Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jerry by Hobie Anthony

Hey folks:

Glad to see ya. Here is a subtle piece of flash from Mr. Flash himself, Hobie Anthony. What I love about Hobie's work is that it isn't flashy. It doesn't showboat, but there's always a razor or two that'll cut you. And later that day you'll wonder why you're still bleeding.



Jerry paced back and forth, a towel wrapped around his left fist, waiting for another customer to walk down the stairs to the basement bar for a drink. He wrapped the towel tighter and let out a sigh, all he had was two barflies, a couple of low-lifes who couldn't see fit to leave him alone on a Sunday night. It was getting on to 2am and Sports Center was showing the same old highlights it had for the past, well, for a while. He pressed play on the cd player and Whisky River came to life.

He checked his watch. No call from Marnie. He tightened the rag.

Jerry poured more brandy and refilled his glass of beer. He wrapped the towel tighter. Jerry looked at the television to see another incomplete pass from Favre and punched the bar.

The door opened and a group came in. He knew their drinks from memory the second he laid eyes on them, a few different beers and a couple highballs; he gave them a good price and made a clean fifteen bucks on the tip, putting his jar at about fifty bucks, judging from the looks of the jar so far. He could maybe break even for the day if more people came in, and came in quick.

The two barflies at the end looked around nervously and ordered a pitcher and two whiskys each.

At two fifteen, a crowd started streaming in. More bar people from up and down the street. There was the buxom blonde with the big, Cheshire-cat grin whose laugh echoed off the drop ceiling and popcorn-covered floor; the kid with his arm in a sling; the guy with awful bleached-blonde hair that he had cut himself after too many cocktails; the guy who usually kept quiet except for when he was too loaded to know better. There was the girl with the lazy eye and dreadlocks who propositioned him one night, a blow-job if he'd give her drinks for free after hours. That offer stood good.

He talked to the Cheshire-cat blonde. About Marnie. She gazed into his eyes and told him to bring shots for the two of them.

The tap poured and shots were filled and refilled again as bottle caps went flying towards of the trash, landing on beat to the jukebox. Games were played and change was made, and the tip jar filled with ones and fives and tens. No time for brandy. No time to think about that young thing who split, left town without the courtesy of a good-bye. Nothing to do but tighten the bar rag, wipe up spills and empty ashtrays until last call.

Hobie Anthony writes prose and poetry in Portland, OR. A native of the South, prodigal son to Chicago, and new NorthWesterner, he seeks to understand this America. He can be found or is forthcoming in such journals as The Los Angeles Review, Crate, Prime Mincer, The Other Room, R.kv.r.y., Ampersand, Pank, Prime Number, and Soundzine, among others. His novella Silverfish can be found here: SILVERFISH

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Still Open for Business and Other Random Things

Howdy Folks:

Where the hell did last month go? 

Here is a short list of things I meant to blog about.
  • Essential tools for self-pub
  • Batman vs Superman
  • Human Spirit/Space Shuttle
  • Ten Random Facts About Me
  • Great Indie Books I've Discovered
  • A new flash fiction piece.
Some will come to fruition. I'm planning to do the Space Shuttle one shortly and hope it makes it into Digital Americana Magazine. I do not have a piece in the upcoming issue. Mostly due to the fact the piece I was working on just didn't gell. Perhaps I'll revisit it at a later date.

In the meanwhile, I've met some cool like-minded and talented folks over on Twitter (@DavidScottHay). I'm trying to be more interactive there and less book book book. As far as Arson Books, we're a little behind on the revamped website which is a bit of a bummer, but folks gots jobs and gotta eat. I'm eyeing a few authors to approach about putting out their books on our 'label'. But these things never happen quick enough.

I've had another great month for the eBooks. Met my goal and the numbers are now demanding that I put out a paperback version of FALL complete with the new illustrations (see a previous blog). Hope to have it to market by Thanksgiving.

Work on the spin-off (Hell's Gate) and sequels (Winter, Untitled) has slowed due to a screenplay gig (Star) and an impending production of my co-authored Civil Rights play The Marker in Feb. We're still editing and polishing, but have to get a version out ASAP to the director and designers. The screenplay is at the 1/2 mark and I hope to have a rough done by the end of Oct/mid November with an official broadcast after the holidays. Very excited to be working with this producer. She's a go getter and world traveler.

I was slated to crank out the novella of Hell's Gate in November. That could still happen (yeah, right) since it's mostly outlined, but I think the play and screenplay and its rewrites will take me through the end of the year. It's good to be busy. But I'm still scribbling notes for the FALL  books, so it's not a complete stand still. Page generation will probably start in the spring though. Or late winter. Or summer. Heh.

Thanks for checking in.

I'll post a new piece of flash, shortly.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Ruby by Hobie Anthony

Howdy folks:

Premiering a new piece of visceral flash fiction by Hobie Anthony. It'll stick with ya.


The snow had finally melted and warm rain came down to swell the river, flooding the countryside. I was glad to get out of the house into the back yard and walk on the soppy ground. I took trash to the can in the alley and a burrito wrapper fell from the bag. I leaned over for the trash and there it was, the horror and surprise of it; there lay a woman's ring finger still with a man's ruby ring between the knuckle and the bloody stump. The woman's nail was torn and jagged as though it had clawed something rough and hard.

The finger was perfectly preserved by the cold and felt like it was beginning to thaw, how frozen meat will feel mushy on the top but solid towards the frozen, bony center. The ring fell off onto the ground. The ruby was clear and flawless, perfect in a gold setting.

There were no tracks around the site, they had vanished into water. Had the finger been carried there on foot or in a car? I thought back. Maybe I'd heard a car the night before last, while we were arguing over wages missed due to snow-days or sloth. But, maybe that was a wishful memory, implanted to forget some point of truth or fact my wife had pointed out. She was good at that.

I could see her there at the window, doing the dishes from last night, dishes we left to soak when we'd moved into our third beer and I'd opened the whisky; she had dealt the cards for cribbage and we ended up on the floor, her knees were cherry red this morning.

I took the finger and rubbed it between the palms of my hands. The blood thawed and oozed a bit. I wiggled it a bit at the joint, and I kissed the jagged nail. I cleared a hole and pushed the finger deep into the middle of the garbage bag; I held the ring in my pocket, flipping it over and over.

Hobie Anthony writes prose and poetry in Portland, OR. A native of the South, prodigal son to Chicago, and new NorthWesterner, he seeks to understand this America. He can be found or is forthcoming in such journals as The Los Angeles Review, Crate, Prime Mincer, The Other Room, R.kv.r.y., Ampersand, Pank, Prime Number, and Soundzine, among others. He is now focused on putting together a new book.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Hulk and I by Martin King

Howdy folks: 

We have a guest blogger (our first!) today: Martin King. He is zipping around the internet doing 100 guest blogs in a 100 days. Check out the link below for even more. But enjoy this one.  


Today’s tale we are going to touch on TV programmes. What for, we’ve already had one of those. True, but then TV was a big part of a child’s life or perhaps more to the point made a lasting impression.

It is hard to imagine what television sets were actually like back then. I mean we had a fourteen inch portable that came with its own, inbuilt indoor aerial. But if you thought that was bad enough, my mate had one of those TV combination sets. For five minutes they were ‘the next big thing’, you know they had a radio, cassette deck and mini eight inch screen all built in.

But back to my black and white set with a dial for changing channels. If you wanted to turn your set over, it had a dial on the front a bit like a radio station tuner, but for the TV channels.

So now I’ve set the scene picture this (sorry for the pun), every program we watched were in black and white. Now one of our favourite programmes was the 70’s rendition of the Incredible Hulk. Every week chartered an episode of Dr. David Banner going from town to town and giving a bad guy the what for. And at the vital moment he would turn from a normal guy into this big, pale grey monster.

Wait, let’s just rewind...doesn’t the Hulk turn green. Well true, but not if you have a black and white set. Every week we watched it, we never saw him turn green once. That is until one Saturday our family were invited around to a friend’s house for tea. Yippee! Me and my sister couldn’t wait.

So the big day arrived and we went round to this family who were friends with our parents. And yes, they had a colour TV. So at the usual time we arranged for them to put in on and see him green for the first time. To our horror, the night’s viewing had been disrupted due to an election. How inconsiderate!

Yes, you’ve guessed, we never did see our hero Mr. Banner turn green. How sad.

-- Martin King

[Editor's Note - The original color of the comic book Hulk was gray.] 

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FALL: The Art of the Book…

Howdy folks: 

As an old school fan of fantasy, I was always delighted to find a book that had a handful of illustrations, the most prominent in memory being, of course, the wonderful work of John Howe and Alan Lee on The Lord of the Rings.

Though we devour words, an occasional work of art inside a fantasy tale is such a delight.

I was lucky enough to hook up with renown UK fantasy artist Sandara Tang for the cover to FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar (The Fallen Trilogy: Book One). To be honest it was an existing piece I saw in her portfolio, but it was perfect for the book.

We worked out a licensing deal and I tweaked for my purposes. I needed it to be a bit brighter to make the text pop and make sure the cover itself didn't wash out as a thumbnail for the various sites. As you can see by the finished cover, I also flipped it so the text flows into Lucifer's body and you're not fighting where your eye gets pulled.

 I love her work so much that I commissioned some original artwork for the book. It was hard picking a handful of scenes to illustrate. I didn't wan them to be all action. So I tried to find a good mix. It was very difficult as my wish list o f must have scenes grew to about a dozen.

In the end I selected 4-5. Here are a sample of a few of the roughs she sent me for approval. With my comments.

 The Mark of Cain. In the story it's described as a silver circle. In the early ebooks, it was a clip art type thingy with a circle and a dot in the center. ZZZZZzzzzzz. So I asked her to give it some flair. i didn't give her any notes on this as I though ti was perfect. Note a touch of asymmetry for the left and right hand sides of the designs.  You're looking what just might be my next tattoo.

Although I love this one of Honeybone hanging from the Tree of Life in Eden, there was some miscommunication. The pose, hair, and clothes have been completely redone, but this was certainly an impressive piece. And remember these are just QUICK SKETCHES to get the composition down. I've since seen the new one and it's killer. Oh boy…

And then we have this one….

This is Lucifer returning home. That's Michael in the BG getting pissed and next to him is our gimpy angel Duma. We went back and forth on a few details. I pointed out we needed his dagger, which is key throughout the story. She added a sword which I thought was great. I don't know how I missed it on the first go around.

I'm excited to see the final art work and get it into the book this autumn. I  may even post a piece here.

In the meantime… just $1.01 for the rest of the summer.

FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar (The Fallen Trilogy: Book One)


 DSH is the author of the postmodern literary novel FOUNTAIN*  as well as two genre books Cloning Christ and FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar as DS Hay (clever, huh?).

He is also a Contributing Editor for Digital Americana Magazine.

And is currently co-authoring the Civil Rights play THE MARKER with David Barr III and Glen Jeffers, slated to premiere Feb 2012.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Orange Sexy Orange by Anna James

Howdy folks:

Thanks for the all the hits, views,  and support for my flash fiction postings. I simply love getting these favorite writers of mine out into the world.

Expect big things from them in the future, the near future. This story here is a delight. I can't wait for Anna's new novel THE CLOTHES GOD MADE FOR ME to be released into the world. 


There is an orange in my hand.  I feel its dimples and its wet skin and when I press my nail into the flesh, the tangy energy inside is released.  It’s clean and almost antiseptic and I carry something citrus in my left hand every day.  Could be lemon, two.  Could be lime, two.  Today it is an orange.  There is a pack on my back, slung over my left shoulder.  It brushes along my torso and when I walk it bumps against my rib and pinkens my skin.  In the bag I’ve got a computer, black wire, some lipstick sexy and a comb.   A banana muffin wrapped in a napkin disintegrates with every step I take because the wire sexy and the lipstick rub against it.    Reduce it to crumbles.  There is a mole on my cheek below my left eye.  When I was ten, my mother darkened it with an eyebrow pencil.  Sexy she’d say.  Wear these shoes she’d say.  They show off your shapely foot.  Add lipstick and a gloss.

Almost home and it’s no accident the neighbor’s hose comes alive jerking and spitting like a cobra at my ankles.  Bill grins and continues to turn the screw and the pressure builds and rises and not being one to run away sexy I step on the rubber with my heeled shoes but the brass end bites my leg.  He looks at me.  I look at him.  Drip drip drop the hose.   Purple, black, blood bruise filling sexy like a kiss, sexy like a bite.  Soaking wet curl points to my mouth.  Good day I say to the neighbor leave him wanting more.  Know sexy he’s watching me walk away.  Glad I’m wearing these shoes, squeezing this fruit.  Look over my shoulder.  Drip.  Squeeze.

 Locked the screen door behind me.  Locked the storm door behind me.  Roll the orange in my palms.  The doorbell rings.   Tug fruit out of snug skin.  The doorbell rings.  Pull apart the flesh in 12 tidy sections.  A knock on the door.  Stroke my tender rib and eye the juicy parcels on the counter lined up and waiting.  Cut open a can of asparagus with strong sexy pumps of the wrist pumps of the wrist pumps of the wrist and pounding on the door nibble sexy just the tips of twenty four thin, limp asparaphallis sexy.  

Hello the neighbor says waving through the window watching me eat.  Black wire coils within. There are lemons in my hand.  They’re clean and antiseptic and my bag rubs up against my rib.  I watch through the glass.  Roll lime through my palm.   He stops knocking and watches me eat.  His hand frozen at a fist on my window. He’s still and this is what I’ve been sexy holding out for.  

I open the door.  My clothes are wet.  My eyes are brown.  Juice from the orange drips sexy on my chin.  His hair is red and curly.  Red brow, red beard, a forest of red chest hairs.  I point to the couch and in comes Bill like a red flame, a ball of fire with that red hair.  A pomegranate.  An apple.

He ignores the couch.  Comes at me gape mouthed like a fish.  Like a pickerel, big wide smile.  I return his kiss sexy smiling like guppy, lick like lizard, tongue like fire.  You taste like orange he says.  Clean he says.  Bill tastes like pickerel.  Algae and watery grave.   Let’s get you out of these wet clothes, I say.  Cut right to the chase, he says.  He smiles and I see a glint of silvery hook in his cheek.  You’re a stunning girl, Bill says.  I’m a woman, I say and unfasten the button of his pants with my teeth.  You sure are, he says. 

We finish and I dress in white cotton panties, white cotton bra with a little red cherry at the clasp.  Walk to the counter, stuff orange peel between my teeth and gums.  Look to Bill and reveal a wide, orange childish smile.  Bill laughs and jingles his belt buckle closed.   Hook is out of his mouth and snagged on my own lip.  Bound in my mother’s corset of orange sexy orange.   

Anna James has won various local awards for her fiction and poetry and has been published in Alehouse 2009 and The Groovy Chick's Road Trip to Love.  She's an English Instructor and can most likely be found hiking the mountains of WV or agonizing over her new novel.  You can reach her on FB at Anna Dickson James or by email at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Long Season - My Baseball Memories by David Scott Hay

Howdy folks, 

This is sneak preview of a creative non-fiction piece that will be published in the next issue of Digital Americana - a Literary & Culture Magazine, the world's first tablet only magazine. Cool stuff. 


I am 10. My best friend, Tim Houchin hits a line drive to my chest. I fall back into a fire ant pile. Littered with cockleburs.

I am 26. I get called up to fill-in for the company softball team. I go 4-4. Six games later, I start a bench-clearing brawl. The opposition showboated at home plate. I am the catcher.

I am 30. First trip to Wrigley. A perfect day, perfect beer.  It is magical and inside the park is advertisement free. A shrine, a cathedral. Pure. I empty a third of my checking account to buy a Kerry Wood jersey.

I am 35. I learn a bit more of the art and science of baseball. I hate Wrigley. It’s an outdoor beer garden. People yammer about nothing, not even watching the game. It’s a social event. It’s expensive. I jump ship to the Sox. The year is 2005.

I am 12. The big Sixth Graders vs. the Teachers game. I am fat and slow. I bunt. I make it to first base safely. Am then called out for bunting. I call bullshit. But hold my head up.

I am 33. I take a Rabbi Bucky to Wrigley. It’s his first. Through a quirk of weather and timing, it happens to be a double header. The Cubs need to win both and someone else needs to lose two. We are on the second level. Everything that needs to happen happens. Cubs win their division. The sun is at the Magic Hour. From our seats, the boats on Lake Michigan glow. It is a perfect moment.

I am 38. My buddy Jeff and I go last minute to a Sox game. Run into a playwright friend with access to a luxury box. He convinces the gatekeeper we are VIP. From said box, snacking on caramel apples, we watch Mark Buehrle throw a no-no.

I am 27. Tie game. Bottom of the ninth, one out, and the guy on deck is oh-fer. No matter how hard I swing I always hit just over in the infield. The other team fails to note this and adjust. I hit a game winning RBI.

I am 35. That game-winning RBI story is reenacted 30 times on a Chicago stage. The Chicago Sun-Times gives me the best review of my career.

I am 36.
PART I - I am at 30,000 feet trying desperately to get the deciding Game 4 of the WS on the airplane radio. It’s static and dead space interspersed with numbers and last names. Dye. Konerkno. An alien transmission filtered through a schoolroom fan.

PART II - My wife picks me up. “I set the VCR ‘til 11:00 p.m.” I watch the tape. Top of the 9th. Jenks goes into his wind up. He throws. Static. It stopped recording at 11:01.

PART III - Spotty Wi-Fi at her hotel. At least I’ll make the parade. It’s Tuesday. I return on Wednesday.

I am 42. I buy my girlfriend, a former Master Electrician (and Cubs fan) Sox/Cubs tix for an early birthday present. A monsoon hits in the 5th inning and we go home soaked.

I am 29. Playing XBox baseball. I hit a single and keep running despite the obvious single. My opponent gets flustered trying to throw me out. I steal three bases and score a home run.

I am 34. I’m visiting friends in Tulsa. With Kerry Wood on the mound, a man named Steve Bartman does what any of us would have done. I see an elderly fan at the game weep. She knows. The next day no one in Tulsa cares. I’m glad I am not in Chicago.

I am 31. I’m a carpenter at a regional theatre in Chicago. Me, the Master Electrician, and other carpenters devise a game called Tapeball. You get three pitches. And swing from the stage. My first hit knocks the tapeball into the small open window of the stage management booth. The area designated as a Gland Slam. It is a perfect moment. 11 years later I’m living with said former Master Electrician.

I am 7. Standing behind the outfield wall for the OKC 89’ers.  Waiting for HR balls or fouls. One comes. The bigger kid gets it. Baseball sucks.

I am 38. Same playwright friend and the luxury box. We talk shop. I stealthily get drunk. As in two of this and that. All the while thinking, I’ve only had two, period. I get home (train). Drunk, I pitch email two stories to my friend. He bites on one. I have to go back and read the email to see what I sent. 4 years later we have a major play going up. People are asking for the screenplay.

I am 32. I go see a Kane County Cougars game. Willie Harris is playing. Years later, he will score an important run in the Sox World Series. I sunburn so badly wearing my tank top, tan lines last for almost two years.

I am 36. I’m with Kurtwood Smith from That 70’s Show at Wrigley. He’s in town doing a movie. I directed him in an indie 2 years ago. We sit behind home plate. He turns and says to me, “it’s good to know the owner of the Red Sox.”

I am 17. Walking out of a movie theater with Tim Houchin and the Beatty twins. Baseball is not even a fleeting thought. We’ve just seen Robocop. I’m gushing about an actor named Kurtwood Smith.

I am 40. Wrigley. It’s April. Jeff and I drink hot chocolate. A foul ball is hit my way. The woman in front of me deflects it, changing its angle. The ball nearly breaks my finger.

I am 34. I’m driving home listening to the Cubs on the radio. A game winning homerun is hit. Santo does his verbal pyrotechnics. I do a fist pump and honk my horn. At the same time the driver in front of me does the same. I pull up beside him. We give each other the thumbs up. It’s good to be alive.

I am 30. In Canadian wine country, I’m on my honeymoon. We see a Jays game. Leaning back you can see the entire ring of the nearly empty stadium with the CN needle tower looming in view. 11 years and 27 days later is the 1 year anniversary of our divorce. Jeff sides with my ex.

I am 40. Watching from the conference room on the big screen. DeWayne Wise goes up against a padded wall and robs a homerun from Gabe Kapler. Two outs later, Buehrle finishes throwing a perfect game. On my birthday.

You read "The Long Season – My Baseball Memories" by David Scott Hay. I am 42.

DSH is the author of the postmodern literary novel FOUNTAIN*  as well as two genre books Cloning Christ and FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar as DS Hay (clever, huh?).

He is currently co-authoring the Civil Rights play THE MARKER with David Barr III and Glen Jeffers, slated to premiere Feb 2012.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

114 Walnut Street by Stephen G. Eoannou

Howdy folks. 
A fresh short short story for your reading enjoyment. I've had the privilege of reading Steve's  (in progress) short story collection. The stories are true. They sneak up on you. And linger. 

I could smell the shampoo from my wife’s hair as she leaned into me to look out the driver’s side window. 
"Honey, look," she said, pointing at an Open House sign. “It’s perfect. Pull over."
She shifted away and opened the door.
“Jesus. Wait a second.”
I steered the car towards the curb and hoped this wasn’t a new version of an old game she liked to play.  Nikki liked to wander the mall, trying on leather coats we couldn't afford, marveling at flat screen TV’s, and shaking her head at the prices of cribs, bassinets, and baby clothes.
She was out of the car and heading towards the house before I killed the engine. The autumn wind carried the smell of burning leaves and fireplaces as I climbed out of the Buick and walked to where she stood. I slipped my arm around her waist and pulled her into me; she was shaking.
"Look at it," she said. "Just look at it."
The house was a two story English Cape, or so Nikki told me, and stood on the corner of Walnut and Vine, directly across from McCarthy Park. A waist-high hedge completely encircled the front lawn and was only broken at the walk by a white arbor; rose bushes intertwined through the lattice. The flowers were mostly gone, leaving behind stems and thorns.
"Can we go in?" she asked, but she had already slipped free.
I followed Nikki as far as the arbor.  She called over her shoulder that the stucco looked freshly painted.
“We should go, Nikki,” I said, but it was too late.

The door opened and a middle-aged woman dressed in gray stood in the doorway. She introduced herself as Ellen Daly, the listing agent.
"I'm Nikki and this is my husband, Tim," Nikki said.
They both looked at me from the steps, their smiles pulling me through that damn arbor and up the walk. Ellen had a strong grip for a woman, as if all the years of standing in doorways and shaking hands of people who didn’t want to be there had strengthened her fingers.
"I didn't think anyone would stop by today," she said, moving aside so we could enter the house. "I think everyone's home watching football."
I forced a smile and squeezed past as Nikki sucked in her breath. The hallway floor was slate and the walls wood-lined.
Nikki ran her hand lightly over the wainscoting, her fingers barely brushing the surface. "Is this paneling or tongue and groove?"
"Tongue and groove," the realtor answered. "It's an addition, but the owners didn't scrimp on anything, as you can see."
Tongue and groove? How did my wife know to ask such a question?
We entered the living room, and Nikki slipped her right hand into my left; her other hand squeezed my upper arm, the happy couple out house hunting on a Sunday afternoon.

"That's a working fireplace. The chimney was just recently repointed," Ellen said.
"It's gorgeous," Nikki answered, breaking away from me again and heading toward the mantle. She reached out to lightly touch the wood, as if she wouldn't believe anything in the house was real unless she felt it.
"What's the square footage?" she asked over her shoulder.
"Seventeen hundred square feet of livable space. It's small, but I think it's just darling for a young couple starting out."
Both Nikki and Ellen turned to me and waited for me to ask a question.
"How old is it?" was the best I could do.
"It's about sixty years old but very well maintained. I don't think you'll find a place with a better location. Did you have a chance to walk through the park? It'll be right outside your front door."
"It's beautiful," Nikki said.
Ellen nodded. "Especially this time of year when the leaves are changing. Of course it's pretty in the winter, too, when the evergreens are covered in snow. It’s like a Christmas card. There's skating on the duck pond when it's cold enough."
Nikki smiled at me before wandering into the dining room. "Are the current owners a young couple, too?" she asked.
Photocopies listing recent repairs were stacked on the table. Nikki took one. I raised my wrist and showed Nikki my watch, but she ignored me.
"No. Mrs. Menza is a widow, in her seventies. She just bought a small one story home near her daughter."
It didn't surprise me that the owner was older. The furniture was dark and out of style. Framed needlepoints hung on the wall, and the mantle was covered with pictures of smiling children. The house had that grandmother smell to it, a mix of mentholatum, potpourri, and windows that had been shut for too long.

"When does she close on the other house?" my wife asked, folding her arms across her chest as she stood in front of the dining room table.
"I believe she closes in a few weeks."
"So she's anxious to sell?" Nikki asked.
"I think she'd like to have this place sold by then, yes," Ellen answered, and we both followed my wife into the kitchen.
"Is there a basement?"  Nikki asked, as she took in the kitchen and small breakfast nook with a sweeping glance.
"Yes, but it's unfinished. Of course there are washer and dryer hookups and stationary tubs down there." Ellen opened a door and flipped on the basement light.
Nikki turned to me. "Honey, why don't you check the cellar while Ellen shows me the kitchen."
I glared at her and headed downstairs.
"Feel the walls for dampness and make sure the wiring's up to code," Nikki called after me.
I stood in the middle of the basement and listened to the murmur of my wife's voice and Ellen's laughter drift to me.
Check the wiring to make sure it's up to code?

I lit a cigarette, ashing it quickly to the filter. The longer we stayed in the house, the angrier I became. Nikki truly wanted to know about the wiring and the age of the hot water tank, but the only thing I wanted to know was what the hell she was thinking. Maybe in a few years we could manage a down payment, but not now, not with the bills we have. Each step I took in the basement was a step I couldn’t afford.  The hot water tank, the furnace, even the goddamn stationary tubs were all out of reach. 
And Nikki knew it.
I didn't know how long I should stay in the basement or even what to look for, so I smoked another cigarette, taking my time with this one, before climbing the stairs.
I wandered around the first floor looking for them and peeked into a small book-lined den. I heard their voices on the second level and went up and found them in the smallest of the three bedrooms.
"...perfect for a nursery," I heard Ellen say as I entered the room.
"There you are," Nikki said, and kissed my cheek. "I thought you got lost. How was the basement?"
"The walls were dry," I reported.
"The furnace was replaced about eighteen months ago," Ellen said. "The combined heating and electric bill is around $300 a month, but you have to remember that Mrs. Menza is older and had the thermostat set slightly higher. Of course, she was home all day, too. That makes a difference."
Nikki nodded in agreement. "A big difference."
I trailed behind as I was shown the other two bedrooms (with 'Plenty of closet space. Plenty.’), the full bath, a cedar closet, and other ground they had already covered. This time it was Nikki, not Ellen, who pointed out each room or feature to me, her words rushing together, defying punctuation.
"Now that only leaves the backyard," Ellen said to us after we took turns sticking our heads through the ceiling to inspect the crawl space and the thickness of the goddamn insulation. She smiled and raised an eyebrow as if she was about to reveal national secrets. We followed her downstairs and through the kitchen. Nikki explained that Mrs. Menza planned on leaving all the appliances, including the refrigerator, as Ellen fiddled with the back door.
Nikki, standing next to me, shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
"Mrs. Menza," Ellen said, finally opening the door, "is quite the accomplished gardener."
We stepped into the backyard. The lawn, although small, was thick and green, but the flowerbeds were a smear of color - yellows, pinks, purples. A sundial, something I hadn't seen in years, stood in the middle of the grass, and a birdbath was tucked in the corner near the back wall.
“The purple ones are Aster,” Ellen said, pointing towards the fence. “That’s Sedum right next to them. Golden Rod forms a nice border, I think. And you recognize the mums, I bet. Of course you're only getting half the effect. Fall flowers are nice, but wait until spring when everything blooms."
"My God," were the only words Nikki could say.

We followed Ellen around the side of the house and she pointed out more perennials and annuals and Mrs. Menza’s vegetable garden; she made sure I noticed the new gutters and downspouts. Nikki trailed us, quieter now than she’d been as reality rushed back at her. When we reached the sidewalk, Ellen asked if we had more questions or if we wanted to go back inside for another look. I said no, and she handed me her business card and a sheet of financial information about the asking price, down payments, and fixed-rate mortgages.
"And remember," Ellen said, looking me in the eye. "Mrs. Menza is asking less than the appraised value, so your taxes will surely go down."
I nodded slowly, as if I was turning that bit of financial information around in my head, mentally chewing it over, as if it mattered.
Ellen took turns shaking our hands before we climbed into the Buick. Nikki watched Ellen walk back to the house to wait for another couple.

"Well," I said, turning the ignition. The car rumbled to life; the patch on the muffler worked free.
"Well," Nikki repeated in a voice so small and sad I had to turn to her. She smiled then, the same smile I had seen my mother give my father a thousand times while I was growing up. There were never any fights between them, no major ones anyway. There was just that smile containing all the quietly accepted disappointments that he and life had given her. I finally understood why sometimes, when my father thinks he's alone and drifts deep into his own thoughts, he shakes his head and his shoulders sag, as if burdened by all those things he couldn't deliver.
"Well," I said again, unable to think of anything to say or do except jerk the car in gear, smile my father's smile, and head toward home.

Stephen G. Eoannou holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. This story is from his forthcoming short story collection MUSCLE CARS and OTHER STORIES. Feel free to drop him a line at 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flirted With You All My Life

Hi folks:

I'm premiering a few flash pieces from one of my favorite writers, Jeremy Rice.  This is the opening chapter of his debut novel, KEEP THAT GOOD SPIRIT ON YA

Feel free to read a couple of the pieces and come back for more. Sip it like good scotch. And if at the end of a few fingers you decide you enjoy them, buy it. 

It's pound for pound and penny for penny some of the best prose out there. 

PS: the customer call piece is my fave. 
1. "Flirted with you all my life"

December 25, 2009

Asheville, NC. Christmas. I stand in the perfect center. The frigid court is like the surface of a bell. Each time the fox pummels it with leather the air sings. He pounces around the court like a cat chasing a cricket, yells to me, Take a shot mate! My legs puckery blue, arms stitched down by my pea coat, I don't feel up to a game, would prefer to thaw out. The basketball clapped in the fox's paws lava and sunlike -- look above -- round and cold as the circle of orange juice cascading to my mouth when I was little in front of the TV and Moms was in the kitchen I love Moms Moms slits her arms with razors. The fox slings me a razor -- Ack! Fox notices my face. Are you straight? -Can we go somewhere warm please? Dismay. He enjoys being a fox in the cold.

Destin's house. We dose her. Destin: blue comfy pullover with frayed sleeve ends and a hole she can slide her thumb through without thought, notice, pull it out and shove the sleeves up her arms. She has soft cello music going. If I were to reach forward and grab a fistful of Destin's skirt I would smell in its fibers powdergreen tea and the smell of Destin herself. Between her skirt and her feet in dusty sports socks Destin wears straight pretty unshaven legs. Greta, who is at her trailer with my son, also has hippie tendencies: soft nests under her arms, hemp, honey and beeswax in her bathroom products. We used to take showers in the trailer. She scraped my body with a loofah and scrubbed my butt with a silky-sud finger and lookaway sly smile. After every bathing she glazed her entire body with lotion and the smell of it hovered off her.

Destin right in front of me holds in one hand a camera, in the other something tender and luminous: a half-peeled tangerine. She's handing me my son. And she will take a picture. Oliver is so little. I have a son. Flash. Textbook image of Hiroshima. Freeze consciousness.

In Athens, GA, Vic Chesnutt overdoses on muscle relaxants and dies.

January 27, 2009

There is a pain between my ears that pulses a hundred and twenty times a day. Every chime announces a new customer call. I work for the bank. A lady from Connecticut has chimed in. "I'm so sorry. So sorry. You don't understand, I never do this. I don't overdraft my account I swear, I swear I'm good I'm a good person, I don't do this sort of thing. I am so angry at myself right now," and she wavers into sobtalk that's musical. 

Earlier I got a call like this: "You are a whiny sniveling shit I can't stand the sound of your voice what do you mean the computer won't let you, you're the bank, right, are you not? I called the bank. I called the number. This is the bank. You're the bank. Give me my money. You stole my money, sissy. I am a police officer. I am a police officer for the city of Detroit." I replied: "And I am a phone bank operator in Asheville, North Carolina, sir."
My supervisor cruises the cubicles, flashing thumbs ups, her big cheap jewelry dangling and clacking. 

I wonder if I should transfer the Connecticut freaker to anti-suicide. "May I put you on hold a minute and check something, just check all our options here? Miss Sandstrom?" "Call me Kelly." "Kelly. Putting you on hold?" (she mumbles.) "Excuse me?" "...You will come back right?" "I promise I'll be right back." Closing my eyes I see dollar sign sculptures composed of diamond and sheer crystal and police shattering bullets into them. I feel without body and I feel the woman on the line is without body and we are two voices alone raging for one another. Click. "I'm back. My supervisor is telling me. I don't know. She's telling me her hands are tied, our hands are tied." "Oh my god oh my god." Losing the grip of her breath. "I can't believe this is happening right now of all times just when I was trying to show my mother, to show my mother, this is how pathetic I am, forty years old and I live with my goddamn mother, sorry for saying that oh god, I don't care, you don't care do you?" -- "I don't mind, you're fine, go on Kelly." "You're a good listener. You're good. What was -- ? Forty years old and my goddamn mother she talks at me like I'm a kid. And... I've spent time in hospitals, too. I'm not perfect. And I've done a lot of things... Listen... you're not going to... cancel my account?" "No. Not one bit necessary. You really haven't done anything to feel bad about, Miss Sandstrom, Kelly, I mean, I've overdrafted my own account more than once. And living at home is nothing to feel ashamed of. You probably just need some time to sort yourself out, get back on your feet. Kelly... I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm looking through your activity this past year, and this is your first mistake, you've been an awesome customer, so just cool off, take a minute... I'm authorized to offer you a one time rebate of the full overdraft fee, thirty-seven dollars. That leaves your account only four dollars negative. What I need you to do, Miss Sandstrom, Kelly, lovely Kelly, pretty Kelly, silly Kelly, she'll find her way Kelly, is run down to the bank in person before two o clock and hand five dollars cash to the teller. Can you do that for me? And then you're in the clear." "I'm in the clear?" "You're in the clear."

The chimes chime chime chime until quittin' time. Out front a guy who looks pretty eaten up fishes through the ashtray, stashing butts into a Ziploc. I gift him two from my pack and smoke one talking to him. Can you give me a ride? he wants to know. I tell him I'm waiting for the bus, but would he like a coffee at the Burger King down the hill? 
We drink coffee. I order small fries but we don't eat. The guy is whacked either from huffing gas, which he alludes to obliquely, or from schizophrenia. I tell him I have a date to look forward to. He tugs the grey behind his head, floored to be alive, asks again if he can call his sister. I repeat I don't have a phone. He confesses finally, collapsing across his arms: his sister is dead. I pat-pat and sad smile and hasten to make the bus.   

First date. Greta's three girlfriends accompany us. We bring red boxes of Massaman and Drunkard's Noodles to the trailer, smoke pot out of a halved Pepsi bottle gravity bong, watch Fantasia and pass Sailor Jerry. Greta mutes the TV and puts on a record: Black Sabbath. Ozzy moans: Now I know just what you're looking for. The mops are chopped to bits. Two of the girlfriends sit really really close to each other. Greta stands on long legs, stoops over the Pepsi bottle, presses her lips to its mouth, rises, falls -- red-faced and leaking -- kisses me and breathes into me hot smoke. The girlfriends make out. We are supreme. I have washed ashore before Circe and I may never escape.     

August 7, 2008

I can barely stand music.

I visited Moms today. She had taken her art off the walls and put it into folders. "Honey, are you drinking too much?" I went into the bathroom to see what pills she was taking. There were pine needles on the floor and a stack of library books on the table and soy burgers in the freezer. She seemed to be trying, maybe even painting, but she complained about her eyes, said she felt disoriented, afraid to go outside. I told her: "I can barely stand music. All my music reminds me of Chloe. Only thing I can stand to listen to is a Vic Chesnutt album called Drunk. You'd like it."

Moms said she had trouble sleeping but the black cloud was over there. Her ferns looked happy. I took with me a folder of her art. My house is sick I mean it feels like it has the flu. It makes me nauseous to be here. The tub overflows with wrinkled and soiled clothing most of it Chloe's she needs to come and get. It reminds me of hiding in the back bathroom as a kid. There was a tub in there filled with Moms's old wool. Moms's watercolors veer in and out of psychosis; the woman figure is trapped trapped trapped trapped and is jeered at and has scars where she has carved herself. A black outline, a woman facing a mirror, dabbing a paintbrush into the red-burst on her wrist, blood-painting her own reflection. An unsprung face awash in pink angry haze facing its own pronouncing finger: Iamaworthless pieceofshit Iamaworthless pieceofshit.  

December 25, 2009

The fox sculpts a self-portrait with modeling clay. Destin fingerpaints with her eyes closed, hair aswirl, baby blues and canary yellows. I am frozen to the couch. My friends can tell I'm roughing something out and they let me be. Let a bad-turning trip turn itself around. Ashamed of needing empathy I long for them to know that I love them and I can pull out of this I can stutter free from panic. Mad at myself. 

September 10, 2009

The Grey Eagle. The beer special is Sweetwater. I take a pint and leave a tip, make my way to the stage, wait for the show.
Once Greta told me I needed to fast. It would detoxify my system and my soul. "My intuition tells me it's right for you," she said, "and I trust my intuition."
"But why should I trust your intuition," I said.
She threw my tarot. She didn't like what the cards declared about us, our future. I said, "If it makes you feel any better, I think it's all bullshit."
That didn't make her feel any better.

I was at her first ultrasound. The interviewer was petite, pretty and blonde and probably only had sex with her boyfriend. She glanced at her clipboard and asked babysoftly: "Is there any history of cancer in your family, sir? mmhmm Is there any history of mental illness in your family, sir? mmhmm" -- big smile, perfect teeth -- "Do you play volleyball, sir? mmhmm This is such a special time for you two And you make Such a pretty couple And ooh We're going to find out what color to paint the bedroom! Do you have a preference Boy or Girl do you Want one or the other?" Lima bean image on the weird little screen. Greta, bulging, looked me in the eyes. I excused myself, went to the bathroom, knelt on the tile. The smell of Lysol assaulted me. The puke was sour and mean, speckling the toilet.

Vic Chesnutt rolls onto the stage. He usually plays with a full band, but tonight is a rare solo show, just him, his wheelchair, his guitar and a stack of papers that contains his lyrics. He shuffles the papers and tunes the guitar. He shifts in his seat and plunks a chord. He clears his throat and says, "I guess I'll play this one. It's a new song. It came to me whole, in a dream, the song did. The thing is, I lost the final verse. I couldn't remember it, when I woke up, so the song's missing a verse."

January 1, 2010

The trailer is still in Christmas mode: piles of fake snow, fluttery tinsel, plastic santa, silver tree and blue, red, gold bulbs. Greta looking pink and laughing and alive. Her mom a bit hot-wired but passing out bottles of water. The fox all wooly and ebullient about new family. Moms on the couch holding her first grandbaby, who isn't yet two months old. Moms is alive everyone is alive wow. Oliver is passed around and returned to my lap. I cradle him. Last night I dreamed of him. He had his baby head but the body and agility of a cat and he twisted and darted away from me. 
Eyes closed, head nestled in my hand. 
Greta says: "I've been putting him on the windowsill. See how his skin looks a little yellow? The doctor said to hold him up to the light. I think it's helping." 
Later, at the bar, I tell Moms I would like her to design me a tattoo. Hidden within the hellscapes of her watercolors are angels of sorts, pink and green dragon insects, turquoise seahorses. I want one of her creatures imprinted where I can see it always, a reminder of zany little miracles. Moms is alarmed: "You don't want to mutilate? Your body is pure!” Grimacing into my Jack&Coke: "My body is pure?" I smile so big at Moms her forehead wall-smashed her arms ladders of scar I start laughing ha-ha-ha-ha-HAHAHA -Haha! Moms! have you ever heard of the Germs?? Moms! what do you know about Punk Rock??

Jeremy Rice hails from Asheville, NC. 
He dreams in couplets with mad beats.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Jazz in her Soul by Darlene Cah

Howdy folks:

A wonderful piece of flash fiction by Darlene Cah for your reading enjoyment.
This piece originally appeared on Staccato Fiction.


The Jazz in her Soul by Darlene Cah

Little Man, he was on that night, pounding those keys like they was congas. JoJo blew notes made your teeth hurt. And me, I slapped a bass line made the scratched-up old bass dance, just like my granddaddy used to do.

I couldn’t see real good with all the smoke, but I could tell them folks in the front row with their pinched faces and tree trunk backs, looked like that picture of the farmer with the pitchfork. Stuffed. Stuffed Man and Skinny Girl. I seen them over to that Rocco’s mission on Mermaid, serving chicken soup and rolls and handing out beads to pray on.

I spun that bass around and ashes from my Marlboro flew in the air. Some must have set on the table up front ‘cause the man flinched. Maybe they come to expand their horizons, or maybe they thought they come to hear some folk music, but they ain’t never heard no fiddle played like Sam and Shoot played that night. Those strings screamed.

I laughed a big laugh and I know my gold front tooth scared Stuffed Man ‘cause he looked away real quick, but I saw Skinny Girl smile and start tapping her hand on the table. Everybody around them swaying and nodding, stomping their feet. JoJo hit a high note and a voice from way in the back, out of the dark yelled, “Yeah!” Skinny Girl getting in the groove now and Stuffed Man give her a hard look. Diminished chords. Sharps and flats. Devil’s music. Heaven’s gift.

We finished our set and he grabbed her by the arm, and even over the applause, I heard him growl, “How you gonna save souls, you can’t save yourself.”

I went out back to smoke a joint before the next set, and there go Stuffed Man pulling Skinny Girl across the parking lot to their van. Her voice filled the air with “Amazing Grace.”

Sweet notes. Soulful notes. Jazz notes.

Darlene Cah was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She now lives in a place where there are more cows than cars. Her flash stories have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly and Mindprints, among other journals. She has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Proud to be a Geek - Notes on Why I Love Geeks.


"Ask what if...?" 
Not, "why?"

Believe in redemption.
Believe in bloody retribution.

Have a child-like sense of wonder.
But are in touch with their inner criminal.

Have traveled to worlds others only scoff at.
Understand humanity a bit better.
Look up, instead of down.

Are voracious readers and watchers.
Have a wicked sense of humor.

Know smart is sexy.

Wear black.
Mock folks wearing black.
Look good in black.

Feelings are easily hurt.
Don't care what you think.

Know the true spirit of community.
Have loaded Kindles.
Have tattoos based on obscure, but non-hipster references.

Write the books you love.
Respect the source material.
Make the movies you really like.

Designed the device/computer you're reading this on.
Have a secret special skill.

Got us to the moon.
Will get us to Mars.

Are passionate
Are Seekers.
Are cool.

Proud to be a  geek, 

David Scott Hay is the former owner of Zonk! Comic & Cool Stuff.

In addition, he is the author of the postmodern literary novel FOUNTAIN*  as well as two genre books Cloning Christ and FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar as DS Hay (clever, huh?).

The writer/director for the award-winning indie feature Hard Scrambled (click here for a funny post about HS).

He is also a Contributing Editor for Digital Americana Magazine.

And is currently co-authoring the Civil Rights play THE MARKER with David Barr III and Glen Jeffers, slated to premiere Feb 2012.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fall: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar

FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar
(The Fallen Trilogy: Book One)

Now just $3.99. Cheaper than a cup of java.
For fans of Neil Gaiman and Steven Brust

And so it came to pass in the waning days of our century that a curious deal was struck between Heaven and Hell, or more specifically between Lucifer Morning Star and the Presence.

The Book of Life, that book that holds the names of those souls deemed for salvation has been stolen from the Silver City. Without the Book there can be no Judgement as foretold in the Revelation.

Two renegade angels are suspect and are believed to be on Earth. For reasons known only to himself, Lucifer accepts the deal with Heaven to recover the Book of Life. 

But jealousy and pride are not an exclusive domain. A small band of angels lead by Mika’il, the Angel of Vengeance seeks to stop him.

Accompanying the Morning Star on the most important quest in Creation are Maggie McCreedy, a recently widowed romance writer now witness to Lucifer’s Testament; Duma, a misfit angel who almost joined in the Fall; Andrew Honeybone, a not quite yet dead, but rotting lawyer, and Mr. Pouge, an enigmatic gorilla of a man.

Together their journey takes them from the Silver City of Heaven to the Ninth Circle of Hell to the now desert wasteland of an earthly Eden.

It is a mythical mystery tale of redemption, deceit, salvation, betrayal and faith.

FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar
$3.99 on Amazon Kindle. Contains excerpts of FOUNTAIN (or Art Has a Right to Children), CLONING CHRIST: The Second Book of Daniel and Skin Deep (coming soon). 

 FALL: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morningstar
$3.99 on Barnes & Noble NOOK

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