Cloven Joe

earliest post first | most recent post first

6/25/2021 9:10am

"Take a grape, Loren."

"Oh, thanks President Joe."

Loren reaches out and I give his hand a quick slap.

"No! Not to eat. To take a note on."

"Take a note on a grape?"

"Yes Loren. With that special pen I bought you. Ready? 'Dear leader of the Tri-city Rotarians. Now that the hostile takeover is complete....'"

I have to say being President of the Psychic Business Leaders of Tomorrow really suits me. In the short time I've been president, I've been able to use the petty cash fund as well as several previously untapped funding sources through the school and purchase a luxury coach, with a driver, wait staff, mechanics, a bartender, and a chef. I use it while I spread the good word about PBLOT on campus and in the entire Tri-city metropolitan area. PBLOT has already tripled in value since my inception as the prez.

Loren stands at the ready in my office/bedroom, which takes up half the bus. His hand moves to his ear piece.

"Uh, boss, there's someone here to see you. In the waiting room."

"The waiting room?"

"Yes, the room in the front of the bus. Where people wait."

"I know what the waiting room is. I mean, well, a) there's nothing on my schedule about it and b) we haven't stopped the bus, so how did they get in there?"

"Puff of brimstone, sir?"

Ah, yes. I guess there is that familiar briny smell creeping under the door.

"Show them in."

The visitor clip clops in with three enormous horns threatening to poke holes in the ceiling upholstery, and a large metal ring hooped over his shoulder.

"Lou Rofocale, Soul Finance Consulting, at your service, Mr. President!"

He gives me a firm shake with a leathery hand.

"We're not hiring any consultants right now I'm afraid," I let him know.

"Oh, no no no. I've been working with PBLOT since before the beginning. And certainly before your beginning. You're just here to finish what we've started. President Morax sends his regards."

Morax! I guess he just couldn't wait to ask his favor.

"And what brings you here today, Lou?"

Mr. Rofocale holds up the hoop and a projection appears inside it.

"This is just the demo deck," he says. "The final will have better animation, but you can get the drift."

He flicks through the slides. It's a business pitch for some kind of cryptocurrency, the "crypt" part coming from the Nether Realms™. Nothing new there, and still a way to lose a lot of money fast.

"You're probably saying 'nothing new here,' aren't you, Mr. President?"

"Well, as a matter of fact--"

"But wait! There's more! Look closely..."

The next slide is a terribly complex, non-euclidean, squirming map of flow charts, chemical equations, and carefully synchronized strobe effects. But there, if you squinted your third eye and turned your head just the right way....

"You're mining the souls? Of everyone in the school?"

"Yes, Mr. President. Well, that is, we're ready to. But we can't launch it without the fully transferable power of... THE SEAL."



I stare at him blankly. He stares back less blankly,

"You know," he says. "The seal of the PBLOT president. The encryption key to the whole shebang! It's on that little USB they gave you, on the keychain with the rabbit's foot. It can only be initiated by the President of the Psychic Business Leaders of Tomorrow, and with your, shall we say, forward thinking policies, President Morax just knew you'd be interested."

He did, did he?

"So, what happens when I give it to you?"

"Well, then we're able to launch this semi-sentient demonic fintech into the wild, and every soul you've ever met at Psyhigh will be transported to the Seventh Ring. They need more fast food managers. And delivery drivers. And infernal logistics workers."

And I get a zillion dollars.

"Seems like a deal to me!" I said. "Where do I sign?"

Connect a journal entry to this post

6/18/2021 2:25pm

President Morax wasn't wrong. I arrived back at Psyhigh in my signature puff of brimstone and the first thing I saw was the flyer:


Due to the recent unexpected disappearance of PBLOT president Norma 9, nominations are open for a new leader for our innovative and enthusiastic organization.

Do you love business? Do you love:

Being the boss?
Delegating responsibility?
Enjoying the fruits (and responsibilities) of privilege?


Warwick Hall Room 101

So I clip-clopped over to Warwick Hall, opened the door to room 101 and found several very nervous looking students.

"Hi! I'm Cloven Joe, and--"

"Oh thank god," said the most nervous looking one of the bunch. "We were worried you weren't going to show up, and we had very strict instructions..."

Obviously President Morax (or his flunkies) must have been in touch already.

"Just sign here, and here, and here...."

Connect a journal entry to this post

6/11/2021 11:31pm

It was during this time that I was offered the one zillion dollar deal.

A zillion dollars is a real thing in the Nether Realms™. The Lust and Greed sub-autonomous divisio-corps are able to leverage each other and break the rules of mathematics to allow for it. I mean, it's still a lot of money, even with inflation.

"I tell ya, kid. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. And all ya gotta do is be yourself."

President Morax, from Tartarus State U, had dropped by when the parents were at work. He paced around the living room, careful to swing his big bull's head around the light fixture as he passed it.

"You'll be a natural! President of the Psychic Business Leaders of Tomorrow! They happen to have an opening and I just know you'll get the job if you apply. President Joe!"

"And in return?"

"Some day I'll come to you for a favor. After that, you graduate, and you've got a zillion dollars tucked away to help you figure out whatever it is you want to do with your life."

It was definitely a big opportunity of some kind. I just wasn't sure what.

"I'm in," I said. "When do I start?"

A long silver thread of saliva drooled out of President Morax's big bull mouth and onto the carpet.

Connect a journal entry to this post

6/5/2021 11:04pm

I made it out of the clink at the border the hard way. I called my parents.

My parents are high-flying professionals in the nether realms. "Climbing the rings" is the only thing that's important to them. When I couldn't get into Inferno High School or Perdition High School or Pandemonium High School, they sent me to Psyhigh as the final backup. Otherwise known as "total failure school." Mostly I think they just wanted me out of their hair.

Which is why they were especially unhappy to see me.

"You know that school is costing us a lot of money, Joe," my mom says over the dinner table, strewn with bones. Her hair was on fire, but that was normal. "You need to graduate. Even though it's not an infernal high school, we have a relationship with the head of the acceptance board at Tartarus State--"

"I told you I DON'T want to study business!"

Smoke drifts up from my dad's nostrils, up over his horns. He won't even look at me. He just stares into his martini.

Connect a journal entry to this post

Orca Powder
5/31/2021 5:08pm

I got a little hung up at cross-D customs. The Six Trancemasters swore the paper was legit on these Quasicrystals, but the guards at the Borderlands say otherwise.

If anybody can vouch for me and pay the bail I swear I’ll make it worth your while!

5/28/2021 5:06pm

With my transmigrational abilities through the various and occasionally sordid nether realms, I find myself in a unique position to arrange for the procurement of certain hard-to-find items at the school or even this entire dimension! Hard-to-find in the sense of scarcity related to certain short-sighted so called “laws” or otherwise onerous paperwork. You know what I mean.

So, anybody find themselves in the market for such goods—hit me up!

Connect a journal entry to this post

5/26/2021 10:46pm


Hello, ev--er, cough.. cough.. gak! Hack! Cough! Ahrrrm.... {gak}


Hello, fellow students! Cloven Joe here, in my signature puff of brimstone.

How's everybody doing today?

Connect a journal entry to this post