Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 In Review


Earlier this year, I published a collection of fifty micro-stories in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres called Poison Tongue Tales. If it wasn’t for my awesome beta reader Marie Krepps, this publication wouldn’t be possible. I know I brag about her a lot, but that’s just an illustration of how wonderful of a friend she is to me. Pointing out weaknesses and possible solutions in my stories while maintaining a silver-tongued sense of humor is a valuable skill to have. It makes the editing process virtually painless when you’re dealing with someone who knows what the fuck they’re doing. So far Poison Tongue Tales is sitting pretty at a three-star out of five rating on Good Reads and Amazon. Then again, it has only been reviewed once, so I’ve got a lot of marketing ahead of me.

Whenever I’m not standing on a street corner and shouting about my book like a madman (is that how marketing is done?), I’m usually pumping out more first drafts. In 2017 alone, I’ve written micro-stories for American Darkness 2 (contemporary) and Poison Tongue Tales 2 (sci-fi, fantasy, and horror), poetry and songs for Lunatic Justice (a future publication that’s currently being beta-read by Marie), and a psychological heavy metal fantasy novella called Demon Axe. While trying to come up with the next novel idea, I’m currently pumping out more stories for what will be American Darkness 3.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the writing business so much that I want to build my entire life around it. It may not be the most profitable venture I’ve ever embarked on, but who gives a shit? I could have just as easily obtained an engineering degree, but I’d be bored to tears at whatever job I got with it. The writing business doesn’t owe me anything. I owe the writing business everything.


Another thing I’m grateful for is the fact that I’ve seen five music concerts in 2017. It all began with Roger Waters at the Tacoma Dome during my birth month of June. The special effects, the poignant music, and of course, those creepy ass putty face masks, they made Roger Waters’ performance a special one. It was my fourth time seeing him live and this was easily my favorite performance of his. Just over a week later, I got to see the Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd and they’re every bit as satisfying as the real deal. That’s a lot of Floyd in just a short time span. Then again, as long as someone is singing “We don’t need no education!” in my ear, I’m a happy motherfucker.

The other three concerts I went to in 2017 were spaced throughout the month of August. First on the list was Green Day at the White River Amphitheater. The second was Metallica at Century Link Field. And the third was Incubus, also at the White River Amphitheater. All three of these bands along with the openers brought their fucking A-games. I’ve never been prouder to be a metal head than in August 2017. Onstage antics, badass music, special effect gimmicks, and the sense of siblinghood I felt with the people sitting next to me at all three shows, they were worth the long rides home.

In 2018, I’ve scheduled myself for even more shows: Pop Evil and Starset in February (separate shows) and Papa Roach and Soulfly in May (also separate shows). And of course, every year at the White River Amphitheater, there’s the obligatory Pain in the Grass festival with an ass-load of bands (tickets aren’t available yet, but I’m fixing to snatch one up once the musicians are announced).


This year has also seen a great deal of hee-haws and belly laughter, compliments of guys like Garrison Keillor, Brian Regan, Jason Mewes, and the cast of Capitol Steps. I know how bleak Garrison Keillor’s performance looks in hindsight considering he was exposed as a sexual predator in the #MeToo movement, but I went to see him long before the allegations surfaced, so I was able to enjoy a night of poetry and giggles with him.Brian Regan has been a favorite of my biological dad and brother James for a long time now. Going to see him was like a pilgrimage for them and I tagged along to get a few laughs in too. And then there was Jason Mewes’ Q&A session, where my James Bond-esque laugh got a huge pop from the crowd in attendance as well as Mr. Mewes himself. I got to meet Jason Mewes after the show and he couldn’t have been more cordial and fun to be around. To close out the giggle factory, there’s Capitol Steps, an ensemble cast of political figure impersonators who made the Donald Trump circus in 2017 bearable and laughable at the same time. In 2018, I’m planning on taking my mom with me to see Trevor Noah and Bill Maher (again, on separate shows), but I haven’t purchased the tickets yet.


Sitting on airplanes or in cars during long trips can be summed up with the phrase “six hours of ass torture”. The vacations themselves, however, were worth the sore asses. The first vacation of 2017 was a Mexican cruise book-ended with a few days in California. I got to pet a manta ray, snuggle with a sea lion, ride a banana boat, and get my picture taken with Spiderman. The trip to Seaside, Oregon shortly after was a little more low-key with window shopping and beach strolling, but I like low-key all the same. And then I spent some time in New Orleans, where I ate pralines (and other delicious meals), bought Legos, got a table massage, and ventured onto a plantation to learn about the horrors of black slavery. Mom’s going to try and get a job as a teacher again so that we have extra income to go on more of these wonderful trips.


The more grateful you are for the positives in your life, the more positives you’ll have in the first place. This sounds ironic coming from a guy like me who has a permanent resting bitch face, but on the inside, I’m feeling the gratitude, which can only be described as warm and fuzzy. The year 2018 will bring good things as well if you want it to. Even if it’s something as simple as a back massage or a meal at Red Lobster, don’t take it for granted. Life is too short for constant complaining and drama. Be good to yourself in 2018. Don’t let this year of silver linings pass you by. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


If there are two things American Darkness 3 is in no short supply of, it’s women named Vikki and women who are bound and gagged. “Duct Tape Princess” will bring you the best of both of those worlds. It goes like this:


1.      Vikki Colt, Lounge Singer
2.      Nadia Rinehart, Street Fighter
3.      Johnny Rinehart, Nadia’s Gangster Husband

PROMPT CONFORMITY: To be announced.

SYNOPSIS: After putting on a seductive performance at a gangster bar, Vikki gets a visit in her apartment from a furious Nadia, who is convinced that Vikki was flirting with Johnny while onstage. Nadia has the fighting abilities to pummel anybody into powder, but instead she ties and gags Vikki with duct tape and holds her hostage in the apartment. The sexy songstress begins to think twice about choosing shady venues.


Up next on the chopping block is Antonio Fujiwara, a giant ninja from a future Poison Tongue Tales 3 story called “A Bastard Sword in a Haystack”. Yes, you heard that right: a giant fucking ninja is attempting to blend in. He sticks out like a hard-on at the chalkboard, but that won’t stop him from at least attempting to find refuge in the dark forest, which happens to be full of tall trees.


Q: What do you call it when a fireman and a paramedic blow each other at the same time?

A: 69-1-1.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Down with the Sickness

Another new year, another lonely meal for Anthony Robertson. He absentmindedly twirled his shrimp linguini with his fork while gazing with a silent fury around Red Lobster’s clientele for the evening. So many happy people. So many successful couples with adorable kids. Men in suits and ties. Girls in cocktail dresses. All of them beautiful and perfect like the Mary-Sues they were. All Anthony had to show for his troubles was a doughy body covered by a Star Wars T-shirt and sweatpants along with a permanent resting bitch face.

He sighed and twirled his food some more, only occasionally taking a sip of his diet cola. He could see his reflection in the drinking glass and though distorted, he hated that image with fire and fury. Anthony could easily join a gym, shave his face, cut his hair, maybe even speak up for himself every now and then. But what was the point of it all? How would any of this make a difference at thirty years of age? How would this set of New Years resolutions be any different from the others? He thought maybe he should have the waitress box his meal up so he could eat it when he got home. No sense in taking in this circus of conformity any longer.

Of course, no circus of conformity would be complete without its own set of clowns. “You’ve got to be shitting me,” Anthony mumbled to himself. Dancing happily towards their booth was the tuxedo-wearing Ryan Lawrence and his new wedding dress-wearing wife Lillian, their faces familiar to Anthony dating all the way back to high school. Prom king and prom queen. Football stud and cheerleader chick. Cult of personality and goddess of love.

The newly-minted Lawrences occupied the same side of the booth so that they could spoon together like the lovebirds they were. At some point during Anthony’s silent apoplexy of jealousy, he had forgotten that there was a plate of shrimp linguini in front of him and a cup of diet cola not too far off. He closed his burning eyelids and took a bite of his meal. Creamy sauce, check. Soft noodles, check. Garlicky shrimp, check. Lillian’s lipstick, check…wait a minute…

Sure enough, the jarhead Ryan and his blond bombshell were playing a Stanley Cup-worthy game of tonsil hockey, much to the ignorance of the other patrons. Every time their tongues bathed in each other’s mouths, Anthony could feel the same sensation just from eating his meal. Suddenly his entire pasta dish looked like saliva and dentistry. His stomach felt like it was pregnant with a bag of bowling balls.

Yet Anthony couldn’t look away from this romantic display. He could have heard their lips and tongues smacking even if he was in Scotland….during a rock concert…with plugs in his ears…and permanent ringing. The PDA even included Ryan fondling his wife’s breasts through the dress. Any chance of Anthony getting a boner that night had died a long time ago with his high school self-esteem.

The lonely juggernaut waddled over to Ryan and Lillian’s table and slammed both fists on the wooden surface to snap them out of their little love fest. With a gaze as scalding as the coffee pot on the table, Anthony said, “Now that I have your attention…and everyone else’s attention in this fucking restaurant…could you do me a favor? The next time you plan on shooting a porn movie in a public place, make sure to send me an advance copy so that I can rub one out instead of crying myself to sleep at night.”

While Lillian folded her arms and pouted in shock, Ryan laughed it off and said, “Listen, buddy, I know it’s hard for a big guy like you to get girls, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find one someday. Maybe you’ll get to shoot your own porno in public. Until then, could you please get the fuck out of here so my wife and I can enjoy our suppers?”

Anthony stood up straight and hollered into the waitress’s vicinity, “You hear that? These two want to enjoy their meals! Don’t bother bringing them crab legs and cheddar biscuits! They already have someone, I mean, something to eat!”

While that last joke earned a few awkward chuckles from the other patrons, Lillian’s expressed the opposite of humor when she stood up in the booth and asked, “Who the hell do you think you are?”

Ryan barricaded his wife with his arm and sat her down again while saying, “It’s alright, honey, I got this.”

“That’s right, Lillian, there’s no need to fight your husband’s battles for him,” mocked Anthony. “As soon as the two of you have a daughter together, that’ll be her job, not yours.”

Ryan stood up and was nose-to-nose with his assailant, teeth gritted and fists clenched. “What the fuck is your deal, you ignorant cow?!” He muttered. “This is not the time or the place for your jealous bullshit!”

Anthony grabbed Ryan by his bowtie and growled, “Speaking of not being the time or the place for anything, I think you’re pretty much forgotten that this is a restaurant! A restaurant where people eat food! Nobody wants to eat their food with a bunch of disgusting tongue warriors next to them! You know that old phrase get a room?! Well, that sounds like damn good advice right now, don’t you agree?!”

Ryan kneed Anthony in his pudgy gut and dropped him to the ground. Waitresses, waiters, and patrons scrambled onto the scene to hold the husband back and prevent further violence. Their tight grips on his arms and legs didn’t prevent Ryan from shouting a few choice swear words at his opponent, who grabbed the edge of the table to pull himself to his feet.

Lillian, who didn’t have the disadvantage of a crowd blocking her path, stood up from the booth, slapped Anthony across his bearded jowls, and sneered, “Serves you right! Come on, honey, let’s eat somewhere else!”

The knee to his stomach and the slap across his face lit a fire within Anthony Robertson’s soul. If his pent up rage of twelve long years of loneliness and disgust was an actual fire, the governor would declare a state of emergency. Anthony didn’t have the power of pyromancy at his side. He didn’t have a flamethrower or cigarette lighter handy. But he could burn it all down anyways. In one swift motion, he spun Lillian around by her wrist and splashed scalding hot coffee in her once beautiful face.

The blood curdling scream caused Ryan to push the now weakened onlookers aside and kneel by his wife’s side. Her flesh peeled, reddened, and in some places bled profusely. Her tongue grew pitch black like she had just swallowed a lit cigar. Steam rose from her blistered face like a California wildfire.

Anthony’s grin grew wider than even his jowls could allow. “Go ahead, Ryan. Kiss her. Kiss her deeply. Show her how much you love her. Go ahead and cannibalize her. She’s what the steak chefs would call…well-done!”

Holding his wife tightly while patrons scrambled to call 9-1-1, Ryan’s visage was a cauldron of rage and sorrow. He looked so heartbroken that he couldn’t bring himself to his shaking legs to bring the fight to Anthony. Instead all he asked was, “What the fuck is wrong with you, man? All we did was kiss each other! There’s nothing wrong with kissing! It’s all about love, right?”

Anthony leaned closer to Ryan’s melting puddle of a face and said above the din of Lillian’s slowly calming screams, “I wouldn’t know what good kissing is like. According to you and your football friends, the only kissing I knew was with a hideous pimple faced princess named Jennifer. You think I forgot about those lies you spread about me, Ryan? Sure, it was over a decade ago, but try explaining that to my traumatized mind. Try telling me that as I eat my meals and see Jennifer’s face in my plate. That disgusting, disfigured, retarded face chewing my food for me! It’s a shame, too. I was enjoying being on the honor roll. They don’t let traumatized kids on the honor roll, Ryan. They don’t even let them have English degrees.”

Ryan’s face softened from rage and agony to shame and regret. His wife was still a fucked up mess with her acid-like burns. No more kissing for this triangle of terror known as Anthony, Ryan, and Lillian. Nobody knew what Ryan was thinking, but it probably had something to do with Anthony’s mental scars being just as painful as Lillian’s physical ones. At least that’s what Mr. Robertson hoped as he waddled away from the scene of the crime.

A whole litany of racing thoughts burned through Anthony’s mind as patrons scrambled to administer first aid to Lillian. He secretly wondered if Ryan would divorce his wife on the basis of her not being attractive anymore. But then again, he believed those two deserved each other until the end of forever. While Anthony couldn’t have his cake and eat it too, he could eat something else that was probably more nutritious and realistic: the plate of shrimp linguini he had been nursing for half an hour.

But that wasn’t how revenge worked. Instead of healing his mind, Anthony’s thoughts raced faster and faster, each damning trauma flaring in his mind ever so painfully. He knew he was destined for the hellhole of prison for his actions. He knew the food would taste even more disgusting than a false high school girlfriend’s mouth. Maybe it would have worms and maggots in it. Maybe there would be more traumas waiting for him behind bars. There was no turning back now. Anthony sucked in a deep breath and prepared to surrender his body and fucked up mind to the colorful police sirens outside Red Lobster.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Preacher, Vol. 4" by Garth Ennis

BOOK TITLE: Preacher, Vol. 4: Ancient History
AUTHOR: Garth Ennis
YEAR: 1998
GENRE: Graphic Novel

Three tales of bloodshed, three glimpses into the pasts of the famous Preacher characters we know today. The Saint of Killers started off as a wild west bounty hunter with a heart so cold he brought snowy weather to Texas (that’s not a clever joke, that’s a fact). Arse-Face’s was a disenfranchised teenager constantly bullied at school and abused by his corrupt cop father. The Good Old Boys Jody and TC were swamp fighters who stumbled upon a gang of mercenaries trying to recover a blackmail tape from a cop and a smoking hot lawyer. Nobody is safe in these homicidal stories. What doesn’t kill them will leave a scar.

The level of violence in these stories is maximum tier, maybe even beyond that if it’s humanly possible. It’s more than just splattering blood across the scenery. It’s more than just broken bones and squishy organs. It’s psychological torture. It’s reliving those horrific scenes for the rest of your life (however long that may be). Maybe if you’re lucky, your brain will explode in this hurricane of violence and you can be spared from this maddening torture. But then there’s always the possibility of living with a sadistic devil or a corrupt god. In which case, the bloodshed and brutality will come full circle long before you’re ready to be reincarnated and have it happen to you all over again.

Unfortunately, this kind of horrific display is also applicable to innocent animals that’ve done nothing wrong. The animal cruelty in this graphic novel is easily the hardest to stomach while the violence to humans is at least sick and twisted fun. Whether it’s Gumbo McCready’s gang shooting horses, Pube shooting a yappy dog, or Jody beating the hell out of a confused gorilla with a baseball bat, your heart will sink so far down it’ll think it’s in the ninth circle of hell. While the animal deaths are a true representation of how screwed up life can be, it doesn’t make them easier to read about, much less physically see on the pages of a graphic novel. Thank goodness for the ASPCA, which I donate to every month.

Just as alarming is the way in which Arse-Face is treated throughout his story. He’s constantly beaten by his father, beaten by the students at school, and rejected pretty much everywhere else he goes, and this is all before his face became permanently disfigured. His only escape in life is through his punk rocker best friend Pube, who happened to be the one to shoot the yappy dog with a shotgun. Not much of an escape, huh? If I had to live that screwed up of a life in Texas, I too would want to find solace in even the most horrible people while smoking marijuana until the end of time. Disturbing as hell, yet the most poignant of the three stories, especially considering how Kurt Cobain’s suicide played a role in Pube and Arse-Face’s decision-making.

Preacher, Vol. 4 is equal parts heartbreak and violent fun. The delightfully vulgar dialogue sets it all up with perfection and can be another entertaining part of the graphic novel, even with Saddam Hopper and his inability to swear properly. Garth Ennis knocks it out of the park yet again with these Preacher graphic novels. He probably needs many years of therapy, but it’ll be worth it if he continues pumping out awesomely violent fiction like this. How does a passing grade sound to all of you?

Don't Tell Me Who to Love

“Mr. Hamlet, I’m only going to ask you this once and you’d better give me a meaningful answer…What the hell were you thinking when you started this relationship with Miss Peters?” College Principal Rich Lucas’s hands formed a pyramid on his desk as he posed the question to Keith Hamlet. Principal Lucas’s glasses-wearing eyes burned into Keith’s soul like a Molotov cocktail, yet the math teacher and his student Vikki Peters sat across from him in his office hand-in-hand like nothing was wrong.

“Normally, that would qualify as a rhetorical question,” said Keith as he straightened his tie and argyle sweater vest, seemingly the perfect picture of calmness. “But if you really want me to take it seriously, then here’s my answer. I was thinking the exact same thing when any other man falls in love with a woman. I pursued a relationship with Vikki here because she was the one for me, end of story. She’s a consenting adult, I’m a consenting adult, so I really don’t see what the problem is, Principal Lucas. In other words…” Keith leaned in closer and tensely whispered, “Don’t tell me who to love.”

Rich leaned his wrinkly face closer and said, “I’m not telling you who to love. I’m telling you to use some common sense. You took this job as a math teacher knowing full well what kind of influence you’d have over your own students. It’s not a matter of non-existent statutory rape. It’s a conflict of interest. You could very well show favoritism to Miss Peters knowing other students would suffer.”

“If you actually bothered to look at her grades,” said Keith. “You’d know that math is a subject she struggles with. She gets no favoritism from me just because we’re dating. She certainly didn’t date me because she’d thought she’d have an advantage.”

“I’d love nothing more than to believe that,” said Rich as he leaned back in his chair and interlaced his fingers behind his bald head. “But you knew the rules long before you took this job. This school forbids teacher-student relationships no matter what the age difference is. You broke the rules and now you’re about to lose your job because of it. I’m sorry, Mr. Hamlet, but I have no choice but to…”

“Wait!” shouted Vikki while holding her bare arm up in defense. Her long brown hair and lovely figure in the frilly blue dress she wore already made her hard to resist, but Keith’s heart beat faster upon watching his love come to his defense. She was no damsel despite what Rich thought; she was a badass metal armor-wearing knight. “You do this to him, Mr. Lucas. This job is all that he has left!” Not the best argument ever made, but the spirited delivery was what counted the most.

Rich chuckled with his mouth closed and said, “You’re right, Miss Peters. It is all he has left…aside from his wife, his children, a house, a dog, a car…whatever will he do without a lovely lady such as yourself?”

“I wasn’t going to tell you this, because quite frankly it’s none of your goddamn business,” said Keith. “But my wife divorced me long before I started dating Vikki. I know you can’t relate to something as complex as having a heart, Mr. Lucas, but hear me out. Being divorced is bad enough with the alimony payments and the bitter words exchanged in a courtroom. But the loneliness, the emptiness I felt afterwards, THAT was what made me lose focus of my job. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat…but Vikki took my pain away. I’ve been doing great up until the point where you called the two of us to your office, Mr. Lucas.”

A tense silence was shared between all three occupants of the room before Rich Lucas burst into mocking laughter and slapped his desk with the palm of his hand. When asked what was so fucking hilarious, he said, “Jesus, Keith, you should have been a poet instead of a math teacher! That was pure gold! Maybe when I fire your ass, you can get a career writing songs for sour-faced rock bands!”

The horse laughter came to a quick end when Vikki shot up and barked, “Enough!” Rich peaked up at her like he was taking her more seriously than when she gave the weak defense earlier. “This is why I hate going to school,” she sobbed. “Aside from the stupid classes, you’ve also got ridiculous rules that don’t mean shit in the real world! We’re not doing any harm to each other or the other students by being together! Keith says I took his pain away? Well, he took mine away too! If he hadn’t come to me when he did, I’d probably be dead with a bloody wrist somewhere!”

Rich held his hands up defensively and said, “Calm down, Miss Peters. Have a seat.” After she complied with both of those requests, Rich leaned in closer and said, “I certainly didn’t mean anything by what I just said to your…boyfriend, for lack of a better term. I was just…you know…Are you sure you don’t want to major in poetry too, Miss Peters?” The obnoxious hee-haws and desk slapping continued, much to the tearful dismay of Vikki and the teeth grinding rage of Keith.

“Laugh all you want, you smelly little prick!” belted Keith as he stood up and pointed his index finger at his accuser.

The donkey gut-busting was replaced with a serious stare into Keith’s crumbling soul. “What did you call me, Mr. Hamlet? I’d choose my words carefully if I were you. You’re not only facing termination, but you’re also in danger of being blackballed from the educational community as a whole. No college is going to want a sexual predator on their campus. Say what you will about the Brock Turners of the world, but at least he never pretended to be a romantic lover boy like you, Mr. Hamlet!”

Keith’s dynamite veins pulsated throughout his body. His fists clenched and turned his knuckles bright white. His muscles tightened underneath his dress shirt and sweater vest. Visions of him punching the shit out of Rich Lucas danced in his head like wild flames. Oh, how he would have loved to turn this disgusting human being’s face into slime and sand. He was close to carrying out his fantasy when he flipped over Rich’s desk and caused him to scatter backwards into the corner while Vikki barricaded Keith with her arms.

Pointing his index finger like a colt forty-five ready to blow, Keith shouted, “I am sick and tired of you judging me like a common criminal! Who’s going to take YOUR job for saying stupid shit like that?! Who’s going to put YOU on the fucking chopping block?! If you want to take my job, go ahead and take it, but if I fucking fall, you’re going down with me!” Vikki managed to push Keith back a little further to calm him down slightly.

The loving gesture did nothing to mask the massive flood of saliva Rich Lucas gulped nor the quaking in his tan slacks-wearing legs. With a shivery voice, he said, “Save your empty threats, Mr. Hamlet. You can’t do a damn thing to me or my credibility.”

Vikki sat Keith down in his chair and rubbed his shoulders and head in a further attempt to calm him down. While she achieved that small goal, Keith’s rage still caused Rich’s balls to shrink even in silent mode. “if there’s one thing I’ve learned in divorce court, it’s that the truth doesn’t mean shit. Men will try to screw women and women will try to screw men. The winner of any court case isn’t about who’s right or who’s wrong. It’s about who has the most believable pile of happy horseshit. I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to lie in court to get one over on you. I’m just saying…my shit smells like a my girlfriend’s cologne while yours smells like a fucking cow pasture. I’ve plead my case to you and got nothing. What’ll happen when I plead my case to a state judge?”

Still convulsing in the corner, Rich threw his glasses to the floor and said, “You’re fired, Keith. I’ve heard all I want to hear from you and your mistress. Just do me a favor, Mr. Hamlet: when you show up in court, try not to flip over any tables like you did in my office. You see…I too know what it’s like to lose someone I love. I’ve been alive a long time and had six marriages. The judge isn’t going to like your anger. You’d better learn how to keep that under control without your woman present. But then again…you millennials aren’t exactly known for your wisdom!”

A fiery aura radiated off of Keith Hamlet and he didn’t give two shits if he was proving Rich Lucas right. The now former math teacher could feel his own blood singeing his skin like a vat of acid. His exploding heart could have been powerful enough to level Hiro-fucking-shima all over again. Every time Keith closed his eyes in an attempt to quell this anger, his eyelids felt like little skillets burning breakfast as well as the whole house. Anything Keith Hamlet could have done in this moment would have jeopardized his chances of keeping his teaching license. And then…

“So not only are you an asshole in general,” sobbed Vikki. “But you’re also a flaming ageist. You’re a bitter old man in a school full of young students. I bet that just eats you up inside. That probably won’t look good in the eyes of an impartial judge. You know, somebody who can apparently be more impartial than my boyfriend here!”

Rich Lucas ran out of verbal ammunition as evidenced by his quivering lips and slurred speech. Keith, on the other hand, had plenty to say if only through his actions. He wiped away Vikki’s tears with his thumb and shared a lengthy hug with her in front of a disgusted, yet defeated Principal Lucas. “Don’t worry, Vikki,” said Keith. “This asshole can take away a lot of things from us…but we’re not going down without firing the first shot. Look at him, he’s pathetic! He knows he’ll lose miserably, but he’s too jittery to put his words together and admit it!”

“I love you, Keith,” whispered Vikki.

“I love you too, Vikki.” The romantic couple shared a gentle tongue kiss in front of Rich, who turned his face into the corner in a failed attempt to avert his “innocent” eyes.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Nation of segregation!
Burning crosses, immolation
Vision of division!
Survival by your permission
Dark times of apartheid!
Bend over and open wide
Silence and violence!
Ruled by one-percent tyrants

Splitting the people apart
Is where the slaughter starts
Watching fires from afar
Apartheid lowering the bar

Empire of gunfire!
Bodies stacked like a spire
Kingdom of war drums!
Isn’t this a lot of fucking fun?
Debunk the splatter-punk!
That sailing ship has sunk
Rebellion is for hellions!
Degenerate into skeletons

Splitting the people apart
Is where the slaughter starts
Watching fires from afar
Apartheid lowering the bar
This is the new normal
This is the new cordial
This is the new order
These are the new borders

World peace, make this cease!
We’re more than skin and beliefs
Weapons and heaven!
Mutually exclusive times seventy-seven
Nation of education!
No more racist occupation
Arm in arm, do no harm!
Peaceful protests near and afar

Splitting the people apart
Is where the slaughter starts
Watching fires from afar
Apartheid lowering the bar
This will soon be history
Mark the end of misery
It ain’t a fucking mystery

Come together in synergy

Favorite Book Memories


I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas this year, filled with family togetherness and of course, plenty of sweet ass presents (can’t forget those, hehe!). One of the things I got this year is shower gel that looks like a blood bag. I wonder what I’ll look like after I scrub myself with it. I’ll probably look like I just came back from a violent mosh pit. Oh dear. Hehe!


Of course, the key to celebrating a holiday successfully is gratefulness for everything and everyone you have. And thus we have the topic for today’s blog, my five favorite book memories. This was originally done in a You Tube video by fellow author Jenna Moreci and I figured it was a good idea for me to do a list myself. Five doesn’t have to be the definitive number, but it’s one that works for both me and Jenna Moreci. If any of you, my lovely readers, want to do this, you’re more than welcome to. I’m actually curious to see what you guys put down as your favorite book memories. This can be anything from reading a book to writing one to buying one to…anything, really. Without flapping my gums any further, here are my top five in no particular order:

  1. Reading “The Cleaner” by Brett Battles and becoming a full-time reader because of it. Stephen King said it best when he claimed if you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time nor the skills to write. I didn’t start taking this advice seriously until mid-2009 when I only had one more college class to take before I graduated. I certainly wouldn’t have become a born-again reader with the novels and memoirs my teachers had me read in college. While some of them were good and therefore worth rereading, most of them bored me to tears and made me regret taking those classes. I know college is supposed to be more about education than entertainment, but come on, seriously? When I read Brett Battles’ spy novel “The Cleaner”, I learned how much fun reading really can be. It was a fast paced book that spared me from the feeling of dragging my eyes across concrete. And thus began a long legacy of awesome reading and hopefully awesome writing on my part to go with it. I say hopefully with a lot of emphasis.
  2. Joining the WSS. I know this sounds like I’m sucking up, but trust me, it isn’t. Sucking up implies that you don’t mean what you say. When I say that joining the WSS was one of the five best book-related things to happen to me, I say it with every fiber of my being. This Good Reads group holds weekly short story and poetry contests with no special prizes, just a friendly victory. Even more important than getting a victory is getting helpful advice from your peers, who in this case are empathetic and wise when it comes to their critiques. They taught me so much over the years and motivated me to turn the first installment of American Darkness into something that wasn’t cow shit. I’m still a zealous member of the WSS today and will be until the end of forever.
  3. Befriending Marie Krepps. Just like the WSS, Marie, my beautiful beta reader and critique partner, has shown me the light when it comes to pumping out readable works of art. Her own published books and short stories are always delightful to read, so she knows what she’s talking about. She has a wicked sense of humor when she critiques my work, thus making the process as painless as possible. Unfortunately, she currently has a lot going on in her life that keeps her from doing what she wants to do, but even so, I’m grateful for every piece of advice and every review she’s given me over the years. I hope she can get things sorted out soon, because there are times when I miss having my Babe-a-Licious Mondo around. I call her that because of the Bubblicious Mondo chewing gum commercials of the mid-1990’s. She loves it. Hehe!
  4. Reading “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. Never before has a book ripped my heart to shreds and glued it back together again like this simply-written piece of young adult literature. A la Charlie, I know what it’s like to sit on the sidelines and love my favorite women from afar. We’re both introverts who don’t want to screw things up by putting ourselves out there. We both need our Sams and Patricks to bring us out into the light. While Charlie got to have the social experiences he wanted, I remain in the darkness. I am both frustrated and heartbroken when I see things through the eyes of Charlie. Thanks, Stephen Chbosky, for bringing me closer to tears than I’ve ever been.
  5. Writing the Poison Tongue Tales story “Sitka the Nose Biter”. On the surface, this seems like just another fantasy story lost in the shuffle of much bigger projects. But Sitka the Nose Biter has sentimental value to me. The main character, Sitka, is a real life cat I adopted back in 2013. Her gray puffy fur and diva-like face reminded me of a witch or a cookie monster. Apparently, the people at Cat of the Day dot com had the same cute opinion of her and wanted to feature her on the homepage of their site. Because of Sitka’s celebrity status, an old WSS friend named Nicky encouraged me to write a children’s short story based on the little sweetie pie. And thus began the rolling snowball of stories based on pets I have and Cat/Dog of the Day nominations for those same animals. Another sentimental part of this story is that it was written two weeks after I wrote a short story called “Tainted Love” that angered a lot of my readers for being sexist. I felt extreme sadness over the course of those two weeks, but perked right up when everyone ooed and ahed over my lovable Sitka girl.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: my five favorite book memories over the course of my career, which actually began in 2009 since that’s when I started taking reading seriously. All of the movie scripts and videogame synopses I wrote before that don’t count since I was flying blind the entire time. Plus, looking back at those old pieces of writing, I’m secretly proud of how far I’ve come since then. As a bookmark I had in fourth grade once told me, “Readers are leaders!” It’s a cheesy slogan that my dad beat to death on a regular basis, but it’s no less true. Reading is an educational and imagination-provoking experience that everybody should have. The key is finding what you like and not being discouraged by what bores you. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


And now that we’re on the topic of old writing, here’s a synopsis I wrote back in 2013, which is painfully obvious based on how fucking short it really is. It’s for a story called “Don’t Tell Me Who to Love” and it goes like this:


1.      Rich Lucas, College President
2.      Keith Hamlet, Math Professor
3.      Vikki Peters, Keith’s Student Affair

PROMPT CONFORMITY: To be announced.

SYNOPSIS: Rich calls Keith into his office for a possible termination due to the latter’s affair with Vikki. Keith gives his boss false answer after false answer until he can’t stand it anymore and tells him, “Don’t tell me who to love!”


Because my current list of truly unique American Darkness 3 characters is depleting fast, I’ve added nearly the entire roster of what will be called Poison Tongue Tales 3 to the list. While the next character won’t be from that series, she will be from a novel I’ve been hesitant to write due to its mature content rating and possible offensiveness. She’s Tina Ryan, a sultry guitarist from Puberty X Piracy. Wish me luck!


REINA: Chew with your mouth closed!

ME: I’m an American! I can eat however I want! I’m more American than Hulk Hogan!

REINA: Mouth closed!

ME: You’re infringing on my American rights!

REINA: You’re infringing on my ears!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I Still Remember

I still remember the games we played
I still remember the price you paid
I still remember the lashings you took
In the name of the so-called good book

I still remember our time as kids
I still remember the good we did
I still remember the world’s response
Our biggest gain was their total loss

I still remember our videogames
I still remember your name
I still remember what we created
How teenaged years left us jaded

I still remember the crazy cartoons
Good guys, bad guys, all were buffoons
I don’t remember where those tapes went
I hope it was money well-spent

Now we are older, time passed us by
High school made us want to die
Though I wasn’t there to see you cry
I could have been if I only tried

Different cities, different stories
Different defeats, different glories
We can never return to those young days

Do you still remember how to play?

Saturday, December 23, 2017


“Good morning, members of the press and those of you watching at home. My name is Albert G. Briscoe and I’m the CEO of Disneylodeon Productions. As many of you have already seen in the mainstream media, certain allegations have been levied against me and my organization. I’m here to tell each and every one of you that these allegations are far from true. Our mission here at Disneylodeon is to provide quality entertainment the whole family can enjoy, none of which includes exploitation of any kind. Our actors and production crew are treated fairly and equally. They are paid livable wages and they work in a comfortable environment.”

“Bullshit!” shouted a Hungarian-accented man before cocking his assault rifle. The journalists in the audience scattered about like cockroaches, screaming and cowering against the wall. “Shut up!” the terrorist shouted. “Shut the fuck up!” No screams, only quivering lips and whiny moans.

The only one who wasn’t screaming or running was Albert Briscoe himself, who remained seated at the stage behind his table and microphone. His middle-aged face told the perfect story of guilt and stoicism. He brushed his silver hair back and said, “I bet the shareholders aren’t going to like this.”

The Hungarian pulled his trench coat hood back and revealed his long bearded, bald headed mug to the CEO of Disneylodeon. “The shareholders aren’t going to like shit. But they’re the least of your worries, Mr. Briscoe. Right now you’re looking down the barrel of an AK-fucking-47. If you don’t give me what I want, you’re not going to be looking at shit with a face full of slugs.”

“Who are you?” asked Albert with his hands folded and his attitude calm.

“Vladek Bathory,” the gunner answered. “That last name should sound very familiar to you, Mr. Briscoe. My daughter was the lead actress on one of your shows. I’ve seen just about all I want to see of her in those slutty outfits and bare fucking feet.”

Holding his hands up defensively, Albert said, “Listen, Mr. Bathory, I don’t have that much control over my own directors. I’m just a corporate guy. If you have any grievances against my directors, you should take it up with them.”

“Such a perfect portrait of leadership, throwing your own guys under the bus like that,” said Vladek as he stalked closer to Albert. His hawkish eyes pinpointed on the CEO’s throat, which just engulfed an eight-ball sized lump of saliva. “You’re not fooling anybody. You can sweet talk these journalists all you want, but I want something a little more.” Vladek edged close enough to point the barrel right against Albert’s nose. “You’d better own up to your sins, boss man.”

“Look, Mr. Bathory, I just told you, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Albert with progressively fast speech. “This is out of my hands. I just do corporate work, that’s it.”

“So basically what you’re telling me is that you’re about as useful as steak sauce in India?” asked Vladek rhetorically. When Albert’s face became too frozen in fear to speak up, the gunner smashed the barrel across his nose and splattered blood all over the microphone. The CEO screamed and held his jacket sleeve against the wound, drenching it in a flood of violence.

Vladek grabbed Albert’s tie and yanked him by the neck over the table, sending him crashing to the carpeted floor coughing and wheezing. The Hungarian pressed the barrel against Albert’s cheekbone and belted, “If you’re really that fucking useless, I have no reason to keep you alive!”

“No, wait! Wait! Don’t shoot me! Please don’t fucking shoot me!” begged Albert with a nasally voice. “I can get you the producer who was in charge of your daughter’s TV show! I just need to access my phone, that’s all!”

“Bullshit!” snapped Vladek before smashing the butt of his gun against Albert’s cheek, causing even more pathetic screams of pain. “Like I’m going to let you just call the police and have this all be for naught! You think I’m a fucking idiot, Mr. Briscoe?! Huh?! You think you’re going to get off that easily?! Nobody’s coming to save you or your precious journalists! The TV and radio signals are jammed, including the cameras in this fucking studio! You’ve been talking to a brick wall this whole time!”

“Please don’t shoot me! I have a wife and daughter at home! They need me!” pleaded Albert with his hands together prayer style.

“Oh, now wives and daughters are important to you!” yelled Vladek when he pressed the barrel against Albert’s throat. He could feel another lump going down the CEO’s gullet and pressing against the gun. “They weren’t important to you before, but now that they’re yours, they’re suddenly bigger than Jesus fucking Christ himself!” Vladek leaned into Albert’s heavily panting face and whispered throatily, “Let me ask you something: are your wife and daughter into the kind of perverted shit you put on television? Does your wife like bare feet? Does your daughter like showing off her sexy soles to complete strangers on TV?!”

“It’s not like that, Mr. Bathory! You’re blowing this way out of proportion!”

“I’ll blow your head out of proportion if you don’t give me a confession!” To show he wasn’t fucking around, Vladek pulled out his smart phone and mounted it on the end of his AK-47. “Stand up, dickhead! Move!” Albert quickly obliged, allowing his nose to drip slowly and painfully. “Now then…with the whole world watching and not just your fucking shareholders…I want you to look into my phone and confess that Disneylodeon is a pervert’s paradise. You’ve got foot fetishes up to yin-yang, you’ve got naked teenagers parading their bodies around, and you’ve got producers and directors getting their jollies off in the background!”

Albert stared down on the floor and took a huge breath, slowly bringing his bloodshot eyes to Vladek’s phone to make the announcement the whole world has been waiting for. “My name is Albert Briscoe…I am the CEO of Disneylodeon…our directors and producers…are a bunch…are a bunch of….I can’t do this…no, wait, wait, wait!...Our directors and producers are foot fetishists and pedophiles. It’s plain to see in the TV-G shows we air on our network…But even more apparent than that…is the raging bulge in Vladek Bathory’s pants!”

“What the?!” shouted Vladek as he looked down at his crotch to see there was indeed a large mass forming.

The lengthy tube steak snapped in half upon contact with Albert’s swift loafer-wearing foot. The Hungarian dropped his assault rifle and doubled over in pain while screaming like his daughter would have in the same situation. Albert rushed to grab the assault rifle and pointed it at the wounded terrorist. “You see that, everyone?!” Mr. Briscoe shouted. “That was an example of the many feet we like to put on the air! And now for the first time in the history of this company, Disneylodeon’s programming will be rated TV-MA for violence! Lots and lots of VIOLENCE!”

That last word was punctuated with Albert unleashing a barrage of bullets into the now bloody and splattered body of Vladek Bathory. The life juices splashed all over Albert’s Armani suit, but the bulging rage in his eyes suggested that was the last thing in the world he was angry over. Journalists stormed out of the building screaming and crying while a familiar face came running inside to kneel by her fallen father.

“Daddy!” the teenaged actress shouted. “Daddy! What happened?!” She cradled her father’s shattered skull in her arms and rocked back and forth while bawling like a baby.

“Who do you think you’re calling daddy, young lady?!” shouted Albert as he pointed the assault rifle at the actress, who gazed up at him with flooding eyes and quivering lips. “From now on, baby girl, you’re going to be calling ME daddy! And if you think your hypocrite ex-father was good with a gun…you should know…I don’t shoot blanks either!” Albert winked at the end of that last sentence before chuckling evilly at the sorrowful girl on the ground.

“You’re a monster, Albert!” sobbed the girl as she wiped her tears and snot away with her bare arm. “You’re a goddamn monster!”

“Monster? Really?” said Albert. “This isn’t about being a monster, honey. This is about business. This is about the American way. And right now…business is booming! When you see your father in hell, be sure to tell him I said thanks for making my shareholders happy!”

Thursday, December 21, 2017


“You want it? You got it. This is the Dan Stone Show. Welcome to the machine!” said a demonically distorted voice over the underground radio waves. The heavenly contrast of Gregorian chants echoed throughout the dark studio while Dan Stone bathed in the minimal light of his Christmas tree and computer screens. Even when being surrounded by nyctomantic pleasures with nobody else in the room, Dan always wore his trench coat, fedora, and skeletal mask.

“Good evening, revolutionaries,” said Dan into the microphone, his voice still distorted with devilish effects. “As many of you have seen in the mainstream media, I’ve made a lot of enemies. These enemies can be anybody from the sexual predators at Cluster Fox to the idiot politicians with Umpa-Loompa skin to the whiny CEO’s who’d still be mad if they won the lottery, you know, because they wanted one million one dollars instead of just a million.”

Dan cleared his throat in an ogre-like tone and said, “I obviously take great pride in my work of pissing off the spoiled brats of America. The ones who have five hundred summer homes and two hundred winter homes. The ones who pay next to nothing in taxes and still need more money. The ones who disenfranchise the poor in this country and wonder why those same working-class people can’t reach the top.”

The radio host clicked his tongue several times before continuing with, “I’ve said some venomous shit over the many years this show has been on the air. Shit that made my targets want to sue me for everything I’m worth. The same well-to-do motherfuckers who tell young people to toughen up and stop being snowflakes, they’re the ones who can’t take criticism and because of that, they want to see Dan Stone in the defendant’s chair.

“There’s just one problem with that: Dan Stone doesn’t exist. You can’t sue somebody if you don’t know who the fuck they really are. Dan Stone is an alias. This radio station is so far off the map that no GPS can find it. I get my mail at…actually, it’s none of your fucking business where I get my mail. All you need to know is that these politicians, these corporate welfare kings, these officials in suits, they all want a heavy chunk of my bank account

“It is Christmas after all. They do deserve something for the holidays. But my true identity isn’t one of them, let alone any form of payment for their lost tears. For all of you overpowered suits out there who can’t stop smearing your tan job with your tears, I’ve got two presents for you. One of them is a middle finger big enough to see from space. The other present is something you desperately need: facts. Cold hard facts that can’t be disputed by even your craftiest lawyers.

“You see, you’ve gone after me all these years looking for yet another corporate handout, yet there are still many more radio show hosts out there who go untouched. Hosts who are even more offensive than me. Rush Limbaugh says offensive shit on a day-to-day basis. Yet you go after me! Howard Stern accused Roger Waters of bigotry even though Mr. Stern constantly tells his female guests to take their tops off. Yet you go after me! Tim Allen calls college students snowflakes and then bursts into tears at the sight of a burning flag. Yet you go after me! You know what I think? I think this is a conspiracy.”

“No, Mr. Stone,” said a feminine voice, which was followed by a gun clicking. “It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a crime. Jackie Thomas, PCPD. Put your hands where I can see them. You’re in so much shit it’s almost unbelievable.”

Dan raised his gloved hands in the air and slowly rose to his feet. Even in the dim lighting of the Christmas tree, he could make out Detective Thomas’s features: Marlboro lines in her face, blond hair in a ponytail, and a pants suit worthy of a certain former democratic presidential candidate.

“Are you seriously the only one here, Miss Thomas?” asked Dan. “Shit, I’ve always envisioned my arrest coming at the hands of a SWAT Team or something like that. I guess defamation suits don’t really warrant that many armed cops. Or maybe there’s another reason you’re all alone. You want to be the only one who can claim you’ve shut down Dan Stone’s radio show. You want the fame and fortune that you couldn’t get by a hosting a show of your own, or doing something else that’s actually commendable and creative.”

Jackie fired a warning shot and barely missed Dan’s ear. She said, “You’d better watch that silver tongue of yours, Mr. Stone. Insulting an officer is seen by the law, for better or worse, as being just as bad as taking a swing at one. You really don’t need more charges on your record.”

“Yeah, I get you,” mocked Dan. “But before you take me to the courthouse to face my accusers, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for proving my point about how fucked up our defamation laws are. Thank you for proving that conservatives are just as worthy of a milk bottle and diaper change as the so-called snowflakes they target. I guess you’re going to have to pile on more charges, Miss Thomas.”

“I guess that’s the case indeed,” said Jackie. “Turn around and place your hands behind your head with your fingers interlaced.”

As the detective was ready to make her arrest and Dan turned around to comply, the radio show host pulled an electrical cord with his foot and the Christmas tree came crashing down upon the detective. The bulbs broke over Jackie’s face and the studio drowned in complete darkness. Dan hid underneath his desk while Jackie kicked, struggled, and swore trying to get the giant tree off of her. Once she was free, a beam from her club-like flashlight illuminated a minimal amount of the room.

“Alright, smart ass!” she belted, little streams of blood dripping from her already nasty face. “I was actually planning on letting you live tonight. Well, you don’t have to worry about being sued any longer. You can’t sue a man named Dan Stone…if he’s fucking dead! No where are you, you little shit?!”

Dan desperately felt around for anything he could use as a weapon. His hands worked faster as Jackie’s booted footsteps grew louder, crunching on fallen Christmas bulbs and kicking pieces of tree out of the way. Dan’s search involved him quickly unscrewing something from his computer with the bolt digging deeply into his fingers despite the gloves he wore. The bolt came loose, but a singular drop of finger blood splashed on the floor, the tiny sound effect giving away his biggest secret.

“Ah-ha!” Jackie yelled with the gun pointed in Dan’s face. “That better be you or else I’m shooting up this whole fucking studio!”

Dan had one chance to get away and he took his leap of faith by throwing his unscrewed computer part at Jackie: acid from the storage battery. Jackie gripped her melting face and screamed loudly enough that she could have broken more bulbs, boots or not. Out of instinct, she fired random shots in the dark while Dan ducked down low and ran across the studio. And then the liberal firebrand dropped to the floor after a final shot in the dark, clutching his throat and wheezing desperately.

Jackie’s screams of pain turned to grunts of rage as she stomped over to the source of the hacking and coughing. She shined her light all around the studio thinking it was here or there. She belted, “You’re one dead son of a bitch, Danny-Boy! One less tree hugging hippie! We don’t need smart-asses like you talking shit about our finest citizens! They earned their billion dollar salaries by working their fingers to the bone! That’s how this country works, Dan: the harder you work, the more money you make! It’s common fucking sense! Being a loudmouth radio show host isn’t hard work! It’s bitching at its worst! And now matter how much you cry or whine, nobody’s going to bring the system down!”

Jackie’s flashlight beam shone upon Dan’s booted foot and slowly made it’s way up his body. Dan could feel the light burning a hole in him like a demonic stare. His goose was cooked and cooking couldn’t happen without some degree of deadly heat. All of the hard work (that Jackie easily dismissed) and all of the sacrifices (which she also dismissed), they were all for nothing. Then again, clutching his throat and feigning a gunshot wound was also considered laziness since he was technically laying on the floor doing nothing.

“What the fuck?” snapped Jackie, just then wishing her flashlight had shone on Dan’s other foot. That other foot was the one that jerked the cord on the Christmas tree some more, tripping the cop and landing her on the back of the neck. Her gun danced across the ground and seemed miles away. She reached for it, but instead got a boot sole clamping down on her hand and her flashlight taken away. Dan ground his boot into Jackie’s hand some more until her screams and her bones crunching created the perfect symphony to his ears.

The radio host shone the light underneath his masked face as though he was telling a campfire ghost story. “Truth is, you crazy bitch, this isn’t the first time one of you copper-toppers came after me. You may think you’re dealing with an amateur, but I’ve been in this business since I was old enough to have my first beer. I’ve had to change studios a few times. I’ve had to buy new computer equipment. But the message has been the same. It’s the same message I’ll take with me when I move to yet another dark studio.”

Dan pulled off his fedora and mask to reveal that his face had been surgically replaced with metal parts, much to the wide-eyed horror of Jackie, who was still huffing and puffing in pain. “I got my ass kicked by the cops once. That’s why I needed this surgery. But I got sued anyways because I somehow caused those cops a great deal of undue stress. You know how much those fuckers in blue wanted? Ten million dollars. Ten fucking million! But as you know by now, Dan Stone doesn’t give away ten million dollar handouts to crybaby conservatives. Why? Because Dan Stone doesn’t exist. Welcome to the machine, bitch!”

The final part of his broadcast featured him beating Jackie over the head with the flashlight several times until her skull exploded into a sea of brains and blood. He didn’t have to work hard at killing her since her face was already softened from the battery acid. In fact, he had an unfair advantage this whole time. “So this is what it feels like to taste the silver spoon,” Dan said to himself before he wiped two fingers across Jackie’s bloodied head and sucked them down. “Peace sells, but who’s buying it?”

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Little Bastards

Little feet tapping across the floor
Anxiety builds up more and more
Is the little bastard going to bite?
Or haunt my dreams in the night?
He carries more poison that a cobra
Shrieks of pain, my magnum opus
Splatters of sickness, hospital visits
Face greener than leaves of spinach

Little bastards!
Little fuckers!
Flesh eaters!
Blood suckers!

One of them dead, a million left to go
Turning my home into a horror show
Hiding in holes, hiding in the walls
Fighting them off takes more than balls
Lay every trap like a desert minefield
Agony and death is what they’ll feel
Until the last one takes its final breath
This is our house, we fight to the death

Little bastards!
Little fuckers!
Flesh eaters!
Blood suckers!

Dead rats underneath the stove
Dead rats in the kitchen cupboards
Rat shit stinking up the whole house
Rat shit, the floor is fucking covered

The war is over, but the trauma remains
Everyone I love went nearly insane
Almost shit ourselves, made permanent stains
Visions of little fuckers danced in our brains
A house is a home, no more, no less
Not a dungeon for furry little pests
Not a spawning pit for the little shits
Not an orgy of disease as they eat toxic cheese

Little bastards!
Little fuckers!
Flesh eaters!
Blood suckers!
Little nightmares!
Little shit stains!
Bringers of terror!

Authors of pain!

Monday, December 18, 2017

"Alley Kat Blues" by Karen Kijewski

BOOK TITLE: Alley Kat Blues
AUTHOR: Karen Kijewski (pronounced “key-EFF-ski”)
YEAR: 1995
GENRE: Fiction
SUBGENRE: Murder Mystery

Kat Colorado is a California-based private investigator who suspects that an ex-Mormon college student named Courtney Dillard was murdered rather than the victim of a car accident. Kat’s boyfriend Hank is a Las Vegas detective who’s obsessed with finding a serial killer known as the Strip Stalker. Kat and Hank’s relationship hits several pot holes when Kat finds a stripper named Amber Echo in Hank’s bed and also when Hank can’t make time for his girlfriend anymore, constantly working the Strip Stalker case. As Kat digs deeper into both cases, she finds how much in common they have with each other and how they could both potentially destroy not just a relationship, but also Kat’s sanity.

In pretty much every detective book I’ve read in my life, the narrator always feels the need to point out that the mystery isn’t as easily solved in the book as it is on TV. DNA evidence, quick legal procedure, technological superiority, and open-and-shut cases can all be thrown out the window for Alley Kat Blues, because this is another example of that. As cliché as it is to rip on TV crime dramas, I also agree with this method of writing. Mysteries should be well-researched. Laws and procedure should be known by heart. Kat Colorado comes off as someone who could easily pass the bar exam if she wanted to. She also knows when to tell little white lies and how to get information out of her suspects in a deceptive way. If you want to read about a woman who knows what the hell she’s doing, this book is for you.

Another thing I enjoy about this book is Kat’s narration and dialogue throughout. Hard-boiled detectives have always been portrayed as fast-talkers and smart-asses, so why should it be any different with Kat Colorado? When someone in the book says she doesn’t look like a private investigator, she says, “I left my trench coat and fedora at the dry cleaners.” It’s not just one-liners that will grab the reader’s attention, but also the intrapersonal dialogue she has while having conversations and confrontations with various characters. And then there are certain attitudes she takes with the more difficult characters, often coming off as sarcastic, condescending, and clearly in control of the conversation. She doesn’t back down from anybody whether it’s a posturing male, a filthy gun salesman, a religious zealot, or even a guy on the edge of killing her. There are a lot of qualities one could enjoy about Kat’s character profile; pick one!

I’ll tell you something about the book you won’t like, but only in the sense of discomfort and not because you genuinely hate it: the way Karen Kijewski portrays rightwing fanatics. I’m not just talking about run of the mill Republicans who are all about family values and lower taxes. I’m talking about the fringiest of fringes and the cringiest of cringes. I’m talking about cult-like atmospheres where the men are in charge, the women and children are obedient, and anybody who questions the men’s authority will be beaten, raped, or psychologically tortured. Education is stripped away and all that’s left is brainwashing and zeal. The men in charge don’t need all the guns that they have, because they’ve already got enough power over their families to turn them into weapons themselves. It’s scary to think about, so much so that even Kat got rattled a few times in the story. No matter what your political stance, you will be shaken to the core. Why? Because zealots in the real world are just as terrifying. Remember, folks: this ain’t HBO.

Alley Kat Blues is a fun little read that goes by rather quickly despite the three hundred plus pages. Sometimes you might have to think carefully about how the clues connect with each other, but that’s why we read in the first place: to think critically, unlike the Mormon cults portrayed in this story. Once you think you have the answers, Karen Kijewski pulls the rug out from underneath you and you’re all out of whack. A passing grade will go to this wonderfully-crafted mystery that leaves no stone unturned.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Dark Skills

“Tonight, tonight, tonight, hot damn tonight!” chuckled Matt Singleton while he was playing pocket pool in the empty streets. The closer he treaded towards Michelle Woods’ apartment, the harder he masturbated. With a jacket hood over his face, baggy sweat pants to mask his perverted activity, and not a cop or security camera in sight, he could easily get in and out, both literally and figuratively.

He ascended the stairs to Michelle’s apartment and overheard the sounds of a motor running coinciding with a feminine black voice’s cries of pain. Matt stroked himself even harder and got a sadistic, bloodthirsty grin on his face. The feminine voice’s screams were reduced to M noises and Matt’s smile widened to Cheshire Cat levels of terror. “I had no idea she was into that!” he chuckled to himself.

When he saw that the door to Michelle’s apartment was slightly ajar, his quarter moon grin flattened as did his perpetual hard-on. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” he said while pulling a hatchet out of his coat pocket. Knowing nobody was coming to save his newest victim, Matt kicked the door open and pulled back his hood to reveal disheveled blond hair and missing teeth. “I don’t believe this shit.”

Matt Singleton’s twisted imagination was justified, but not in the way he had hoped. Rather than screams of pornographic pleasure, Michelle’s pain was as permanent as the tattoo being etched into her lower back. Carl Howard had once again beat Matt to the punch and stuck his nose (among other things) where it didn’t belong. The chubby biker decked out in black leather was the one writing “Dark Skills” into Michelle’s skin while the sobbing victim was bent over the couch with a rag in her mouth.

“Carl!” whined Matt for a prolonged period of time. “How many times do I have to tell you to mind your own damn business and get your own kills?! I saw Michelle first! I actually did my homework on this bitch!”

Carl tossed the tattoo pen aside and hissed, “Homework? As in taking photos of her through the window like a fucking stalker? That’s not homework. That’s just you being too much of a pussy to talk to women yourself. Michelle and I are already on a first name basis. Isn’t that right, baby girl?” The last sentence was punctuated by Carl lightly slapping Michelle on her pink panty-wearing ass, to which she gave another muffled cry.

“Good job, dumb-ass!” said Matt while mockingly applauding with the hatchet in his hand. “She could have called the police any time and had you arrested! You stick out like a nun at a porn convention, my friend. You think intimidating her is going to be enough to keep her quiet?”

“Nah, but the rag in her mouth is,” said Carl as he once again tapped Michelle’s ass. “Besides, if you actually had a brain in that busted up skull of yours, you’d know how important mind games are. She ain’t going to tell anybody. Are you, baby girl?” Once Michelle shook her head, she got another slap, but this time on the thighs.

Matt shook his own head and snickered, “So this is where our conversations always go, isn’t it? You always steal my victims and then you justify it with some bullshit excuse. I know this comes as a surprise to you, but I haven’t gotten laid in a while, buddy. I’ve been picking out victims left and right…” He tiptoed up to Michelle and stroked her long hair with the yellow streak. “But there’s nobody quite like her. She’s got the beauty. She’s got the brains. Hell, up until I kicked open the door, I thought she was getting ready for some kinky shit. And then you show up, Carl…you, the hard-on assassinator. I’m sick and tired of this shit, Carl. I need my fix!”

“You want your fix?” asked Carl as he shoved Michelle to the floor. “You want to get laid? Shit, man, all you had to do was ask. But I’m not the one you should be asking. Why don’t you ask that uncle of yours to bend you over some more? You see, Matt…I do my homework too. You’ve pissed me off so many times that I actually took pride in my studies. That uncle of yours…he did some things to you, didn’t he? Things that involved you having a permanent case of diarrhea, if you know what I mean. Congratulations, Matty-Boy: you’re a walking commercial for Huggies diapers!”

As Carl hyena laughed at Matt’s miserable past, Matt himself clutched his skull and rocked back and forth while fighting the traumatic memory. He could feel the dirty, pus-filled limb going in and out of him. He remembered how his “permanent case of diarrhea” mixed with chunks of blood and splooge. The rancid smell of Uncle Singleton’s crotch. The bloodbath sewage smell of his own dumps. They all came flooding back to him like a tidal wave of life juices washing over his once young and innocent face. Carl’s laughter made those thoughts rush even faster around his explosive mind.

“Shut the fuck up, you fat piece of shit!” roared Matt before jumping across the couch and attempting to slice open Carl’s head like a watermelon. The chubby biker grabbed his assailant’s wrist to prevent the blow, but the two of them wrestled to the floor anyways. As Michelle screamed through her gag on the floor with them, the two serial killers struggled to push the hatched blade to each other’s faces. Carl, being the stronger of the two, was able to inch it towards Matt’s face and peel of a layer of his cheek.

Licking the blood off of Matt’s face, Carl said, “Is this what you wanted, lover boy? Is this the Freudian excuse you were looking for?”

Matt head butted Carl in his thick skull and bust his own forehead open more than he did his opponent’s. Matt’s horny smile suggested a lack of fucks given. He head butted Carl again. And again. And again. Blood washed over Matt’s face in an unholy baptism while Carl’s own forehead formed a tiny rip. “I could do this all day, motherfucker!” chimed Matt. “My fucked up mind is feeling pretty good right now. A little dizziness is good for psychological trauma.”

Carl managed to rip the hatchet out of Matt’s hands and stand over his opponent like a barbarian over a rotten carcass. “Don’t worry, you little pansy. Close those pretty blue eyes of yours. Here comes a lovely little lullaby for an anxious child!” Carl raised the blade over his head and brought it down with brutal force. Any shot that powerful would have decapitated not only an elephant, but the entire jungle kingdom.

But not Matt Singleton. In his blood-drenched dizziness, he found the tattoo pen and jabbed it in Carl Howard’s eye, while the hatchet was only centimeters away from Matt’s nose. Matt ripped out a chunk of brain from Carl’s skull and the chubby killer plopped backwards on the floor, spilling his blood all over the shag carpet. Matt’s head continued to gush like a geyser of violence, spilling his own juices over the floor as he sat up to face a trembling Michelle, who spit out the gag a long time ago.

Not even the silky pink underwear on a beautiful black body could revitalize Matt’s horny attitude. He stood up and wobbled on his way over to the victim he worked so hard to claim. “You think this is funny, Michelle?” he asked as blood oozed onto her lap.

Michelle shook her head and sobbed, “No, there’s nothing funny about it. Please let me go!”

“Sure, no problem,” said Matt as he spit a glob of red juice onto the couch. “I’ll just let you skedaddle out the front door like nothing happened. Go on. Leave. I’ve got no use for you now that my hard-on’s not coming back anytime soon.”

“Sorry for your loss,” stuttered Michelle as she slowly stood up to try and exit.

Matt grabbed a hold of her hair and yanked her back to the floor. “What did you say about my loss? Huh? You trying to be a comedian? You think rape is funny?! You think this is all just some Freudian bullshit?!” he yelled while Michelle sobbed loudly. “There are things in this life worse than death! If I could die right now, I’d be one smiling motherfucker! But you, Michelle…you don’t deserve to get off that easy. I came here tonight and had old wounds reopened, bloody forehead aside. Now I’m going to leave you with something more permanent than an uncle’s dirty dick!”

Matt retrieved the tattoo pen and cleaned the blood off of it with his jacket. He then threw it to the side and said, “You know what? Tattoos are for pussies! They can be lasered off for a few hundred bucks! But a hatched job…that’s something that truly lasts forever!”

The killer retrieved the blade, grabbed Michelle by her hair, and bent her over the couch kicking and screaming. “Shut up!” he belted while reading the tattoo job on her lower back. “Dark Skills, my ass! Carl ain’t got shit for skills! Let me show you what the real mark of the beast looks like!”

Slowly and painfully, Matt Singleton carved the number 666 into Michelle’s lower back, completely erasing the tattoo job from earlier with permanent scars and a river of blood.  The viscous mess gave Matt a rush of adrenaline that not only sped up the bleeding in his own forehead, but also the blood flowing into a part of his body he was sure he’d never use again. It stood up proudly. It beamed with life. Matt could smile again. Then the killer blacked out from the blood loss and fell on his ass, dying with a smile on his face and a hard-on in his sweatpants once again. Michelle Woods was alive and kicking, but Matt Singleton took her soul to the grave with him anyways.

Screaming Into the Abyss

Scream out loud, but nobody hears me
Open my heart, but everyone fears me
Messages of love fall on deaf ears
Fireballs of rage, no fucking tears
Where the hell are the masses going?
Why the hell is the world slowing?
All I need is just a minute of your time
Out of the abyss is where I will climb

Screaming into the abyss!
Ignorance is the new bliss!
Go ahead and rip the piss!
Give me the goodbye kiss!

I can see the writing on the wall
No reward for the longest haul
No recognition for this mission
Blind eyes for my deadly vision

Screaming into the abyss!
Ignorance is the new bliss!
Go ahead and rip the piss!
Give me the goodbye kiss!

If I told you of my intentions to murder
You wouldn’t listen any fucking further
If I confessed my romantic intentions
It’d be as useless as divine intervention
Still I scream into the darkest abyss
My loudest voice, my clenched fists
Who will be there to answer my call?
A faceless stranger or a brick wall?

Screaming into the abyss!
Like I’m fucking pissed!
Screaming into the vortex!
Still you leave me for dead!
Screaming into the darkness!
Like a heavy metal artist!
Why won’t you listen to me?!
Too deaf to listen, too blind to see?!


Is there anybody out there?!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Writing Everyday


Lord knows how many times I’ve beaten this topic to death. Every time I logon to Face Book, I see a primordial ocean of memes telling me to write every single day of the week with no excuses. As frustrating as it is sometimes to read those memes, they’re absolutely right. If I could write every single day, I’d be one smiling motherfucker. It’s not like I haven’t been put on that schedule before. You don’t graduate from WWU without writing everyday. Hell, even in 2011 when my schizophrenia was flaring out of control, writing was a daily grind that I embraced.

There’s not on particular thing that contributed to my ability to write everyday in the past. It was more like a multitude of happenings. I was younger, so I had more energy. I drank cans of Red Bull and Amp Lightning like there was no tomorrow. I also was a proud practitioner of the Atkins Diet, which resulted in my minimum weight being somewhere around 240 lbs. But just like with all good things in life, these temporary fixes were just that: temporary. Being young doesn’t last forever, as evidenced by my induction into the dirty thirties. The energy drinks were making my heart race, so I had to stop drinking them at the risk of having a heart attack. The Atkins Diet, just like with all fad diets, was never meant to be permanent, so now I’m back up to 300 lbs.

Now that I’m older, heavier, and caffeine-free, it seems as though I spend most of my time walking around like a zombie and napping with Smokey. Napping with Smokey is a wonderful activity, but it doesn’t result in creative bursts. Because of this newfound tiredness, my head isn’t as clear as it once was and when your head’s fogged up, you can’t concentrate. When you can’t concentrate, your writing turns to shit. Sure, first drafts are never meant to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an obligation to at least try to make them that way.

One of the things I’m currently doing to remedy this problem of mental exhaustion is using a CPAP every night. It’s an oxygen machine designed to counteract sleep apnea, a disease where you stop breathing in your sleep and wake up tired the next day. Sleep apnea can be caused by a number of things, weight gain, a large neck, and antipsychotic medications among them. Even though I use my CPAP every night, it’s not a surefire guarantee that I’ll be alert and ready to go for that particular day. Some days I can knock it out of the park, other days I just want to lay in bed and do jack shit. That’s part of the reason why I get a lot of creative work done in the nighttime: because I spend most of the morning and afternoon trying to wake the fuck up.

I admit that a lot of my mental exhaustion is my fault. The Atkins Diet failed because I love carbs too much. I especially like foods from Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, KFC, and Quizno’s. The most I do for exercise is walking two miles every day in the frigid weather, but it’s only a matter of time before the rain, snow, and wind come rolling through and going outside is no longer an option. I have a gym membership, but no car, so I can’t go whenever I want. If I had the chance to exercise everyday at an intense rate without gassing out in the first few seconds, my food addiction might not even be an issue. And yes, that’s what it is, folks: an addiction to food. Sugar, salt, and fats are all more addictive than cocaine. They’re designed to be that way, because the food industry needs repeat customers. Mission accomplished. It’s not a copout; it’s the truth.

If I could write every single day without worrying about mental energy, you’re damn right I would. I’m self-motivated, I’m hardworking, and every supervisor I’ve ever had admired my work ethic. Throughout my college days, both at Olympic and Western Washington, I’ve only had five C’s and two D’s. The two D’s were in the same subject: physics. The one C at Olympic College was for a sociology class taught by a former Harvard professor. The other four C’s happened at WWU, where everything is by design harder than anything taught at a community college like Olympic. More often than not, I’ve had either an A or a B in whatever class I took at the two colleges. That’s a lot of fucking classes and only a handful of times have I been unsatisfied with my grades.

I listed those credentials not to toot my own horn, but to prove that I’m capable of finishing any project I set my mind to. It’s all a matter of having an endless supply of mental energy that day. If not today, then tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that. Or the day after that. Or the day after that. The easy solution for me would be to eat better, exercise harder, and keep a positive mindset. But the truth is, if it was that easy, I’d be a middleweight by now with novels out the yin-yang. Being healthy is a skill. That’s why we have entire competitions and games dedicated to being a skillful athlete: hockey, wrestling, basketball, football, or whatever. It’s not a skill that can be perfected right away. It’s one that has to be crafted and learned over time, just like writing.

For those of you out there who post memes suggesting that I should write everyday, know that I’m listening with both ears wide open. Not only do I listen, but I also agree. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. The ability to work hard doesn’t just go away because you’re done with school. And whatever you do, don’t let anybody tell you that you’re lazy just because you were born in a certain time period where technology was readily available. That’s just a dickish statement made by bitter people who gave up on their dreams a long time ago. I may be mentally fogged up, but I’m not down for the count! Not even close! In fact, just when I was certain I wouldn’t get any creative work done today, I wrote this blog! Take that, motherfuckers! We’ve got ears, say cheers!


Looking back at the short story synopses I wrote back in 2013 and 2014, it’s noticeable how little detail I put into them judging from how short they are. Such is the case with “Dark Skills” (holy shit, that’s a lot of darkness!). The WSS has a new contest going with “Signature” as their main theme. So, here’s how everything fits together:


1.      Matt Singleton, Serial Killer
2.      Carl Howard, Serial Killer
3.      Michelle Woods, Victim

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Carl is in the process of tattooing Michelle’s lower back with his indecipherable signature when Matt breaks into the apartment.

SYNOPSIS: Matt and Carl are rival serial killers who want the same victim. Michelle is all alone in her apartment and ripe for the picking. The two killers use different entrances to gain access to the apartment and argue with each other over who gets the kill.


Another thing I’ve noticed is that there are two synopses in my archives that revolve around the Spanish word “Comegente”, which translates into English as “cannibal” or “human eater”. One of those synopses is titled Los Comegentes and features a seven foot tall Mexican gangster named Patrick Ortiz whose weapon of choice is a chainsaw. Great stuff, huh? Guess what? Patrick is going to be the next Dark Fantasy Warrior.


DANTE: I can’t believe you. I finally get my shit together. I’m hours away from getting out of here and really starting my life and you somehow manage to obliterate all of that and reduce me to a convict!

RANDAL: Oh yeah, it’s my fault your life’s fucked up. I’m the engaged guy who knocked up my boss.

JAY: You knocked up the guy who owns Mooby’s? Ew!

-Clerks 2-