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The Golden Rule

September 11, 2014

I’ve got a new story up today over at Out Of The Gutter/TFFO.  It’s flash fiction so it doesn’t take long to read and it’s short enough to limit your risk of infection  😉

I hope you enjoy it, you can read it here:
http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2014/09/the-golden-rule.html

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Confession is Good for the Soul…

December 23, 2013

My new short “Confession is Good for the Soul” is up this morning at Shotgun Honey!  Give it a read: http://shotgunhoney.net/fiction/confession-is-good-for-the-soul-by-paul-newman.html

Flashbacks

November 4, 2013

Image

It’s been over a year now since the move but we’re still unpacking.  I was digging through a box of books the other day looking for a needle in a haystack (an old copy of The Collected Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien) when I found an old black leatherette portfolio full of stories from almost twenty-five years ago.  I spent the rest of the afternoon reading them and remembering.

I found concert reviews, editorials, even a story from the Ogden Standard Examiner from when I used to cover the Plain City Council.  I don’t remember how much they paid me, or even if they paid me anything at all but I remember how proud I was to see my name on that byline.

My favorites were always the columns I wrote for the high school paper.  I only found a handful of these but when I started reading through them it was like meeting my young self for the first time.

Some of them are so bad they made me cringe, some still made me laugh.  All of them made me smile in kind of a sad way.

I thought I’d put one of them up here.  Untouched.  Unedited.  It seems like the best way to remember and honor the memory.  So here you go.  (The photos didn’t do too well with the text so I retyped it.  By the way, the illustration was by a guy named James Bradshaw.  If you’re out there James, Id love to hear from you.)

Be All You Can Be

“I am starting to get upset.

As if I don’t have enough problems to deal with, I’ve been getting calls from military recruiters telling me why the military is such a wonderful thing.  They are really starting to upset me.

I can understand a phone call.  ONE PHONE CALL.  They call: I say no.  They leave me alone.  That’s not the way it works, the mosquitoes in olive drab wont leave me alone.  Every time they call, I say that I am not interested and they ask why.  That’s where the fun starts.

Since the direct approach (NO. NEVER.  NOT EVEN IF YOU SAID PLEASE.) doesn’t seem to work, I now consider it a challenge, a game to outsmart these recruiters.  I have begun lying.

The next time they called, I thought I’d be tricky and say that I had flat feet.  The recruiter said “that’s okay, we can give you orthopedic combat boots.”  I could tell that he had dealt with my kind before.  Chalk one up for the military.

RECRUITERS–1

ANTI-MILITARY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT–0

When they called again, I thought I was better prepared.  I had done a little thinking about the situation and i thought i had them licked this time.  I told the guy that I was deaf, dumb, and blind.  He saw through that one though (it must be a common excuse)and asked me how I could talk on the phone.  I hung up.

RECRUITERS–2

ANGRY PACIFIST–0

The next time they called, I was ready.  I even wrote to Ann Landers for advice.  I was psyched for the final confrontation with my arch-enemy, the military recruiters.  When the next one called, I said that I had given up and that I would join.  He was smugly triumphant.

Then I said that I would even ask all my friends at the next Young Socialists meeting is they wanted to join too.  He hung up.  HOME RUN!

FINAL SCORE:

RECRUITERS–2

JUBILANT YOUNG CIVILIAN–3

All of you out there nearing the fateful age of 18 beware, you might be next on the recruiters list.”

Sometimes my hallucinations make more sense than reality.

October 20, 2013

It was a warm summer night and I was reading Machiavelli’s ‘Prince’.  There’s nothing new under the sun and Mister Mac had it all figured out back in his day, so it’s a good read when your brain is deep in the planning stages of what ever the hell comes next.  I had just finished the book, it’s a short one, and I put it down on the table next to me and reached for my drink.

Son of a bitch, but there was somebody sitting in the other chair next to me!  It was an old dude in a purple dress with a tired face and a fucked up old lady kind of hat that balanced up on top of his head like a black velvet shoebox.  I knew him though, right off the bat.  Hell, it wasn’t hard, he looked just like the painting on the front of the book.  It was the man himself.  The OG Godfather.  Niccolo Machiavelli.

     I tried to stay smooth.  “Holy Shit!”

     The girly lookin’ fella shook his head to the side like he had water in his ear then he looked up at me.  When he talked, his face clenched up like the words hurt coming off his tongue.

     “My name is Niccolo Machiavelli.” His throat seized up and he swallowed hard.  A V8 with a nice big hole in the oilpan.

     “What are you doin’ here?  You’re supposed to be dead?”

     He nodded his head.  “I have been sent to you through the deeps of time with a message.  A prophecy.”  He swallowed again and I could damn’ near hear the gears grind.

     I wasn’t sure he was real at this point but he seemed harmless so I offered him my pipe.  I’ll be damned if brother man didn’t grab it and hit it hard.  He coughed it out but I didn’t hold it against him, it was some potent shit.  Then, he stood up and held his arm out in front of himself with the hand turned up like them statues you see down at Disneyworld in the hall of the presidents and he started to talk like he thought he was Moses with the fucking tablets.

“When the Church rides on the State’s back, both fall under their combined weight.

“Leave religion to the masses.  They’re powerless to act on their fanatical beliefs.

“When the Prince drinks the sacramental wine, it goes to his head and inspires madness.”

“In short; you’re all fucked.”

When he finished he looked wrung out, pale and limp like every word was blood poolin’ on the ground.  He fell back in the chair and reached for my pipe but he was already fading.  I had to hurry, just one more question.  “Macc?  Who was it, whose wisdom?  Who sent you back to us?”

Machiavelli was almost gone; the pipe slipped through his fingers and broke on the concrete slab.  The wisps of smoke that made up the outlines of his face seemed to smile.  “He said you would ask.  He told me how to answer.”

As he evaporated into the night breeze, the wind carried a whisper of his voice in the leaves; “He said to tell you; I’m Ronald Reagan, Bitches!”

And then he was gone.

My Friday Haiku

September 20, 2013

I couldn’t decide which was my favorite so I called it a tie:

Friday afternoon

Too damned early for whiskey

Perfect time for beer

###

Assholes on cell phones

They don’t think you can see them

Scrunched down while they drive

Release Day!

August 20, 2013

Woot!  Today’s the release day for Otto Penzler’s new anthology Kwik Krimes.  I’m flattered to be included with my story “Saturday Night Live.”  Please buy the book! 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Kwik-Krimes-Otto-Penzler/dp/161218300X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377016787&sr=8-1&keywords=kwik+krimes

Has It Really Been That Long?

July 16, 2013

Damn, it’s been along time.

I’m still here.  I’m still writing. I’m still submitting my work.  The difference now is that I’m only submitting to paying markets.  You can probably guess how well that’s been going based on how long it’s been since I had anything to post here.  I’m thinking about changing this thing around, doing something different with it; something other than just posting when I have a new piece out.

In the meanwhile, I have a story in a collection that’s coming out soon called Kwik Krimes, edited by Otto Penzler.  The story is called Saturday Night Live and it appeared previously in Grift Magazine.  The book hits on August 20th but you can preorder it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Kwik-Krimes-Otto-Penzler/dp/161218300X

or here:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kwik-krimes-otto-penzler/1114559733?ean=9781612183008

I’m thrilled to be included and I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories!