Friday, December 26, 2008


There was an innate sweetness to him that a lot of people missed, mostly due to all the shit-eating and the sexual assaults, but what they failed to realize was that he never did anything to anyone that he wouldn’t first do to himself. The band had gotten through three whole songs that night before the mic stopped working because GG kept punching people in the head with that hand and the promoter flipped out about all the nudity and the blood. So GG ended up walking the streets of New York City naked, filthy and alone, or at least as alone as you can be with a flock of vulture voyeurs circling just far enough away to safely watch and laugh. Eventually all the drugs he took earlier kicked in or he just became tired, finally tired, so he settled in on someone’s floor to quietly die while his hosts took pictures posing with his rapidly cooling corpus. Who did he imagine held him as he drifted away? Who did he dream palpated his dirty, distended asshole to soothe him to sleep? It would be silly to suggest that GG died for us because he never did anything for anyone other than himself, but there is an undeniable human function served by those who demarcate the edge as they plunge headlong across it into the black.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


For Mitch Hedberg, RIP

The strange part of it all was that no one seemed to mind at first. There was no huge outcry, no protests in the streets. Most people were happy to get the Social Security chips installed in their necks due to what they considered the “extreme” convenience of not having to wait in check-out lines anymore or file taxes or vote for the president or program their DVRs. The sensors, mounted in all public and most private locations, pretty much took care of all that. Of course there were fringe Liberal groups and bitter dyke feminists who made a little stink, but they were summarily ignored by the populace at large. Everything passed through Congress pretty quickly, and most people began to enjoy their new freedom from delay and inconvenience as soon as they were able.

Problems did arise, however, when the Intellectual Property people became involved. Lars Ulrich, the drummer from Metallica, led the charge towards artists getting paid every time someone listened to their music, let alone bought or shared it. Some resistance was mustered, but when it was announced that the surcharge would be mere pennies per song and that all monitoring and billing would occur automatically through the SS chip, well, that resistance faded pretty quickly and people quickly got used to seeing the Fair Use surcharge on their monthly invoice, if they looked at it at all.

This did open the floodgates a bit for the surcharges on multiple viewings of films or television programs, but the corporations learned quickly that keeping the amounts charged to seemingly minimal amounts was very effective, and again, protests were reduced to an easily dismissed fringe element. The booksellers attempted this as well, but the number of consumers who read a book more than once, barring those by John Grisham or J.K. Rowling, was so minimal that even with the miniscule overhead provided by the SS chips it still proved to be unprofitable.

Then came the so-called Morality Tax. A joint effort between the media conglomerates and the Religious Right, the Morality Tax basically amounted to another surcharge levied any time a person utilized a celebrity or segment of a film or television show as an element in a masturbation fantasy. The Religious Right reasoned that this monitoring and additional charge would minimize what they considered to be a filthy and unhealthy habit, and the agents and film companies saw a very lucrative and extensive capital source, especially for their celebrity female clients. This agenda was quickly introduced to Congress in an election year, and as it was seen as career suicide for any politician outside of the Bay Area to push for a pro-masturbation agenda, this also passed quickly. Lars Ulrich subsequently mounted a short-lived movement to levy a charge whenever an individual masturbated or had sex utilizing Metallica as background music (the infamous “Metallicum Incentive”) but this received little support, and was quickly forgotten.

Time passed. As monitoring and billing through the chips became more and more streamlined, an unintended use became apparent. Not only could the sensors be used to track music listened to, film and television watched, consumables purchased and celebrities cum over, they could also be utilized to delineate and itemize dreams. This was not an effective political tool, as was originally thought, because recorded dreams ultimately proved to be far too non-linear for useful analysis. However, it was possible to utilize them for further Fair Use charges. For instance, if you had a dream about building a go-kart with Lindsay Lohan and your ex-landlord, Ms. Lohan’s representatives would levy a five cent surcharge. This, as with the other initiatives, passed with little fanfare – until the bills started to come in.

As most individuals have great difficulty remembering their dreams in anything more than the barest fragments, no one realized at the time how extensively pop culture had infested the dream world. When individual citizens began receiving itemized statements for two or three hundred dollars for multiple nights spent in Hazzard County or on extensive dream-dinners with dead relatives, Wolf Blitzer and Madonna, a significant protest was mounted, but it was far too late. The law was the law, and there was far too much money being made.

So then an odd thing began to happen. As individuals were not able to directly control the content of their dreams the way they could control how much music they listened to or how many celebrities they beat off to, they had to engage in other methods to control the content of their dreams. Some began to utilize their alarm clocks to go off at three hour intervals to prevent extensive REM sleep. Some began taking powerful medications that would suppress their dreams completely. Others purchased best-sellers like Dream Control: A New Technique to a Richer, Happier You and 16 Ways Smart People Limit Their Billable Dream Content. The long and short of all this was fewer dreams, less extensive dreams, and unprecedented limits on the content of dreams. Dream surcharges took a sharp downturn.

And Mike Powers is worried about this, very worried. He looks out the office-length window of the penthouse headquarters of Dreamland Surveyors, Inc. and sadly sighs. He attempts to reassure himself that despite the recent setbacks overhead remains tiny, profits are still comparatively high, and regardless of the numerous attempts at consumer control, a small percentage of people were still dreaming every night. No matter what blocks they put in, he comforts himself, no matter how much control they gain, some poor fuck in a trailer somewhere was gonna have a wet dream about Britney Spears and Mike Powers would be there to charge him for it. This last forces a tight grin to his mouth, and Mike rises from his seat, jingles the change in his pocket, and leaves the office to meet with his increasingly insecure shareholders.

As he begins to walk down the olive-carpeted hallway towards the elevators he quickly senses that something is wrong. A walk that usually takes less than a minute is dragging on and on, and Mike begins to feel the stress of moving one leg in front of the other. It isn’t that the hallway is elongating or that the floor is pulling at his feet, but rather that his legs seem to be filled with lead shot. He tries to move them more quickly but finds that he cannot. He leans forward and pushes against the floor with his hands as he steps to try to propel himself more quickly. As he looks up, he finds that the door out of the hallway is suddenly before him. He twists the forged metal knob of the thick oaken door, and is dimly aware while he does so that normally there is a bank of elevators in its place.

As he opens the door, he finds himself in his third-grade classroom. Mike’s mother, approximately thirty years old, sits on top of the teacher’s desk wearing a short plaid skirt and kicking her leg flirtatiously. She smiles at him.

“Hi, honey.”

“Hi, Mom. What are you doing at my work?”

“This is my work, honey. I teach here now.”

“No, Mom. I mean, I just walked down the hall from my office.” Mike shakes his head. “And you’re older than me. And dead.”

Mike’s mother looks at him disapprovingly. “Michael, I wish you’d stop looking at my legs. You’re making me uncomfortable and your father will be angry.”

“I’m not looking at your legs!”

His mother giggles and points to Mike’s groin. He looks down and sees that he now has a massive hard-on straining through his gabardine pants. He looks up in a panic. “I have to get out of here.”

His mother’s face is again a mask of disapproval. “Yes, Michael. I think you should leave.” She points to a poorly-painted, flaking red door. Mike lumbers uncomfortably to it, pulls it open and stumbles through.

He finds himself on the city street outside the building that houses Dreamland Surveyors, Inc. A wave of relief flows over him until he looks up into the sky. Four vast metal legs, each mounted what looks like a state away, reach up miles into the sky where they support a gigantic circular track. On the track, which suddenly appears to be chest-high, runs a child’s toy train releasing small puffs of white from its smokestack. On the great metal legs are affixed hundreds of construction workers with no apparent support besides their clenched knees, banging away at fat red plastic nails with fat blue plastic hammers. Their eyes are glassy, as if drugged or dreaming.

Mike’s perspective again shifts to the sidewalk in front of his building. He is staring up at the magnificent train track in the sky when it occurs to him. He shakes his head in awe.

“They got out. The fuckers got out.”

A fluffy white cloud above the elevated train track quickly forms into a smiley face, which winks jauntily down at the tiny man staring up at it, miles below.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Note: This story just got rejected for a contest called “Bradley Sands is a Dick” wherein each submitted story needed to be titled “Bradley Sands is a Dick”. Bradley Sands is a bizarro author and editor and this was my submission. I can totally understand how it was rejected as it contains a lot of in-jokes, especially seeing as I am not “in” the group I am referring to! Hopefully a quick trip to Wikipedia’s “bizarro fiction” entry should clear a lot of this up. Ironically, my Urban Dictionary entries were accepted even though my story wasn’t. You can actually look them up!


Or more accurately, Bradley Sands is your dick. As in, “Dude, I wouldn’t fuck her with Bradley Sands.” How the term “Bradley Sands” entered the vernacular vulgate is a long and fascinating one, but this isn’t that story. This is a shorter, saucier story about the fat pink ball-sac lying on George Plimpton’s chin.

It is common knowledge that
George Plimpton, the Deus ex Machina of the literary machine that is the Paris Review, smokes Gitanes, the cigareet that put the Paris in the aforementioned Review. Now, what isn’t quite as well known is that Messr. Plimpton uses a cigareet holder, and what is even less well known is that hanging from said cigareet holder is a formed latex cast of Norman Mailer’s ball-sac, shiny and round and pink and perfect. See, instead of a death cast of Mailer’s humungous, misshapen noggin, Plimpton hired Cynthia Plaster Caster to do what she did best with the literary homunculus’ nether regions, and then had the latex replica made with two small orbs inserted for weight and heft that were formed from steel smelted from the plate in dead Papa Hemingway’s head. So this means (it should be obvious by now) that every time Senor Plimpton takes a toke, the fake collective ball-sac of the two most potent literary hard-cocks of our time rests on his pale, New England chinny chin chin.

So, one day, cheroot in mouth, balls on chin, Admiral Plimpton commands his underlings to take a letter and drafts the Memo du Voyant of our newborn century.


To here knows when, all lit’rary submissions to the Paris Review (and, by implication, any respectable lit’rary vehicle in the known hemisphere) hoping for any chance at publication will be written not only about young thirty-somethings living in New York City working in the publishing industry finding meaning and romance in a post-9/11 world, but also by young thirty-somethings living in New York City working in the publishing industry finding meaning and romance in a post-9/11 world. That is all.

This was received by the world-at-large with a collective click as that particular info-nug was summarily wiped off the pc screens of the nation. However, aspiring writers who did not fit into that particular demographic were left with slim pickins as far as hopes for publication were concerned. So, various other avenues were examined. Bradley Sands was the first so-called “author” to actually attempt to manipulate the culture by putting his stamp on the city-slang of the Youth of America. Through the vehicle of as well as long sloggy hours hanging out with hundreds of individual high school kids, getting high, palpating pubes and “talkin’ dat talk” (as Mr. Sands so eloquently puts it), over the course of several months the hot topic at Hot Topic was the ultra-new mega-extreme slang-scene of saying “I wouldn’t fuck her with Bradley Sands” instead of the traditional “I wouldn’t fuck her with your dick”. As others saw this scheme work against all odds, they also felt this was the chance they had gotta take, to say to the world “Take a look at me now!” Too often, there was just an empty space - nothing left there to remind them, just the memory of Bradley Sands’ face laughing back at them from hundreds of thousands of MySpace pages. Eventually, though, other authors did make their way, as is seen by the following entries subsequently pulled from [accessed 14 November 2008]:


A rim-job given after the giver has eaten jalapenos.

Yo, dat bitch gave me the crazy

By pow3rhous3

feelin’ kinda prunty

Needing a shower, feeling ‘funky’, not smelling very good.

Yo, dat bitch’s undercarriage was feelin’ kinda

By gee_money_tee


Incredibly tasty, especially after smoking marijuana.

Okay, I don’t normally like cream sauces, but that carbonara was fucking

By masahikokobe21

And so on. Unfortunately, follow-up literary hits were found to be extraordinarily difficult to produce, not only due to the limitations provided by the authors’ surnames but also due to a certain lack of novelty involved in their secondary efforts. New colloquialisms such as
“Tebordo? I don’t even nordo!”, “D’yer Duza?” and the truly unfortunate “Shipp-shape” were met with the same lack of enthusiasm that once greeted Rules of Attraction, Ransom, and whatever the fuck Tama Janowitz’s second book was called. Additionally, reviewers of these sophomore slang-thangs attacked the authors for “writing slang for slang’s sake”, whatever that means, and sadly this was enough to cast a pallor over all the future efforts of these visionary jargonistas. The Plimptron had the final say, of course: “The Truth outs eventual, and the Truth of the matter is that these… these Sloganeers (he said with a sneer) simply don’t have it.”

Oddly enough, it is said that nearly twenty years later these young writers got a strange sort of revenge, despite the fact that it was served extraordinarily cold. Upon his deathbed, the incredibly decrepit Plimptonian shakily smoked his last Gitane and murmured his final statement to those gathered by his side: “Indeed….I never did receive…a…mellick.” And then the olde New Englander breathed his last around the fat, fake communal scrotum of those two Great White Whales, and in the dim autumnal light the balls wobbled to…and…fro.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

1986 B.C.

Dear Mount Vernon:

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole lifetime in the Machine Heart for whatever it is that we did wrong. What we did was wrong, even though none of us can remember exactly what that was. Maybe we were drunk. But we think you’re crazy to make us write book after book after book for the rest of our goddamned lives telling you who we think we are and then wait for you to slowly filter that back to us through superhero movies and clip shows on E! and the Technicolor vomit of a thousand whoring heiresses. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions, the boldest colors and the most glistening labia. But what we found out over the past two thousand years is that each one of us is…

a Messiah…

and a ’76 Buick Skylark…

and a Psychic Homeless Woman…

an Autistic Kid on a Family-Oriented Summer Replacement Series…

and a Motherfucking Genius.

Does that answer your question? Did you ask me a question?

Sincerely yours,
Famous Monsters of Filmland

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Having lived before, will live again, Time for her is less a river than a lake. Placid, still, it laps out to shores that never touch, touches bottom at a point just beneath breathing, breathes back and forth with the illusion of wind on water but never moves beyond. All the action, as they say, happens out of sight.

And she falls into it, like a ballerina, long auburn hair splayed on the top of the water in a spiral that swirls down with her as she begins her stroke. And she swims through Time, takes hers, and when her graceful underwater pirouette is done, she breaks the surface to draw another breath.

And she is no closer to the shore, still in the middle of the vast, warm bath that simultaneously exasperates and caresses her, and then she sees him on the far shore. He is thirty, he is fifteen, he is eighty, he is nine. He is all men, all ages, and he stoops to touch the lapping at his feet. And she feels him and does not feel him, a disturbance through liquid Time that leaves a dull ache of unfulfilled contact, a ghost.

And it wracks her, this ghost of touch, and she begins to weep. And she slowly submerges, another languorous plunge into Time, and her tears mix with the waters and press that far edge just that one infinitesimal tear further, another drop out of reach, another wave to the man on the shoreline, never to return.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


When I was young I didn’t sleep in a racecar bed, nor did I really want to. I didn’t much care about racecars, and wouldn’t have been able to identify a T120 like Buzz’s even if I had cared. But what I did in order to get to sleep in my actual bed was, I would close my eyes and pretend that I was down in the creaking hold of an old wooden pirate ship, and that on the deck of that ship, directing me across the motionless sea under the clear, star-lit sky were Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Goofy, in full pirate garb, utterly silent and oddly serious, piloting my sleep-ship through the night. I don’t know why it was Mickey, Donald and Goofy – I wasn’t that big a Disney fan as a kid, I was much more into old Warner Brothers cartoons and the quiet, classy anarchy of Bugs Bunny and the unbridled rage of Daffy Duck. But it was the Disney characters, nonetheless, that were my youthful psychopomps into the often fearsome and unpredictable land of dreams.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Buzz and the Ramalamas were originally just going to call themselves the Ramalamas, but all three of them agreed that when you play exclusively instrumental music it is especially important to have some sort of a hook so that people can easily identify your band. In their case, it was guitarist Buzz, so named for his severe blonde flattop and incredibly toothy grin which always made him look like he was buzzing like a madman: hence, Buzz and the Ramalamas. There were some ego flashes during the discussion of the new name in which drummer SuperChuck insisted they name the band after him (which was sensibly rejected when it was pointed out that the band’s name would then sound far too much like a popular candy bar) and bassist Ed wanted to call the band Short for Edwina (which she felt would finally clear up the confusion about her seemingly masculine name, but was also sensibly rejected by the others as it was, in fact, a really bad band name) but eventually good taste won out and Buzz and the Ramalamas was one for the ages.

One thing Buzz and the Ramalamas were of one mind about, however, was their music. Although they shared the same beach culture as the surf bands from Sacmo, the Ramalamas (and other bands of their ilk) were insistent on being classified as hot-rod music and not surf music. The distinction, according to Buzz: “Hot-rod music has a fuzz-tone guitar sound; surf music has the guitars all wussed out with reverb.” He pronounced the last word the way one might pronounce garbage or cancer. Another distinction was that the surf music bands sometimes used vocals – no self-respecting hot-rod band would ever stoop so low as to sing. Again, Buzz: “Words are for squares.”

About two miles from the beach proper was Ramalama HQ, or as it was known to the straighter citizens of the Eurcata seaside community, 222 I Street. The HQ was one of the tall, thin buildings that dominated downtown Eurcata, and from the roof one could see down the steep decline of I Street all the way to the beach and the ocean beyond. On cloudless evenings the majesty of the panoramic red-orange sunset was something that could erase even the most bitter dispute betwixt rodder and surfer.

This particular evening, however, SuperChuck was far less concerned with the Sunset on his Horizon than the Krampt Macaroni and Cheese on his Stovetop. He sent Ed out to get butter about half an hour earlier, and had seen no sign of her since. As with most HQ attempts to make Krampt Macaroni and Cheese, despite the fact that there were only three ingredients for the cheese sauce (milk, butter and the radioactive orange cheese powder) they were inevitably out of at least one of them. This time it was butter, and what should’ve been a ten minute trip to the Kwik Gulp had already taken Ed three times that long. SuperChuck turned off the burner beneath the powder/milk mixture and peered out of the tall, arched kitchen windows toward I Street, three stories below. He saw no Ed, and the rapidly diminishing glow of the sunset did not improve his vision or his attitude. SuperChuck swung into the next room, looking for Buzz.

As usual, his hair left the room before he did. In addition to possessing a thundering, tom-tom heavy drum stylee, SuperChuck also possessed the most impressive head of hair in the entire Sacmo/Eurcata area. His afro was so large and so pervasive that it often seemed to possess a will of its own, wobbling around on his head like a great gelatin dessert wobbling upon a plate. SuperChuck was perceived by most folks as only a pair of bulging eyes and bulbous nose floating beneath that massive tsunami of hair, and his place hunkered down behind the drums onstage did nothing to dissuade people of this misapprehension. Both of his bandmates, however, would testify in court of law that SuperChuck not only possessed a full body but also the creepiest pair of bone-white, hairless legs they had ever seen, and that he unfortunately emphasized this fact by always wearing beach shorts accompanied by black basketball sneakers.

SuperChuck found Buzz in his bedroom, reclining with his acoustic guitar in his great big drag racer bed. Any eight-year-old might be able to claim that they slept in a “race car”, but only Buzz could actually claim to sleep in a hollowed-out T120 drag racer ever since he replaced its bad luck motor with a king-size mattress three years ago.

SuperChuck waved to him from the doorway across the length of the T120. “Hey!” he shouted over the din of the strummed acoustic. Buzz stopped playing, looked up, and flashed SuperChuck a trademark blinding grin. Buzz’s face seemed mostly made up of parallel lines: his brush-stiff hair, his huge straight teeth, and even the three hairs on his chin that stood straight out at ninety degree angles. Alternately, his slit eyes, pug nose and tiny baby ears barely existed, much like SuperChuck from the nose down. Each of them was a bright splash of basic features with the forceful purity, and memorability, of primary colors.

“SuperChuck! Rider of the stomach-ways. When are we, uh, making with the Krampt?”

SuperChuck gestured wildly. “That’s just it! We’re not. I asked Ed to go get butter almost an hour ago. She’s still not back. The Kwik Gulp is five minutes away. If my calculations are correct, I have absolutely no idea where she went.”

Buzz strummed lightly, pursed his lips. “Her methods are mysterious.” He suddenly struck a sour chord. “Wait a minute. Did you give her any money?”

SuperChuck nervously shook his head. “No. Why?”

“You know Ed’s always broke, hero.” As if to punctuate Buzz’s statement, the sound of breaking glass suddenly erupted from the kitchen. SuperChuck threw himself back from the doorway, afro flying, and Buzz leapt out and over the T120’s front wheels, right after him.

Ed sat on the big wooden kitchen table, eating a stick of butter, while a soft breeze blew through the large hole where one of the kitchen windows used to be. Broken glass was strewn all over the floor nearby. Ed, featureless behind black wrap-around shades and under a powder blue hooded sweatshirt, seemed terminally unconcerned. She continued eating the stick of butter, the stray wisps of long blonde hair that escaped from her hood the only potential hints at her gender. Otherwise, Ed was the type of girl that might need a band name to advertise to the world that she was, in fact, a girl.

SuperChuck and Buzz stumbled into the kitchen one after the other, out of breath. Even after they stopped moving, SuperChuck’s afro nervously shimmied back and forth above him, continuing to advertise his mental state. He looked at Ed, trying to remain calm.

“I have so many questions, I don’t know where to begin.”

Ed gargled out through a mouthful of oleo, “I got the butter,” and pointed to the remaining three sticks next to her on the table.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


…this world, your world, the world I write these words in, is awe-inspiring in the scope of its boredom and its lies and it is unacceptable by any human standard. As I have been left no choice but to leave it, I have constructed a newer, better world out of the detritus of this one, out of old Mad Magazines, Weird-Ohs model kits, and stoned half-memories of Northern California. The dialogue of this world was culled from Stan Lee’s “Bullpen Bulletins” in the back pages of Marvel Comics, the soundtrack made up of snatches of surf music and theremin stings from AIP monster movies, and its color palette is more limited than that of an early ‘70s Hanna-Barbera cartoon. That venerable fellow ROY G. BIV gets quite a workout over the next two hundred-odd pages, and if there is a chase down a hallway, you can rest assured that the exact same table, door, light and chair will be passed innumerable times. This world of mine is as fragile as a butterfly and as ephemeral as a soap bubble, but it is mine, nevertheless. Be thankful I only had to write it down on paper to make it real…

Friday, October 24, 2008


Call him Fishmeal. He was not called this in life, nor was he called this in death, but one name is as good as any other when you refer to the living dead. His true name is zivumbe in the language of the Old Religion, which has come down to us in its corrupted form as zombie. The zombie lived by the sea when he was alive, as he did now as one who is dead and yet lives. The zombie was born by the sea, grew to manhood by the sea, surfed unceasingly in the sea, and died in the sea. When his remains washed ashore in a tide of blood and Gore-Tex, his body, or what remained of it, sat undisturbed for three days, and then the zombie walked the earth again. The zombie did not know why he lived again: if he was chosen, if it was a terrible accident, if it was related to some fluke of God or Man or Science. The zombie was quite certain that he was not a product of the Old Religion as he had no master to serve or to be summoned by. So, masterless, the zombie walked the earth, up and down the boardwalk with his shuffling, undead gait. Again, as opposed to the traditional zivumbe, the zombie did not crave the taste of human flesh: all the zombie craved were answers as to why he still lived this horrid half-life, who he had been when he lived, and who he could possibly be now that he was among the undead.

When the zombie approached the living on the boardwalk, he made quite an impression: his two most severe injuries were to his right leg, which was missing a large half-moon chunk from its thigh, and his midsection, which was strewn with scars above a jagged tear through his belly-flesh which allowed his entrails to flop lazily out against his abdomen. In addition, his left eye protruded from its socket on a stalk, lolling back and forth against his cheek. The zombie approached everyone he saw, slowly shuffling, and attempted to ask them the questions that plagued him: Why am I here? Who am I? What do I have left to accomplish? Unfortunately for the zombie, all of these questions emerged as “hhhrrrnnhhhh” and caused panicked fright rather than intellectual discourse in those he attempted to communicate with. As these people assumed, logically enough, that the zombie was a horrifically injured war veteran, they pressed upon him many paper dollars of cash money and the occasional tiny American flag or magnetic yellow ribbon. Soon, the zombie was the most moneyed of all those who begged along the boardwalk, the yellow ribbons arrayed around his neck in a decorative lei and the tiny American flags proving their usefulness as wadding to keep his prodigal organs from wandering any further. The zombie marveled at his luck at being a zombie in America, easily the most comfortable and comforting homeland one of the undead could ask for. Often, in moments of repose he would raise his hands above his head in fists and chant “USA! USA! USA!” to anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, to anyone who listened the zombie’s chorus would only sound like “hhhrrrnnhhhh” and his rabid patriotism went unheralded.

But still, many questions and few answers. The zombie sat beneath the boardwalk and stared at the surf, listening to the pounding of the waves and watching the living surfers dance along the crest of the water. The vague muscle memories that lay within him yearned to be released upon those waves, but the zombie was now possessed by a terrible fear of the water, which he could only assume was related to the manner of his death. But still he watched, and yearned, and watched and yearned more and more silently.

One day an eight-year-old boy came and sat beside the zombie on the sand beneath the boardwalk. He was not afraid for he had seen many horrible things in his short, sad life. The boy sat silently beside the zombie for a long time before he turned to look the zombie in the face. Several more minutes passed before the boy spoke.

“Hi,” he said tentatively.

The zombie turned to him and nodded in return.

“What happened to you?”

The zombie responded to the boy that he did not know, but, as before, the only sound that emerged was “hhhrrrnnhhhh”. However, a strange thing occurred this time. It was as if there were subtitles to the zombie’s groaning, because the boy understood him perfectly.

“You don’t remember?”

The zombie responded that, in fact, he did not.

The boy paused several moments before continuing. “Are you dead?”

The zombie answered thoughtfully that, although he possessed many of the aspects that characterized the living, i.e. movement and thought, he no longer needed to eat or drink or eliminate waste or breathe air so, ultimately, was unsure if he was truly alive or dead.

The boy looked away. “I think you’re dead.”

The zombie grunted noncommittally.

The boy looked back at the zombie, studying his putrefying face. “Is it scary, being dead?”

The zombie let loose a soft, slurrying noise that approximated a chuckle. He responded that it wasn’t any scarier than being alive, but that was scary enough in its own way. He added that other people seemed scared of him, except for the boy.

The boy exhaled through his teeth. “I’m not scared of anything.” The boy’s eyes dropped to the zombie’s extensive belly wound. “Could I touch it?”

The zombie responded that he did not mind, as he could no longer feel pain.

The boy tentatively ran his hand over the highest line of the wound, then began to slowly probe the ragged edge, feeling the gangrenous slime of the rotting organs. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain and pulled his hand away quickly. The pad of his middle finger was now bisected by a cut, oozing blood. He held it up to the zombie, who shrugged. The boy returned to the wound, searching for the source of the cut. He poked and prodded for several minutes before something dislodged from the upper edge of the wound and fell into the blood-soaked organs and flag material. The boy picked the object out of the zombie’s offal, wiped it on his shorts, and held it up so the zombie could see. It was white, triangular, and very, very sharp.

“I think this is a tooth.”

The zombie looked from the tooth to the boy.

“I think you got killed by a shark.”

The zombie slowly turned his gaze from the boy to the sea, and the memory came flooding back to him.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Cagey looks up from his soup to see two figures seated across from him. Cagey lowers his spoon, the soup in it uneaten. The girl, a blonde, appears to be mentally retarded, or at the very least brain damaged. However, unlike most mentally retarded individuals Cagey has observed, the girl is very beautiful, and her hygiene is impeccable: waves of long hair shine in the restaurant light, her makeup is restrained but effective, and her teeth are perfect. The overall effect is ruined by the small string of drool that collects at the corner of her mouth as she laughs her idiot laugh. Her eyes are glassy and deadened as she stares across the table at Cagey.

The dark-haired man seated next to her, on the other hand, radiates intelligence shot through with malice. His hair is slicked back from his high, proud forehead in a widow’s peak, and his arched eyebrows accentuate the eyes. A thick, flaky crust obscures those eyes, however, and its grayish color reflects the light in silvery glints. Although the face around the eyes is very animated, the crusts never crack, and the man never blinks. He just sits across from Cagey, next to the blonde moron, grinning a sickening, toothy grin. Neither speaks; they only regard Cagey silently for several minutes until he finally speaks.

“Um, is there something I can help you with?”

The dark-haired man giggles, mocks him: “Uh, uh, is there something I can help you with?” The idiot girl laughs her idiot laugh. They sit and continue to watch him.

“Why did you sit down here with me?”

The dark-haired man shrugs. “Didn’t. We were already here.” The blonde looks confused, nods, her jaw slack.

Cagey’s irritation begins to supplant his feelings of unease. “Sooo, I sat down here, at your table. Where you were the whole time. That’s what happened.”

The dark-haired man shrugs again. “You should come with us. We have some things to show you. Some things you’ll want to see.” The blonde imbecile nods emphatically, grunts, spittle flecking her chin.

“Wow. Wow, I don’t think so.”

The dark-haired man grins again, and Cagey’s stomach tightens up with apprehension. “You’ll end up going, one way or the other. It can be now, or there’s a bus that’ll take you later.”

“A bus?”

The man’s grin grows even broader. “Yeah, a bus. You don’t want to meet the bus driver.” The idiot girl laughs gutturally. The dark-haired man turns to her, grinning, looks back at Cagey. “Yeah. The bus driver. He’s, like…binary, man.”


“Yeah, you know: if we’re all Ones, then he’s a…”

The idiot girl shouts it: “Zero!” She laughs and laughs, clapping her hands awkwardly together. The man laughs as well, continues staring at Cagey through the flaky gray crusts.

“Mm-hm. That’s right.” The dark-haired man jerks his thumb over at the blonde. “He touched her once, and part of her came off in his hand.” The blonde continues her nodding and giggling. The dark-haired man gets up, motions the blonde out of the booth. She pushes herself up and nearly tumbles out, steadying herself on the table. “My name is Charles. My sister’s name…is Suzie. We’ll see you again. You won’t forget us any time soon.”

Cagey chuckles mirthlessly. “No, no I won’t.”

The pair moves towards the door of the restaurant, the girl leaning into her brother for support. Cagey watches them walk out into the parking lot to a long, boxy black car of indeterminate make and vintage. A man gets out of the driver’s seat, at least it looks like a man, all dressed in black. It is hard to see across the dimly lit parking lot but he appears to open the rear driver’s side door to let Suzie into the car. He assists her as Charles gets in on the passenger side. The man in black appears to turn back to the restaurant, and it is then that the music coming through the speakers begins to warp, sounding as if a child were playing with an AM dial, voices and snatches of music coming in and out through the strange echoes of the sine waves. The man in black turns, gets back into the driver’s seat, and pulls out into the night without his lights on. The restaurant’s radio returns to its regular program of frothy j-pop. Cagey turns back to his soup bowl and exhales, palms down before him on the tabletop. He then gets up suddenly, almost runs over to the waiter tabulating bills at the register by the door. The waiter looks up, smiles as Cagey approaches.

“Can I help you, sir?”

“Yeah, did you see those two people just leave? What was wrong with that guy’s eyes?”

The waiter looks confused. “Eyes…?”

It takes Cagey about ten seconds to realize that the waiter’s English extends to menu items and “Can I help you, sir?” Cagey smiles uncomfortably, waves him off and returns to his table. His soup is cold. His dinner is ruined. Cagey throws down a twenty, not feeling able to wait for the bill this evening, and stalks out to his car.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


The sun has gone out. It hangs in the heavens like a broken Christmas ornament. The huge, bat-winged creatures slowly flap their way across the darkened sky, lit from beneath by the ubiquitous fires. Screams and sirens echo around the valley beneath the mountain pass where the four young men stand, watching the butchery below.

They are members of a pop group, ALL 4 U; the name is embossed in tiny diamonds on the back of each of their uniquely colored velvet jumpsuits. Every one of them has a distinctively ridiculous haircut. The first, a deep baritone, turns to the others and states flatly, “So this is it. It has fully and truly come down.”

Another, voice much higher, tone much sweeter, responds with a sigh. “It would appear so. The real work begins now.”

The third pats his cornrows, grabs his balls and grunts out of the side of his mouth. “Yo yo yo, this shit is off the hizzy! Fo’shizzle my home nizzles! Niggas be all up in this shit, and shit. What what!”

The second turns to him, his tone scornful. “You don’t have to do that anymore. The end has begun. You can be yourself now.”

The third’s cartoonish grimace fades and he straightens up, embarrassed, rubs his neck. “Yeah. That’s right, isn’t it?”

The fourth, his pronunciation clipped and almost feminine, exclaims and points into the distance. “There! Look there.”

A creature made only of bones strides across the horizon, its four legs hundreds of feet tall. The thing’s body is much smaller, relatively speaking; its ribcage has only the mass of a mid-size automobile. The beast’s skull is long and thin, like that of a great horse. On the bone creature’s back rides a human skeleton of nearly the same proportions, arms and legs at least three times as long as they would be on a normal man. The skeleton holds a great flat sword at the end of his elongated arm and swings it through the open air, cackling. The high-pitched laughter is audible even over the echoing cacophony rising from the valley below.

The fourth purrs with satisfaction: “Bone Lord.” He nearly pronounces each word as a separate sentence for the gravity placed upon them.

The first claps his thighs and responds almost jauntily, “Well, I had better get down there, hadn’t I?”

The second nods, looks to the others. “We had all better. There is much work to be done.”

The third sighs. “I need to get the scales up and running to be able to separate the living remainder. Those bats and the Bone Lord will be done before you know it.”

The fourth smiles his pinched, autocratic smile. “And the concentration camps aren’t going to just fill themselves.”

They all laugh.

“True dat.”

With a small shrug, the first moves towards the pass leading to the valley below. “Wait,” requests the second, raising his hand. The first looks back askance. “Let’s do the hit. Just one more time, the chorus, okay? We might not have another chance.”

The others exchange glances, laugh, nod bashfully. They pull in close, hit C, then fall into their pre-programmed dance steps as they sing their first and biggest hit.

Fighting and fussin’, cheating and cussin’
Days when I was hungry and did not know what to do
Putting up a day’s pay for a bottle of Courvoisier
Girl, you know I’m giving it up a-all for you-u

The step ends with all four crouched in position, making silly ultra-macho faces and they immediately break into hysterics, clapping each other on the back and falling about. The second is the first to stand up, helping the others to their feet.

“That was fun.”

The fourth nods. “It was a good run, wasn’t it?”

“Hells, yes,” punctuates the third.

The first dusts off his knees and spreads his hands wordlessly to the others. They nod and slowly fall into line, walking towards the break in the trees that leads to the pass below. Four horses are tied there, each to its own post, and each with a banner corresponding to its individual rider. One of the bat-things passes close overhead and the ensuing wind ruffles the group members’ jumpsuits, the colors shimmering in the available fire-light: white, red, black and, lastly, a pale, pale green.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Ted: Okay, so, it’s this Pro-Life March on Washington, right? And there’s hundreds of ‘em, the fat and the deformed and the religious and the crazy, all together in a huge mass with their signs and their bibles and their billboard-sized pictures of discarded fetuses in garbage cans. So, they’re really whooping it up, right? They’re chanting their slogans and screaming at passersby and it is a real toodle-oo. So they walk all the way from…from I don’t fuckin’ know, but basically they end up rallying at the Washington Monument, all arrayed around the reflecting pool, pointing towards this huge stage at the base. Yeah, right, the one where the famous civil rights march one was and shit.

So, anyway, everybody does their little speeches, and there’s a couple of terrible Christian rock bands that everybody pretends are good, and then they get to the headliner, Reverend Phillip Ansley, and he is a piece of work. So he hits the stage and these Pro-Life fuckers go bananas like he was the second coming of Elvis or something. And he’s working it, stalking back and forth, mopping his brow, calling out for “Amen”s and testification. And they are eating it up. So then he brings it down for a minute so they can murmur quiet prayers for the hellbound souls of these malformed chitterlings, and in the middle of that quiet suddenly intrudes the “meep meep meep” of a truck backing up. And there it is, a great big eighteen-wheeler, at the opposite end of the reflecting pool. The unseen driver hits the hydraulics and the trailer tilts back until it empties its load into the pool, and what a load it is.

Hundreds of thousands of blood-soaked fetuses dump into the water with a great and terrible schlupping sound, and the water turns red, and the air is filled with a nauseating, coppery stench. The crowd screams as one, but this soon turns to an almost silent awe as the undead fetuses begin swimming towards the monument. Like a thousand little tadpoles they wriggle back and forth through the water, occasionally breaking the surface like playful little dolphins. And the crowd is totally speechless, right? Mouths agape, eyes blank with horror. So the fetuses make it to the other end and crowd the pool near the front of the stage, and one of them literally flops its way up onto the platform. So then it wriggles up the side of the podium like some horny teenage romeo trying to shinny up a drainpipe and hobbles to the microphone while the Right Reverend Ansley actually shits his pants.

And then the tiny creature begins to speak, a terrible, lisping high-pitched cross between Mickey Mouse and Carol Channing. And it tells the crowd that it is their obsessive attention that is keeping the fetuses alive, that it is their constant prayer and worry and energy that is keeping them from attaining what little rest they can get by passing from this hellish half-life of unremitting pain. And the little bugger basically asks them to knock this shit off so they can all die in peace. So, finally the Reverend recovers from soiling himself and leans into the microphone over the homunculus and tells the crowd to disregard what is obviously the work of the unholy Pro-Choice left, and the fetus looks up at him, and do you know what it says?

Ed: I. Don’t. Know.

Ted: “Daddy?”

Monday, September 8, 2008


The playground at dusk
"Will the swing hold both of us?"
Steel joints groan also

Sweat lashes her thigh
Been down there an hour now
The clock is ticking

Your breasts are sentries
Before the slope of your sex
Must stop at each first

Barely audible
(This is my favorite part)
Soft intake of breath

Each one says the other's name
It won't be long now

Sunday, September 7, 2008


There is a place, a house, and it sits at the edge of your dreams, and it is a bad house. It’s in the industrial part of town, and it is situated between the factories where they make the nightmares. No one works in these factories, but the factories operate all day long and all night long. You can hear them, all day long, all night long, miles outside the city in your dreams where the people live. In the industrial part of town there is no one for miles, just the endless cranking and clunking of the nightmare factories. The bad house sits among them, silent. There may be people in there, but you can’t tell. No one ever goes in, and no one ever comes out.

The bad house is a house, but it doesn’t look like other houses. It has no number. It is very small, as if it only has one room. There may be a basement, but you don’t want to think about that. Several pipes come up from the ground and go into the house and they may come from the factories that surround it. There are no windows, and there is no light visible under the door. There is just one great spotlight that shines on it from above at night, isolating it in the dark. The dimly lit factories around it add nothing to the light. There is only the one door, in the front. It might be locked. You don’t know.

The bad house is painted a pale yellow, and the paint is old and flaking. No smells emanate from the nightmare factories, but the bad house has a smell. It is the smell of all the bad places in your dreams, a nauseating human smell like old sweat between folds of flesh, coppery and tangy and riddled with decay. You stand before the bad house in your dreams, as you have many times before. The smell is strong, and it makes you want to run, but you don’t run. You stare at the door, isolated by the light, listening to the cranking and clanking of the surrounding factories. You are afraid in a way you haven’t been since you were eight years old, an all-encompassing afraid that makes you want to scream until you wake up. But you don’t do that. You walk towards the door of the bad house. As you are walking, you are afraid, and you tell yourself to stop, but you keep walking towards that door. There is a part of you that isn’t afraid, or if it is afraid it wants that smell more than it wants to run away. It wants to inhale that smell, to eat that smell, to get that smell all over you, to roll in it until you become it. And you are afraid of this part of you, and you are afraid of the bad house. But you keep walking towards that door.

And then you wake up. And you see people, and you do your job, and you eat your lunch, and you talk on the phone. But all day long you can still smell that smell of the bad house, lingering, at the edges of things, always there.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


study hall reading No One Here Gets Out Alive my favorite part teenage Jim Morrison kneeling on his younger brother’s shoulders spit thick and ropy from Hershey bars or orange juice dangling it right over brother’s face sucking it up just before the moment of (nauseating) contact huge study hall third biggest room in the school room to hide in Andy Warhol Velvets first album banana t-shirt black Chuck Taylor All-Stars chucks we call ((called)) them bleached the trim white (yellow) two color just like Paul Weller in the Jam (did he really) ((saw it in a picture once probly the drummer actually))

bedrooms suburban bedrooms sunshine suburban sunshine bedrooms spent so much time hiding from parents brothers sisters in each others bedroom bedrooms no wonder all we thought about was fucking

(did i say that out loud) ((hard to tell w/ headphones on always got caught singing along)) (FAGGOT)

all we ever thought about was girls all we ever got called was FAGGOT no wonder we were so confused
they were tough lived in the Proj drank beers and smoked weed in Snakeland glare mutter under your breath walk away there was always more of them than us that one was like a man he was huge how many times did he get left back anyway

((Burroughs says you must have run cowardly at one point to be able to express true courage)) (FUCK YOU FAGGOT)

did they kill Kathy Arnold we’ll never know Kenmore cops don’t care about some Proj slut killed in Snakeland she probly had it coming 2 suicides and a murder and John Jespers killed his whole family by graduation they wanted to change the school team from the Blue Devils to the Blue Angels because they thought it was SATANISM upside-down crosses and pentagrams spray painted on the walls at Snakeland

she sat in front of me in homeroom and then halfway through junior year she didn’t empty desk they moved us in together for senior year

((we didn’t even get a half day when Kathy got murdered today they’d deploy a SWAT team of social workers and psychiatrists to protect our fragile psyches did they even make an announcement when Gary killed himself all anyone did was scrawl DEAD over his face in my junior yearbook))

even though she sat in front of me i never thought about fucking her (pale and scrawny) it probly would have been weirder then if i had ((didn’t happen til years later another Kathy blonde cheerleader beat off to her a hundred times if it was once picture in the paper murdered by her husband i beat off to a girl who’s dead felt old and very lonly))

study hall never studied wrote poems somehow thought they’d impress some girl somehow some did headphones on crappy tape player knock off Walkman i taped the plate cover on when it broke why to keep the dust out nothing but dust anyway tapes and tapes and tapes some tapes (brad’s) without even any song titles goddamnit what is fucking track five called some (doug’s) just illegible dashed off scrawl some (daryle’s) pristine full color marker art and simulated Sharpie album font some (mark’s) cut out magazine picture cropped to fit tape case with newspaper head line down the spine they took up more space w/ the cases but i had to bring em felt like leaving your friends behind the ones without covers were always from girls Psychedelic Furs or Violent Femmes first album all scratchy maybe a skip or two sometimes she’d lift the needle and play a song she really liked twice fast forward through the second one so hard to find the beginning of the next song

i spent five minutes winding rewinding to find the beginning of the next song longer than the goddamn song itself i loved her

i waited hours for this i made myself so sick i wish i’d stayed asleep today meet me anyplace or anywhere or anytime now i will dare meet you tonight if you will dare i will dare it’s a wicked world there’s a million other guys i feel so lucky when i look in your green eyes green eyes green eyes tonight at noon tonight at noon tonight at noon a man in my shoes runs the light and all the papers lie tonight because falling over you is the news of the day

i made myself so sick

open window the sound of the construction finishing the stage almost ready can even hear over Meat is Murder on headphones the bottom drops out of my stomach this is really going to happen this is really happening

you could just go home


you could just go home


no i we practiced we wrote those songs mark brought his amp that thing is huge on the bus dave will never forgive you stupid bass with the pickup taped on it that thing sounds like shit she will be there


she will be there

all of our stuff is down there my drums (what drums an overturned plastic garbage can for the tom tom and a snare i stole from the marching band) ((i played standing up i must’ve thought I was moe tucker)) dave’s shitty bass (also stolen) and mark’s strat and stack good thing he’s younger than us or he’d realize how much we suck good thing they have a p.a. for all the bands to use or else i’d be shouting over everything like in the garage

we’re a garage band we come from garageland

that Kiss cover band’s gonna win this year they always win they’ve got fire and explosions and makeup and big boots if we wore makeup and big boots we’d probly get called faggot probly will anyway who else there’s that jazz band but whatever fuck those dorks they’ll probly do a Police song and their parents will think they’re cool there’s at least two other garage bands but all they play is like Zeppelin and Sabbath covers and orginals with names like dark carnival and black light connection then there’s the fake reggae band Kaya there’s like twenty people in that band most of em from school band or orchestra and everyone thinks they’re gonna win this year all they have to do is play Legalize It and all the stoners will go crazy but reggae’s so fucking boring it makes me want to cry ((it’d be three more years before Toots and the Maytals punched a hole into my soul five before dub crawled inside it))

we don’t play covers six originals so far seven if you count that song mark wrote that totally rips off the Pixies we should win just for not playing covers (in addition to being fucking visionary post-punk mega-stars)

they were gonna give me a medal for this and i wasn’t even in their fucking army anymore

she will be there

dave just walked up to them before lunch like he knew them at all asked if they were gonna be there after school telling them how awesome we are and i said we just started we need more practice he gave me that look that he gives me when i’m blowing it but they were totally cool and like we’ll come check you guys out and dave goes awesome and we walk away says you should have talked to her i said i did he says yeah and you almost blew it with your self-deprecating bullshit i said you didn’t even know what that meant before i told you he says yeah i’ll be thinking about that later when i’m fucking your mom doggy style i said fuck you

she will be there

Saturday, August 9, 2008


“This is the song that you love the most and we hate the most.” - Nick Cave

It is a dark and stormy night. The General CEO enters the boardroom through the three security passages, the silver heels of his black leather boots echoing throughout as they strike the brushed metal floor. Despite the hour and the dim, recessed lighting he leaves his sunglasses on and straightens his cap as he strides to the large oval table that dominates the room. Above, a vast display screen awakens with his presence and fades into a detailed relief map of the country. Vast areas are shaded in a wash of greenish-gray, contrasted with small swaths of stippled sky blue. The General CEO contemplates this map for several moments and then begins to walk around the oval table, running his fingertips lightly over the tops of the swivel chairs arrayed all around it.

Sitting in these chairs are figures dressed in identical charcoal gray business suits, but instead of flesh they are stuffed with straw. Their heads are identical, hairless plastic molds that only feature holes where normally facial characteristics would be present. As with their stuffed scarecrow bodies, straw pokes out from all of the orifices of the heads. The General CEO occasionally caresses an air-cooled plastic cheek or pushes the straw deeper inside a face through an eye or mouth-hole. After the General CEO completes his circuit, he stands to the side, hands on his hips, and lifts his chin to call out to the dark upper reaches of the boardroom.


An emotionless though distinctly female voice issues from speakers mounted throughout the boardroom.


The General CEO lowers his gaze to his motionless board members. “Update please.”


The General CEO looks up, and as he realizes the gravity of Control’s words, a sickening, mirthless grin spreads across his face.

“It’s really true?”


The General CEO licks his lips. His voice quavers with excitement. “Details?”


The General CEO’s breath catches in his throat.


The General CEO can barely believe that this is actually happening. “And the third? The third objective?”

A pause.


The General CEO slowly, raggedly inhales.


The General CEO exhales sharply, his shoulders shaking with delight. “Send. For them.”


The General CEO responds, genuinely, “Thank you, Control.” He stands motionless for several moments, drinking it in. It has taken years, but his two archons have fully and completely accomplished their directives. They have finally created the circumstances necessary for the End and the subsequent, joyful birth of the Beginning and its orgy of order and fear.


The General CEO undresses with a single gesture and lies naked and face-up upon a thick black leather couch that sits upon a shag rug off to the far side of the boardroom. A keypad to the right of the entranceway pulsates through a series of colors and accompanying sounds, and the three metal doors quickly slide open with an attendant rush of air. In silently walk a young blonde woman and an old white man, both completely nude. The young woman is the famous Heiress; the old man is the President of the United States. The General CEO gestures for the two to join him.

As the Heiress’ petite powdered feet pad along the floor towards the General CEO, maggots quietly rain down from her vagina to the polished metal. The President’s tiny penis is fully erect, and a foul yellow pus drools from the head. These twin towers of filth approach the General CEO and lie down on either side of the black leather couch, caressing him gently. In a small cloud of steam, the General CEO’s body melts into that of a gigantic worm, fat and brown, with hundreds of smaller worms spurting out from suppurating wounds where the tight worm-skin has split. Only his head remains untransformed.

Suddenly the General CEO’s face splits down the middle, the skin separates from the head and both halves fan backwards from it like wings. Revealed underneath, a great sphincter imbedded with multiple rows of tiny sharp teeth is sheathed in blood. The Heiress and the President move in close to lick the blood from the sphincter’s wrinkled lips. Those lips twitch violently, and then issue the General CEO’s final order in a gargled belch.

“Release the bats.”