265: Pawn Stars

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Dear Patrons,

This will be a fun update. We're finally back into storytelling mode as the muse strikes again! I'm playing around with an idea of how to insert celebrities into the realm of the Tales of the Vanished. This tale is loosely tied to Carte du Jour 248: Sins of Vanity Here's a bit of how to have your cake and eat it too. 

Bon appétit! 

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I. UNDER THE OVERPASS (1 free full color artwork, 1 full color artwork for members, 1 full color artwork previously illustrated)

No, it can't be. Really? The other two, I get, but her?

I'm telling you, she's not real! Look. Look at her, man. Everything can't be explained away with plastic surgery. Don't be naïve. Pay closer attention. They did a real good job on her but she ain't the same. They do this shit, man. When you go into Hollywood or Nashville, you either don't come out the same, or you never come out at all. They eat you up and spit you out.

Okay I'll bite, pardon the pun. Who's doing this?

Who else? The nameless anonymous producers, casting agents, folk who seem like they have all the power but you don't really know what they do. It won't be the guys with the huge ass office and a big resumé, no no no... they're just peacocks struttin' feathers. The real hawks in the game, they don't front. And these big shot stars you see on movie billboards? They're just pawns man. These are the kinds of people who'd walk into the rooms full of big shot producers and stars but nobody barely notices them.

Okay, okay, see this... Ever seen Lost Highway when that creepy ass motherfucker walks in and the music dies down real soft into the background, and you're just alone with him in a room full of people? It's like that. When that happens, you're either marked as a prey, or if you're lucky, you're marked as a potential initiate. Sometimes they'll make you do stuff you don't wanna do. Ain't nothin' you can do to get out of it at this point. Nobody pays attention to them until they pay attention to you. And none in that party even ever asks how they'd even got in. It's as if they always belonged there.

Back in the day when I was still in the business, I've seen cats like that at these parties and they're unnerving as shit, you almost want to look away and pretend they're not there. Hell, everyone's doing the same. These guys have everyone else around them wrapped around their finger. They own them. They made them. And they can also destroy and replace them. Now you see, what I think they're doing is huntin'. They be huntin' these stars lickin' their lips in a room full of the beautiful big game... hunters be huntin' in the Serengeti and when they put it in their head to have you, it doesn't matter who you are, you're done. 

Who you need to pay attention to are the pieces behind the pawns. The bishops, kings, castles, knights and queens, y'know? You see, your rapper friend was on to something. But you saw how they took him out and made him look like a clown in the eyes of the world. Even though he's singin' the truth, nobody believes him. They don't try to hide the truth no more. It's easier to put it out there and mix it all with misinformation, disinformation, fake news, whatever people call it these days, anything until you can't tell what are the lies mixed in with the truth. They have their own hierarchies we don't see. While these silly pawns stay up front in the limelight, stayin' loud, chest out, the pieces behind operate in secrecy, nobody really knows who they are. "Look at me, don't look at the shadows behind me." You have NO idea. The game of chess? Yeah, that's a metaphor. They hint at the real game. The game of life and death.

So I'll give you an example.

Ever wonder what the castles are? Why do they move like that? Castles aren't supposed to move but in chess, they're elusive motherfuckers. To those who know, the castles represent what i heard them call, the "Moveable Feast". They're lavish castles holding a secret banquet for a night, abandoned ruins the next day. They move in, do their thing, and they move out. Could be anything, anywhere. They could just be a regular house rented in Malibu out for the night. Maybe it's one of their homes. But they don't keep shit there. Send in the SWAT and you'll find nothing. Even abandoned malls, ruined castles, half-finished development projects, take your pick. How best to hide than in plain sight, then gone like a ghost like nothing bad ever happened. Genius, ain't it?

And what are the knights but the security who protect the castle. They're the bouncers who ask for passwords or secret handshakes at the door and to keep the lookey-Lous out. Ex-military, ex-cartel. Who knows? They have the keys, they jump over you, come in and cut you off before you make a nuisance. They're the strategists and half of them even don't even know the kind of shady shit they're protecting. But if you notice, they're limited in the way they can move. Unusual and dangerous. But one thing they can't do, they can't reach. They don't have that much freedom. That's compartmentalization. Need-to-know basis. Hell some of them even still think they're patriots protecting UFO secrets while getting paid very well to look the other way. Secret dining sex cults are far from their mind.

Then there's the bishops. They're the wizards, the occult practitioners who run the proceedings. They hold the rules of the rites and the knowledge of their history. Maybe they're even the cooks. Shifty mother fuckers don't walk in a straight line like the pawns or castles. Cutting the corners. They don't move straight like the rest of us and their vision goes far and wide. They aren't the top dog but they see and they know. And if you stand them at the furthest corner of the board, other than the Queen, they can move the furthest distance anywhere on the board. They know almost everything and are religiously protective over it. Do you ever notice why one Bishop only lands on black and the other only on white? Two sides of the same coin. People these days will know this as Republican or Democrat. These people call it, the Diarchy. You think they're fighting each other but they're both on the same side, man. This operation runs in binary. Not as enemies or rivals, but as custodians of two different sides of the coin with opposing philosophies but protecting the same temple.

And what's this temple but the King. He doesn't move much because he's the heart of that secret. By mannerisms and ability, he seems more like what that castle piece represents. Large and immobile. This piece represents a castle more accurately than the piece's namesake. It holds the ultimate secret, the temple at the heart of darkness. But in no way he is defenceless especially when you get up close. You will almost certainly be eaten up.

But beside him, the Queen is his most ardent protector. It doesn't matter if the Queen is a she or a he or an "it". The Queen is a figurehead so powerful, it can go everywhere, anywhere, does almost everything every piece can. The Queen symbolizes the true leader and the protector of the darkest secret and that's the one we all must be the most careful of. Who is the Queen? Nobody knows, maybe not even the bishops. It is one who walks, the stuff of myths and legends. Not a place, but a person, or a very small select group of people. The true leader behind this whole operation. 

It's all a game man. You and me, we're not even pieces on the board. We ain't playing. These movie and music stars, they think they're the kings and queens themselves but nah, they're just pawns. But one of these "pawn stars" as I like to call them, once every so often, they reach the end and gets '"promoted" when they reach the end of that chessboard. This is very rare but this happens. They are promoted into the inner sanctum through years of loyalty while their kinfolk fall and be sacrificed. Pay attention and you've got clues to who they are. You can tell who got got, when they don't look and act the same again. You notice they'd be actin' different all of a sudden. If you pay attention, you'll see shit that don't make sense. Some can blame it on drugs or work. But that's just a great Hollyweird cover-up. Family members who try to come close gets pushed away by their "security". "Oh she was always a nice girl singing church songs growing up." That ain't your same friend, man and there's a reason why there's a wall between your friend and you. They've been replaced! If it seem manufactured, it's because they ARE manufactured. You'll notice a singer who got herself into a vehicular misadventure, let's say and she makes a great recovery but somehow she's not as close to her family anymore. A whole new entourage pops up all of a sudden. They don't want her sister, mother, brother or best friend from school suddenly realizing, for a 100 percent certainty that that person ain't who they thought they were anymore. Either they got you, or they make you sign that faustian pact. Or sometimes they just don't replace you at all. Ever had anyone do a stat for celebrity death rates? Hey it's a small club, but do you ever wonder why that mortality rate is so high? Damn near worse than being in southside Chicago hood or an Alaskan crab fisherman. Think about it. 

It's a casting couch meat market, and if one of those people have their sights on you, you can never get away. The bigger the star, the more prized. Some of them leave town because they know they don't wanna be part of the game. You also see some former stars turn to God all of a sudden. It's because they need some spiritual protection after all the shit they've seen. Because they've seen the face of the devil and the devil is real.

How do you even know all this?

Man, I can't tell you even if you had a gun to my head. There's fate worse than death. I can tell you that was knocking on that door, man. I went to some parties. Saw some shit. I won't go into details, but that shit wasn't for me. I bailed and the next thing I knew, I wasn't getting calls and that was pretty much the end.

Why are you even here then?

Where else can I go? Montana? I've only ever known this place as home and I've got God's protection. And what are they gonna do to me? I ain't nothin' to them. Nobody's gonna care about some homeless washed up hip hop artist with one album to his name. I still have friends in the industry, the good ones, they protect me. Sometimes they feed me food, or information.. and sometimes I tell them what I know because there's still some white hats still left in Tinseltown fighting the good fight. In the end, man what's important is that I've still got my soul and my freedom.

Any chance of you hook a brother up to one of these white hats?

Naw, bitch. The stuff you're digging up, is gonna get you digging your own grave and I'm not gonna get my friends in trouble. Tread, lightly is all I can say. But I'll do you a solid, a trade if you will. A C-note and a pen from you, for a dollar note from me. In it, I'll give you a lead. And that's it.

You drive a hard bargain. Here you go. Don't spend it all at once.

Fuck you, brother, I'll spend it however I want. Information don't come cheap! 

--- the end? ---


II. CULT OF THE GREEN MAN (1 WIP full image composition, 1 full color artwork)

Here is the progression of the work in progress and the completion of one more character. The completed piece should be finished by next update. It's almost finished now!



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