of all, we are angry. And we won’t stop until justice is served and racist stereotypes are stamped out, or until the general chaos dies down and it’s no longer safe for me to steal from a totally unrelated business under the guise of a desire for accountability and change. Black America, I stand with you. Would your stand be easier if I offered you a refreshing Gatorade?
Some Shit About Fishing That Doesn’t Feature Sharks Week
A Bunch of Fat Middle-Aged Guys Flip Houses or Go to Auctions or Whatever, Jesus, Who Cares? Week
I Think We Have a Show About Hutterites? No, Wait, They’re Amish. Whatever, Like They’ll Even Know the Difference Week
Everyday Jobs Made Dramatic By Calling Them Cowboys or Something Week
Shows About Cars and Drivers and You Know, Stuff Like That Week
Hey, We’ve Got a Show About Naked People, We Guess We Might As Well Play That a Lot Week
Remember Cash Cab? That’s Still a Thing. Or Maybe We’re Just Running Repeats, We’re Not Even Sure Week
Holy Shit, We Have Two Shows About Bigfoot? Why? Never Mind, Fuck It, We’re Doing Bigfoot Week
And We’ve Got Like Five Shows About Alaska, So Alaska Week Pretty Much Does Itself Week
Factual Presentations Week
Remember Xena? I don’t, or at least, not really. I have vague memories of watching it, probably on days when I was home sick from school or otherwise just bumming around. It’s the perfect sort of mindless schlock for an undiscerning kid to zone out in front of. I must have watched at least a dozen episodes, but I can’t remember the plot of a single one.
I can, however, remember one scene. Xena was interrogating a henchman who refused to talk. Because Xena’s not the sort of gal who takes no for an answer, she hit him in the neck. This was no ordinary rough stuff—she knew a special spot that, if hit hard enough, would cut off the blood flow to the brain. It was now only a matter of moments until this goon died.
He panicked, of course, and started blabbing. Xena wasn’t satisfied and was going to let his brain explode, or whatever, but Gabrielle convinced her to show mercy. So she hit him in the same spot again, which restarted the blood flow.
I’m sure I’m misremembering the details, and because this is the Internet I’m equally sure that a Xena superfan will correct me in the comments section. But my point is that my young, suggestible self was convinced that this was a real technique. This silly fantasy show, which to my adult eyes looks like it was filmed on a budget of quarters stolen from vending machine change trays, had fully convinced me that human bodies had a secret weak point just waiting for someone to show up and exploit it like we we’re all a bunch of video game bosses.
So, what did I do with my newfound knowledge of human anatomy? Did I challenge kids I didn’t like to fights, knowing that I could destroy them with a single well-placed chop? Did I run around warning my friends and family so they wouldn’t fall victim to the terrible scourge of the Exploding Brain Technique? No, my reaction was even dumber than that. I fully believed that even the slightest blow to my neck meant a risk of a sudden and terrible death. My body became a walking bomb just waiting to be set off.
I didn’t panic though, because I knew how to undo the death sentence. And so from then on, whenever my neck was touched, I would immediately hit it in the same place to save my life.
I don’t know why I didn’t ask my parents for advice on my mortal peril. Maybe I was miffed that none of the supposedly responsible adults in my life had bothered to warn me about this obvious risk, like if the parents of a young gazelle hadn’t bothered to mention that those big cats with the manes aren’t trying to chase you down for a fuzzy hug. Or maybe it was simply that part of me knew even then that I was being an idiot. All I know is that I kept hitting myself in the neck a lot.
This mostly occurred when I was alone, because at no point do I recall anyone asking what the hell was wrong with me. I suppose I should be thankful, although had an adult witnessed my routine they could have saved me a lot of grief. I suspect that when I was playing or socialising the part of my brain that kept track of stupid bullshit had to instead focus on more important things.
So that’s why I mostly remember this as being something I did in bed. I would roll over, inadvertently brush my neck and think, “Crap, I’m going to die!” Then I’d hit the same spot. “Phew, okay, I’m good.” “Oh shit, the cat just stepped on my neck! Oh God oh God, okay, I got it, I’m good.” And so on and so on, throughout what has to be the stupidest sleepless nights in history.
The worst was when I was unsure whether the latest hit was a lifesaver or a death giver, because apparently when I was a kid counting to two was hard. So I would have to wait in a tense panic, ready to hit myself again the moment it felt like my brain was going to burst. Somehow this approach always seemed to work out.
What’s especially unusual in retrospect is that I was sure that even the slightest blow to my neck could doom me. Xena gave that guy a vicious chop, whereas a feather touch to my neck was enough to make me rub it again just in case. I suppose it was probably a good thing that I wasn’t winding up and going to town on my jugular whenever I felt it necessary.
The fact that odd and even numbers meant the difference between life and death gave me a general obsession with multiples of two. If I was idly tapping my desk I made damn sure that I did it an even number of times. Bouncing a ball? I had to get that 16th bounce, because only suckers settle for 15. And I’m sure I annoyed the cat by chasing after it to get one last pet in.
I don’t remember when I stopped, just that it took longer than it reasonably should have. I probably forgot to unblock my blood flow a few times, then later realised that I had not suffered a horrible, tragic death. Or maybe I just grew up and got slightly less stupid. My point is that pop culture can influence suggestive minds in very unusual ways.
So for any parents reading this, make sure you sit down and have a talk with your Xena watching little ones about how the show’s portrayal of human anatomy is not entirely accurate. And to whoever wrote that episode I’d just like to say, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, fuck you.
Hey, have you ever noticed how the followers of Nyarlathotep, they talk like this, but the followers of Dagon, they don’t talk because voice boxes have no purpose in the dark depths of the planet’s unexplored waters? Boy, those Dagon cultists didn’t think that through. Good luck ordering a pizza, am I right?
And speaking of food, what’s the deal with airline food? Seriously, a year ago who would have thought that fistfights would break out over half a pack of Bits and Bites salvaged from a downed airliner? It’s like, if I had known that would be the most nutrition I’d see all week I wouldn’t have used to tell stewardesses that I didn’t want no dumb Bits and Bites. I would have asked for two! Talk about irony!
My wife’s really mad at me for losing that fight, by the way. See, she’s seven months pregnant, and I already see the dads in the audience nodding. They’re all, “I know what that’s like!” But get this, get this. She’s about to give birth to a shrieking, scaly spawn of the Deep Ones, conceived during a blasphemous ritual uniting man and eldritch horror of the sea. And I’m just like, “Man, my human baby was stinky enough!” I work 16 hours a day in the Mines of Misery, I don’t want to come home to no smelly fish baby!
Speaking of kids, my son just turned four. Now, the parents in the audience know that four’s the age that kids start asking “Why” all the time. I’m glad he’s curious and all, but man, give me a break! “Why’s the sky red? Why’s my hair brown? Why did that big worm eat grandma?” And I’m like, “I don’t know, man! Your hair’s got to be some colour, and the old and infirm have to be devoured by something! Now leave Daddy alone, he’s trying to enjoy his half hour of allotted rest time!”
And of course you know what he says to that, right? That’s right, “Why?” Then I’ve just got to play the ol’ “I’ll tell you when you’re older” card. Joke’s on him, he’s so underfed he ain’t living past six!
Not that us adults are doing much better. If any of you saw me here before the Great Awakening you’d remember that I wasn’t exactly a skinny man. So I bet you were thinking, “Whoa, what happened to this guy?” Look at this lady in the front, she didn’t even recognise me!
Well did I tell you about this new diet program I’m on? It’s called “Learning that most of your rations are made from the flesh of fallen slaves.” Yuck, right? I mean, the rations were already stringy and tasteless and barely had enough nutrients to see us through another day of service, but now it turns out we might be eating that guy who got “transferred!” No thank you! I’ll get by on scavenging grubs and maggots from the corpse piles if it’s all the same to you!
Oh, but don’t worry, don’t worry. You don’t have to look so disgusted, lady. Don’t put your fork down just yet. I have it on good authority that the kitchen is serving certified dog meat. Man, aren’t you guys lucky? I’m up here working away and you’re all feasting on dog and fresh rain water. I bet it’s not even irradiated yet! Jeez, whose tentacles did you have to suck to get this kind of treatment?
I tell ya, being a slave ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. Take my life, for example. No please, take it. End this madness and suffering, this endless torment that makes every day nothing but a grim reminder that existence is meaningless and that death is the ultimate release. Thank you, and don’t forget to tip your wait-thing!
In the wake of the Isla Vista killings, severe criticism has been aimed at the so-called Men’s Rights Movement and their aggressive, dehumanising attitude towards women. Well, I’m just one man, but I’m doing what I can to counteract this blatant misogyny.
Ladies, I promise that if you reject me romantically, I won’t go home to seethe with an ever growing hatred of your gender. I’ll probably just have a beer and play a video game while experiencing a slight sense of ennui.
If I try to strike up a conversation and you tell me that you’re uninterested, I won’t react negatively or add this failed encounter to a mental list of perceived slights made by your entire gender against me. I’ll just forget about it and go hit on your friend.
If I express a desire for a sexual encounter and you establish that you aren’t physically attracted to me, I won’t write about the incident in an angry, hate-filled manifesto that blames the complex biological and social factors of the mating process entirely on you. I’ll instead quietly masturbate to the mental image of an idealised fantasy female figure (not an image of you personally). It will be generally enjoyable, but tinged with a hint of loneliness.
If you ever feel the need to express that I am making you physically or emotionally uncomfortable, I will apologise and explain that it was not my intention to do so. I will also do my best to ensure that my public pornography browsing is more subtle in the future.
If you would like to have an intellectual discussion on the role of pornography in society and its effects on the dignity of women, man’s perception and attitude towards women as sexual beings, and/or any other relevant topics, I would be happy to do so. I can’t promise that I won’t have an erection, but if I do it will be because I find the topic both intellectually stimulating and physically stimulating on an abstract level, and not because I am physically stimulated by you specifically. Furthermore, I will do my best to disguise it so you don’t even notice.
If I want to be more than friends, I promise to be open about my feelings rather than hope you will suddenly feel the same way if we spend enough time together. If you don’t share my feelings I will be happy to continue our friendship, and at no point will the term “friend zone” be employed unless it is clearly and unequivocally ironic.
If you’re already in a relationship, I will respect that and wish you both the best, aside from feeling a quiet melancholy ache when I see you express affection for your significant other. I may also idly consider bittersweet what-if scenarios during the occasional long and sleepless night, which I cannot prevent because the vagaries of the human heart are cruel and ever-meandering.
If I feel the need to use a gendered profanity, I promise that the insult will have a non-gendered motivation. For example, I will not call a woman a bitch if she refuses to go out with me. I will call a woman (or a man) a bitch if she or he doesn’t bother to hold a door for me, even though they made eye contact and I was clearly in a hurry.
To my fellow men, I promise that if you are finding yourself romantically successful during a time which I am not, I will not reduce your success and excuse my own failures by implying that you are only finding love because most girls want “douchebags” like you rather than “normal” guys like me. Please note that it is possible I may still think of you as a douchebag, and that this pledge is meant to reflect on the lack of commonly perceived correlation rather than your own personality.
I could go on, but I don’t wish to dominate your equally valuable time. I will simply state that I will do everything in my power to support the cause of gender equality, and that I proudly consider myself a feminist at all times aside from the rare, emotionally trying moments where I pine for the one that got away because I just know I didn’t try hard enough, which concludes with a guilty and unsatisfying ejaculation followed by a period of self-introspection and a reaffirmation of my gender politics.
Bron, we need to talk. I’ve tried to be supportive, but it’s time to accept the fact that opening an inn in a town plagued by dark cultists, the undead, murderous goatmen, the angry spirits of our ancestors and demons in service of the Lord of the Seven Hells himself was not a prudent business decision.
For starters, we haven’t had many guests. I’m guessing that’s because being surrounded by cursed ruins and twisted forests overrun by shadow doesn’t exactly scream “vacation hotspot.” And business travel has slowed to a crawl ever since most of this land collapsed under the screams of endless shrieking hellspawn. But I think what’s most important is that the majority of our prospective customers are now part of the shambling army of zombies currently laying siege to our town. I imagine they’re unlikely to be tempted by your “bring in the body of a slaughtered goat shaman and we’ll cook him for free!” deal.
I know, I know, you “anticipated” this. “But think of what we’ll sell to the guests we do have!” you said. “We’ll supply warriors and mages. We’ll arm and armour heroes!”
Well, I don’t know if you’ve taken a good look at the heroes in town, but I have. And I don’t think the eight-foot tall strongman wielding two flaming broadswords forged from Angelic steel that syphon away the life-force of his enemies to fuel his bloodlust is going to have much use for your grandfather’s old wood axe, unless he’s planning to shave with it. And that light leather armour from your stint in the town watch? The one you said wizards would be all over? Yeah, this wizard is surrounded by a raging winter storm that freezes anyone who gets within five feet of him. Which, incidentally, probably explains why Snuffles went missing.
Then there’s the woman who throws jars of poisonous spiders at her enemies while her undead hounds rip them to shreds, and the monk who punches skeletons apart. Should I ask them if they’d like to peruse our dagger inventory? Some of them haven’t entirely rusted up yet!
Not that it even matters if you make any money, because I’m sick of having to beat off swarms of flesh-eating ice bats every time I go to the grocers. I’m sick of losing guests who don’t believe me when I warn them that if they get too close to the tree around back it will set them on fire and then eat their soul. I’m sick of living in a town where the legions of the Hells outnumber us honest, hard-working folk by thousands upon thousands to one.
Remember when I had to hire an adventurer to escort me to my sister’s farm down the road? And he killed over 200 of the Hells’ undead minions, a trio of giant electrified spiders that could summon meteor strikes, and Lord Dunhyld, the Phantom of Anguish, one of the grotesque champions of Azmodan, Lord of Sin? It’s a good thing a horde of imps devoured all his flesh just before we got back inside the gates, or else we’d have had to take out a second mortgage to pay his hazard fee.
And don’t even think of saying that I should just keep in touch by mailing a letter. You know as well as I do that all the postmen have been eaten by wraiths.
I haven’t asked for much in this relationship. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to live in a place where we’re not in constant danger of dying tortuous deaths that will condemn our spirits to the fiery pits of the Hells for all eternity. Also, I have yet to “get used” to the constant stench of rotting flesh and endless blood rain as you claimed I would.
I love you, Bron, but enough is enough. Either we move, or we divorce. I know divorce is a sin in the eyes of the Gods, but considering that we’re woken up every night by the shrieks and moans of the ritualistic murder orgies held by maleficent covens across the river, I think it’s safe to say that the Gods’ eyes are elsewhere.
I know that keeping inn is your passion, and I want to support that. But let’s run an inn that overlooks the tide of a crystal clear ocean instead of a tide of unrelenting demonic evil. Let’s run an inn where you don’t have to demand gold up front in-case the guests are robbed and murdered by bandits. Let’s run an inn where, instead of hosting recitals of ominous prophecies and triage centres that turn into shambling battalions of the risen dead, we host bingo night. No one’s ever lost a limb or their sanity to bingo night.
Oh, and maybe think of a more welcoming name for your new inn than The Slaughtered Calf. Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking?
Blogger: I am a housewife and/or teenager.
Vlogger: I am an attention whoring housewife and/or teenager.
Social Media Specialist: I dropped out of university because I spent all my time using Twitter and Facebook.
SEO Specialist: I can make your content more appealing to Google and less appealing to human beings.
Anything with “Rockstar,” “Jedi” or “Ninja” in it: I work for a company that will be defunct in six months.
Humourist: I’m too pretentious to call myself a comedy writer.
Comedy Writer: I’m not witty enough to call myself a humourist.
Freelance Writer: If the law didn’t stop me I would eat you and put the money saved on groceries towards rent.
He was a desperate young man in your area who had just made a strange discovery about women. She was a single mom in your area who was lonely and looking to get laid with no strings attached. Neither of them wanted a relationship, but a one night stand left them hoping for more. Now they’re torn between enjoying their single lives and getting serious. They weren’t looking for love; they just wanted to Meet Sexy Singles.
When a stay at home mom realised that a single weird food would keep her from ever having to diet again, she thought she had struck it rich. Then her husband stole her secret, the fortune that should have been hers, and her son. Convincing the world that her ex is a fraud won’t be easy, but she finds one hotshot junior lawyer who’s willing to go up against his sharks. Together they’ll win back her money, her child… and maybe even her belief in love. Her ex will eat his words in Eat THIS.
When an average local man discovered the cure to cancer, he thought he’d be a hero. Instead he’s on the run, chased by ruthless killers as he struggles to unravel an elaborate global conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies and hospitals that may even reach the very top of the World Health Organization. He doesn’t know why the medical community wants his cure suppressed, but one thing’s clear: Doctors Hate Him.
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10 Problems Only People In The French Resistance Understand
Winston Churchill And FDR Would Be The World’s Greatest Power Couple
31 Biggest Landmine Fails Of 1943
14 Things That Happened At The Yalta Conference
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If All Allied Leaders Were Replaced With Ingrid Bergman
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319 Concentration Camps That Will Make You Lose Your Faith In Humanity
I entered your bright white fluorescent hell like a lost soul entering a strange and despotic land. I needed new earbuds and I needed them urgently enough to brave your tangled maze of poor choices and suspiciously named in-house brands imported from only the least discerning Chinese factories. Nexxtech sounds like an anime produced by a discount Korean sweatshop animation studio and GnarlyFish like a Phish cover band that the other cover bands look down on. What sane man desires to sully the soundtrack of his life with headphones that make it seem as if your music is being piped through an unusually long air tunnel?
But amidst the wasteland of electronic detritus designed to take advantage of the ignorant, the desperate and those whose last major technological purchase was a phonograph so they could enjoy the musical stylings of that young up and comer Bing Crosby I managed to suss out some headphones that appeared as though they would allow me to hear my music without simulating the effects of deafness, tinnitus or, somehow, both. And they were only overpriced enough to make me feel like I had been tricked by an experienced shyster, not taken complete advantage of by an incompetent conman who nevertheless somehow managed to play me for a fool. In your Kafkaesque Best Buy that constituted a “deal.”
I was heroically able to complete a transaction with your surly cashier despite the fact that she seemed less intent on taking my money than she was on demanding my email address, as though it were the last piece of the dark ritual required to raise the shambling corpse of Circuit City from a Lovecrafian nightmare realm of dead but dreaming corporations, and not a means by which to send me newsletters for television sales that the Amish would recognise as rip-offs.
I of course also turned down her offer of an extended warranty, despite her pleading assurances that it would give me three years of coverage on everything from water damage to all-devouring plague of locusts. While I realise that you are probably holding her children hostage until she forces enough of these bad investments onto hapless consumers willing to take on the financial burden simply to cease her incessant braying, her dead eyes betrayed the fact that she no longer has any love left to give her progeny. If they are lucky they will somehow escape your nefarious clutches and spend their formative years in an orphanage, or perhaps they will simply be granted the sweet embrace of death instead of being trained to slave away in your call centres, answering questions from easily confused grandparents for what will feel like endless eons.
What seemed like a prudent financial decision would prove to be my downfall, aside of course from the obviously poor decision to offer my patronage in the first place. If entering your store was my Anschluss, declining the warranty was my Stalingrad. That may seem like a tasteless analogy, but I feel it is appropriate considering the quality of neither your electronics nor your service would feel out of place in Pavlov’s House.
I left your store like Lot left Sodom, only had I been accompanied by a wife I know she would have had no desire to look back. But less than an hour later I found myself returning to prostate myself before my nemesis, to grovel in the faintest hope that this soulless harpy would show mercy on a man who was cursing her beneath her breath.
You see, it seems as though your crude packaging is made from two kinds of plastic. One has the strength of mithril and would be better put to use manufacturing bulletproof vests than in safeguarding your products from the orcs that you apparently think wish to steal them. The other kind has the strength of thin cardboard that’s been left out in a rainstorm overnight and then urinated on by a horse that had really been holding it in. That’s how, after spending several minutes trying to penetrate my new headphones’ defences with about as much success as eunuchs have in penetrating women, I sliced through the plastic, an earbud and very nearly my finger. Fierce resistance wasn’t ended that abruptly since the Death Star was destroyed.
While I admit that I am not what society generally deems to be “competent” or “intelligent” I don’t think it’s immodest of me to brag that I am usually capable of opening a package without rendering the product within useless. You don’t see me pouring a glass of milk by running a steak knife through the carton or making an omlette by smashing my fists on an egg carton and collecting the yoke that dribbles out. And yet that is essentially what your shoddy packaging forced me to do.
Under the circumstances I didn’t feel it was unreasonable to ask for a replacement or a refund, in-so much as your cold corporate heart has any concept of reason. Yet my protestations were met with nothing more than repeated statements about how my request was only covered under your extended warranty. Under other circumstances I would have taken this as the company line spouted by an apathetic employee with no desire to risk being fired for breaking protocol. But this employee knew I had erred. There was a glint in her eye, a mocking tone in her voice, a suggestion that I had fallen into a classic pitfall and instead of throwing me a rope she was going to rain down poisonous snakes.
I will begrudgingly admit that you have technically done nothing wrong, at least not in the legal sense. Morally you are doing wrong simply by continuing to exist. But if your reaction to a consumer suffering from a product’s design failures is so robotic and unfeeling that I now assume the term “customer service” is what you use to refer to the handjobs you give each other while recounting this experience then I see little recourse. I am not an angry man. But you have roused a dark part of me from a deep slumber, and soon the only “Source” you know will be the source of your constant suffering. I am that source, my friends. You will sing laments of my coming, and I will ensure you can hear them only in mono sound.