WOW: Whatever Do You Mean, Sunshine?

You look much like a daisy, child

You look much like a daisy, child

‘Whatever do you mean, Sunshine?’

It was a simple enough question, really. For simple enough people. She fancied herself elsewise complicated, though she was most certainly uncertain whether that the point or not.

While obsessively ironing the pleat in her dress with her thumb, she pondered the question earnestly.

She dreamt of paper steam-ships. Of tacky label gunwales and wide rule hulls folding above the waves and creasing beneath. Though, that posed quite the logistical quandary. However would paper boats sail? Would they not turn soggy and sink away to the sandy depths? A sour twist captured her face as if she had eaten a whole handful of lemon drops… For surely the waves would need to be paper also! Contented with herself she began to remodel her imagination using the Sunday cartoons for papier-mâché waves; crashing against the runner of the boat with loose pasty scraps. She imagined the sea smelling sweetly of ink, freshly printed so that little black smudges might stain your fingers!

However, no, that was not what she had meant, assuredly.

Try as she may, no amount of fixing was going to fix her dress. It was ruined, and mother would certainly be cross with her. ‘Fine girls coming-into-society ought not play about the wood.’ She imagined her mother saying. ‘Such things are left to boys, and young ones at that.’ The girl chided herself, complete with a stern finger-wagging.

She resigned herself to laying down in a patch of grass which was certain to stain her white satin dress. However, what a chance that would be! White was such a boring color, though, she’d recalled it wasn’t even a color to start. Aye, it was the absence of color, which of course, was the most boring of all. Besides, the grass was such a lovely shade of green. It would certainly be better to have a green dress than a not-colored dress. She set about replacing her not-dress with a pretty green one which contented her so.

She imagined the patch of grass a palette cup loaded up with the most vibrant emerald. She rolled herself back and forth in the paint until her plain white dress transformed in swirled chartreuse and and shamrock and sparkly emerald rhinestones. She spun around like a little green top, admiring her work under the sleepy sun’s stare.

‘And what do you think of my new dress, Mister Sun?’

And so, with a wearied yawn and a stretch, the sun animated. Its sunflower lids bloomed and fluttered awake, eyes beneath resting upon the young girl. A few warm moments passed in which the sun rolled around its cradle in the sky, so that it might get a complete view of the girl’s dress. It spoke nothing but said much, a bright kaleidoscope of expression flared across its facial features.

Tensions were far too much for the young girl to handle.

‘Well, isn’t it marvelous? White isn’t a color and therefore I might disappear from sight!’

‘From here, my dear, you look much like a brunette daisy, a stem of green.’

‘I should think a daisy is a good thing to look like. They are, after all quite pretty.’

‘So true, little one, but you asked my opinion.’ The sun tsked. ‘And it is my opinion that daisies are all quite the same. Have you ever made acquaintance with a particularly special daisy?’

The young girl’s face shriveled with concentration. She’d certainly picked daisies, and smelled them too; even made from them several chains. Though she couldn’t say with any good authority that one was any brighter than the others, or that one smelled much sweeter and of course, the beauty in a daisy chain was the uniformity of them.

‘Oh dear, I suppose you’re correct, though I wish you weren’t.’ The little child frowned, rather unpleased with herself. ‘For now I’m just a daisy!’

The young girl returned to the dress pleat, this time scrubbing away at the green paint as it started to dry. It was no use. She was stuck a daisy.

The sun rolled over in its bed, ready once again for sleep. Rain collected in girl’s eyes.

‘You cannot go anywhere, sun, for, I’m afraid as a daisy, I must go to sleep as well and I’m very far away from my bed!’

‘My darling daisy, you’ve made just a fine bed there, it seems.’

‘Whatever do you mean, Sunshine?’

‘Wake up my dear.’

And the young girl did find herself asleep in the grass, in the warm embrace of the sun. Her dress was white and the ships were steel, and the water was full of salt, and all the humdrum things she had grown to know had stayed as they were, and not as she had changed them.

It was delightful, and so, she ran home as quickly as possible, an answer in mind.

WOW: They’ll Always Be an England 0.2

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Darkness dissuaded beneath battened eyelids. Color timidly toed the borders of the den, afraid to take part in the inequities further in that it would have its purity of shade forever soiled, if not outright taken.

Livingston Chance had no such qualms. He removed the tab-end from his ear and quickly struck it, taking a blast. He spat out warm, marbled grey clouds, slowly floating towards the others in the artificial sky above.

Whatever would Nan think of him now, God rest her soul?

He seated himself in an empty divan near the door, floating adrift from anything else. Torn scabs where buttons had been riveted into the gangrene leather flesh spewed chunks of ashy foam. A thick layer of dust exploded into his hair as he sat. It didn’t matter.

Only the black and white slides, projected, occasionally traded and captured as scenery around him were important. They passed along a gentle soundtrack; smoky jazz numbers filled with mounting saxophones, genial cymbal twinklings and constant berating from a magnanimous upright bass.

Constant in the frame, beyond his begrimed fag was what might, possibly be described as a stage. Curtains of parted chain link fence huddled around the stage. Coarse bungee cord shackles tethered them together at the edges. The fences rattled as a limp white body crashed into them. The chilly steel burned flesh; skin crackled along a waffle patten down the spine, sanguine spatter painted the floor. The figure deflated to the rough clay stage lined with old newspaper.

Above the body stood triumphantly, another performer; a microphone tucked to his lip. Gentle, yet powerful, he recited his lines.

Turn your cerebellum into vellum, so I can see-thru/ Everything you’re gonna do, and combat/ With a lyrical mismatch, evade and resist/ strike back with uppercut bass hits.

Sharp harmonica loops and rapid fire drum snares faded; the soundtrack grounded to an end under the squeal of warping vinyl. In their stead rose chorus of enthusiastic finger-snaps. The actor turned toward his adoring audience, tipped his pageboy cap. The black turtlenecks and super skinny denims swooned and sneered. There wasn’t cause to distinguish a difference between the two. Middle finger across thumb, they appalled and applauded just the same.

“Fucking bohemians,” growled Chance, snuffing his cigarette into the floor. He set soles to concrete and ambled out into the damp English evening.

That was the first time he’d seen him.  He’d watched one man beaten down by another’s words. Only words, nothing more. It wouldn’t be the last time.

Chance had asked Yarbird what he knew. Between hits of McClellan and bouts of beligerant patriotism, he didn’t have much to say except for a name: Black Kerouac, from somewhere near Ibrox, or South Bronx, whichever, Yardbird was too drunk for precise details. After which he reasserted himself with “What’s the love of some nancy bloke about? Right, I’d paste that ginger, just you see.”

Chance went back three nights the next week with Yardbird. Five the week after. After a while he left Yarbird at the bars, went alone. By the time the first of the month came, he was there every night.

WOW: They’ll Always Be an England 0.1

London Brawling

London Brawling

So, this week’s Words of the Weak is actually to serve a purpose. I had been tasked by Jacob Milnestein to write a framing sequence in honour of one of his characters Livingston Chance who is about to turn ten years old. As Angels over Albion was one of the greatest things I’d ever read (without paying for) it was a great honour.

The framing sequence was meant to be just a simple paragraph or two using Chance in some fashion. I started to think of what I might be able to do with the character and after a bit of thought, I realised Chance would serve as a perfect compliment to one of my characters, Black Kerouac. The idea then spiralled to include Thatcher, a Japanese DJ with four arms, and an underground fight club. Probably too much content for just a couple paragraphs.

While most of the content I’m actively working on – like Grotesk – I’m sitting on until a greater amount of completion, I figured I might use Words of the Weak as a push to work on this piece (as I’d be doing them anyway, and might as well kill two birds) and to actually have some content publicly displayed.

So, the first bit:

follow the cut

Technique Wreckingball: Setting the Table

A Full Table Makes for Better Feast

A Full Table Makes for Better Feast

Despite the fact that it may delight my middle school home economics teacher, this post has nothing to do with with forks on the left, knives on the right. It has everything to do with setting. More importantly, techniques that lead to successful and entertaining setting.

Through out my trials as a fiction “writer” it’s been said that setting and physical description is perhaps my strongest ability and something that I excel at, perhaps even to a fault. Either way, there are a handful of exercises and techniques I take with me when it comes time paint-in a setting. I’ll be listing some of that here.

Let’s not for one second pretend, however, that this is some “I’m better than you are, and therefore, if you’d like to suck less, do these.” Setting is one of those things that requires balance and finesse. Something I freely admit I do not possess.  Take what you will from this, leave the rest. Take it all, and poor Goldilocks won’t fit any bed.

Big mouthfuls under the cut

A New Pulp Hero

Expect (or don’t, because frankly, it won’t happen) a new pulp anthology led by my colleague Caleb Kinkaid which focuses on pulp-styled heroines. For my contribution I will provide the character Black Tar Heroine. He’ll give you the chapter titled Heroine Addiction.

Then again, no we won’t. This is in no way a real project, just a clever coincidence that we both thought similarly, and a keen enough concept that I don’t want to lose it. So, I’m parking it here. Deal with it.

Cheers!

WOW: Corpses for Science

As academic a destruction as might have ever been...

As academic a destruction as might have ever been...

A splash of desire sweated its way upon the silken ivory skin. Beneath dermis babbled the rabid heart; throttling to the ever so growing onset of failure. Veins followed orders, bullying the bile-full cells along the body to allow complete marination. Furthermore the brain responded in kind, with idle gasp of air as it struggled to keep pace. Innards and bowels, wound themselves in circles inside, crushed and useless under the immense pressure.

Failure was not in any way entirely internal. While the body was prepared to implode upon itself like a grape is prepared to raisin – shrink, shrivel and shirk into nonexistence – just prior to complete failure, raisin and physique required external stimulus, perhaps a sun.

Above the body, delighted its accomplishments – slowly manufacturing a corpse – was a massive star near the flesh. Like a galvinized stake it drove its sharp, forceful light center mass. As the light grew more brazen, what once had been gentle urging upon the splayed anatomy below became a foreceful hammering, pounding and pouding harder and harder until skin tattered and warped and any and all fluids beneath erupted. The chest cavity had become a crater, black and empty, all its contents splashed like some clever post-modern art movement on the carpeted floor.

Yet, the onslaught persisted. It was not – in any quantifiable science – a balanced equation to stop at the excavation of all vital organs in the chest and adjacent precincts. No, the barbaric and imprecise decomposition of a human body could not be properly concluded above the waste.

Though, such interest was not maintained as work was continued. Nothing of excitement or interest exists in the lower half of a human male. Two purposeful and dull extremeties that are easily snapped, cut, split folded again and then cleaved off. An organ of which has no societal value and little in the way of intellectual merit; ineffectual in almost every way except on an instinctual, human nature sort of lever. It contained only urges of basic instincts, that as of yet had only just begun to awake. It had no thinking of it’s own, no emotion and certainly not any context in the given exchange.

Furthermore, the goal was not emasculation, for which is easily, sheathed, hidden away or even regained. What was required was entire destruction from which no ounce of humanity could ever be regained. Death without death. An eternal corpse.

As the victim sat there, neither dead nor alive, stunned under paralysis of anesthetic, he could not imagine anything except the slow and calculated failure of his existence. Painfully, defeated, the words drooled from his lips a second time, a third time, a hundredth, thousandth. No matter the amount each time was just as dire as the first, just as effective. Each murmur seemed to linger only in destruction upon himself, but disappear so quickly in memory that another was required.

Beside the box marked “No” that so cleverly illustrated his uselessness, filled with every last organ and body part for souvenir was an expertly diagrammed check mark.

The words came upon him, insurmountable, unforgetable: “Do You Like Me?”

“Yes?”

“No?” Check.

Vocabulary is for Girls

Okay, contrary to what the title of the post might indicate, this post has nothing to do with girls. In fact, the title has little to do with anything. Girls are far superior creatures, and so, if you gather from this post that vocabulary is a sign of weakness, well, then it is is most certainly for boys. Though it doesn’t give me a chance to post nearly an interesting picture.

Anyway, this is another technique-based question post. That question is…what’s your stance on creating and using new words in your fiction? Charmingly Carroll-esque? Makes the writer look a fool?

In poetry, it’s not only accepted, but expected and even applauded. However, in the denseness of fictional prose does it lose effect? Does it seem amateurish?

Does your opinion on the matter change if it’s made-up words that are easily understood? As an example, two that I’ve recently coined, “hatcheted” and “fleshen.”

Speak at me.

Faustgrad/Prometheus City

Constructing another world

Constructing another world

Well, it’s the first post of the New Year. I won’t get into all the banter about how unimportant that is, that’s it’s just another day. However, to honour the fact that I just don’t care, instead of thinking of the future, it’s time to think once more of the past.

Posted beneath the cut will be another lost idea that – fortunately – will have found a home in an upcoming work (and hopefully sooner rather than later).

Historical breakdown of Prometheus City/Faustgrad behind the cut

WOW: How to Take a Knife into a Gun Fight

Everybody was Gun-fu fighting!

Everybody was Gun-fu fighting!

Guns are a funny thing. Ha ha. Really. Having them shoved in your face is even funnier. You should laugh. Guns are quick, immediate and effective. Designed and proven to do one thing: kill. A gun’s in your face, you can assume one thing: you’re meant to die. Pray, scream, stand in a puddle of your own piss or…laugh. Most dignified possibility.

Chances are, a good chuckle at the expense of the dillweed holding the gun – and your would be executioner – will, at least, catch him off guard (and yes, I’m assuming it’s gonna be a he, whatever). Worst case scenario, he’ll think you’re batshit insane and put a round in your skull. C’est la vie; you were dead anyway. Best case, you might even piss him off. See, there’s an dichotomy held between the gunner and the gunee (wow, those are actually words): He’s invincible and you’re fucked. You screw with this relationship and, well, someone’s getting angry.

But don’t worry, that’s the best thing going for you. Conventional wisdom says don’t piss off the guy who’s got your life in his hands. Conventional wisdom’s got no place here. This is gun territory.

You see, if he’s angry, then, he’s angry. Genius, I know. But if he’s angry, that means this emotion has replaced the previous one which was focused on killing you. He’s still thinks he’s gonna kill you in the end, because, well, his piece in trained on you and yours isn’t on him. Now, though, he’s pissed, and that makes him want to teach you lesson, or even humiliate you a bit before you die. It’s a ‘my dick’s bigger than yours,’ thing.

So whip yours out and show him up. Not literally of course.

You fish anywhere near your dick, he’s gonna mistake it for a play for your gun and shoot you sure as shit.

What I mean is, encourage this humiliation. Let him blow his load all over you, you dirty, dirty little Margret. He’ll start in with this little mantra of how he’s totally badder than you are, how big his nine-mil is and how fucked you are. I’d rather be humiliated and alive, than nobly dead, but that’s me. So, I’d even mouth off a little bit. Maybe tease him with a little bit of “you think that piece is big? You should have seen the monster I buried in your sister’s tits.”

That should do enough to REALLY piss him off. He might turn red, and huff and puff. Best of all, he’s forgotten all about killing you. Now he just wants to teach this uppity little shit (i.e., you) a lesson he’ll never forget. Following the MDSE (Machismo-Douche Scale of Elevation) this will mean you’re right about the level where he’ll want to physically berate you. Lucky you. He’s mostly forgotten about the gun by now. Sure, he’s got this faint sensation that it’s still there, you’re still fucked, he’s stll not. However, he won’t actually think of using it now.

He’s now more intent on tossing you to your knees, smacking you around like he used to his ex-wife, and maybe even demeaning you with some kind of homoerotic chest-thumping thing. Stupid move.

Let me, for one second, play devil’s advocate. Hey, dude with the gun…yeah, you. Are you fucking stupid? Do not for any good god reason get close to someone you’re intent on shooting. I mean, christ, really?

Anyway…so, take the first few hits with a smile; customer’s always right. This would be the appropriate time to use the schoolyard classic “you hit like a girl,” or “please, sir, may I have some more,” for you saucy Brits. At this point he’s so fucking intent on breaking your face with his fist (or the butt of the gun), that he may, do just that. That’s bad. You’re skulls not meant for that kind of deceleration trauma. You’ll want to stop him before he actually does.

Fortunately, just before his breaking point (and your skull’s), he’ll be so preoccupied on causing you pain he will have made some mistakes. One, like I said before, he’s in way too close. Two, you’ve got a knife. I know, I know, “a knife to a gun fight” and all that shit. I saw Indiana Jones, I know. But up close, a gun’s about as important as a fist, which you’ve got two of. He’s got two also, one holding the gun (about to beat your brains out your ears).

It’s now equal playing field.

Use one of your hands to maybe stop him from delivering that final blow. Yeah, that would be good, but, be careful. You don’t want to scare him off you. The second he’s out of arm’s reach, he’s in gun’s reach. A gun you don’t have. If you can hold him in close, he’s gonna think you’re gonna go for the gun, which, magically, he know remembers he’s got. A fight tends to do that.

It’s natural to want to reverse that gunner-gunee relationship, especially after he played speedbag with your kidney. Let him think you want the gun, but don’t go for it. Don’t for one second ask why, either. I just explained it. Guns are great…at range. We’re not at range, are we? Plus, that gun’s his safety, his warm blankie. He’s gonna fight his ass off to keep that gun out of your hands.

Remember how I said you had that knife. Yeah, now’d be the time for it. While he’s thinking “Jesus-on-a-Spit…how the hell did I bone this one so badly?” and intent on keeping that gun, you’ve got a chance to cut him once, maybe twice. Make it count. Aim for an artery, conveniently located…just about fucking everywhere. Three in the neck (target rich environment, go here first), a couple under the bicep, one at the wrist (nicknamed the “Suicide Sally”), one behind the knee, one almost at the thigh, and for shits and giggles, one in the ball sack.

There’s not much immediate with the human body when it comes to dyin’ (it’s a self preservation thing) but the arteries are pretty fucking immediate. Wooziness sets in within a couple of seconds and and in ten minutes tops, he’s crumpled to the floor, bleeding out. You win, he loses.