Every kid fondly remembers the first time they opened their fresh copy of the Necronomicon and, speaking the ancient words of the Mad Arab, eagerly caught the first whiffs of Sot-Rotgoth the Foul’s sulfurous breath near the bunk bed. I know I did. Heck, my parents (God rest their souls) could hardly keep the dogs downstairs from tearing through the screen doors. The racket was deafening. Of course I kept secret from them and Timmy my purchase of the “accursed” grimoire. All the kids were talking about what Kevin Malone had Rot-Assrugough do to Ms. Brumbaugh, the sixth grade science teacher, and I couldn’t wait to get a hold of Kev’s copy and invoke the baddest ass of them all, ol’ Sotty. But Kevin was jerking spasmodically in Civics and for all my begging he couldn’t say much anymore but a few Akkadian words in a basso profundo voice. He was already halfway over to the Other Side. So I was forced to save three weeks of lawn-cutting money to buy my own copy.
The red flame appeared. That first moment was pregnant with angst. Or was it erwartung?
By the last syllable and flinging the burnt frog there he was! I was so stoked. The lights guttered and went out. I put on my gas mask like Mary Piper had told me to. She said the smell could make you see things that weren’t there. But oh boy was Sot there–an amorphous mass of fanged mouths and nonsensical limbs, nostrils spouting an iridescent haze. My parents were calling out to Timmy and I and getting out the flashlights as I held my arms out, palms up and fingers twisted like shown in the book’s helpful diagram. The beast growled in a subsonic sort of roar.
Kyle Mounch-Handcock had been bullying me for three months. It started with the lunch money, then his little gang’s group obsession with wedgies. I wasn’t the only victim to their casual cruelty. I closed my eyes and spoke the commands while simultaneously imagining Kyle and Brian and the rest of his crew getting the atomic wedgies of a lifetime in a dimensionless oubliette fashioned of flame and fork.
This would turn out an overplay on my part. Sot indeed absorbed my anger, my fear, and worked it. In a flash he retreated back through the Gate and apparently, as I would later find out, right into Kyle’s bedroom first. All five of them would end up at Beth Israel for a week and then in arm casts for three months. It took real work for those surgeons to remove their forearms from their asses.
Now I work in investment banking. My old copy of the Necronomicon is still here, on my desk, dog-eared and yellowed and much in use.

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