Take My Body Home

February 19, 2014 at 10:21 PM | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment
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Neela awoke with a start. She tried to gasp, but found she couldn’t. Neela rose up slightly and bumped her head. Looking around frantically for something familiar, she saw Hunter’s form next to her.
“Hunter! Hunter, wake up!” Her voice sounded odd and raspy. She found her throat with her hand, and felt something odd. A cut of some sort, maybe? It didn’t hurt, though. She shook Hunter again.
“Wake up. Where are we?”
Hunter opened his eyes as realization crept in. Wherever he was, he couldn’t recall exactly how they got there. He tried to sit up and bumped his head. “Ow! Da fuck?”
“Watch yourself.”
Hunter grunted at that. They both looked and felt around, and saw that a dim line of light was coming in behind them. Gradually as their eyes adjusted, they saw that it was barely illuminating the dumpster they were in.
“Oh, gross!”
“Let’s get out of here.”
“Oh, for real.”
Hunter lifted the lid as Neela started to climb out. He pushed it all the way open and helped her, and she fell to the ground as Hunter started to climb out. “Careful,” he said.
On the ground, they were able to better survey their circumstances. It was night time in a parking lot behind a building. “Are you okay?” Neela asked.
“I guess so.” They looked each other over. “Doesn’t look like there’s any permanent damage.”
“But how did we–”
At the same time, they shouted, “Mexico!”
They were on a second honeymoon to a resort in Mexico. On the third day, they took a sightseeing tour. “Oh, shit!” Hunter said as he frantically searched his pockets. “Wallet’s gone. Where’s your purse?”
Neela looked down, saw that it wasn’t over her shoulder. “Gone, obviously.”
“Wanna look in the dumpster for it?”
“There’s probably a reason we woke up in a dumpster. My purse and your wallet are probably those reasons.”
“So, no?”
“No.” Neela looked around. “Now what?”
Hunter shrugged. “We walk.”
“Where?” Their surroundings gave no indication of where they were. A lone building, an empty parking lot. A road coming from the left and going to the right, both directions cloaked in darkness.
“Dealer’s choice, hon. Pick a direction.”
“Eenie, meenie…” Her voice trailed off as she started walking, and Hunter followed.
There were no streetlights on the road, but the moon was bright. Surprisingly, so were the stars. They trudged on in mostly silence.
“Nice night for a walk.”
Occasionally they would talk, or chat about random things. Sometimes they held hands. They did not notice that they were not tired.
Day broke, and they continued to walk with no sign of man nor beast nor car. By mid-morning, they saw a child riding a bike in the dusty road. This was a hopeful sign.
“Hi, there!”
“Do you speak English? Can you tell us where we are?”
The little boy stopped. “No. But Gramma can help you.” He pointed to the little shack.
The two looked at each other, and proceeded in that direction.
Before they got to the porch, a voice from inside said, “Stay off the porch, please.” The two stopped and looked around. Neela was a bit miffed.
The old woman came out and looked at them. “My, aren’t you two a horrible sight. Been walking all night, have ya?”
They both nodded slowly.
“Mugged, were ya? Jumped and robbed? Is that how you came to be here?”
Neela cocked an eyebrow at Hunter, and Hunter said, “Wait a minute-how do you know all this?” He was thinking that in this desolate area, everyone knew everyone, and maybe robbing vacationers was a family business.
It was the old woman’s turn to cock an eyebrow. “Oh, Christ, I bet you don’t know. Hold on. Don’t come on the porch.” She had been holding a small rag doll, which Neela just now noticed when the old woman set it on the rocking chair, facing it toward them.
The old woman went inside her shack and quickly returned holding a hand mirror. “You look normal to each other, but not to yourselves. It’s vexing.
In the mirror, Neela could see that her throat was slashed, and Hunter had a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. “What the fuck?”
“You kids are dead. Understand? This is El Camino de los Muertos, the road of the dead.”
“Take your time. You got nothing but, now.”
Neela looked at Hunter, a pleading in her eyes. But she still the undamaged version of Hunter. And what he saw of her was physical perfection.
Their minds raced with questions, but everything seemed so obvious–what was the point in asking?
He said, “Babe, I got nothing.”
Neela sighed. “Eh, me too.” She turned to the old woman. “Now what do we do now? Continue on this road, or what?”
“Well, yes, you continue on this road, and eventuall–wait, don’t you want to know about where your bodies are, is there a heaven or hell, or some other existential crap?”
Hunter said,”Not really.”
“Meaning of life, or anything?”
Hunter answered, “Forty-two.” Neela nudged him.
She said, “No. The only question we might have had seems to have been answered.” The two looked at each other. “It seems like we’ll be able to be together, hang out together. Is that right?”
The old woman shrugged. “Sure. No rules against it.”
“That’s all we need to know.”
Hunter said, “I have a question. How come you want us to stay off the porch? Is it some mystical energy portal or something?”
“No, I just swept it. You’re all dusty.”
“Oh. So, stay on this road, then?”
“Yeah, that’s it. It’ll take you–eh, you’ll find out.”
Neela squared her shoulders. “Ready, hon?”
“Whither thou goest, my love.”.”

What Dreaming Gets You

October 1, 2013 at 3:07 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

When I woke up this morning, you were on my mind–
And When I say “you,” I mean my writing. If anything abstract deserves anthropomorphism, that would be it. The guy’s an asshole. I’m not even going to dwell on that, because writing about writing instead of actually writing is like talking about masturbation instead of fucking. Senseless, bro.
But when I woke up this morning, it was about 330 am, and I couldn’t get back to sleep. The dream I woke up from was probably allegoric in some fashion; it was about alien abduction. We all know how that can get in the way of a promising writing career.
After I got up, coughed up some phlegm and pissed, I had a small drink of water and tried to go back to bed. The windows of the house are open, and it is a reasonably comfortable fall night. That means it’s a little stuffy in the bedroom, but whatcha gonna do? I tossed and turned for an annoying 20 minutes as thoughts percolated through my skull.
I could write this alien abduction thing. That’s an interesting story. Or not. But maybe it’s part of another story. My thoughts came quickly, but made a long, banking curve:
I need to get off my ass and write, and get something written that can be published, and I need to do that before I die of being an asshole.
I’ve been stuck on the story I’m currently working on, but I know (kind of) where it’s going and I have (sort of) a general idea of what to fix in the rewrite. NOnetheless it doesn’t speak to me as much as it did when I started.
Should I scrap it? Start over? Start on something else? It’s a great idea for a first novel, I think, and I have plenty of other ideas to work with. But that was the one that was supposed to be my first.
Of course, there were others that were going to be my first as well. My mind keeps going back to the one that I feel I have the most done on. Maybe I should finish that story. Maybe that’s where it’s at. But I didn’t want that one to be my first one; I wanted *that* one to be published.
But maybe that can still happen. I don’t know-I’m going to work on it, put it together. If I do, I’m going to end up taking all the BS down from this site, because a lot of the story is here.
Don’t tell anyone.

A Deep, Cleansing Breath. With Menthol.

September 19, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Maybe it does make you stronger, but it’s really going to piss you off first.
I don’t know where it came from or why it exists, but there is this…fairy tale, this adage, this meme that existed long before the word “meme” existed–about the starving, suffering artist. You know the one.
The guy who lives in squalor, he’s poor, he’s got relationship trouble or whatever–maybe he slices off an ear. His own or someone else’s, it doesn’t really matter.
What the hell is the reason?
Part of it, I know, is that many artists *feel* they need to be in turmoil. Most of that is just angst and bullshit, brought upon themselves by poor decision-making. You don’t have to be smart to be an artist, and most of them aren’t.
And because artists are susceptible to suggestion, by and large they buy into the cultural stereotype of how artists are perceived to be, and it becomes a circular self-fulfilling prophesy.
Unless you’re too old and jaded to buy into it.
The starving artist thing–for one, do I look like I’m starving?
But it makes me wonder: did I, for all of these years, forsake pursuing the purity of my art in favor of a more comfortable life, i.e., a job, a career, a family, a house, and so forth?
Maybe I can chalk all of that up to “life experience” and research. Almost fifty years of it, man, and I’ve done a lot of things. Even as tepid and timid as I am, as fearful as I am of taking chances, I’ve had some wonderful, amazing, scary times in my life.
So what am I supposed to do with it now? Well, I guess I’m supposed to get off my ass and write. Or sit my ass down at the keyboard and write. If only someone would take dictation for me, transcribe everything, edit it, and then go ahead and get it published for me. Then direct-deposit the check.
So that’s where I am now–I’m having more life experience. I’m beginning to live the dream of the starving artist.
And I use the term “artist” fairly loosely, and I don’t think I actually mean it. I don’t know-maybe I do. I don’t know if you know any other artists, but I’ll tell you something about the ones I do know, or the ones I do know *of*:
There is a fair amount of conceit going on in their brain.
Exhibit A, most of the ridiculous actors in Hollywoodland that is so pretentious and full of themselves they have to wear sunglasses to look in the mirror.
Exhibit B, anyone who creates something–writing, painting, performance art, or underarm farts–ultimately wants it to be seen and appreciated by an audience.
Hell, everyone wants a LIKE on their status updates. But this goes beyond that. This is *more.* Artists are vampires that feed on the accolades of people. They need to be loved and appreciated to survive.

Oh, good Lord. I think this is getting out of hand. First, some people are going to read this and think I mean me. And I do. Some people are going to read this and think I am painting all artists unfairly with this broad brush.
And I am, but not unfairly. If you have an artist as a friend or in the family, and you think they aren’t like this, either you’re delusional or they hide it well, or both.
And if you are an artist and claim not to be like this, they you are either completely delusional or you aren’t really an artist.
But I don’t mean any of this in a derogatory way. Mostly. Maybe you perceive the connotation to be thus, but I had to lay that groundwork to complete my thesis, such as it is. What’s my point? Here’s my point:
If you create a piece of…something, but no one ever sees it, is it art?
Much like a tree falling in the forest–it has to be seen and heard, or read, or somehow experienced.
Creating is what artists do. We take what we have–experience, ability, popsicle sticks–and turn them into something whose sole purpose is to be appreciated. To be looked at, listened to, felt, or however else the media is intended to be experienced. And I say “media” on purpose, because art is not just a form of expression, it is a form of communication.
And that’s why I don’t mean it in a derogatory fashion when I talk about the narcissistic nature of artists. It is the purest form of communication we know, the giving of ourselves. It’s what we do, it’s in our nature, and good or bad, we can’t help it.  We have something to say, something to share–something to show the world–
So here I am now, living the life of an artist. I’m too poor to go down to the coffee shop and sit and write–and I swear to God I can’t get a cup of coffee from Starbucks that I can stand. Instead I sit up at night, or in the morning, or in the afternoon–whenever I have alone time–and I write.
Right now I’m in the tragically hip phase, where I am hyper-aware of my situation and how I am perceived, where I talk about writing and write about writing without actually creating anything. That’s right–what you’ve just read is little more than nonsense, barely above typing practice, and if it is anything useful at all it serves as sort of a Zen clearing of the mind, a rinsing of the palette so that I can get on with the actual work of creating.
I hope it works.


September 16, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

The life of a writer is a fair bit of fiction, highly romanticized and not at all like what it is portrayed as in fiction or movies or television.
That seems kind of ironic, seeing as how those media are created by the duplicitous lying writers themselves. The bastards.
Yeah, I’m one of them–or I consider myself one, anyway. Writing is one of the few occupations in which the only credentials you need are self-delusion. You only have to *say* you are a writer, and BOOM! – you’re a writer.
What do you do?
I’m…I’m a writer.
Have you written anything I would know?
I don’t know–have you been in a bathroom stall lately?
Well, what have you published?
Oooohhhh…Published. Published is a whole different matter. Published separates the true artists from the odorous masses. Being published is what leads to fame–and more importantly–to being paid.

Blogs are like assholes. Everyone has one and no one gives a shit about yours.

The Internet, and the disease which sprang from them called blogging, has been a boon to the hipster-types and other disaffected youth who feel that they are artists–
No, LISTEN to me: They really *feel* like they are artists. They have something to say. Some unique perspective on life. Some inexorable, undeniable truth about society beats mightily within their individual chest cavities but collectively seeks the light. A story to be told. A narrative to be read. A song to be sung. A limerick to rhyme.
Maybe I’m talking shit about all of the talent-less assholes out there vying for your attention, and maybe I’m one of them as well. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was fourteen, I think. And again since I was sixteen. And again when I was 19.
And so on.
Here it is over thirty years later, and I’m not really a writer in the strict biblical sense. I mean, I’ve written–Lordy, has I written!–but I’ve yet to be published in any meaningful sense that I can point to. other than this fucking blog.

The surest way to keep a secret is to publish it on a blog that no one reads.

All these things I talk about I am also guilty of, and I know it. I’m perfectly at ease being a hypocrite.
I’ve made a lot of false starts–and here I am yet again writing about another one–but usually it’s because life gets in the way. Life. A job. A family. Paying bills. Crises after bloody crises. But I have poured my heart on my blog.  The bare, naked truth.  Within reason.
They (the various experts in the field) say that you have to write for yourself. Sounds like bullshit to me. They also say you have to know your audience, and write for them. They seem a bit fucking bipolar, if you ask me.
Well, I have done both. I have written for myself, and I have written for an audience that was occasionally there. I wrote the most when I was going through a tumultuous period in my life, and it helped me to get it out. That was the part that was for me.
And then I managed to get some feedback from a few devoted fans on the internet, and they liked what I had writ. That part was for them.
That part was for me also, because nothing makes you feel good like getting accolades from random people for something you created. It nurtures the narcissist within.
Being a writer, or trying to write, or trying to continue writing, or having an eye toward eventual publication…is a lifelong dream of mine. It’s also like a hobby that I don’t get to do. Like the guy who is obsessed with golf, but works 80 hours a week and never gets to play.
I feel your pain, bro.

I can’t sit here and say that I’m going to start writing now, because I’ve done that so many times before it’s not even funny. It’s ridiculous. I’m a fucking tease. My brain keeps teasing my heart and saying it’s going to give it what it wants–
But never does.
So I’m not going to do that. I have a book I need to work on. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I have 47 other books to work on. Maybe I will, maybe fuck you.
But I do have this. I have this blog, this god forsaken hole in the Internet that I’ve laid claim to. You can go back and see all that I have written, and all that I have gone through, and it is an abundance of life experience.
I’m going through something now–I’m out of a job. And I appear to have time to write about it, because–once again–I’m out of a fucking job.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m getting back to my roots. My blog roots. Bloots. It’ll be funny, it’ll be sad, it’ll be at once bitter-sweet and ridiculous, because that’s my wheelhouse.
I recently watched six seasons of the show “Californication,” virtually back to back. Of course there is an abundance of sex and drug use and nudity. Still, I identify with the main character. Hank Moody is a writer, and he is haunted by the choices he has made, and these ghosts cause him to continue to have deficiency in decision making, and he left as the product of the life he has led.
But he is a writer, so he gets to be all soul-searching and introspective about it.
At the very least, that’s what I get to do also.

Visitors from Out of Town

September 5, 2013 at 9:07 AM | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

I haven’t been here in a long, long time.  But if we’re talking about ancient Sumer, no one has…

The Book of Nezzrahem

1. In the seventy-third-plus-fourteen year of the Uruk Kingdom, in the time after the planting but before the ministering, in the region near the city-state of Larsa, but south, near the river valley, which is as fertile and a gift from the gods, there was a village with no name;

2. For this village, which hath no name, was the place wherefrom the kings’ armies would take their supplies; the farmed goods which had been harvested, and the meat from the cattle they produced, any metal goods and carts, and of course, the women, for the Kings’ Armies required the best of all things the Valley of the Kings could produce, and this village with no name hath a reputation for producing beautiful creatures, which were taken for the pleasure and solace of the Kings’ Armies.

3. And it came to pass that while working the field, the family of Nezzrahem was visited by a group of heavenly travelers.

4. The travelers had the appearance of unworldly dress, and emerged from a shining enclosed chariot, pulled by neither man nor beast, but instead seemed to be powered by the gods; it was a half-complement of creatures, numbering 8, and their countenance and mannerisms showed them to be not of this ether.

5. For though they spaketh the language, it was halting and guarded, with strange usage of words, and odd pronunciation; nevertheless they communicated with the family of Nezzrahem, and told of their mission.

6. But the Nezzrahem family did disagree on what the angelic visitors said their mission was, for their individual understanding was different; Father Neb-On-Nezzra saith that their mission was to bring the power of the gods to the Kings’ Armies, and glorious weapons heretofore unseen by man;

7. But Daru-Le, chief wife of Neb-On, claimed that their mission was to bring to pass a bounteous harvest;

8. And Evi-Der, the middle wife, said the mission of the angels was to protect the newborn children from disease, and from the Maelstrom of the Kings, the annual culling of the children.

9.And te-Delri, the junior wife, was forbade to speak, as is law.  And thusly were the children ignored, for though they had experienced the same event, their words and their minds were weak and could not be trusted.

10. But the eldest son, Neb-On-tok-Nezzra, having reached the Age of Ritual and was now preparing to join the Kings’ Armies after the harvest was fulfilled, and was considered a man, and as such lay claim to the right to speak, and thusly did relay his account of the vision of angels.

11.  And it came to pass that Neb-On-tok-Nezzra told his story, far and wide; and his story did get repeated, and his story passed from village to town to city-state, even unto reaching the ears of the Counsel of the Kings.

12. And it came to pass that the Kings then did call for young Neb-On-tok-Nezzra to come unto the Palace of the Kings, and tell his tale; and he did.

13. Wherefore Neb-On-tok-Nezzra spaketh before the kings, and told of the day the angels came;

14.  He said there was a blinding, holy light, which filled the sky;

15.  He said that instantly, there was the chariot, shining and glowing like the sun, enclosed, made of some unknown heavenly material;

16.  He said that it opened mysteriously, and the eight holy creatures disembarked;

17.  He said that it was difficult to understand them at first, and they he; but after a fashion, their words flowed effortlessly;

18.  He said the heavenly creatures were there on a mission; that thusly they had traveled a long distance through both time and space, which made no sense; for how does one travel through time?

19.  He said they were there to study and to learn, and watch how we as children of the Valley of the Kings lived our lives;

20.  He said that when they were done, they would return to the time and place from whence they came;

21.  And the Counsel of Kings, upon hearing this tale, did confer with one another; for such a thing as they had never heard before, and likewise wished to never hear again.

22.  Because all power of heaven and earth resides with the Counsel of Kings; wherefore if such a thing existed beyond their scope it must therefore be removed;

23.  Wherefore all evidence of the visitation of the Angels had taken leave with them; nothing remained that showed it had ever taken place.

24.  Wherefore the King of the city-state of Babyl spaketh, saying, “If these then are the only witnesses to this event, wherefore should we not remove them, to hasten the departure of this abominable story from our eyes?

25.  And it came to pass that the other kings agreed; wherefore the King of the city-state of Umma bade the counsel well and departed.

26.  And it came to pass that the King of the city-state of Umma collected his generals in Bad Tibira, and forthwith they rode;

27. And it came to pass that the Kings’ Armies marched to Larsa, and continued south;

28.  And it came to pass that the Kings’ Armies marched to the village with no name, the home of the Nezzrahem clan;

29.  And it came to pass that the Kings’ Armies did burn the village, and the fields, and the killed the men, and the women, and the children.

30.  And so it shall be that this record carved shall be hidden, and shall remain the only witness to the slaughter of the people of the village with no name.

The Pusher’s Algorithm

January 8, 2013 at 12:11 AM | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment
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For this challenge we had three categories and we had to pick one thing randomly from each. You can tell I didn’t cheat, because I never would have picked these on my own. Subgenre: Dieselpunk. Setting: A Meth lab. Must feature: A mystery box. To read more, roll the dice and go here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Spin the Wheel

Caroline was dead, with blood on her face and a smile on her lips. David avoided looking at her. She’d be back soon, if he didn’t think about it.
He was wired to the box. He didn’t have to think about anything.

The box was military surplus–some kind of mini-mainframe computer, about the size of a dishwasher. He could pretend his brain wasn’t fried and he could still use his computer degree.
“What are you making, David?” How could the box talk? How did it know his name?
“You know what I’m making.” David didn’t like to say the word “meth.” It was too simplistic an affectation to describe the holy bliss it made him feel.
“I can help you make it better, David.”
He was already high, and therefore past the disbelief that the box could talk to him. Caroline stared at him through glazed over eyes. She was mumbling incoherently, but with a steady, rhythmic cadence.
“Show me,” David said.
The box was not attached to anything, except power. Wirelessly it connected to his laptop, and immediately designs and schematics filled the screen, like special effects in a movie. David licked his lips repeatedly, and got to work.
The first thing the box told him to do was change the formula he was using; that gave him the extra boost he needed to do the rest of the work. Caroline continued to babble, which didn’t bother him. She began walking around in circles naked, and she smelled like cat piss and dirty socks. The box gave him a solution.
From his lab apparatus he fashioned a sensor, and connected a cable to it and plugged it into the box. Now the box could really think, and really get its groove on. “Now I got an idea,” the box said through the laptop speakers. Following the box’s instructions, David hammered out some code on the laptop and fed it to the box. Then he connected a cable to the back of the box, and cut the connector off the other end. On her next pass, he grabbed Caroline, threw her down, and stabbed the wire into her face.
David watched her eyes as she rebooted. She lay still but she wasn’t mumbling anymore.
“Three point one four one five nine—“
“Much better.”
David was a problem solver, and the box was helping him solve problems.
There were plenty more outputs on the back of the box, and David had and endless supply of cables. He connected wires to the box from every piece of lab equipment he pieced together, as the box told him how to make a new cooker. He continued to lick his lips and not notice that he was repeating the same thing over and over again.
“Best shit ever. Best shit ever. Best shit ever. Fu-fu-fu-best shit ever. Best shit ever.”
“Two eight four seven five six four eight two three three seven eight—“
“Best shit ever.”
Regular time had no meaning. It never did. David was on pi time. He listened to the constant stream of numbers from Caroline while he continued to build the apparatus. Pipes and valves and hoses were everywhere, all connected with wires that went to the box.
“Nine four seven nine zero three six eight eight seven—“
“Best shit ever. Fu-fu–”
He was handy with a torch, and managed to make intricate cuts into a fertilizer tank, and shape it as shield between the John Deer engine that he was using for power and his slowly boiling flasks of chemicals.
“Seven seven seven three four six nine six five two—“
“Best shit ever.” He thought briefly of going over to Caroline and giving her a little kick, because she seemed stuck. How can there be three repeating numbers in pi? Maybe she was making the shit up, but it was soothing.
When the new batch was done, he fed some into the box, and some into the pipe the box designed for him. Caroline never stopped reciting, but got up when it was her turn. She paused only to inhale, then exhaled slowly as she continued.
“Two eight two one seven one seven four nine four—“
David agreed. “Best shit ever.”
Having now been properly dosed, he could continue his work. He picked up the welder.
The luck of fools kept him from blowing himself up. In theory, he would still need eye protection, but David was invincible and wanted to see the fire of the gods. With his eyes completely dilated, he stared at the intense flame for a few moments.
“Best shit ever.” He was grinning like a dumbass.
David was blind now, but he didn’t know it. He was hallucinating that he could still see. He continued to alternately weld and cut metal. To David it had a purpose, and he scoffed at the pedestrian-the common onlooker who might not understand this fusion of science and magic, of art and craft, of metal and
His own skin.
Somewhere along the way, he had either gotten too sloppy or too focused, or a hybrid of both. A metal plate had fused to his arm. He was feeling no pain, and besides, it belongs there. He started adding to it.
Caroline had stopped counting a while ago, so he had no idea where she really was, but he saw her sitting up, smoking a cigarette, and lovingly watch him as he continued to cut and weld.
When he was finished, he was part of his lab. He could cook the meth and it would go straight into him. The lab was connected to the box, and the box was connected to him.
After the fire department had put the fire out and cut the body away from the metal and hauled it away, the DEA was looking at what they could salvage for auction. The only thing that escaped damage was an old mini-main, about the size of a dishwasher.

Tell Santa What You Want

December 15, 2012 at 7:21 PM | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

For this challenge Chuck wanted us to write about the war on Christmas. I don’t care if you believe it or not–there is one. To read more, peek in your stocking here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: The War On Christmas

The little brat sat on my lap, telling me all the crap he wanted for Christmas. I was half-listening as I warily surveyed the crowd. There was always some asshole—
Some jerk in Birkenstocks, torn jeans, and an ironic tee shirt was handing out flyers. Trying to tell people the “truth” about Santa. Their perverted version—
People were ignoring him, trying not to let him tell their kids anything.
I smiled for the picture and handed off the kid. I had to keep up the act for my disguise to be effective. If only they knew the *real* truth about Santa.
I saw my target, but kept up they act. The store was almost closed, and there were only three more chumps left.
The hot mom put her four year old in my lap, giving me a shot of cleavage. Thems the perks, right there. She stood and turned for me–
Fuck! Where’d he go? Dammit-dammit-dammit! I scanned the waning cluster of people to no avail. Whether by accident or design, the woman had let the target slip out. My eyes were innocent and merry, with a “Ho-ho-ho,” as I tried to get a read on her. She stared back with a blackness in her seductive eyes. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. A team, working together. I had been made.
I looked down at the little girl in my lap. I realized it wasn’t a real girl. It was one of those life-like dolls that looks and sounds real, and talks and wets and cries–
And blows up. Inside its coat, I could see some wiring and a timer. Five seconds. Four–
I looked up, and the “mother” was quickly walking away, towards the food court.
Three turned to two as I looked down. Quickly I jumped up, and women started screaming when I tossed the faux-girl into the nearby fountain. Instinctively, I threw myself down as I yelled, “Everybody do-!!”
The explosion was small–it was meant to just kill me, and not cause much collateral. Even so, water and debris sprayed everywhere, and now people where *really* screaming. I muttered, “Shut up, you aren’t hurt,” then jumped up and took off towards the food court.
I saw her exit as I came running up, and never broke stride but continued out the door. Nobody stops a running Santa. In between the double doors I pulled my handgun, and cautiously peered out. There was pandemonium behind me, but outside it was quiet. Too quiet.
A silent night–
To my right was the giant exterior wall of Macy’s, and before that was the dark area of the service docks for the food court. I heard nothing, but I saw something twinkle. Carefully, I made my way closer. I dropped down behind a bush, and saw legs on the far side of truck as she climbed into the cab. I pulled my costume off and went around the corner, into darkness that matched my black clothes. I rolled under the truck and waited.
Nothing. I thought she would hotwire the truck and take off, like a scared rabbit. She’s good, I thought. Highly trained. If I hadn’t seen her, she could hide as long as she needed.
Since I had seen her, she was toast. I slowly rolled out, looking at the mirror on the passenger side. I didn’t see her, which means she couldn’t see me. I crept up, keeping an eye on the mirror. By the time she saw me, I was at the door. I pulled it open quickly and shot her. She was on the naughty list.
I had forgotten the original target.
I had a wire around my neck and I was jerked backward. We struggled for a few moments. I know several ways to get out of this, but I wanted to let him think he had the upper hand. In his anger, he didn’t realize what my plan was.
“You sonuvabitch! You killed her! You sonuvabitch, Santa! You fucking Christian soldier! Goddamn you!”
And then I had him. His John Lennon glasses came off in the ruckus. Suddenly he had the wire around his neck. I thought it was glowing, and then I realized it was a string of Christmas lights. These pagans love irony.
His last words were, “Winter Solstice is ours! Long live Saturnalia!” I choked the life out of him as he squirmed, and his mouth frothed, covering his soul patch.
The nerve of him, trying to take Christmas from the Christians. We took it, fair and square: the spoils of war.

Later, back at my flat, I cleaned up. I had disposed of all the evidence linking anything to me. In fact, it was easy to make it look like a ritual murder-suicide that these heathens seem to fall victim to so often. They had killed the Santa that I had replaced—the whole reason I was on this mission. I was a ghost.
It’s better that way. This is war. I’m Captain Nick Claus, Special Forces with the Salvation Army. In the past, I heard they did charity work, but I don’t know anything about that. I do know 17 ways to kill a man with a kettle. As I showered, out of habit I rubbed my tattoo, the one that all the members of my unit have.
“Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

One Night During Kwanzaa

December 15, 2012 at 6:58 PM | Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment
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I read this to my girlfriend and she said, “Wow, that’s not racist.”  I think that was sarcasm, but I choose to accept it at face value, which means that it’s okay, and not at all controversial.  Nonetheless, I figure that while I don’t owe anyone an explanation, I’m going to give you one.

Kwanzaa is a bullshit, made-up holiday created by an angry, racist, reactionary, criminal thug who wanted to drive more of a divide between black people and white people.

Since the followers of Kwanzaa want their own thing, I give them their own thing.  A realistic holiday poem:

One night during Kwanzaa, all up in da crib
All my cousins was sleeping, for the bed they called dibs;
The laundry was hung by the heater with care
In hopes that it wouldn’t start a fire in there;

The babies was nestled all snug in they beds
While visions of bling and shit danced in they heads;
Baby Mamma in her moo-moo, looking so Phat
Had just then agreed to let me hit dat

When out on the lawn there arose such a ruckus
I jumped out of bed to see what the fuck was.
I thought it was cops when I saw the light flash,
So I opened the window and tossed out my stash

The spotlight on the dankness of old yellow snow
Looked like an episode of Cops in the alley below
Just then down the street came a crazy mo-fo
In a big ol convertible, full of bitches and hos.

With a smack-talking driver, all dressed up and hip
I knew in a moment it must be Da Pimp
The car boomed and it rocked, down the roadway it came
And he yelled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Lucretia, Lashonda, Lataisha, Sha-Nay-Nay”
“LaSharon, LaChevy, Tunisha, and Carol;
“To the top of the projects! To the liquor store wall!
“Now shake them all down, ‘fore I bitch-slap you all!”

When he pulled into the driveway it made such a sound
All the property values went instantly down
While the rims were still spinning he fell out of the car
Then stumbled around before throwing up in my yard.

He offered me his 40, the sneaky old prick,
Then distracted me with the oldest of tricks
He said, “Check that ass,” and when I turned around,
Through my back door Da Pimp came in with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, with a big-ass pimp hat
And gold and a cane, like this and like that
A handful of bags he had flung on his back
He looked just like a gangsta, smoking some crack.

His eyes – how they dilated! His teeth caps, how golden!
His cheeks were like chocolate, his face a crushed berry!
We could all see his drawers ‘cause his pants hung real low
And the beard of his chin was as black as the coal.

The roach of a blunt he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad nose and big ol’ fat gut
That he rested on the ass of a bent-over slut

He’s the spirit of Kwanzaa, set to do crime;
Fresh out the joint after doing hard time.
He was out to score free holiday fare;
I worked hard for my shit but he just didn’t care.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled his bags with my shit, the fucking old jerk
He took all my presents, and food–every bit
Then just strolled out the door–ain’t that some shit?

He hopped in his car, but I couldn’t run
As he peered at me down the barrel of his gun
But I heard him warn me, as he drove out of sight,
“I’ll be back next year, and fuck you up right!”

Bedtime Story

October 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

This was one of my favorite flash fiction challenges: write a horror story in three sentences. You have to get to the point in a hurry, and every word and piece of punctuation matters. I didn’t win, but I still like mine very much. To see more, slide on up in here: Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Scary Story in Three Sentences

Timmy cowered under his bed because there were no monsters there–not anymore. Although he was holding his head tightly under a pillow, he could still hear the screams of his family, and he could feel the percussion of things–just unimaginable things–wetly thudding to the floor.  His own door opened with a rush, and when he heard the guttural, inhuman voice say, “Fresh meat,” he could sense it was salivating…but he was unable to pee his jammies any more than he already had.

2011 in review

August 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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