Letterpress List No. 8: The Beast


They said it couldn’t be done.

Mary said it could. She just needed one more … human brain!


(That’s Mary after it was mentioned that Shop Boy had one. Instead she called in the ringer, brother-in-law Tom Beal.)

For 30-odd years it lay dormant, waiting for this day, when its life force would surge anew and its taste for flesh would reawaken.

The switch was thrown. The lights dimmed, then surged brighter. An otherworldly moan came from somewhere deep inside the beast. Then, chunka, chunka, chunka, chunka. Faster and faster.

Mary screamed with delight. Shop Boy cowered, then ran to warn the villagers.


Yes, as it was foretold in this letterpress blog, the Miehle Vertical has returned to menace the general population. (All right, mostly Shop Boy.) And it’s frightening how quickly it all came about.

For the Machine Whisperer — Tom — things fell into place in about five hours. Typecast Press had begged him to come down, again — Thanks, Tom! — to hook a three-phase converter onto the Miehle, using the 220 power we’d had an electrician run into the studio the day before. We figured it would take a weekend.

Suddenly, he was asking if we were ready for a demo. Shop Boy, of course, had been ready for demo — as in demolition, get it before it gets him — since the 3-ton monster had landed at Typecast Press. The Miehle scares the bejeepers out of me. I’ve decided to call it Audrey II, in honor of our own little shop of horrors. Shop Boy knows it wants blood.

Must it be human? Must it be mine?

For Mary, there was but one scary moment: When Tom turned the Miehle up full throttle to see what it could do. We still weren’t sure we had all the parts attached. But Tom, who puts broken things back together for a living — inventing parts if he has to — just had to play with the new toy. Well, we still don’t know if it’s a complete machine, but it goes like heck.

And it isn’t even all that loud, which reassures Shop Boy. For there is only one thing he fears more than the Miehle taking its pound of flesh: the massive martial arts dude who teaches in the studio down the hallway — who’s given Shop Boy snake face just for vacuuming — showing up with a pitchfork.

It’s the day before Halloween. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! What better time for Letterpress List No. 8? Here we go: In honor of the dark holiday, some tunes that just feel right. Many of these tricks and treats are available for a fee at iTunes or Napster.

Live WireMotley Crue (The Miehle; Tommy Lee’s, uh, drums, Vince Neil’s makeup … fear all.)
Them BonesAlice in Chains (Road map to the grave.)
HalloweenStephen Lynch (Stewing over cute little goblins.)
I Want CandyBow Wow Wow (Still a felony just to listen in some states.)
I Want OutHelloween (Shop Boy thought this the coolest ever in 1988. Boys …)
Possum KingdomThe Toadies (“I didn’t mean to scare you.” Creepy.)
Bullet with Butterfly WingsSmashing Pumpkins (Rats, pumpkin guts. A Halloween hangover.
Mother Danzig (Mary’s convinced Glenn Danzig is the reincarnation of Elvis, on HGH. Never seen them together, have you?)
Heaven and HellBlack Sabbath (With Ronnie James Dio, patron saint of Halloween.)
Ghostbusters Ray Parker Jr. (Dogs and cats living together. Sorry, massive martial arts dude. Vacuum time.)
DragulaRob Zombie (Like, it’s really scary … for a car.)
The Number of the BeastIron Maiden (1-800-YOUBURN.)
BeelzStephen Lynch (An alternate view of the devil: “I’m the reason that the Boston Red Sox even had a chance.”)
The Heretic AnthemSlipknot (“I haven’t the slightest …” LOL.)
Highway to HellAC/DC (We’ll give Patty the holiday off.)

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