Jim Zeigler and Aleister Crowley share the same pretext

Jim Zeigler, Aleister Crowley

Zeigler and Crowley–cut from the same cloth?

In Chapter 6 of Piper Houdini: Nightmare on Esopus Island, the 51-year-old Aleister Crowley reveals his intention to seduce 13-year-old Piper so they can create a new race of gods. Even his personal vampire assistant Flapper is grossed out by the prospect. Crowley, referred to here as “the Beast,” replies with the same rationale that Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler used to defend Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s alleged acts of depravity.

It’s important to point out that Crowley is the villain in this novel, and he’s possessed by an even more villainous entity named Choronzon…



Excerpt from Chapter Six

The Beast at Bay

The Beast emerged from the mouth of the cave, showily dressed in a check suit, a Spanish cloak, and a large felt hat. He threw himself into an attitude of command and remained for a moment perfectly still, as though posing for a photograph.

Flapper rolled off her casket, fell to the ground, and burst into laughter.

For an instant, the Beast maintained his effective pose. But when Flapper continued to hoot and holler, he turned to her with extreme gravity.

“What is it that my dark servant finds so amusing about my appearance?” he demanded.

It took a few seconds for Flapper to compose herself.

“Forgive me, Master,” she finally managed to say. “It’s just that I’m not used to seeing you in . . . ” she began to snicker again, “ . . . formal attire.”

The Beast scowled at her.

“The Houdini child has shown her hand at last,” he replied. “Dr. Crandon’s emissary sent word of an extraordinary feat that could not have been accomplished with mere illusion.”

Flinging the cloak’s red and green velvet lining garishly over his shoulder, he said, “Flapper, you will row me to the shore at once where I will board the next train for New York City. Once I have reached the shores of Coney, I will beguile and enchant the child with temptations of power.”

She gave her Master an unpleasant look.

“You’re going to seduce a thirteen-year-old girl?”

As much as Flapper despised teeny Houdini, the image was enough to make her lose her sanguinary appetite.

“Her soul belies her physical age, dear Flapper,” the Beast chided. “I ask you, was the mother of the Christ-child any older?”

Flapper considered her Master for a moment. How could he be such a pip and so balled up at the same time?

“Master, you ain’t gonna win the heart of a young chippy lookin’ like a gimlet on a gooseberry lay. If you wanna be her sugar daddy, you gotta shed some flesh.”

The Beast glared at her. “Queen’s English,” he demanded.

Flapper’s voice dropped in pitch and lost some of its Brooklyn edge. “This tabby cat’s not like the sweet-eyed innocent girl I was when you swept me off my feet. This kid’s got street smarts.”

She shook her head softly and sighed. “Look, no disrespect, but you’re older now. And fatter. No matter how draped down you are, no matter how much mad money you flash or how much magnetism you give off, girls like her aren’t looking to date the Rock of Ages.”

The Beast dropped his shoulders and for a moment looked like a deflated child.

“After all this time in a mortal shell, I still fail to understand the significance you physical beings assign to aesthetic appeal. Does not the material long for the spirit just as the spirit longs for the material?”

“Not when we’ve got the silver screen to tickle our fancies,” Flapper replied bluntly. “You know, eye candy like John Barrymore, or Douglas Fairbanks, or . . . ”

“Valentino,” said a deep voice behind Master Therion’s massive frame.

Flapper leaned sideways and saw Dr. Crandon emerging from the cave. His left hand was dripping with goo and his right hand was drenched in blood.

“My agent on Coney Island tells me that Houdini’s brat requested the actor as a birthday present,” Crandon continued, wiping his hands with a rag. “Valentino is conducting a tour, promoting his new film. Which means he’ll soon be in New York.”

The Beast massaged his chin. Flapper knew the look well.

“Valentino . . . ” he muttered.

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