The Note

Since I have been unemployed the past few weeks, my wife and I have taken the opportunity to complete some of the larger, hairier projects we’ve been meaning to get around to for awhile. One of these projects consisted of taking all of the stuff from my son’s nursery and exchanging it with all the stuff in the bedroom in which I had made my nerd-lair, effectively swapping the functionality of both rooms. We got all of his stuff in and set up pretty fast, so he’d have a nice Big Boy Room in which to frolic, and I’ve slowly been crawling through all my belongings to decide what gets put on the shelves, what gets stored and what takes a trip to the dumpster.

I was going through the pile that was my current D&D books and notes (which is badly in need of organization) when I came upon a folded note.

The Terror Begins

On its face, this note isn’t particularly, well, noteworthy. However, as I thought about it a little more, the following factors joined forces to become slightly unnerving:

  • That is my handwriting.
  • The paper is from the pad of paper I’ve been using recently for D&D, so I know it’s recent.
  • I have no recollection of writing this note.
  • I don’t have the slightest idea what this message means.

What could “HE WAS VERY BAD” mean? Who is “HE”? Even knowing the intended recipient of the note might make me feel better. It almost sounds like an explanation, which makes things even worse. Why would I give someone an explanation that says no more than “HE WAS VERY BAD”? What kind of action requires that sort of explanation?


I tried to calm my nerves, thinking about how I wasn’t sore so I probably hadn’t been digging any shallow graves or lifting dead bodies into the trunk of my car. My bank account didn’t register any activities more dubious than the purchase of the Baconator I ate for lunch yesterday. I hadn’t washed any particularly difficult laundry, especially anything I would have described as “blood-soaked.” I was starting to feel a little better.

Then I flipped the note over.

Side II: The WTFening

Aw HELL no.

Once again, in my handwriting, I find a message I don’t understand. Only this time, it’s a bunch of circles and squares arranged in what is clearly some kind of pattern, and there are 3 terms written down (“coar”,”hon”, and “comp”) that I don’t know. All the weird parts of this note were combining to form Creepy Voltron.

At this point, I’m just dumbfounded. Was I explaining something to someone and needed to draw a diagram? Best I can tell, I have transcribed a college course schedule for someone who can only understand information if arranged in baseball terms. It also looks like a charm bracelet purchased from a shop run by aphasics.

It also sort of looks like the runes of a magic spell to be cast by someone familiar with entity relationship diagrams. Oh no. What if I can’t remember this note because I botched the spell?Β I knew I should have put the lines in between the shapes. I wonder if this means I finally learned how to cast that Mind Bondage spell Jack Chick has been promising all of us D&D players for so long?

Struggling to find some explanation that didn’t sound like it was from “Learn To Speak Gozerian In 25 Days”, I tried Googling for “coar comp hon”, the three words printed on the page. The results didn’t really make me feel much better. Sure, the top search result was to “College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific White Coat Ceremony”, which isn’t all that threatening – but anything that uses “white coat ceremony” as a term made me a little squeamish. There’s a link with some badly formatted information about a coal company whose domain inexplicably points to the Internet 1996 World Exposition (and boy, does it show its age). There’sΒ someone complaining about how game reviews are too over the top. Oh, and some scandal involving the US Military’s decision to buy certain guns over some other type. Legitimate or not, I think it’s a good general rule to stop digging anytime your searches for the truth start turning up arms deals.

Next Week’s Column May Be Written From Prison

I sure hope one of my gaming group can provide an explanation for all this. Maybe the E.L. Fudge caused me to black out and this was simply my subconscious running the show for awhile. Until then, I am going over every inch of the house with a fine-toothed comb, ready to call both the Ghostbusters and the Wolf at a moment’s notice.


  1. Articles like this are why I love you, Vanir. I’ll definitely write you while you’re in prison. πŸ™‚

  2. Katherine says:

    I know what the diagram is, and you’re right it was recent.

    The labeled positions are for courage, honest, and compassion. We placed the red, blue, and green stones and it displayed the examples of our behavior in each instance. Then we wondered what did we really know about unicorns anyway.

    the other side though…I got nothing

  3. Shawn Merwin says:

    Are you sure the “H” isn’t a “4”?

  4. I see what you did there, Shawn.
    Maybe the diagram is actually a sketch of the fabled city of Coarhon Compound.

  5. @geeksdreamgirl: Thanks! πŸ™‚ They have wifi access in all prisons now by default, right?

    @Katherine: OMG thank god, now I only have one creepy mystery bothering me. I do remember that now. I also believe that is the night you told me it probably wasn’t a good idea if I got massively sugared up on E.L. Fudges when I DM…….

    @Shawn: “4E WAS VERY BAD” makes this even scarier. That implies that FUTURE ME sent it.

  6. Anaxetogrind says:

    Usmc honor commitment and courage

  7. Christine says:

    I love stuff like this, to the point where I tend to keep all of my old school agendas and the notebooks I keep at my computer desk.
    Going through them a year later is so much fun, wondering what a list like: “young5, skateboard, crescent_moon1” means. πŸ™‚ (clearly file names in that case, but huh?)

  8. If it said “she was very bad” I would assume it was in reference to Alicia Erin, which is why Jed conjured a ball gag to shut her up.

  9. Ken Marable says:

    My personal vote would have been for a dream note written while sleeping/half awake. But I’m glad you are getting some resolution on this. I have had notes like that drive me crazy. My latest is for a writing project where I have a “see video from April 12” or some such. I have no idea what that video was, where I found it, or even why I should see it. Blarg!!!

    As for the dream note idea, I have some really crazy notes like that from college. Mornings after I pulled one too many all-nighters and then had a Jolt wake-me-up to get to class, I have some seriously bizarre stream of consciousness note taking when the caffeine and sugar buzz wore off. For example, I still have the psychology notes that included little pictures of cheese and rats, which is even funnier because while drawing these pictures I distinctly remember thinking that I was taking very good notes, and that little pictures of cheese were important to get down for the test.

  10. I think this experience should be channeled into a riddle and confounding puzzle for your players. πŸ˜€

  11. Malcolm says:

    I have two possible explanations for you, I think you’ll agree both are equally likely

    1) Have you been feeling tired lately? A little out of it? That my friend is because while you sleep, a demonic being possesses your body, forcing you to rise from your bed, unseeing eyes open in a blank stare. For weeks he’s been using you to do research on various methods to unleash himself from his dimensional prison for good, to take you over completely, and the other night he feverishly wrote out the runes required to switch places with you once and for all. But as the dawn broke, the tiny part of him that bore some semblance of good asked him, ‘why Vanir? What did he do that he would deserve to be enslaved in this hellish prison for all of eternity?’ After considering for a moment, the demon smiled and turned the page over, writing with your own hand; “HE WAS VERY BAD”

    2) I couldn’t remember what my character knew about the Dark Armored man, so you wrote “HE WAS VERY BAD” on a piece of paper and showed it to me. Later that night you drew a diagram to show us the courage, honesty, and compassion stones. EL Fudge cookies FTW.

    Like I say, either one could be the true answer, I guess it all boils down to two questions; How does your internet search history look? Any google searches in a dark tongue that makes the very sunlight seem sour when you read it? And if not, Is a demon trapped in an alternate prison dimension tech-savvy enough to clear the internet history every night?

  12. This sort of thing is exactly why I stopped writing myself notes by hand… πŸ˜€

  13. I have to say, this was actually a rather entertaining and also inspiring post.

    Now to see if I can utilize something like this to freak out my players in their game… notes to themselves they don’t remember? They’ll never see it coming. Mwahahaha.