from the archives of Essex Terror: Ted Vaaak’s “The Whore Who…”s

[Notes: This article is from October 2013. I apologise for the language contained within]

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Ted Vaaak’s “The Whore Who…”s

During the mid to late ’70s, Ted Vaaaak, seemingly at the time lost in the midst of a decade long breakdown, blundered his way into the nascent Violent Women subgenre with his surprisingly successful novel The Whore Who Shot Her Way Out (published in December 1974 by Virago). The story followed a weary prostitute, Eddington ‘Edds’ McHair, through a typical day on the job, as she meets clients, chats to friends, and describes repeatedly her clothes. The climax of the book, a frightful attempt to escape an overcrowded chip shop on Southend seafront, is said to have left many readers in tears.

Later that year, when it was revealed that Ted Vaaaaak was not technically a woman, the series transferred to Fontana Publishing, and The Whore Who Exploded burst onto the bestsellers charts with unabashed fury. Over the next 26 months, his breakdown now suppressed, Ted capitalised on his new found success with 44 different Whores books, which was astonishing even by Ted’s battering ram standards.

The series was received not without some controversy. A debate around violence and pornography is never far away from seeping out of the British media’s lips at the best of times, and the 1970s were, in many ways, dreadful. In the Anglia News vaults there is (never broadcast) footage of a disastrous doorstepped interview at Vaak’s house, where Ted, 100% nude, is asked whether he finds the filth he writes erotic. Ted’s subsequent claim that “all fiction is erotic” is probably, all things considered, the most terrifying thing he ever uttered.

In late ’77 a Radio 4 dramatisation was made of The Whore Who Killed Absolutely Everybody, the final novel in the series, where Edds comes out of retirement for one last night of sex, violence and extensive descriptions of clothing. Renamed The Woman Who Killed Absolutely Everybody, it aired to general disgust and mild disquiet, and soon afterwards Ted’s and the public’s interest in the series and indeed the genre as a whole gradually waned away.

Editor’s Note: This article’s title was changed from Ted Vaaak’s “The Whores Who” to Ted Vaak’s “The Whore Whose” to finally the current title within thirteen seconds of publication.

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Tale #49: The Innkeeper And The Woman

There was a man who owned an inn by the side of a busy road, and every day he sat outside and watched the people as they walked by.

One day in the middle of summer, he saw a woman walking past. She wore a long black robe and her hair was covered in a scarf, yet, despite the heat, she did not carry an umbrella to keep herself out of the sun. The innkeeper thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

To get a closer look at her, he called her over and said, “Sit here with me under this parasol for a while, my dear, so you may keep out of the sun while it burns so very bright.”

And she nodded in thanks and took a seat next to him.

He talked to her all afternoon, although she did not say a word in return, nor ever even smiled. And the more he looked at her, the more beautiful she seemed.

He was intrigued as to what her hair looked like under her scarf, and to that end he gave her a beautiful yellow flower to put in hair. She took off her headscarf, and her long red hair tumbled down around her shoulders. She gave it a quick brush with her long fingernails and then placed the flower behind her ear. And once again she nodded in thanks.

The innkeeper was more smitten now than ever before. He wondered what she looked like under her robe, and to that end he asked her if she would like to come for a swim with him in the pool behind his inn. And she nodded and followed him to the pool.

He took off his clothes and stepped into the water and beckoned her to follow him. The woman removed her robe and placed it over the back of a chair and then she stepped naked into the pool and swam over towards him.

The innkeeper knew now that she was surely the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Yet, still, he was intrigued as to what her smile looked like beneath her closed lips. To this end he called out to his maid to bring them some food. And the maid brought out some chocolates and some fresh fruit and put it by the side of the pool. The innkeeper offered the woman a chocolate and said, “Here, my dear, have something to eat.”

She took off her face and, showing her teeth at last, turned to the innkeeper and hungrily began to feed.

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Notes:

1. Written in July and August 2016

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Tale #48: The Old Lady And The Crows

There was an old lady who lived in the woods. People said she was a witch, and that she had amassed a great fortune which she kept hidden within her home.

A woodcutter came to her house one day, for although he did not believe in witches, he did believe in treasure, and he had decided to take it for himself.

The old lady was in her garden planting seeds, and behind her sat a long line of crows, pecking at what which she had sown.

The woodcutter said to her, “Old lady, I hear you have great riches stowed away in that old hut of yours. Give them to me or I shall chop you up into kindling. And then I shall take it from you anyway.”

The sound of his voice startled the crows, and they flew up into the sky and settled on the roof of her house, covering it with a blackness as dark as night.

The old lady replied, “I’m an old woman who lives on my own. I have no riches apart from the crows that help me sow my seeds, and the flowers that together we grow.”

The woodcutter said, “Then I shall chop you up into kindling and let your blood fertilise your flowers and your flesh feed your crows. And the riches in your house I shall take as my own.”

He took out his axe and chopped her into pieces and left her there in a pile upon the lawn. And then he went inside her house to find her fortune and closed the door behind him.

The crows came down from the roof and surrounded the old lady’s body. They each took a chunk of her flesh in their beaks and slowly pieced her back together. When they had finished, she wiped the blood from their beaks and kissed each one of her friends tenderly on the tops of their heads.

She went to the door of her house and opened it as wide as it could go and looked in at the woodcutter, who was searching frantically for any sign of her gold. He looked up at her in disbelief and cried out in dismay.

The sound of his voice startled the crows, and in their thousands they flew past the old woman and into the house and they filled it with a blackness deader than night.

The old lady picked a rose from her garden, its stem long and thick with thorns, and she stepped into the darkness and closed the door behind her and then locked it ever so tight. And inside, in her own time, she showed the woodcutter the full extent of her riches.

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Notes:

1. Written August 4th, 2016
2. An alternate version of The Old Lady And The Woodcutter

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Tale #47: The Old Lady And The Woodcutter

There was an old lady who lived in the woods. Her house was all on its own in the middle of a vast forest, which over the years had grown up huge and dense around it.

A woodcutter stumbled upon her house one day as he was making his way through the thick undergrowth looking for a place to make his fortune. He cut a path to her door and knocked and when she answered he said, “I’m a woodcutter and I cut wood. Let me work for you for the next three days. I shall take what I cut to the market, and then great riches we can share.”

The old lady agreed and said, “What shall you cut down today?” The woodcutter replied, “I will clear away the new growth that has tangled itself around your crops and strangled the pretty flowers of your garden to death, and made it so that you cannot even leave your home.”

And he spent the day cutting through the brambles and the thistles and the thornbushes that surrounded her house like an impassable castle wall.

That night he picked up the bundles of twigs and branches and thorns and flowers that he had cut down and carried them back to the town, where he sold them to a merchant for a fair and equitable price.

The woodcutter kept half for himself and the next morning he showed the old lady the rest of the money and said, “This is what the merchant gave me for my work and your wood.” And he gave her half of what he held, and she put it in her purse.

“And what shall you cut down today?” she said. The woodcutter replied, “I shall cut down the old growth that has grown up so high and spread out so wide it has blocked out the sky above and kept your house in perpetual darkness.”

And he spent the day cutting down the old oaks and pines that grew up like guard towers around her house.

That night he loaded up the cart he had brought with him that day, and brought the huge piles of wood back to the town, and he sold it all to a shipbuilder for a vastly inflated price.

The woodcutter kept two-thirds for himself and the next morning he showed the old lady the rest of the money and said, “This is what the shipbuilder gave me for my work and your wood.” And he gave her a quarter of what he held, and she put it in her purse.

“And what shall you cut down today?” she said. The woodcutter replied, “I shall cut down the deadwood that lingers in this house like an old and rotten stump, and with it breathe new life into this cold, dead house.”

And he took his axe and chopped the old lady into kindling. He took the kindling inside and put it on the fire and set it alight and let the flames from her body heat his new house.

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Notes:

1. Written August 4th, 2016

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Tale #46: (fragment)

There was a woman who lived in the woods. She never cut her hair and it grew long and thick and fast and strong. Over the years it tangled up in the branches of the trees and the strangles of the bushes, and eventually it stretched out in strands across the whole of the forest.

And the woman sat in her chair by the fire and rocked herself back and forth and waited, patiently, for those she might draw near.

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Notes:

1. Written August 2014

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