1973 had killed my mother and taken away the two girlfriends that I wrote about in the "Conjurella" sequel, "Conjurella Messiah: Necronomicon Monks". The automobile accident that had claimed my mother's life, had left my father a temporary cripple. I was 25 then, and alcoholism and irresponsibility and artistic idealism had left me the mental age of 13, the age that Jackie is now. So it was then that I met The Russian Girl, who wasn't a girl at all, but was almost three decades older than me. She and her husband offered to help. They brought food, did laundry, and offered consolation. The Russian Girl taught me how to make pancakes for my dad; when I lost her love, I lost that talent, and I never can again. One day, she was helping me wash dishes, and chattering about nonsense, and I couldn't take it any more, so I pushed her into a corner and kissed her. She was old, and wrinkled, and gorgeous. She said for two cents, she'd leave her husband and marry me, but I didn't have two cents, and she left me. It still hurts, even though now, she's probably in a nursing home, and hobbles along on a walker, trying to find her false teeth. But I'd still hold her again, the way I did... The way I did the last time. At first, we were so bold as to hug and kiss in the next room, as, nearby, her unsuspecting husband discussed sports and hunting with my bed-ridden dad, as I played the radio, loud. Then, in October of 1973, she took me to the Detroit Triple Fan Fair comic convention, where, as a celebrity guest, I was provided with a free table to sell all of my comic book collection, and move to Ann Arbor, or perish. Though my support at Warren Publishing Company had weakened, in October of 1973, I was still a comic book star, and fellow comic book stars like Barry Smith and Steve Skeates rallied about me. My dealer's table did well, but in a few weeks, I was broke in Ann Arbor, and I called again for the support of The Russian Girl.

Continued on Page (7 of 9)

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