Mr. Sandman Scratches The Moon

Writing is a bit like acting. When you work on a character, you play out a part. Sometimes the character surprises, delights, or puzzles you. Sometimes their costumes are frustrating or uncomfortable to wear. The best characters are difficult combinations of multifaceted masks.

Lydia from “Mr. Sandman Scratches The Moon” was a puzzle for me, and I spent quite a bit of time feeling ill at ease in her skin.

Her story mattered to me, so I stuck with her anyway.

It mattered because there are so many people we pass by every day without noticing them, or worse, pigeonholing and dismissing them. Women who are not young and not beautiful, and who are out there doing the shitty service jobs that keep the world running. They’re invisible. They’re the women who you refer to as “The Lady” when you complain to the manager or demand satisfaction of your consumer needs. “The Lady said…”

Have you ever wondered about The Lady’s life outside of her service to you, her passions and troubles, her rage?

Consider the history that leads a woman like Lydia to devote her life to a lousy job in a laundromat. Then consider what she is capable of if anything threatens to take her devotion away.

Read “Mr. Sandman Scratches The Moon” in Sanitarium Magazine.



Published by: Joe

Joe Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist, Joe is the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and Convulsive. Their short fiction appears in publications such as Vastarien, Southwest Review, Pseudopod, and Children of the New Flesh. He’s been a flash fiction judge for Cemetery Gates Media as well as co-editing the art horror anthology Stories of the Eye from Weirdpunk Books. Find Joe (he/they) online at and on Twitter @horrorsong.

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