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A Tale of Three Shithole States
Maskland Stories from Manny Soprano, Nero the Pict and Miss Ezz
“Baby Cakes, it will be nice to see you again. I can still remember what you look like. Not my coworkers. I've been working for this chickenshit outfit for two years, and for the past fifteen months behind this mask. I have actually forgotten what the faces of my coworkers look like—except for the few who smoke, you will occasionally see them outside without a mask on. We are in a suburban redneck, Trump section of Maryland, Trump 2020 signs and bumper stickers all over the place. But 80% of the customers are still masking up. The governor has lifted all restrictions, but the asshole running Baltimore City is riding this wave until it crashes—all mask, all the time.
“Baltimore is so off-the-hook dangerous now I don't even drive a block into the city—it's a third world country. Essentially its been kicked down to individual businesses, which means that except for dive bars you will never see the face of another service worker again. The weirdo I work for might even make me get a vaccine. This is way stupid. Compared to this shit the riots we lived through [in 2015] made sense.”
-Miss Ezz, the Lady that Tipped Off the BPD to the Freddie Grey Purge in 2015
“Finally, a couple months back, they opened a couple of the strip clubs back up. But the girls were wearing masks. One of the girls, this Dominican bitch with a rockin' body, comes over and sits next to me and I say, 'Hey baby, let me see your face. Take off that mask.'
“So, she takes off her mask and she had a dog face. I mean, her body was a ten and her face was a two! This birch was ugly. So I said, 'Eesh, put the mask back on!'
“She didn't get pissed. But she should have worked it, should have charged me to put the mask back on, because she was that fuckin' ugly. My theory is that the reason why the masks are staying around is because we have so many ugly bitches, and that half of the good-looking bitches are too lazy to do their makeup and are just dogging it.”
-Manny Soprano, East Hangdog Joisey
“I had been working all week, ten, twelve hour days and the mask mandate finally gets lifted here [in Pennsylvania]. So I'm walking into a Giant Eagle [supermarket] without a mask on and this big, young, buff hipster—a customer leaving the store in the entryway—motions for me to mask up. I was on a short fuse and stepped up in his face and snapped, [makes head-butting step in motion] 'Fuck off!'
“Of course I didn't have to fuck him up, because he's a fucking pussy, a gay, lame, bullshit person who should be used as a sandbag...so we can stack him up with all of these other assholes and use them for a breastwork while we gun down the zombies!”
“Can this world get any more gay?”
“No, don't answer that—I'm sorry I asked and please don't write me in as the protagonist in some zombie apocalypse novel where the zombies are homos instead of cannibals!”
-Nero the Pict
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RubeJul 5, 2021

Wonderful ambience and writing. It's like a screenplay. I can see the characters, the cigarette smoke spiraling upward. Great visuals and a strange, nearly unsettling sense of ennui. Kick ass and take hyphenated name Jimbo!!!!
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