Tag Archives: Richie Tankersley Cusick

“Oh! Fuck the fuchsia it’s Friday!”

13. The Mall – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Trish is working in the mall at Muffin Mania, it’s very Fast Times as she’s flirting across the food court (you can call it “The Eatery” all you want, we all know what it really is) with Storm at Pizza Park. Storm Reynolds isn’t who he says he is. He’s not a porn star as his name would imply, but he’s not who he seems and for some reason he continually clamps Trish’s arms and steers her places. Very controlling behavior-preview, Storm. He also drives too fast.

Trish has two friends, which keeps the focus on a few characters – her, Nita her shoppin’ friend that works in a clothing store, and Nita’s twin Imogene who works in the bookstore and wears…Glasses!…clearly she will never die. She also has a total bitch for a boss, Bethany, who sucks at communication and controlling the bustling atmosphere of Muffin Mania.

The other male characters are both weird and/or quirky. Wyatt, who speaks in riddles and wears a jean jacket with the sleeves cut off, totally sparks Imogene’s interest and therefore Nita’s, so she goes all 80s movie villain girl and tries to get his attention. He actually reminds me a little bit of the only person named Wyatt I know, except for the jean jacket thing.

The real villain of the piece goes a little bit more 70s giallo in his approach to stalking teenage girls – I couldn’t help but picture him with black gloves at all times. He hides in the mall and wears a series of disguises to keep his eyes on Trish at all times. His introduction is asking her for a honey muffin, later telling her boss he hit her car and she needs to come look at it, then when she gets outside and finds nothing happened to her car he calls on the payphone next to it and when Trish picks up he tells her the honey muffin tasted like her – Ew. – and ratchets up the creepery, staring, and random disguises from there. Ratchets up to kidnapping and ice pick murder, even.

If Trish would’ve just stayed in Kyle Kinane’s joke and never left that birthday party at Benihana, none of this would’ve happened. She would’ve had a choo-choo train made of onions instead.

Sure that hairy-armed guy in the gloves seems to be just nicely walking his fingers around, Ozma, but don’t take him up on his offer to pay your ballet school tuition.


1. “Silently Stalking” – All of Them Witches
2. “Shadowman” – Devil Electric
3. “You Are the One” – A Place to Bury Strangers
4. “Don’t Let It In” – Wolfmen of Mars
5. “Bounce House Demons” – Chelsea Wolfe
6. “X” – Brass Hearse
7. “The Fear” – Pulp
8. “Venus in Furs” – Electric Wizard
9. “In Death (I’ll Love You More)” – Brass Hearse
10. “When I Was Bleedin'” – Dax Riggs
11. “If the Coffin’s Rockin’, Don’t Come Knockin'” – Terrortron
12. “Jam It in the Hole” – Electric Six
13. “Unflattering Lights” – Wolfmen of Mars
14. “Ur Djupet (Out of the Depths)” – Finntroll
15. “1985” – Kvelertak

Art Intrusion #485 – I have a Threadless store now!! It’s in progress, but it exists! The images are relatively large!

Art Intrusion #486 – The newest item on both my New Threadless store and my Forever Redbubble store where you can totally buy stickers (!) is a Bi Pride flag I designed for a friend of mine who needed a Pride flag to reflect her love of red (and I, as a printmaker, recognized that process red aka magenta is actually already part of the bi flag so I whipped this idea up and printed it post haste because I love printing in process red and doing special images for my friends). It turned out pretty cute and I totally made her a tea towel so she can have this little binicorn in her kitchen reminding her what month it is now and to always be proud. Then I printed a more-magenta version to share with anyone who wants one to add to their own lovely flag collection. Happy Pride!

Bi Pride - RachelESmith

The Binicorn, waving proudly in the breeze.


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All this could’ve been avoided if the B&B had been set up on the Island of Misfit Mascots.

51. The Drifter – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Mrs. Baxter could have used a nice visit with the Sexual Harassment Panda from South Park before starting on her business plan. When your daughter says the man you hired as a live-in handyman after he just showed up one day at your door in your new town and has been giving her the creeper eyes and you imply that she should stop asking for it -that makes for a saaaaaad panda. Just a reminder, Mrs. Baxter, you should be glad your daughter told you about it BEFORE anything criminally prosecutable happened.

Mixtape –
1. Sinking with the Sun – The Raveonettes
2. Shallow Water – Electric Citizen
3. She Cried – Rowland S. Howard
4. Wild Charms – The Kills
5. Goodbye Gemini – Blood Ceremony
6. The Deserters – Rachel Zeffira
7. Constellations – Black Mountain
8. Nothin’ – Rowland S. Howard
9. Headed Nowhere – Those Poor Bastards
10. Big Dark Love – Murder By Death
11. Hollow Earth – Zebras
12. Four Teeth – True Widow
13. Black Eyed Dog – Swans
14. Lonely Sunday – Reignwolf
15. Calla – Russian Circles

Belvedere doesn’t take kindly to age based power imbalances being used to the advantage of walking jean jackets.

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Would you rather the Slaughtered Lamb?

15. Someone at the Door – Richie Tankersley Cusick

One of my all-time favorite stories that includes hitchhiking and being stranded in the wilderness with a killer on the loose is An American Werewolf in London. The rest of the movie focuses on what happens as a result of the hitchhiking and escaped killer, of course, so this comparison is utterly valid because without that ride in the truck with the sheep nothing would have ever happened. My comparisons are always air-tight.

“Especially for Girls Presents: Someone at the Door” has a similar set up – it has its own escaped lunatic, its own hitchhiker in the wilderness, and people in peril as a result of the escaped lunatic. It also has its own terrible boyfriend – Kurt (How in tarnation could you name a terrible boyfriend Kurt in 1994? Why? Oh wait, book Kurt is a rage-monster football player, like the one in Heathers, and not a suicidal rock icon, whatever.), an isolated house that’s both old and has one of those creepy past incidents, a very messy garage, and a dog named Bruce. Some typical Cusick-isms are on display here: there’s some histrionics (Hannah, geez, you’re a senior), shadows doing scary things, some yelling at the situation, and parents are out of town – in this case, they’re stranded by the gigantic and neverending snowstorm of doom! Speaking of the snowstorm of doom, at the time of my writing, it’s way below freezing with a negative temperature windchill – stupid winter.

Moving on in a way that winter rarely does, I enjoyed this story way more than I thought I was going to. For one thing, I refuse to open my door most of the time. My current dwelling came with a phantom doorbell ringer and since I refuse to participate in my own true crime novel (anymore), I won’t answer unless I am expecting someone or something. The phantom ringer seems to come at a variety of times, like 1:30 AM and 9:30 AM and 12:38 PM and seems to know exactly when I’m feeding Merricat her Critical Care, when I retire to read, and when I least need to be woken up. It’s creepy. I’ve started to assume that the person who lived here previously was a drug dealer and I feel like I may have mentioned this before – anyway, in the dead of winter when I don’t want to be creeped out, it seems like a bad idea to read a book about that exact thing happening…but I really liked it. It read extremely quickly, the characters acted in very consistent ways, and I totally dug the ending, it was very unusual for a YA book.

Fun fact: My copy of this was previously owned by – a different Rachel. Rachel T. I am Rachel S. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Mortemer and Belvedere lived in Iowa for one winter. It was a mild one, so there was no need for vigilance against escaped lunatics, but Mortemer was always a very vigilant pig.

Mortemer and Belvedere lived in Iowa for one winter. It was a mild one, so there was no need for vigilance against escaped lunatics, but Mortemer was always a very vigilant pig.

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I don’t think we’re going to save the community center in this case.

21. April Fools – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Check it out – timeliness! Oooh. That’s probably the last time I come up with something relevant to the month in which it is posted. Mostly because I’ve spent too many words pointing out my timeliness. It’s time to stop. So, April Fools, published via the Point Horror imprint, one of my favorite imprints of all time. The cover has awesome, jagged neon orange relief letters spelling out the title – man, I miss YA having painted covers, kick ass relief lettering, and being distributed in conveniently sized paperbacks. I may have covered these feelings in previous posts…I truly feel them. If I could make raised letters with my silkscreen for my covers, I would, but I don’t have the ink that does that or an appropriate cover subject for that ink yet. Anyway, this is getting less and less reviewy as I keep going, guess I’m distracted by congratulating myself for posting an April themed book in April. The only loser in this is anyone still reading this paragraph – the next one will be relevant, promise.

The story follows a bit of a familiar pattern: a group of teens does something horrific with their car, the one with a conscience watches as terrible retribution starts to happen and gets threatened, the ones without consciences have a bad time (they French fry when they should have pizza’d), and someone else in the story has a secret. A terrible secret. Or was it terrible? I can’t quite remember. Mostly I remember the angst pouring off the Adam character and that many things happened in the dark at his house while the teen with a conscience (Belinda Swanson, no relation to Ron based on her actions) tried to tutor him. It was like Beauty and the Beast without the rose. I think he had a snake. Anyway, having a conscience is definitely a good way to survive these teenage nightmares.

Tale as old as time...stupid teenagers do something stupid.

Belvedere was not intimidated by doll heads. Or stuffed turtles. He conquered stuffed turtles and then posed with his chin up and foot out like a teeny conquistador, as seen in this photo.

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Two trappers find human feet in a pile of mush. This is one job the carpet cleaners mess up badly.

39. Overdue – Richie Tankersley Cusick

This book is seventeen years old. That means I’m old. Dude. I mean, I knew I was old mentally with my luddite tendencies when it comes to television, phones, cassette players, and the stone wheels on my horse cart, but still. Because this book is technically a mystery it doesn’t seem appropriate to let anyone in on who the killer is without saying “Spoiler Alert,” but really this book is old enough that I shouldn’t have to. It’s a dilemma that took up a whole paragraph.

Anyway, the killer is my favorite part because, as one might guess from the title, this book is about a library (sort of) and finally, finally, the librarian is the killer! And really she only killed one employee and some girl who wasn’t very nice to begin with and maimed or injured several others. I did take issue with her reasoning – an unrequited love from like forever ago with narrator Kathleen’s father. Kathleen also happens to be a library employee who never should have been trusted with minding the library while the killer librarian was “gone” but still in town setting up elaborate maiming scenarios that she marked with copies of Anna Karenina and The Phantom of the Opera.

Kathleen is a traditional Richie Tankersley Cusick heroine, she and Martha from Trick or Treat could be best friends who scream and fly into histrionics every time something happens in the shadows or they lose track of the male who is supposed to be in the same building. Kathleen spent an awful lot of time not doing anything library related while in the library. She wandered around scaring herself, she didn’t shelve anything, she barely checked out any books, she went to the hospital and let a non-employee mind the building, she had no concept of time, she let some random college student behind the counter, and she never had the keys to the door. Frankly, the librarian could have murdered her for being a terrible employee alone. I was honestly surprised that the maiming and murder was not part of an elaborate attempt to get Kathleen to quit. I’ve watched a lot of Deadly Women, it wouldn’t surprise me; but Miss Finch, librarian, was not given much of a personality and then she walked into the library after she set it on fire. Nobody respects libraries enough.

Pammy’s got a book! Run! Or if you’re Kathleen the protagonist, scream and flail and refuse to calm down! Seriously though, people should not tell people to calm down, it does not work.

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Even more forbidden words of the 1990s

28. Trick or Treat – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Apparently there is something about the Halloween season and moving into a house where someone has been murdered that inspires hideous prank phone calls. Oh, to not have caller ID anymore…those Budweiser penguin commercials just don’t have the same punch; and I guess technically they’re not on TV anymore and I’m only mostly sure they were Budweiser commercials. I think the can was blue with some sort of mountainesque jagged line on it, I could look it up but writing about the 90s just doesn’t work that way at this moment. I lived it, man. I had a friend who used to prank call people on Halloween by playing clips of the movie Halloween to their answering machines or, if they answered, to them and then he’d hang up. He chose his dialogue from Halloween arbitrarily and I’m sure he’s still a bit of an odd bird.

Anyway, teen murder (don’t do it!) happened in the house that Martha and her new, vaguely sociopathic step-brother Colin move into in a town that has a name. Their parents finally go off on their honeymoon just as some prank calls, creepy ones, start freaking Martha the fuck out. She essentially goes nutbars each time she answers the phone. So, anyway, Martha has trouble with her high schooling, but she makes bestest friends with this girl who was BFFs with the girl who was murdered in Martha’s extremely drafty and chilled room and her guidance counselor is the brother of the girl who was BFFs with the murdered Elizabeth and Martha starts almost dating the brother of the girl who was BFFs with the murdered Elizabeth…anyway, don’t make friends with anyone named after a hotel chain, no matter how desperate you are to avoid hanging out in your own home with your new, not-actually-a-sociopath-but-he-could-play-one-on-TV stepbrother. Was that too long?

“Pickles, the calls are coming from inside the house,” Murderface whispered. “They’re telling me that Orange Julius and Dairy Queen have entered into an unholy partnership.”
“As long as Orange Julius continues to exist…” Pickles stared wistfully into the future, now filled with hope.

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