Tag Archives: Merricat

Art is a flat circle.

10. Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

Outsider art, taxidermy I don’t have to see, serial murder, solid female characters – well, solid characters in general, and some very unexpected surrealist imagery…it’s like Beukes had several of my reading habits in mind when she started writing.

Each character has a different angle on the central story and brings a different part of Detroit’s atmosphere in as well. It was really fun reading a book about Detroit that brought in the broken parts but also did some taking to task of the pretentious humans making artistic lemonade out of ruins.

There’s a lot to Broken Monsters. A lot of detail, a lot of tension, a lot of pieces that normally would have made me cringe treated with enough information and deference that I can tell she did a lot of research, essentially it provides a lot of reasons to follow Beukes as an author.

Merricat giving that look that means "I know you didn't say what you wanted to say about scenes that reminded you of True Detective's antler graffiti in this review."

Merricat giving that look that means “I know you didn’t say what you wanted to say about scenes that reminded you of True Detective’s antler graffiti in this review.”

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It’s no Guinea Pigs and Books, the flamethrower, but I think it’s close enough for now.

So, I have artwork available for sale now, via my Redbubble profile. I am also currently selling my work at Wizard World Chicago , but, what I’m selling in Chicago I literally painted or printed with my own human hands (except the postcards and posters, I had those made) and there’s only one shirt. It glows in the dark. Redbubble has no tea towels, but it does have several other items I find highly amusing:

This is the throw pillow I've always wanted. Although I would never station it on one lonely chair like this.

This is the throw pillow I’ve always wanted of my little Merricat. Although I would never station it on one lonely chair like this.

 

Not to be outdone in any fashion, Peregrine is also on a throw pillow on a lonely, unfortunately padded chair.

Not to be outdone in any fashion, Peregrine is also on a throw pillow on a lonely, unfortunately padded chair.

Metal prints! This painting went to a good home with the other two Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings, so, the most brutal type of print is maybe the easiest way to get your own. Unless you want it on a throw pillow, or a shirt, or a mug, lots of things really.

Metal print! This painting went to a good home with the other two Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings, so, the most brutal type of print is maybe the easiest way to get your own. Unless you want it on a throw pillow, or a shirt, or a mug, lots of things really.

Stationary too! Pammy, on her mammoth, potentially on your greeting cards.

Stationery too! Pammy, on her mammoth, potentially on your greeting cards.

Okay, back to Merricat. The only piece of apparel I print on when I'm hand silkscreening is the baseball tee. Baseball tees are available on Redbubble, but not in the most obvious way. One must click literally any of the tees first.

Okay, back to Merricat. The only piece of apparel I print on when I’m hand silkscreening is the baseball shirt. Baseball shirts are available on Redbubble, but not in the most obvious way. One must click literally any of the t-shirts first.

Then, use the pull down menu to select the baseball tee. I have officially sanctioned the colors I'll allow for all the shirts, so, if you must have a tee other than a baseball shirt with any of my images on it, fine, but no orange. It doesn't go.

Then, use the pull down menu to select the “Baseball 3/4 Sleeve.” I have officially sanctioned the colors I’ll allow for all the shirts, so, if you must have a t-shirt other than a baseball shirt with any of my images on it, fine, but no orange. It doesn’t go.

This is the gold version of the Danger Crumples with a flashlight image, the one that got me back into printmaking. It would be adorable on a duvet cover.

This is the gold version of the Danger Crumples with a flashlight image, the one that got me back into printmaking. It would be adorable on a duvet cover.

Sometimes, when you move your images around for optimum placement, you end up designing a phone skin with a captive Ozma on it.

Sometimes, when you move your images around for optimum placement, you end up designing a phone case with a captive Ozma on it.

Horace can use an old school computer on your much newer, less possessed computer.

Horace can use an old school computer on your much newer, less possessed computer.

The official Pigs in a Graveyard hardcover journal.

The official Pigs in a Graveyard hardcover journal.

Many of my images are available on scarves, which is pretty damn cool. And then there's the miniskirt. Yes, you can have zombie leper pirates and their undead guinea pig captain Danger Crumples on a miniskirt. Also available as a miniskirt, antichrist Finny.

Many of my images are available on scarves, which is pretty damn cool. And then there’s the miniskirt. Yes, you can have zombie leper pirates and their undead guinea pig captain Danger Crumples on a miniskirt. Also available as a miniskirt, antichrist Finny.

Lastly, I have also painstakingly made "Artist Notes" for each image I uploaded, read them at your own peril, but remember to click back to the products afterwards, lest the point get confusing.

Lastly, I have also painstakingly made “Artist Notes” for each image I uploaded, read them at your own peril, but remember to click back to the products afterwards, lest the point get confusing.

More pillows (and some other random people’s stuff thrown in, sorry random people, you’re getting overtaken by my herd:

Whee!

Whee! Also, there’s that golden Danger Crumples duvet cover in the second row, next to Pammy on a Mammoth. I don’t think it’s too hard to tell which of these are my work and which two are not.

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I’ve finished 47 paintings, 8 silkscreens, put out 1 e-book, and carved out my own little corner of an online store so far this year. Last year I did a little less. A little.

Seventeen of the eighteen "blind paintings" I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they're getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

Seventeen of the eighteen “blind paintings” I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they’re getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

 

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I've printed on tea towels this year.

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I’ve printed on tea towels this year.

 

Postcard swag.

Postcard swag. After the reception my images received at Wizard World Madison, I wanted to make it more possible to take home my aesthetic and I’m pretty fond of postcards.

Some of the images on these are no longer available in any handmade format… all three Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings went to a good home. And the one of Danger with the white starburst behind him was solely a commission. But! Fear not, anyone who picked up my cute little Merricat with the Zebras record, turned it over looking for a price, and then had to ask me only to recoil in slight shock (I like that one too), I had both postcards made AND posters. The poster is bigger than the painting, but still looks sassy thanks to my friend Rebecca’s skills.  Enjoy McWikken, Army of Dangers, Danger Dixon (not pictured, previously posted), and both Danger Who paintings (“) are also now available in full color posters – I didn’t get very many made, and of course, they are only purchasable in person from my booth at Wizard World Chicago August 18-19-20-21.

AND, to keep going yet longer, I also made several of my images available to be purchased on a variety of things via Redbubble . A link to my profile page is at the bottom of my blog, also on my About page, and I’ll have a more thorough post coming about my store in a few days so I can showcase all the products I think are particularly amusing. Here is a teaser photo –

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale besides being asked quite few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover. It's ridiculous.

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale on Redbubble besides being asked quite a few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. All the throw pillows! And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover, or Finny as the antichrist on a duvet cover, or the golden Danger Crumples (not pictured). It’s ridiculous. I could have the weirdest couch decor ever. So could you, gentle reader. So could you.

 

47 Paintings, 8 Silkscreens, 1 Link – Wizard World Chicago profile

For those who cannot come to Chicago and wish to work on the amount of guinea pigs visually available in their home – my Redbubble profile

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Conservation efforts be damned, there’s a mystery afoot.

56. The Claw – Carmen Adams

After reading this book, I had a lot of questions about zoo internships. I also kept wondering why the interns weren’t doing any work, why they even had an internship program at the Zoo of Lax Security portrayed in the book, and why anyone would choose to create such flimsy characters and think anyone would believe they’d be qualified to be interns at a zoo – interns who stay overnight at the zoo to help out security, even. The zoo part, which for me was clearly of major interest, was just surface level fluff. A setting that was just a setting with a conveniently placed leopard to let out. So disappointing. I would have let out a rhino if I wanted to cause some major distress in a community. Well, not really, just in case it had to be shot instead of tranquilized, I really care about rhinos, but, in this hypothetical imaginary situation, I’d let out an imaginary rhino if I wanted some impressive destruction. A rhino wouldn’t stomp on one person’s locker, it would knock them all in. Perhaps snort afterwards and twitch its little ears in that adorable way that they do that. Yeah. There’s some turmoil.

Another animal capable of major distress: Merricat. You don't even want to know what she'd do to a precocious intern.

Another animal capable of major distress: Merricat. You don’t even want to know what she’d do to a precocious intern.

Mixtape:

1. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire
2. The Cutter – Echo & the Bunnymen
3. Johnny Hit and Run Paulene – X
4. Baby’s Ok – Hanni El Khatib
5. Cat Claw – The Kills
6. Whack of Shit – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
7. Yellow Moon – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
8. The Hanging Garden – Masquer
9. Shake It Out – Florence + the Machine
10. Piss Off – FFS
11. Dime, Dime, Penny Dime – Electric Six
12. Complexity – Eagles of Death Metal
13. Crawling After You – Bass Drum of Death
14. Hot Pursuit – The Bravery
15. Lions In Cages – Wolf Gang
16. Enough Embarrassment for One Day – Dick Valentine

 

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In which Peregrine becomes a bad babysitter.

Today is the first day of Wizard World Madison ( my profile on the Wizard World site ). There are only two days left to see my half-smiling face behind a table, unless I’m not there because I escaped to track down the Phantasm t-shirt I regretted not buying last year or I’m jumping through a wall of Funko Pop boxes like the Kool-Aid Man out of sheer joy.

Last, but certainly not least, in my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” series is Pigoween (Halloween, such a difference a “pig” makes). This one has my favorite title card painting and features my Wisconsin-pig ladies Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine – and Peregrine’s comically-sized phone. Also Michael Myers. Stalking babysitters has never been so cute.

The Pigoween title card. Lady pigs Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine walkin' down some foliage-lined street.

The Pigoween title card. Lady pigs Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine walkin’ down some foliage-lined street.

 

Merricat, suddenly cardigan-less, being stared at by Michael Myers.

Merricat, suddenly cardigan-less, being stared at by Michael Myers.

 

Peregrine is On. The. Phone.

Peregrine is On. The. Phone.

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Are guinea pig parody paintings better than movie remakes?

My answer would be: probably. I would certainly enjoy a remake of The Fog starring guinea pigs, which is why I made The Fog the second target of my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” series of paintings, available at Wizard World Madison April 8-9-10 ( my profile on the Wizard World site ).

Once nice thing about Carpenter's often short titles - they really leave themselves open for guinea pig parody. Also, Danger Crumples would have been an excellent pirate captain.

Once nice thing about Carpenter’s often short titles – they really leave themselves open for guinea pig parody. Also, Danger Crumples would have been an excellent pirate captain.

 

Horace and Ozma face a leper pirate inside their awkwardly spaced truck.

Horace and Ozma face a leper pirate inside their awkwardly spaced truck.

 

When I chose Merricat to replace Adrienne Barbeau's DJ character Stevie Wayne, I knew that she wasn't going to be playing jazz records in between warnings about the fog... She's got Zebras' The City of Sun, one of my favorite records from last year by the best band from(ish) Madison in my favorite of all my John Carpenter's Guinea Pigs paintings. Not priced to move.

When I chose Merricat to replace Adrienne Barbeau’s DJ character Stevie Wayne, I knew that she wasn’t going to be playing jazz records in between warnings about the fog… She’s got Zebras’ The City of Sun, one of my favorite records from last year by the best band from(ish) Madison in my favorite of all my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs paintings. Not priced to move.

 

Despite the obvious futility, I always try to photograph the pigs featured in my paintings next to the paintings (unfortunately, neither Merricat nor Danger Crumples were available by the time I finished these). Horace and Ozma are not interested in my work. Of course they aren't. They don't even know I menaced them with leper pirates.

Despite the obvious futility, I always try to photograph the pigs featured in my paintings next to the paintings (unfortunately, neither Merricat nor Danger Crumples were available by the time I finished these). Horace and Ozma are not interested in my work. Of course they aren’t. They don’t even know I menaced them with leper pirates.

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Start with a Queen, End with all the Queens

Thus ends the specified “Year of the Ladies.” Although next year starts tomorrow, I’m not clear on whether or not I want to have a theme.

The main thing I know about next year is that I have a lot of art to finish before April.  Another thing I know is that I am both petrified and anxiously awaiting the edited version of the final book in my Squirrelpocalypse trilogy – Night of the Squirrels. I will then revisit it, stare at it wondering what I was thinking, re-write some chunks, probably cry about said chunk re-writing, ask the guinea pigs if they have any ideas about why it turned out so differently than what I planned for the story in 1998 and not get ANY useful answers, and then accept it and rearrange all the semicolons before I format it and put it up with the other two. I finished it this year, on December 5th at 11:53 PM, and immediately wasn’t sure if I liked it. That probably means it’s all right because every single time I finish a book – and I’ve finished two this year, personal best, probably never to be repeated – I’m not sure if I like it. So, I await my cognitive distance and since I like to end with pictures, here are all the sweet little lady pigs that I’ve owned since 2008. Snippiest, most gratuitously disagreeable bunch of cavies ever to exist and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Murderface and Pickles in Hattiesburg

Miss Murderface and Pickles the Drummer (yes, that Pickles, and her full name is the entire line from the opening credits – that’s a behind the scenes secret you couldn’t get from very many sources).

Sepia toned teddy bear ladies Twiglet and Pammy. So fuzzy. So domineering. But so fuzzy and so good at napping.

Sepia toned teddy bear ladies Twiglet and Pammy. So fuzzy. So domineering. But so fuzzy and so good at napping.

Murderface and the lovely Duncan Hills. I only got to have Duncan for eleven months, but she had the softest ears and the sassiest disposition. She also helped me quite a bit with the planning of Day of the Robots.

Murderface and the lovely Duncan Hills. I only got to have Duncan for eleven months, but she had the softest ears and the sassiest disposition. She also helped me quite a bit with the planning of Day of the Robots.

Merricat and Peregrine, my first non-Mississippi or Iowa born lady pigs. Merricat was frighteningly special and my first lady Abyssinian. She was very small in size, but had a very large bite.

Merricat and Peregrine, my first non-Mississippi or Iowa born lady pigs. Merricat was frighteningly special and my first lady Abyssinian. She was very small in size, but had a very large bite.

Peregrine and Ozma having a mild moment. Peregrine has not been the most friendly of new friends to Ozma, but Ozma's willingness to explore is slowly, very slowly seeping in to Pere.

Peregrine and Ozma having a mild moment. Peregrine has not been the most friendly of new friends to Ozma, but Ozma’s willingness to explore is slowly, very slowly seeping in to Pere.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing

“This is where the fish lives.”

60. Michelle Remembers – Michelle Smith & Lawrence Pazder, M.D.

A bit of a fudge in my “Year of Ladies” to include a book co-written by a dude, however, I think it’s warranted because this book is not only basically Michelle’s fault, but it’s also full of her own words with lots of ellipses between thoughts.

Michelle Remembers is The Chronicle that could be righteously blamed for a lot of the Satanic Panic. I’ve been aware of it for a long time as a Satanic Panic enthusiast and finally found a copy in the horror section of Half Price Books – on 50% off day! A sign if ever there was one. Strangely, it was not locked up in the special pricy books cabinet where it had less potential to harm anyone or inspire them to make up repressed memories. And, shockingly, I was less than impressed. The X-Files episode with Mrs. Paddock was way better. The Touch of Satan, the MST3K episode from which I quoted my title, was also way better, as long as it’s that exact episode. The Touch of Satan on its own is probably about the same level of inspiring as Michelle Remembers, that quoted title is a real line of dialogue. Someone wrote that on purpose and put it into a film. I’ve had to look it up several times to make sure they didn’t mean to say “This is where the fish live,” as in multiple fish, but that’s not what it is, it’s “This is where the fish lives,” as in only one fish. Geez-us, I have so much trouble with that. The only hope I have is that it wasn’t written that way, even though it was spoken that way.

Anyway, back to Michelle, so… Michelle shows up needing to get something off her chest and ends up in hours and hours and hours-long sessions with Dr. Pazder, going back to “that place” and recounting endless weirdness and ritual abuse and she decides to start kicking it religious-style so she feels warm and safe again despite all the ridiculous abuse and then she and her psychiatrist get married (that’s not in the book, though). I can see how this would be taken seriously when it was published. Dr. Pazder has an M.D., the editor includes a nice note, there’s some corroborative evidence of hospitalizations presented in the narrative. That said, my problem is that Satan actually shows up and so does Mary and so does Jesus. Once Satan showed up at one of the shitty Canadian Satanic rituals specifically so that he could wrap his tail around Michelle’s neck I was beyond out. Suspension of disbelief ruined! I don’t care how many rashes Michelle got – and man, I get hives and rashes for no particular reason all the time, so, perhaps she was allergic to Dr. Pazder’s floor and also demonstrating her inner guilt for making it all up? My other super-glib explanation is that Michelle wanted to be an inspirational novelist, because when I write my novels, I occasionally feel like I blacked out and went to a different place because I’m writing down what I see in my head. It’s like a movie, but I’ve never considered writing about poop-covered crosses as my security blanket like Michelle, those just don’t reside in my head. Although I’ve never imagined a lake occupied by a single fish either, so maybe my imagination just isn’t working hard enough because I haven’t been touched (enough?) by Satan. Ichy.

“Isn’t there an ethical issue raised when one marries their psychiatrist?” Merricat wonders as she swallows your soul.

“Isn’t there an ethical issue raised when one marries their psychiatrist?” Merricat wonders as she swallows your soul.

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My tired eyes wake up at dawn

28. Night Film – Marisha Pessl

I had some level of trepidation coming in to reading this book. I noticed a bit of hype about it and there was some award winning and hype about her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics (which I haven’t read) and to be frank, hype and the lack of horror indicated in her first novel’s title made me wary. Whenever non-horror people write horror, there are usually narrative problems that super annoy me because I am a total horror person. I’m not a total horror snob, but I get a bristly feeling when it seems like someone’s dabbling and they keep giving you cliché after cliché that they would know were clichés if they knew the horror genre better. Also, I’ve had a lot of bad and somewhat angry feelings after Ryan Murphy decided that he invented the horror comedy genre that effect my interest in possible dabblers. What an asshole, he definitely had his head up his ass when he said that. Calling it “comedy horror” just trips the tongue and does not make it a new genre. And I’ve liked more than one season of American Horror Story because it was so batshit, but, that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s not the only one writing the episodes and the fact that it’s batshit camp. Maybe if he had done some research, I wouldn’t have to blame him for wasting New Orleans as a location or being incapable of sustaining a reasonable seasonal story arc that sorts out and uses all the random moments instead of just throwing them at the audience and never using anything, or anyone (Angela Bassett could have had so much more to do. SO much more to do.) properly. It is more than possible to coalesce batshit elements into beautiful garbage. Like Doomsday. Or Gremlins II, which is really just beautiful, and it could have been more beautiful if somebody was a tad nicer to Gizmo.

I ended up liking this book quite a bit. It was definitely not as horror themed as I thought it would be, in fact, I ended up getting more of a Lars Von Trier meets the seventies vibe from the descriptions of the movies, the whole thing was much more suspense thriller, which is totally fine. There was a smattering of horror elements and they weren’t overplayed to me, it was actually a bit like reading Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon; if you know the tropes you’ll end up amused but not necessarily surprised at the outcome. There was even a genuinely scary moment in there for me, so good show.

My darling little Merricat had a couple of things in common with one of the main characters that made reading this at the time I did very hard. She was such a beautiful tiny demon with perfect ears and such bright eyes.

My darling little Merricat had a couple of things in common with one of the main characters that made reading this at the time I did very hard. She was such a beautiful tiny demon with perfect ears and such bright eyes.

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We used to wait for it … Now they’re screaming “Sing the chorus again!”

28. Little Sisters of the Apocalypse – Kit Reed

Imperator Merricat took her final steps into Pighalla toward the end of April. When she lives again she will be shiny and chrome; she deserves to be more shiny and more chrome than most, she was a loyal little pig – loyal to me and loyal to Peregrine, her much beleaguered cage mate. Merri was a very important pig for me and she had the unfortunate task of re-reminding me about the waiting that goes along with caring for someone with a terminal illness – something that is a major part of this very surreal adventure. Reed discusses the waiting, (and she’s got another short story, her first published in 1958 apparently, “The Wait” that does an excellent job discussing a different kind of “the waiting” – the super creepy kind – ), in a way that I have never seen before and that resonated with me very deeply.

Little Sisters of the Apocalypse covers two different kinds of waiting that I have experienced – waiting for possibly unconsciously manipulative menfolk to sort their shit out and waiting for a loved one to die because they cannot be saved, the most painful kind of waiting.  The narrative dips back and forth between a fantasy mainly concerning the women of Schell Island, abandoned in a “we’re coming back, we’re just going to war…somewhere…” way by their men and the reality of “K” and her losses. Both of the main sides involve the waiting, the strain of anxiety and the unknown and on the fantasy side especially, the confusion over what way to move forward if you’re even going to. Chag, the woman in charge in the post-men landscape, talks about the kind of waiting I always dread the most and that leaves a familiar pit in my stomach. It would just be really great if at some point, dudes thought better of trying to be mysterious assholes and were just direct. Stop trying to keep every option ever created open and make choices, then stand by those choices even if they go horribly awry. It is not impressive to juggle so many social options; it is impressive to be committed and considerate. K does not discuss waiting so much as it doesn’t need to be discussed when you’re dealing with terminal illness – it’s just there, allowing you to experience agony while you still have your loved ones and even more when you don’t.

The titular characters are a group of motorcycle riding nuns, lead by Sister Trini, and they also happen to work with computers. They are summoned to Schell Island and Chag and the other left-behind women are envious of them for one excellent reason – they do not have to go through the menfolk waiting. They have no one to wait for. They are autonomous and do not have to sit there and listen to the bullshit platitudes, “I never want to lose you,” “I can’t imagine my life without you,” et. al. And that is the kind of waiting that I could really do without, considering the amount of time I’ve already spent doing both kinds. The waiting for death kind is worse, but also better. It hurts, it’s always deep, but being there for loved ones and taking that on is honorable and witnessed. And, in the Little Sisters’ lack of having to do the “please take on my emotional bullshit while I don’t feel guilty for lying about whether or not I knew what I wanted” kind of waiting, they get shit done. I thought of them immediately during Mad Max Fury Road when they went after the ladies of Imperator Furiosa’s original group and those dusty motorcycles appeared. Those are the Little Sisters of the Apocalypse in yet another kind of apocalypse, one that also involves waiting for men, but not the kind you already had an irritating attachment to, the kind that bring a Doof warrior soundtrack-car and for some reason think they’re going to win. Something is always going to be coming. They’re not waiting for anyone.

Prime examples of Little Sisters of the Apocalypse Merricat and Peregrine. Their motorcycles are behind the fleece blankie.

Prime examples of Little Sisters of the Apocalypse Merricat and Peregrine. Their motorcycles are behind the fleece blankie.

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