Corrupts Absolutely is back in a new edition -- this one from Ragnarok Publications -- and it has my story Hollywood Villainy. In the world of meta-humans and anti-heroes, my boy Valiant Fang stands tall, even though he's really just over five feet tall. Ellen Datlow selected the story as an honorable mention to her best horror stories of the year. I thought I might offer you a free excerpt to get you to go and buy the book here, but first, here's what some folks said about Valiant Fang.
"Ochse delivers an off-beat story with an unconventional character in Hollywood Villainy. His style moves the reader through the story with suspicion of every single character we meet. Has Marvel actually straightened out his life? Is Jimmy a pedophile or just a porn addict? And most importantly, is Valiant (who calls himself The Shadow) as heroic as The Shadow from the radio show? Weston doesn't let us know until and ending that makes us realize that Stephen King could not have penned this story better." - Geeking Cool"Editor Lincoln Crisler has gathered 21 stories in this fine collection; tales which delve into the minds of beings who possess superhuman attributes. For some, the anomalies are an affliction, while others lose what remains of their fragile human side. It is that loss of humanity and humility that creates the utmost horror. “Hollywood Villainy” by Weston Ochse best exemplifies that horror. The author fashions an individual who is, indeed, absolutely corrupted by his powers. Mired forever in the body of his boyhood, the concocted aged entity revels in sadistic acts. Taking a page from Stephen King’s Carrie and other works concerning vengeance by abused misfits, Ochse superbly executes the deranged venom of his protagonist." - Hellnotes
""Hollywood Villainy" by Weston Ochse delivered a great take on mind-reading, as a Chinese kid hounds a couple of two-bit hoods in L.A. by getting in their heads and doing some Machiavellian-style manipulation." -- Wagging the Fox
“Hollywood Villainy” by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Weston Ochse, was my favorite in this block of stories and ultimately the entire collection. A fifteen year old Chinese boy born Valiant Fang (pretty cool, huh?) hasn’t aged a day since 1937 and now he tools around Hollywood on his old bicycle making a real mess of the world, destroying lives by utilizing his mind-reading powers. Valiant Fang, a.k.a. The Yellow Shadow, didn’t start out that way. In fact, when he discovered his mind-reading ability, he set out to be a hero like the ones all kids admire. Unfortunately, he “soon learned that no one liked a little Chinese kid superhero.” And that’s the hook to “Hollywood Villainy.” - Dreadful Tales
By Weston Ochse ©2012
No one pays attention to the body.
Instead they watch the antics of the paraplegic pimp and his one-legged midget hooker. He holds her by a leash attached to a spike dog collar around her neck as she hops around his wheelchair in a crazy cavorting dance. This is what they came to see. Not the stars on the Walk of Fame. Not the hand prints in the Chinese Theater. Not the gargantuan Hollywood sign that had once announced a suburb. But theater in the raw—the misfits and characters that make Hollywood the adult Disneyland promised them by every David Lynch and Tony Scott film.
The pimp has enough studs poking from his face that he could have been a cyborg. A young girl points at them and says as much to her father. The midget hooker has had a boob job that makes her look ridiculous, even if she hadn’t been a half-pint, one-legged fuck machine. The detraction is sad, because the death of the man had been majestic to behold. And that his body lay square atop the Hollywood Star of Orson Welles was a grace note that I’d never thought to pull off. Still, people never look to the heart of things; instead, they grasp at any shiny object that happens by, no matter how shallow or meaningless it may be.
‘Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow knows.’
This is my mantra. This is what has fueled me through these years of too much, too young, forever. The notion of the shadow, of someone who can manipulate the minds of men to his own ends, is something that I enjoy. I say it. “Only the Shadow knows,” and follow it up with dramatic baritone laughter. But I am far from the figure of a tall handsome masked and cloaked avenger. In fact, no matter how many years pass I’ll never be tall, I’d never be old and I’ll never be handsome. Instead of portraying the Shadow like a masked and cloaked avenger, I have no choice but to present myself as I am—fifteen, Chinese-American, short, odd-shaped face covered in acne and glasses the movies referred to as RPGs, or Rape Prevention Glasses, because they were so ugly. Still, even though I was born Valiant Fang in 1922, I AM the Shadow and the Shadow always knows.
“Watch it kid,” an older man growls as he tries to get by.
My 1949 Schwinn Phantom is positioned in the middle of the sidewalk. I’d parked on John Wayne’s star. It is as good a view as any. It also gives me a jumping off point. After all, in an entire world filled with people, how am I to go about selecting my targets? I let the stars guide me. Not those up in the sky, but the ones set in concrete as flat monuments to pop culture greatness.
And then I see him.
And he is perfect.
Especially the pink straw cowboy hat—pink enough to make John Wayne roll over in his grave.
Especially his connection to an old memory that I’d long thought forgotten.
I begin the chase.
//END OF FREE EXCERPT//
Wanna read more? Then you have got to get the book where you can read my story and twenty others. Go here - Quickly! And don't stop if you see a Chinese kid on an old bike wearing RPGs. In fact, press the accelerator hard!