By Steve Arviso

The Legend of Dead Ed, Part 3.


As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

The Nightly Chill is the unstable experience of the mind and madness of Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Mon-Fri. Ish.



Here’s a phrase I’ve come to hate: “Waiting for my ship to come in.”

Y’ever hear that? “I’m still waiting for my ship to come in.” I come across it a lot more as I get older, as my peers look down the barrel of middle-age and can’t comprehend where they’ve brought themselves–professionally, creatively. They say it, they write it as if their lack of personal and professional success is somehow the result of a scheduling error.

But what “waiting for my ship to come in” really implies is a deliberate lack of effort. It quite literally means you’ve stood around waiting for success to come to you. You could have been working, could have been writing or performing whatever in an effort to improve your chosen crafts and build an audience. But instead, you chose to coast on whatever happened to spring to mind on any given day. Because you believed that if you simply stuck around long enough and didn’t make too much of a fuss, a ship would arrive to take you to the promised land.

“I’m still waiting for my ship to come in” is a quaint, indirect way of confessing that you screwed up your own life by being a passive participant in it.

Anyway. Here’s the 7th daring issue of one man’s desperate attempt to build his own rickety boat to get the Hell away from here.


Dear Critic,

I find myself shocked and appalled by the gratuitous way you dare find fault in any and all comedic works, be it the slurs I’ve said recently and repeatedly on podcasts, or the hateful venom I spit on stage (or to my dozen or so Twitter followers). It’s as if you have no care for the sanctity of free speech, or for the necessity of comedy to speak truth to power by way of pandering to a hateful group of people who wish only to laugh at oppressed groups who look, act, or sound different than them. Criticism belongs to comedy, and comedy alone. It’s why they both start with “C.”

Ed G. Kohmik

I’ve attached the poster to my next open-mic appearance.


I’m climbin’, I’m clawin’,
I’m questionin’ why I’m cryin’
over my decision to climb this low-incline stairway,
to a peak of a mountain top I still can’t see
through these stars in my eyes and the shade thrown my way
by a silent minority that don’t want to hear another success story,
the way the heartbroken jilted lovers and one-night stands
all sayin’ they’re tired of love songs.

Intrusive Thoughts, by Steve Arviso (revised)


Once upon a time, I was arguably a moderately successful writer. In so much that I was once paid “well” to write. Sure, it was primarily technical and safety documents. But I did it well for as long as I did it, and I was compensated for doing it. Paid for a nice apartment, a car, and even my wedding with that gig.

But, I also spent much of my twenties in the local professional wrestling scene. Learned to do a bunch of dangerous physical activities in a relatively safe manner, and all for the sake of some entertainment. Got hurt a bit, too. But every injury was a matter of carelessness, whether on my inexperienced part, or on the part of some other careless asshole. My training protected me and those I “locked-up” with far more often than it ever failed me. The goal was always to put on a show–to do our literal job–without anyone actually getting hurt in the process. A one-take stunt show, as it were.

Now imagine going from a decade-plus of that sort of focus on safety–having literally wrote a book on the subject, one used across the country by the company that paid me to write it–to a place and position where none of that mattered.

After I had finished up tossing broken merchandise off the back of a truck, I was left to wrap some twenty or so pallets in shrink wrap. Ed and everyone else had disappeared entirely, and without a word to me other than “wrap those pallets.” Alone and without direction, I did this for nearly two hours. The dawn broke. The sun rose into the sky. Traffic started building up on the streets. Life finally showing its ugly face.

During those two hours, I discovered what Death is. I came to understand what had devoured the life in Dead Ed’s eyes. There’s this trance you find yourself in when left alone for extended periods, performing some mundane, talentless duty for hours (especially a task now often done by machines in seconds). The frustration of having to do a massive job on your own fades to nothing. The confusion of why nobody else is doing their job fades to nothing. The pain of the years and mileage on your body fades to nothing. Every last thought, feeling, and essence that defines you as a person fades away to nothing. There’s nothing but the mindless job at hand. A soul gets in the way of that. A soul starts to ask questions. A soul demands others do their jobs according to the guidelines and expectations established before hand. A soul demands a safe, competent work environment. A soul is a problem. And so, the job has a way of eliminating that problem.

Approximately one hour, forty-five minutes disappeared from my life. One moment, I’m standing in a dark, empty parking lot wrapping a six-, seven-foot tall pallet of uneven, battered cardboard boxes with a single roll of wrap, holding that tube in my bare hands until they turned red and raw, and spinning about in circles while doing my best to not find myself crushed beneath the weight of tacky Christmas decorations surrounding me on all sides. The next, I’ve wrapped every pallet in the lot, the sun is out, and people are driving to work and taking their kids to school.

I won’t lie. This scared me more than almost anything else I’ve experienced up to that point. I’ve been in multiple car accidents. I’ve dived off the top rope and nearly went head-first into the canvas in the process. I’ve been hit in the head with a pizza pan and fell back six-feet onto thumbtacks. I’ve had meth addicts make legitimate, repeated threats on my life. I once lost so much faith and hope from corporate politics that I almost let myself drive my car into on-coming traffic. And the reason it scared me so much is that I let it happen. I let myself slip away. I let that job strip me of my consciousness until I mercifully snapped out of it, and realized what had happened. I was gone one moment, and back the next. Functionally, but temporarily brain-dead.

But rather than walking away from this literal soul-crushing job that threatened my safety (and the safety of everyone I was working with, whether they cared about it or not) like I should have, I opted to take my fifteen-minute break.


Tarzan Boy (1985) by Baltimora


The Whattamadoon itself is hardly a creature worth making note of, as its teeny-tiny, squishy, toothless body makes it incapable of causing any physical, temporal, or psychological harm to any living creature.

However. The Whattamadoon’s web is notorious for snatching up any thoughts blossoming and fluttering about one’s head as they pass through the doorway in which said web is hung.

Fortunately, walking back through the web often allows an unwitting buffet to recover whatever million-dollar idea I totally believe you had before the Whattamadoon can feast upon it.

— Dr. Howard Fine, on the “Whattamadoon”


If you enjoy The Nightly Chill and would like to support my work, please consider supporting it via Patreon for as little as $1 a month.


Steve Arviso

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