Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wolf's Cannonball

Little Red skipped and hopped through the forest with a wicker picnic basket in hand and a sunshine smile on her face. Her red cloak and hood flapped like a flag in the morning wind while goose bumps formed on her arms from the chilly weather. After a lengthy summer of boiling hot weather, a gentle breeze was most certainly welcome. By the time Red reached the top of the hill, she gazed into the distance with a star-struck expression and said, “My, what big eyes you have! You dead bastard!”

Her innocent aura was replaced with a menacing scowl as she pulled the hood over her face and knelt down to unload her picnic basket. Instead of delicious treats for grandma, Red pulled out pieces of a sniper rifle and assembled them with military quickness. She laid on her stomach and peered through the scope to acquire her target. Even with so many trees standing in her way, the target was as clear as the morning weather. “That bounty money is as good as mine, motherfucker!” she said with a sadistic grin.

Within Little Red Sniper’s crosshairs was the Big Bad Wolf himself, the hairy beast moving gracefully with martial arts movements. Every spin kick and palm strike would have made the legendary Bruce Lee proud. One of his spin kicks managed to slice one of the trees down. The thunderous crash to the ground made Little Red Sniper giggle and shake her head. “Pathetic. That’s what it is,” she said under her breath. “All that kung fu BS won’t mean a damn thing with a bullet in your head.”

After performing his kata, the Big Bad Wolf stood still and breathed intensely to relax his body while he spread his palms out. This wasn’t the kind of breath that could huff and puff and blow somebody’s house down, but it did let Little Red know that he worked hard to perfect his craft despite her unimpressed stare through the scope. The innocent-looking sniper focused her crosshairs right between Wolfie’s eyes and she took the perfect shot.

As the thunderous blast rang out through the forest, Little Red Sniper got up and celebrated her perfect shot with arm swinging dances and moonwalk shuffles. She giggled as she peered through the sniper scope to see just how badly Wolfie’s head exploded. “No fucking way,” she said to herself. “This is some sugar frosted bullshit!”

Wolfie had caught the bullet with his fangs and spit it out like chewed bubblegum. Instead of splattered brains, all she got was a tiny trickle of blood running down his furry chin. The martial arts genius’s deadly grin showed a dark side of him that the public was used to seeing. Even Little Red had been quivering in her boots upon seeing such a vicious expression.

With her rifle still concentrated on the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red slowly backed away while stuttering uh’s repeatedly. The further she backed away, the closer Wolfie got as he power walked across the forest to go in for the kill. Little Red kept backing away until she bumped into a muscular figure behind her and dropped to her knees, losing her rifle in the process.

When Little Red reached over shakily to pick up her weapon, she felt a death grip around the nape of her neck as it yanked her off the ground kicking and screaming. “Put me down, you big oaf! I’ll pop your head open once I get my rifle!” she threatened.

The massive hand turned her around and now she was face to face with yet another razor sharp mouth and bloodlust glare. The orange flannel shirt, the baggy blue jeans, the black combat boots, and the blood-covered axe, not to mention the filthy green skin: they all spelled the presence of Hacksaw the grumpy lumberjack. The orc leaned his face closer to Red’s and said in a throaty voice, “You ain’t gonna do shit!” before tossing her aside easier than a beach ball.

After Little Red bounced off of a tree stump, Hacksaw kicked the sniper rifle away into the nearby bushes while the Big Bad Wolf leapt onto the battlefield with grace and dexterity. Wolfie did some marital arts punches and tornado kicks in the air to warm himself up, but only received a belly laugh from an indifferent Hacksaw. “You think any of that shit’s going to matter once I chop your goddamn head off?” he mockingly asked. “I don’t give a damn about your big bad reputation; that money is mine!”

Hacksaw charged at Wolfie and swung his axe like a barbarian possessed by eye-bulging rage. While that battle was going on, Little Red wiped the dirt out of her eyes and slowly crawled towards the bushes where her sniper rifle was kicked. “Almost there…” she said weakly before Hacksaw accidentally stepped on her hand and made it sound like he walked on packing peanuts.

“Yeouch!” hollered Little Red as she pulled her hand out and felt it pulsate with redness like she was in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. “Watch where you’re stepping, you giant sack of turds!”

Hacksaw grabbed Little Red by her crunchy wrist and slammed her against Wolfie, sending him flying backwards against a tree, which crackled and smashed upon impact. After tossing Little Red aside once again, Hacksaw raised his axe to the sky and shouted, “Yes! That bounty money’s mine! Ha-ha! I did it! Woo!”

Little Red once again attempted to crawl towards her weapon, broken hand and all. This time she was sure she would retrieve it. It was inches away from her good fingertips. Victory would be hers and bullets would fly everywhere in this god forsaken forest. Her fingertips were on the barrel when she felt a hard boot come down across her spinal cord. She yelped in pain and howled like a puppy while Hacksaw pulled her up by her blond locks.

“I’ve had just about all I can stand of you, you crazy bitch!” grunted Hacksaw with his axe raised in the air. “All I wanted was a nice beachside vacation for my family and you’re out here trying to take that shit away from me! That pretty little head of yours is coming off today!”

Little Red spit out blood and protested, “Beachside vacation?! You’re doing all of this to get sand in your ass?! My grandmother has cancer, for god’s sake! Hell, there are lots of guys out there who need that bounty money more than you do! There will always be time to get salt water in your nose and sand in your G-string! My grandmother has six weeks to live! I need this money, damn it!”

“Ah, who cares about that old hag?!” grumbled Hacksaw. “She would have been dead even if she didn’t have cancer! She’s probably so old that she has Jesus on speed dial!”

“So this is it, huh?” said a familiar grunting voice. Once Hacksaw recognized it as an arm-folded Big Bad Wolf, he released his grip on Little Red and allowed her to scoot away while holding her lower back. Wolfie continued with, “You two are finally going to be the ones who take me to jail for a crime I didn’t commit? Of course they’re going to pin it on me. I’m a fucking wolf! Never mind that the two of you are killing each other over some ill-gotten reward. Never mind that children go missing every day around here. Never mind that not one body was found out in these woods. Not one fucking body!”

A beat of silence befell the bounty hunters as their expressions softened and their shoulders slacked. Wolfie wasn’t done yet. “I know how the so-called justice system works. It can’t be called justice at all. The guy with the sharpest teeth and the martial arts skills is automatically guilty despite there being no fucking evidence of any crime. How dare you judge me based on a fake reputation! How dare you come at me looking for a shallow reward! If I wanted to waste my time with you guys, both of you would be dead as fried chicken by now!”

Wolfie stroked his chin and as a light bulb went off in his head. “Come to think of it, there is one technique I’d like to try, but it might actually kill me, it’s so powerful. I’ve been working on it for years. If I could get it right, both of you would be dead ass motherfuckers and I could finally live in peace. Yeah, that sounds about right…I call it the Wolf’s Cannonball!”

Holding her hands up in defeat, Little Red pleaded, “Now listen, Wolfie-Pie: you don’t need to do that shit. Both of us will get out of here and leave you alone. Hell, we’ll probably start a petition to get that bounty off your head. Right, Hacksaw?”

“Wolf’s Cannonball, my ass! I ain’t gonna help him with a damn thing! He needs to die and if you’re too much of a sissy to collect that bounty, I’m going to do it!” shouted Hacksaw as he charged at Wolfie with his axe yet again despite Little Red’s protests.

In defense the Big Bad Wolf backed up Hacksaw by curling into a ball and spinning in the air with mystic blue energy surrounding him. Little Red crawled on the ground like a snail while Hacksaw tripped over everything in fear until he was on his knees crouching into the fetal position. The faster Wolfie spun in the air, the wider the blue energy spread and the tighter Little Red and Hacksaw clutched their prone bodies. In a moment of desperation, the two hunters even hugged each other knowing their financial wishes wouldn’t come true and their lives would be over.

In a blinding flash of blue light, a jet engine wooshing noise flew past Little Red Sniper and Hacksaw and had them screaming like torture victims in hell. They screamed even louder as their skin boiled and their hairs stood up. The energy got hotter and the light was bright enough to damage eyes worse than a solar eclipse. And then…total darkness. All that remained of Little Red and Hacksaw’s pain were migraine-sized headaches and pulsating eyeballs.

“You can let go of me now, Hacksaw,” said Little Red Sniper in a sheepish voice. The orc lumberjack obeyed and the two of them slowly rose to their feet while dusting themselves off. Once Little Red popped her spine back into place, she and Hacksaw saw that the Wolf’s Cannonball had left a deep trail beneath them and that trail was leading into the city. They could see the castle from here as it exploded into a bright blue fire before being sucked up in a gigantic energy beam blasting into the sky.

“So that’s the Wolf’s Cannonball. He didn’t want to use it on a couple of bounty hunters. He wanted to take down the justice system. Eh, makes sense,” said Little Red with shrugged shoulders.

“I bet that castle as a shit load of gold in it somewhere. Government buildings usually do. There’s probably enough in there for both of us to get what we want,” said Hacksaw.

“Are you suggesting that we loot the castle?” asked Little Red in minor shock. Once Hacksaw smiled and winked at her, she smiled back and said, “For the first time in my life, I like the way you think!”

The two bounty hunters wrapped their arms around each other and walked from the scene. Hacksaw asked, “Don’t you want your sniper rifle?”

“Meh. I’ll just buy a new one. Maybe I’ll get a rocket launcher, who knows?” said Little Red nonchalantly.


“I also like the way you think!”

Monday, August 21, 2017

How Dare You?

VERSE 1
How dare you label me a snake in the grass?
How dare you kick me when I’m on my ass?
How dare you dig up the secrets from my past?
How dare you…How dare you?!

CHORUS
You didn’t know me until I made that mistake
You tried to judge me until the day I break
You tried to label my apologies as fake
How dare you?! How dare you?!

VERSE 2
How dare you unleash the world upon me?
How dare you wish for the buckets I bleed?
How dare you judge me before you read?
How dare you…How dare you?!

CHORUS
You didn’t know me until I made that mistake
You tried to judge me until the day I break
You tried to label my apologies as fake
How dare you?! How dare you?!

BRIDGE
Sound the alarm! It’s time to do some harm!
Ring the bell! It’s time to burn it to hell!
Flash the sirens! Let’s kill the tyrant!
How dare you?! How dare you?!

EXTENDED CHORUS
You didn’t know me until I made that mistake
You tried to judge me until the day I break
You tried to label my apologies as fake
How dare you?! How dare you?!
You think this is a game? Can you handle fame?
You think this is a joke going up in smoke?
You think you’re clever until the end of forever?

How dare you?! How dare you?!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Conspiracy Theory

CHORUS
I have a conspiracy theory
No rest for the weary
Have no choice but to hear me
I have a conspiracy theory

VERSE 1
Bill Maher wants to commit fat guy genocide
Put millennials in ovens until they are fried
Beat Muslims with a bat, it’s what he wants
Since their symbol is a crescent, he eats croissants
Listen, ‘cause the story that I’m telling is true
If he tried to sue, he would badly lose
Maybe I embellished just a little tiny bit
But as long as you’re willing to eat bullshit…

CHORUS
I have a conspiracy theory
No rest for the weary
Have no choice but to hear me
I have a conspiracy theory

VERSE 2
Donald Trump was born on the planet of Mars
Sitting on his pudgy ass eating chocolate bars
The orange on his skin is moldy Wheat Thins
Doritos, Cheetohs, and rotten Papas Fritos
Listen, ‘cause the story that I’m telling is real
It’ll make him squeal, the stuff I reveal
Maybe it’s built on a little white lie
But as long as you’re willing to pray to the sky…

CHORUS
I have a conspiracy theory
No rest for the weary
Have no choice but to hear me
I have a conspiracy theory

VERSE 3
James Woods once sued a starving African teen
For twenty million dollars and his ruptured spleen
The charges stemmed from a 1912 Twitter post
About the so-called actor having brains of buttered toast
Listen, ‘cause the story will involve Dr. Luke
And how they drowned each other in Roman shower puke
If they win their lawsuits, it’ll only be a fluke
Conspiracy theories don’t have to be rebuked

FINAL LINE

I have a conspiracy theory X4

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Chicken Shit Scale

***THE CHICKEN SHIT SCALE***

Just to clarify, no, this journal topic has nothing to do with the last topic, which was about cowardly villains. It’s about a certain idiom we’ve all heard at least one point in our lives: “Making chicken salad out of chicken shit”. In other words, it’s a blunt way of saying that you’re going to make the best out of a bad situation. Sometimes you can make a delicious salad, other times you’ve still got a big heaping plate of chicken shit.

I know this because back in 2006, I tried to make chicken salad out of chicken shit with a movie script previously called Pumping Filter. It was drenched with violence and slurs that made absolutely no sense in that context, so I took the script to a woman named Heather for evaluation. Despite the fact that we couldn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things and our professional relationship was a complete failure, Pumping Filter, now called Snakes in a Cage, was slightly better because of her critiques. Unfortunately, the newly christened Snakes in a Cage has been deleted from my archives because in the end it was still a heaping pile of chicken shit. A lot of my past creative writing projects have met this fate and perhaps the silver lining in all of this is that they are learning experiences I will have forever.

Today in 2017, I face the chicken shit dilemma once again. As many of you know, I’m currently shooting towards finishing three different anthologies for publication: American Darkness 2 (contemporary drama), Poison Tongue Tales 2 (sci-fi, fantasy, and horror), and the newly christened Lunatic Justice (dark poetry and heavy metal songs). I also have three first draft novels that I finished a long time ago that need to be looked at: Filter Feeder (environmental fantasy), Watch You Burn (psychological fantasy), and Demon Axe (musical fantasy).

When I eventually put the finishing touches on the anthologies, that will be when I present my beautiful beta reader Marie Krepps with choices as to what she wants to work on. I’m not saying I’m incapable of making my own decisions or that my love of surprises has spiraled out of control. I’m saying that some of these first drafts are better than others (despite the fact that all first drafts by their very nature suck ass). The question I need to ask myself is, which ones are easier to fix and which ones will completely drain me?

In an effort to answer this question, I came up with something called The Chicken Shit Scale, where I rank my first drafts on a scale of one to six, where one is the worst rough draft (and therefore needs a LOT of work) and six is the best (easy breezy lemon squeezy). Is it better to make chicken salad out of chicken shit or is it better to make more diamonds out of…well…diamonds! Sorry, that last analogy sucked, which doesn’t help my case for making the most out of a bad situation. Anyways, here are my rankings for my first drafts:

  1. Filter Feeder
  2. Watch You Burn
  3. Demon Axe
  4. Poison Tongue Tales 2
  5. American Darkness 2
  6. Lunatic Justice

I want you to notice that I’ve grouped the novels, short story anthologies, and the singular poetry collection separately. In my experience, short stories and poetry are easier to correct than a full-fledged novel since there aren’t as many variables to deal with. I put Filter Feeder on the bottom of the list because…well…have you seen it lately? It was written a long time ago, so naturally the more recent ones, Watch You Burn and Demon Axe, are going to overwhelmingly outrank it. American Darkness 2 outranks Poison Tongue Tales 2 because I feel like with the latter I’m writing the same story over and over again with different characters are different circumstances. It’s the same ass beating on repeat, which is pretty much what WWE is, but I watch that weekly anyways. Lunatic Justice ranks the highest because people seem to love my poetry anyways, as noted by the grades reviewers have given my previous poetry books Confessions of a Schizophrenic Savage and Necrograph (I swear I’m not trying to stroke myself…maybe).

When the last three items on the list are complete, then that would be a good time to recruit Marie’s services so that I can have a singular focus in my creative work (editing). I know she’s been pretty busy lately and money isn’t coming easy for her, so that’s why I’m treading lightly with this one. To be honest, I’ll pay her whatever she wants because it’ll be worth it in the end. I trust her judgment no matter what the project is. Plus, she’s got a wicked sense of humor. Regarding the “magic wand” joke in the Poison Tongue Tales story Streetwalker, she said, “I’d rather get raped than listen to another one of [Ryan Brock’s] stupid jokes.” She’s brutally honest, but she’s right on the money with that one. Did I mention I trust her completely?

So what will it be? Will I make chicken salad out of chicken shit or will I…uh…uh…make golden earrings out of gold? (What the fuck was that?) We’ve got ears, say cheers!


***CREATIVE WORK***

Besides this journal, I haven’t done any creative work today, so nothing has changed since the Cowardly Villains blog. I might as well put on my “Please Don’t Make Me Do Stuff” T-shirt, because that’s how I feel today.


***MUSIC JOKE OF THE DAY***

Q: What does the lead singer of In This Moment say every time she does a commercial for underwear?

A: Even in these Hanes you can’t Jockey.


***POST-SCIRPT***


If you can make chicken salad out of that chicken shit joke, by all means, go for it. Hehe!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cowardly Villains

***COWARDLY VILLAINS***

Villains, by their very definition, have at least some level of cowardice when it comes to exercising their evilness upon innocent people. Criminals run away whenever the police show up. High ranking villains use their wealth and power to control their adversaries. Bullies target only people who are weaker than them. If villains didn’t have any kind of power over their intended targets, they would scurry away in fear when the heat gets too hot. When was the last time you saw a caterpillar bully a full sized human adult? It doesn’t happen.

And then you have the kind of cowardly villain that uses their chicken shit ways in order to frustrate their opponents. You see this all the time in WWE with guys like The Miz and Kevin Owens. While the frustration tactic may be effective at times and believable more often than not, you don’t really hear about these kinds of villains in any other medium. Jaws was a big badass shark who devoured his victims. The giant tarantulas in Eight Legged Freaks felt no need to run away from their prey to frustrate them.

In short, whenever I write a story, I prefer that my villains be badasses who will gladly go toe-to-toe with their opponents and will most likely win. Those ones are the hardest to defeat. Those are the ones with the most power over their victims. Yes, Roger Zee from my most recent first draft novel Demon Axe had cowardly traits, such as relying on mass manipulation more than his own fighting skills, but hardcore fighting skills he did have. If anything, manipulating people into believing him was little more than an insurance policy. So you have this deadly assassin who’s unmatched in machete swordsmanship and he’s got an army of believers behind him. Holy shit!

The reason manipulating people is considered cowardly is because the ones doing the manipulating target impressionable youths and already-converted adults exclusively. Do you think for one minute that the white nationalists in Charlottesville are capable of brainwashing hard left resisters? I don’t fucking think so. They stick to their own base and that’s what gives them power. And then that kind of indoctrination is passed on from generation to generation behind closed doors.

So what should an ideal villain be as far as the cowardice-bravery spectrum goes? As I’ve illustrated with Roger Zee a few paragraphs ago, it could very well be a middle of the road deal. If Roger relied on his fighting skills exclusively, there’s still a small chance he’ll get blown to bits by the military or police. But if he blackmails those same police and military members, he becomes even more unnecessarily powerful. The power hungry crave more power and it’s an addiction that rivals cocaine and sugar.

For villains who don’t have the kind of power Roger Zee possessed in Demon Axe, cowardly tactics could be perceived as intelligence in disguise. That’s why we see assassins and hit men in movies run away from the police rather than taking them down with a bazooka in either hand while riding a tank. Some battles just can’t be won, but it’s the war that will determine a permanent victor. In the case of evading police, power over the public comes through self-preservation. The one who is the most energetic at the end of the war will be the winner.

So now we have an axis of bravery-cowardice (X coordinates) and wisdom-naivety (Y coordinates). I’d draw the graph myself, but I don’t have that kind of software on my computer nor will it show up very well when I copy and paste this blog entry online. When crafting a villain, these are the kinds of personalities you’ll have to consider. It may not be as simple as plotting points on the X-Y graph. There are variables to consider such as a powerful dictator being too lazy to do the job himself or maybe some underlying sense of entitlement due to being overpowered. I’m not saying one way is better than the other except for when I write my own novels and short stories. I prefer badasses who will go toe-to-toe with everyone, but that’s my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own.

And now that I’ve mentioned this mind-blowing idea of everyone having their own opinions, I’d like to hear some of yours, my lovely audience. Should villains be completely cowardly or not at all? How many shades of gray are there when determining an answer? Where does your main source of creative fuel for villains come from? We’ve got ears, say cheers!


***AMERICAN DARKNESS 2: WE ARE THE MACHINE***

This collection of short stories is only three away from being complete. The third to final story will not be featured at the WSS as a contest entry, but rather as an independent piece. It’s called “Bloodstained Paycheck” and it goes like this:

CHARACTERS:

1.      Owen Edge, Crime Scene Cleaner
2.      Dennis McKay, Porn Theater Bouncer
3.      Felicia Strom, Kidnapped Teenager

PROMPT CONFORMITY: None.

SYNOPSIS: As part of his occupation, Owen doesn’t discriminate when it comes to clients as long as they pay his expensive fees. His latest assignment comes when Dennis hires him to clean up a bloodstained nudy booth after the bulky bouncer got too rough with a client and committed manslaughter. Owen’s neutrality is put to the test when he catches Felicia trying to sneak free from captivity. She spills the gory details of how she was being forced to perform sex acts on the other side of the glass for men’s entertainment at the threat of being murdered or raped by Dennis. Owen must now make a decision to stay true to his profession or pull the gun from his pocket and put one between Dennis’s eyes.


***POISON TONGUE TALES 2: THE RIGHT TO REMAIN PSYCHOTIC***

This story, on the other hand, will definitely be a part of the WSS contests. The prompt for this week comes from a list of lyrics CJ (the admin) laid out for us and the ones I chose came from “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett. This story is called “Wolf’s Cannonball” and will bear resemblance to last year’s “Tiger Bullet Kick”. Here’s how the story goes:

CHARACTERS:

  1. Big Bad Wolf, Martial Arts Genius
  2. Little Red Sniper, Assassin
  3. Hacksaw, Lumberjack

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Big Bad Wolf doesn’t give a damn about his bad reputation (judging by how he treats his bounty hunters).

SYNOPSIS: The unfortunately labeled Big Bad Wolf has been wrongly accused of stealing children from various villages and now has a price on his head that Little Red Sniper and Hacksaw plan to collect. Instead of trying to explain his innocence, Big Bad Wolf has taken on all comers with no absence of malice. He has a move in his arsenal known as the Wolf’s Cannonball, a rolling attack so powerful that it could be dangerous to his health.


***NOVEL IDEA EXPANSION***

American Darkness 2 and Poison Tongue Tales 2 are both well on their way to being completed and ready for Marie Krepps’ critiques. While there will definitely be a third installment in both series, my main goal after completing those anthologies will be to write another novel. As of now, I have more novel ideas than I do complete scene-by-scene blueprints for them. I’ve made it my mission to write those blueprints for all of my novels so that I’ll have something to fall back on when one novel idea is written out. I did it with a synopsis called “69 Bullets” and I plan on doing it with “Backwoods Barbarian”, the next in the alphabetical order. While I won’t give away spoilers for 69 Bullets, you can have a short synopsis:

HEROES:

  1. Daniel Jameson a.k.a. Chakko, Teenaged Porn Addict
  2. Leon De Taj, Electromancer
  3. Tina Ryan, Heavy Metal Guitarist

VILLAINS:

  1. Dominick Zola, Vampire Mob Boss
  2. Markus Bathory, Red Knight
  3. Bailey Krause, Mercenary

SYNOPSIS: Daniel Jameson is a high school student with a 3.7 grade point average and the admiration of his female classmates. Chakko, on the other hand, is the online alias he uses whenever he surfs the web for porn, both to use and to distribute to other teenagers. Chakko’s main crush is Tina Ryan, the super attractive heavy metal guitarist from an all-girl band called The Angry Amazons. The band is coming to his home town of Seattle, but Chakko may not get a chance to see them. During his internet moonlighting, he downloaded nude pictures of Bailey Krause, a member of Dominick Zola’s criminal empire. Dominick is not happy and wants to burn Chakko alive.


***DARK FANTASY WARRIORS***

I’ve been pumping out drawings like crazy and the next one on the chopping block will be Hacksaw, the orcish lumberjack from my eventual WSS contest entry “Wolf’s Cannonball”. He figures since he cuts down trees for a living, hacking the Big Bad Wolf to pieces won’t be any more of a struggle. The only difference is, trees aren’t capable of perfecting martial arts techniques. Be careful what you wish for, Hacksaw, because you just might get it.


***COMEDIC QUOTE OF THE DAY***

“Human beings are nothing more than ordinary jungle beasts. Savages. No different from the Cro-Magnon men who lived 25,000 years ago in the plasticine forests eating grubs off of rotten logs. No different. Our DNA hasn’t changed substantially in 100,000 years. We’re still operating out of the lower brain. The reptilian brain. Fight of flight, kill or be killed. We like to think we’ve evolved and advanced, because we can build a computer, fly an airplane, travel underwater, paint a painting, write a poem, and compose an opera. But you know what? We’re barely out of the fucking jungle. We’re really just semi-civilized beasts with baseball caps and automatic weapons.


-George Carlin-

STEM Sell

VERSE 1
You show off your engineering degree
And laugh at those with artistic needs
Telling them to get a real fucking job
Dress in suits and ties, not like a slob
When will the lesson finally sink in?
Creativity is never an economic sin
While you’re miserable and stressed
Money isn’t happiness’s litmus test

CHORUS
Don’t try to sell me a life of pain!
I’d rather keep from going insane!
Art is my life, my heaven, my hell!
I’m not buying your STEM sell!

VERSE 2
You can buy a house and a fancy car
Yet you still waste away at the bar
A boring life marred with depression
The sadness spreads like an infection
Take out your blight on those who write
Those who paint and those who create
Those who strum chords on a guitar
Those whose dreams seem so far

CHORUS
Don’t try to sell me a life of pain!
I’d rather keep from going insane!
Art is my life, my heaven, my hell!
I’m not buying your STEM sell!

BRIDGE
I’m not a machine for a technomancer
I’m not a pill, the doctor’s answer
I’m not a number, don’t file me away
I’m an artist and proud to stay that way!

EXTENDED CHORUS
Don’t try to sell me a life of pain!
I’d rather keep from going insane!
Art is my life, my heaven, my hell!
I’m not buying your STEM sell!
Take your paycheck and shove it!
I create true art because I love it!
Drive your Mustang into the river!

Coldness and sorrow will make you shiver!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mine All Mine

Chris Buyatt’s motorcycle blazed down the empty highway and created skid marks in the road when he pulled off to the side. Not one cop car was within his sniper sight, but he had no illusions about safety even after making it this far. There it was as obvious as daylight: the entrance to the old style salt mine, complete with one of those wheeled carts blocking in the doorway.

He felt it in his gut: somebody beat him to this place. Once he sped towards the entrance, he dismounted in a flippy-floppy fashion reminiscent of capoeira training. Chris even danced and spun around to get his muscles warmed up. He then removed his motorcycle helmet and flipped his dreadlocks back. Taking a deep breath to steady his nerves, he shoved the mine cart over and ventured inside this dark tunnel.

Fishing the flashlight out of his baggy shorts pocket, Chris Buyatt illuminated the tunnel and scared a flock of bats which flew right over his crouched head. The initial shock sent him jumping out of his boots, but then he shook his head and sighed in disappointment. “Pathetic. That’s all it is,” he said to himself.

The deeper he trudged into the mines, the more his flashlight gave out on him. Chris banged it against the wall to shift the batteries in the right place, but that only gave him a few more seconds of light at best. “Son of a bitch,” he said under his breath. He felt around to get some kind of idea where he was, but all he got was a palm full of dust and salt.

“Allow me!” said a baritone voice in the darkness. A singular flame illuminated the mine shaft as well as the face of a red haired gentleman with a 70’s porn moustache and neon green eyes. He chuckled with evil delight before blowing the flame like a fireball kiss toward his nemesis. Chris cartwheeled out of the way just in time to land on his ass, hip bone connecting with the cart tracks.

The flame descended upon the ground and formed a circle around the two opponents. Michael Tyoni shined brightly in his new light. The cheesy haircut, the even cheesier moustache, the red robes with flaming emblems on it, Chris could have recognized that getup from a mile away. He had indeed been beaten here.

“Running from the law again, are we, Mr. Buyatt?” said Michael in a serpentine tone. “At this rate, you’ll be running for the rest of your wasted life. I know what you’re here for and it’s not golden treasure. That shit only appears in fairytales. You’re looking for something a little more…vengeful.”

Chris nipped up and flipped his dreadlocks back before pointing a finger at his nemesis and barking, “Cut the bullshit, Mikey-Boy! Where’s the goddamn tape?! You better not have burned that shit or you and I are going to dance, bitch!”

Michael shrugged his shoulders and said nonchalantly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. What is this tape you speak of? Scotch tape? Masking tape? Or even more exciting than those two, duct tape? I had no idea you were into such thrilling activities.” The pyromancer chuckled in a mock sexual tone before throwing another flame at Chris and having him cartwheel out of harm’s way again.

The authoritative finger of doom was waved at Mr. Tyoni once more while Chris shouted, “You know damn well I’m looking for a videotape, nigga! Fork that shit over or I’m going to slap you silly, motherfucker!”

“And just where do you plan on slapping him, Mr. Buyatt?” asked an elderly feminine voice in the shadows. “On the ass? Is this another part of your liberal agenda? I’m sure the Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon, and Tomato community will love it. Wait a minute, is that what LGBT stands for? Or does it stand for Lovers of Grabbing Boners and Testicles? I can never figure these overblown phrases out these days.”

With a devilish smirk, Michael lifted his palms in the air and raised the flames so that Chris could see Governor Nina Thomas standing behind the pyromancer with a shotgun in hand. The Marlboro lines in her face, the ratty white and brown hair, and that god awful teal pantsuit: that was the Governor alright.

“And by the way, Mr. Buyatt,” said the condescending politician. “You should personally thank your brother for giving you this location. He’s making a huge sacrifice just for you. He’ll spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement. I hope it’s worth it.”

“You two are full of shit!” blasted Chris. “My brother doesn’t belong in there and you know it! You locked him up for the same reason you want to lock me up!” He then pointed to his black face to make the reference clear. “Hand over the motherfucking tape, assholes! The whole world’s going to see what you bitches do to those so-called crooks!”

“Oh, that’s okay, Chris, they already know,” said Nina with a wave of her hand. The bravado melted off of the capoeira ace’s visage like butter. Miss Thomas said, “Everybody knows what’s going on these days. It’s all over the media. The problem is, they just don’t care, that’s all. What are they going to do about cops locking up black offenders, anyways? File a complaint? Sue them? Yeah, that’ll work! You actually thought playing that tape would do anything to hurt me or my career? Nobody gives a shit anymore, Chris! Get with the program!” Nina’s tirade ended with a witch’s cackle while Chris’s face became even longer with solemnity. “Kill him, Mr. Tyoni. Just kill him.”

Michael lobbed fireball after fireball at Chris and all the capoeira master could do was cartwheel and flip out of the way with little passion in his movements. As much as he hated to admit it, Nina Thomas was right: nobody gave a shit about oppression anymore. He remembered all the times people brushed him off with, “Don’t break the law” and “It’s your fault.” Chris got so caught up in his thoughts that he barely noticed his right boot catching on fire while Michael and Nina laughed at him.

Chris screamed and spun around in pain as he tried to extinguish the flame. While Michael twirled another fireball in his hands, Chris spun upside down on his hands in an attempt to use the wind pressure to extinguish his foot. He even punched his own boot to see if that would help. After whirling around like a fidget spinner, his flaming boot came flying off and launched like a missile in Nina’s wrinkly face, sending her rolling backwards against the steel wall. During the scuffle, Governor Thomas dropped the shotgun and blasted the ceiling above Michael’s head, causing a chunk to land on his shoulders.

Chris’s sock was pasted to his ebony skin, Michael’s shoulders were redder than any flame he could produce, and Nina was in la-la hand with a scar across her jowls the size of Texas. “Nina! No!” shouted Michael through gritted teeth. He turned his venomous gaze back to Chris and sneered, “You’d better pray to God above that solitary confinement is all that happens to you!”

Michael threw another fireball at his adversary only to have him twirl out of the way on his hands. The capoeira master nipped up on his one good foot and nearly lost his balance. As the pyromancer’s teeth gritted harder, the flames in his hands burned brighter. He rushed towards Chris and threw fiery haymakers his way, missing only a few times before catching him on the cheek and knocking him down.

Mr. Buyatt coughed up blood and spit out a tooth along with some ashen skin. All he could do with his bum foot was try to crawl away to get some separation. Michael’s healthy feet stomped towards Chris and the pyromancer, still with hands flaming, twisted Chris’s foot in an ankle lock submission hold. Both men screamed like demons, Michael to enhance his rage and Chris to suffer in mind-blowing agony. The pain in the latter’s foot felt as though he was exercising on a treadmill in the bowels of hell. And then…the foot was ripped off and the wound was cauterized in more hellish pain.

Chris clutched his forcefully removed foot and shouted to the heavens above in a cataclysm of agony. His voice was thunderous and his throat and lungs felt as fiery and pain-wracked as his former foot. Michael continued the torment by grabbing his victim’s blue Hawaiian shirt in one hand and conjuring a fireball in the other.

“I am sick and tired of you lazy fuckers thinking you can beat the system!” shouted Michael with more fire in his voice than in his palm. “Nobody beats the system! There will be no change in this world! Your American dream is nothing more than bullshit! Only the powerful survive and nobody’s going to tell us otherwise! Not some pundit on TV! Not some lady with a dick! Not two faggots kissing! And certainly not a street rat nigger like you!”

Michael raised his fiery fist to the sky and brought it down with a fury, only to be stopped midway by Chris spitting blood in the pyromancer’s mouth. He gagged and coughed long enough for Chris Buyatt to mount some offence of his own. With a head butt of stone, he shouted, “This is for my brother!” With a punch to the face, he shouted, “This is for my people! And THIS is for everybody Nina Thomas fucked over!”

That last sentence was punctuated by Chris wrapping his burning legs around Michael’s throat, squeezing his neck pencil thin. The cauterized foot added some extra sizzle to the pyromancer’s restricted breathing. Every time Chris thought about his brother being locked in the hole on the brink of insanity, he squeezed harder. Every time he played the N-word in his head, he squeezed harder. Every time he imagined someone telling him not to break the law, he squeezed harder. The final squeeze came when he replayed Michael Tynoi’s rant about American dreams being bullshit. With that final squeeze, the sounds of bones popping signified a limp body was soon to follow. Michael Tyoni dropped dead and the flames he caused died down with him.

Chris breathed a sigh of relief and plopped backwards. Once the adrenaline wore off, his missing foot seared with pain and he had no choice but to cradle it and scream while spitting out more blood and ashes from the punch earlier. He took deep, muffled breaths to try and calm himself down, but all that did was intensify the raging agony surging through his body like hot lava.

His tightly closed eyelids slowly opened when he heard the sound of a shotgun pumping. Through salt-covered redness, he saw Nina Thomas standing over him with a singed face that fumed with anger and hatred. “Are you happy now, young man? You killed my right hand man and now everything’s going to be better for you and your ghetto family, right? A lifetime in the hole is too good for you and your drug-addicted brother. After I blast the shit out of you, I’m recommending the death penalty to that little whiny bitch. Any last words?”

Chris took in more hard breaths as Nina’s trigger finger was getting closer to sealing his fate. He then chuckled a few times and said, “You really think anybody’s going to take you seriously anymore with that ugly ass scar on your face?”

“Excuse me?!” grunted Nina.

“Before I snapped his damn neck like a toothpick, your boy Michael told me that nobody beats the system and that only the powerful survive. You think anybody’s going to give power to you now that you’re vulnerable? You don’t look like a politician anymore. You’re no Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann. You’re a shallow motherfucker’s worst nightmare. And really, isn’t it all about looks these days? Is that why Obama served two terms in office? Because he was handsome and charismatic? You’re not oozing charisma right now, Governor. You’re oozing pus and blood. But hey, you could always use the taxpayers’ money for plastic surgery. After all…nobody gives a shit anymore!”

Nina pressed the barrel of her shotgun against Chris’s face and scowled at him with an itchy trigger finger ready to blow. She breathed intensely through her nose while staring daggers into her victim. And then her expression softened and her shotgun lowered. She pulled a makeup mirror out of her pocket and stared at the nasty gash across her face. “I don’t look like a politician…I look like…I look like one of you! A freak! You ruined my career, you son of a bitch!”

Governor Thomas smashed the butt of her gun against Chris’s face and almost knocked him out. While spitting more blood out of his mouth, he stayed awake long enough to see even more blood spiral off of Nina’s shoulders. The last image he saw before passing out was Nina Thomas headless and the shotgun barrel smoking like a cigarette.

During Chris Buyatt’s moment of unconsciousness, he dreamed that life would somehow improve with Nina and Michael dead. The two most corrupt people in the Paulson City government drifted to the other side. Flowers would blossom everywhere. Children would play around without fear of getting shot or locked up. His brother would be out of prison to enjoy life again.


But even with this little victory, Chris Buyatt knew that wasn’t how politics worked. The system was comprised of many small pieces and taking out one doesn’t throw everything else out of balance. His brother would be lost forever in the penal system and Chris would most likely be the newest member of that exclusive club. Business must go on and nobody would be blamed. However, this one small step was clearly in the right direction. No matter how long he would be locked up, it was a bigger step than if he was actually afforded a prosthetic foot. If the cops were going to drag him away, they were going to drag him away with a big fat grin on his face. Fuck the system. Fuck it hard.