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SEAHORSE RODEO FOLK REVIEW

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Table of Contents

SEAHORSE RODEO FOLK REVIEW

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Dick Loves Xula Michael Fugere.............................................................................................................4 A Quick Jaunt into Delirium Dillon Mullenix.............................................................................................................8

Alien Abductions, Typically Speaking Bill James.....................................................................................................................16 City of the Psyche Jake David...................................................................................................................30

Illustrations by Nicholaus Patnaude....................................................................................................34 Stuffed Animals Eric Suhem..................................................................................................................38 Cosmic Lasagna R.L. Naquin..................................................................................................................41

“Eat the Twin Superheated Flames of My Quasar Pistol, Bottomfeeders From Jupiter!” Or: Mork Shits His Pants, While Toru Saves the Day Kirk A.C. Marshall.......................................................................................................44 This Month in History Patrick Moffett...........................................................................................................54


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Dick Loves Xula

Michael Fugere

“Please don’t make this all about you, Sheryl.” “About me!? Are you kidding? You’re the one who cheated on me with some space bimbo.” “She’s not a bimbo. In fact, the Atronthians are a monogamous species. I’m the only sexual partner Xula has ever had.” “I can’t believe you’re trying to rationalize what you did, Richard. Just because you got lost in space for six years doesn’t mean the vows we took are no longer applicable. Life still goes on, here on Earth.” “That’s up for debate.” “What?” “Well, traveling through deep space does strange things to reality, mostly in regards to the physical time that we know and its effects to which we are accustomed-” “I don’t want to hear it! I’m not going to let you weasel your way out of this one with some scientific jargon. The fact of the matter is you betrayed me. You had sex with another woman!” “That’s not completely accurate, Sheryl.” “Oh, for the love of…” “Xula is Atronthian, not a human woman. Their anatomy is vastly different from ours. Even how they copulate coincides


with what humans consider to be sex. So technically, I was faithful.” “Well, Richard, if you had screwed the dog I would be just as upset as I am now.” “Why would I have intercourse with a canine?” “I’m trying to make a point, damn it. The real question is why would you have sex with anything that isn’t your wife?” “I was gone for six Earth years, Sheryl. I didn’t think I was ever going to make it back home to you.” “Only six years.” “Six years on Atronth is much longer than they are on Earth.” “How long did you hold out before…well you know?” “Three years.” “Okay. How long is that in Earth years?” “About eighteen months.” “Eighteen months?!” “Give or take…” “You have some nerve, Richard.” “I’m being honest.” “Part of me wishes you wouldn’t.” “I know this is hard, honey.” “Don’t call me that. Pet names are off limits, buster.” “I’m sorry.” “Oh, so now you apologize. Do you even know what you’re sorry for?” “I’m sorry for hurting you. It was never my intention.” “Then why did you even come back here?” “I had to see you, and tell you that I didn’t forget about you.” “That’s a crock of shit, Richard. I’m sure you weren’t thinking about me when you were banging away on that green slut of yours.” “Xula is not green.”

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“You know what I’m saying…” “She’s actually closer to a dark yellow, a hue that’s not quite a flesh tone...” “She’s yellow?” “Yes.” “Does she only have four fingers and live in Springfield?” “Springfield? No, she’s from Atronth…you know that.” “It was a joke, Richard.” “Ah.” “Look, I don’t care what color she is. That’s not the point...” “…And to say I was ‘banging away on her’ is not accurate or appropriate whatsoever. An Atronthian female’s genitalia - while still resembling a vagina in some respects - is located much higher on the pelvis than that of a human’s, and one does not need to thrust their member in and out in order to make love – “ “OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, RICHARD, SHUT UP!” “What?” “I don’t want to hear about it…” “But it’s quite fascinating.” “Not to me, it isn’t. I’m still your wife…even if you have another one now.” “Why are you crying, Sheryl?” “Because, Richard…you have to ask ‘why.’ You really don’t get it. You say you do, but you don’t. And don’t tell me for a minute that you’re sorry. You’re going to go back to Atronthia and -” “Atronth.” “Excuse me?” “I’m going back to Atronth, not Atronthia.” “Just get out. Get out of my house right now. And yes, it is my house now, and you are never welcomed back in it. Do you understand me?” “I won’t argue that. I have a new home now...” “And a new wife…”


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“…and I will leave quietly…Once again, I am truly-“ “Don’t say it. We both know you’re not…just go.” “Okay then. Perhaps, one day you can learn to forgive me, Sheryl.” “Don’t hold your breath.” “Is that a space joke?” “No.” “Oh. Well then, until next time…” “There won’t be one.” “Goodbye, Sheryl.” “Wait…” “Yes?” “Before you go, tell me one thing: how did you meet her?” “What?” “Xula…how did you meet her?” “I don’t see how it’s relevant.” “I just need to know, Richard. I need to know if she approached you or vice versa?” “Well…it was neither really. It’s not as if we met in a bar or some social gathering.” “Then how?” “I saved her.” “You saved her?” “That’s right. I was wondering through the forestland which surrounded Xula’s village.” “Forestland?” “Yes. Atronth is very much like Earth in many ways.” “I’m starting to get that…It even has man-stealing sluts…” “Anyhow, Xula was out picking Siclor Fruit when a bull Krantz charged her.” “Krantz?” “It’s a beast, much like a buffalo, only with three sets of horns and two sets of eyes. They are quite menacing up close.” “I’m sure they are.”

“Fortunately, I had the spear I had made for hunting and was able to slay the Krantz before it trampled her to death.” “You made a spear…for hunting?” “Yes.” “I couldn’t even get you to cook a frozen dinner, and you made a spear to hunt and kill wild animals…for food?” “That’s right, but on that day I used it to save Xula.” “Wow, Richard. That’s very noble.” “Yes. Xula’s father was so impressed with my heroism that he offered me her hand in marriage.” “And you accepted.” “Yes.” “Let me ask you, Richard, do you still have that spear you made?” “I don’t know. It’s been quite some time since I’ve used it to hunt or fight off anything.” “Oh, I see, after you found a new wife, you went back to being a glutton.” “No, not at all. The people of Xula’s village do not have to kill for their food. They are vegetarians.” “This keeps getting better, Richard.” “Well I do feel much healthier than when I was on Earth.” “So my cooking was bad?” “No. Your cooking was wonderful…just bad for me, you see.” “Great. Thanks for clearing that up. So, do you still have the spear or not?” “Why do you ask anyhow?” “Because you’re going to need it.” “What for?” “My lawyers.” “What?” “Surely you remember what a


lawyer is.” “That I do.” “Good, Richard, because I’m going to hire an army of the most blood-thirsty, pocket-draining divorce attorneys I can find to take your sorry, alien-loving ass to the cleaners, and you’re going to need every bit of protection you can get! So you better get the end of that spear of yours nice and sharp!” “What?” “Oh, you heard me. You better pray NASA has some sort of insurance plan for lost astronauts…one that pays more than six figures, because half of it is going to be mine when I’m done with you.” “You’re being irrational, Sheryl.” “You haven’t seen irrational. You think the Krantz was menacing, well let me tell you, buster, you haven’t seen anything yet.” “So…you don’t want to meet Xula, I take it.” “GET OUT!” “But she’s rather pleasant-” “NOW!”

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Mike Fugere Jr. has lived in the South all his life, but don’t hold that against him. Though a Virginia native, he spent his juvenile years in rural areas of North and South Carolina where he quickly learned to fight devastating boredom by enacting epic stories with action figures and Play Doh on stages made of kitchen tables and dirt roads. Needless to say, the natives were not impressed with any of Fugere’s tales, no matter how many X-Men were in them – and I assure you, there were many…except for Wolverine, and not because he didn’t want a Wolverine action figure in his productions; hell, he would have given his right arm for a goddamn Wolverine action figure! Unfortunately, the local Wal-Mart was always out. He had seven Cyclops figures, but no Wolverine. If that’s not injustice, I don’t know what is. I mean for Christ’s sake how hard is it to replenish stock in a shitty Wal-Mart in the middle of a one horse town? It wasn’t like he was trying to obtain a case of Dom Pérignon or a Ferrari, it was just a five dollar piece of plastic with retractable claws…but I digress. At the age of fifteen, Fugere moved back to Virginia, and after the scars of being a chubby, effeminate pariah living among throngs of Confederate flag-waving psychopaths had healed – which took about three weeks in case you’re wondering – he began to tell stories again; this time through writing. After a few false starts – one of them being a lame vampire novel that will never see the light of day (pun intended like a mofo) – he found his niche in the realm of comic books. His first bit of notoriety was in the form of a comic short story about an insurance salesman who happened to be a werewolf. The story ran in the bi-monthly independent publication Ronin Illustrated. Next, a very short-lived – and by shortlived, I mean only one issue – crime comic called Contract Blues saw the light of day. The first issue sold fairly well, and was met with positive criticism, but due to financial constraints, the series died. Fugere’s first contribution to The Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review was a short story called “Showdown at Cherry Grove Retirement Village,” which was published in the October 2010 issue. He now lives with his wife and Welsh Corgi in his in-laws’ house, but don’t hold that against him either.


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A Quick Jaunt into Delirium

The Lone Star State stretched ahead of us into the omnipresent darkness. The only lights were those of the big tractor trailer rigs running hard through the night to meet deadlines. These were truckers on speed, galloping across the desert with all the finesse of a stagecoach driver carrying a delivery for Wells Fargo Bank in 1869. They weren’t paid to stop and rest. They were paid to ride, and ride hard – even if it meant killing a few innocent people along the way. The worst thing you could manage was to lose the load – and not much has changed for these brutes since the old days. In the background of the highway noise Damien was talking loudly, “I got a farm on 124 acres out in California,” he said, as we sped along en route from Austin, Texas to the ominous glow of Welton, Arizona, where Damien had to stop and attend court by morning. “If the right kind of winds prevail,” he said as we edged closer to New Mexico, “I may be able to get out of this whole nasty business for little more than a minor scratch on my official dossier. I’ve consulted my lawyer and he thinks it can be done. I’m gonna manage myself, fuck getting a public defender, I could better represent myself stupid on codeine. They work from that courtroom workgroup bullshit where they all

Dillon Mullenix know each other and are swamped and are willing to do anything to not go to trial and waste time.” This would be a trick, I thought. “Where’s your farm?” I asked him to pass the slowing time. We sipped from a bottle of MD 20/20 and smoked American Spirit cigarettes as he drawled on into the ride. “You’ll see it when we get there. It’s atop a green Mountain not fifty miles from the sea. They say the natives named it after pigeons, but I don’t like the idea of a majestic place like that getting ruined by naming it after a bird I shot as a kid because they carried mites and disease, and shit on everything imaginable, including us kids. No this place should be named for the view. From my place at the top, where the wind blows freely, you can see the pine trees sway, and the rolling hills, and thunderheads that rise out of the desert to the east. You can see the navy ship running cargo and men to the base on the shore where kids get shipped off to die. You can the only industrial city shining dangerously close to ancient spillway or river that led from ocean to the basins of the desert. “Man, I tell you, there is nothing better than living alone in the wilderness. I can shoot my guns in whatever direction I choose and if I


kill a man it’s because he was an unlucky trespasser. I grow my own food. I am self-sufficient; and it’s not because of this whole ‘Go Green’ hippie liberal bullshit, either. It everyone put up windmills and solar panels it would block out the sun from the earth and interrupt pollen flow to all the beautiful desert flowers that bloom in the spring. It would fuck up everything. When will these fucking people realize they have to create a balance, a balance of fossil fuels and renewable energy, and everything else in this fucked up land of ours. We waste so much. We pay farmers not to plant. We create poverty and misery because somewhere along the way we were taught that it was necessary… natural. Tolerable. “But I don’t buy that government handout rhetoric anymore, fuck togetherness, there is only you and the one’s you love – and the people you pick up along the way; but you can’t help people that don’t want to be helped and there are a lot of those lazy motherfuckers out there, man, mooching off what little social stability we have in this country – and it’s not just here, there are people looking for a handout everywhere. All most people want is a fucking crutch, something to make standing easier. “So I got out. I fled, and in fleeing I found the necessity, again, to provide for myself – so that’s what I did. I put in a solar well so that I don’t have to be on the hard line, same reason I put up a windmill and stopped watching TV or using the internet, or any of that bullshit. You know they can track you through your cell phone, even if it’s turned off! “This is the world we live in. It’s a shame. “You know, I smoke weed. Do you smoke weed Mr. ______?” “Yes.” “Well, we’re in Arizona right now, the asshole of humanity, and for what? To be paraded around like a criminal in front of some magistrate that is prosecuting me for having less than a gram… that doesn’t even matter, the weight, it was an herb, a plant, it grows naturally on

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this planet, and it was smoked by almost everyone, including George Washington and Winston Churchill’s wife, and was grown by legal mandate in Jamestown for a long time, until the 1930s rolled around and the logging industry wagged a media war against cannabis alleging that it made kids numb and dumb and full of cum, and was a social enemy… it was treated like a nigger baby in a Klan household, and it shouldn’t have been tolerated by anybody intelligent. But the legislation passed and people rallied behind, forgetting they themselves smoked herb, and began a crusade against the plant. This hasn’t been bad for the American government; I mean marijuana is the top cash crop in the United States, yielding something like 36 billion a year. What does that tell you?” “I agree,” I said to him, a little overwhelmed. He was ranting, and sweating and getting red in the face and I could see him clutch the steering wheel tight, even in the dark of night I could tell that he was tense. The conversation had drifted far from the farm on the mountain and the quaint community that resided there, but that was common coming from a man who relied absolutely on gut-feelings and spontaneity to guide his way of life. It had worked thus far and he had no reason to abandon it. He quieted down for a moment and concentrated on his drinking, smoking, and knee driving. He had both hands occupied, and I watched, I began to consider my decision to ride with him all the way to the coast, a mistake. He wasn’t what he had seemed when I met him at the festival. There he was a jovial and melancholy, but that had all changed once he emerged back into the real world where drug sniffing dogs and barbaric law enforcement officers lurked on every highway and country road from Texas to the Colorado River. He said he would feel safer when he got across the border. Other states frightened him. They weren’t comfortable, unless there were trees and a place to escape if necessary. He didn’t like feeling trapped. This didn’t stop him from flaunting


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his outlaw demeanor, but it added dramatically to his stress and almost constant state of paranoia. This trip to Arizona and the prospect of another encounter with the law was nothing tantalizing, and was driving his nerves mad as he careened the large white truck down the I-10 at 85 mph. […]

I remember saying something like, “Pull

over, I have to vomit,” as we were looking into the night at the distant glow of the few dazzling lights that made up Wellton, Arizona. The luminescent town gleamed ominously at us from a distance of several miles from where we were, on the outskirts of Yuma, another deliriously small town on the edge of Arizona’s expansive wasteland. “Can’t you wait until we’re at least in the city?” Damien said snidely, as he looked dead ahead into the windshield. “I guess.” I was trying to hold it, but the sick inside of me felt like baking soda and vin-

egar. The truck rumbled on down the highway. Around us the night had settled and the looming shadows were all there was to give depth to the shrouded desert desolation. “What the hell is the matter with you?” Damien shouted as he careened off into an embankment, kicking up dust and gravel. “I think that energy drink made me sick.”

I replied, gagging. “I doubt that was it.” “Then it was the fucking Thai food I ate before we left New Mexico.” “I told you not to eat that squid salad shit there.” “I seriously do not need the ‘I told you so’ speech right now.” Damien laughed. I was garbling words now, on the verge of putting everything out for anyone to see. The city stretched on around us as we pulled past the first exit that marked the edge


of the city’s limits. It was a quiet night and no cars passed us there on the side of the road as Damien jerked the car into the dirt pull-off. It seemed we had crept into Arizona from the brink of nowhere. Outstretching from the main artery was row after row of palm trees. The street signs all had names on them like Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara. The main street, where we were parked, was aptly named Los Angeles. It had the most palm trees of any street we had seen so far, and the most businesses. The city itself didn’t stretch out into the desert too far. There were perhaps three inhabited streets that stretched on for less than a mile. The rest of the municipality was an amalgamation of mobile homes, cinderblock structures, and homes that had been delivered on some form of large trailer. Suddenly, I began to heave a heavy stream of watery mucus and saliva out into the dirt on the side of the road. The dirt, parched by drought, sucked up the vulgar liquid like children do small ponds of rainwater in Africa, and left only a discolored and foul smelling mess of bile, dinner remnants, and grape flavored MD 20/20. Thankfully there were no police around, for if there had been, I surely would have been locked up. Something like this could not be tolerated on the side of the road in a small town. And let’s not forget why I was on this strange journey in the first place. Damien had to make a court date the next morning, in order to try and erase that loathsome charge placed against him a month or so ago, when he first roamed through this ragged hell hole. Those rats had him by the balls, he felt. And we knew that if he didn’t make a prompt and timely appearance the next morning in court all would be lost, including my ride to California. The swine down at headquarters would print his name on a sheet of paper destined for a police officer somewhere in the form of an official judicial summons or warrant. It wouldn’t matter that Damien was caring for a sick and dying man in a hotel somewhere deep in the desert, they would lock his ass up in county jail.

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I couldn’t let him miss the date with the judge, too much depended on it. I needed no such thing against me. I needed to stay off the radar and out of shackles, but at that moment, on the side of the road, throwing up violently, I was not sure that I would make it through the night. “Give me a cigarette,” I said to Damien during a break. He handed me one out of his pack, and after I took it, he fumbled around in his pockets for a lighter, which he found and I used it. “You ready to go?” asked Damien after a moment. “Sure, let’s find that fucking hotel.” I walked around to the driver side of the car and climbed back into the truck. “What are you doing?” Damien said, “Get the fuck out of my truck.” “I’m gonna drive now.” I felt like I was going to die, and I needed to find that hotel fast. “Bullshit,” he said, as he eased over and grabbed my shoulder and ripped me from the seat , tossing me easily to the ground. “You don’t drive unless I tell you too,” he warned. “I don’t have time to fuck around anymore; we have to find the hotel. We have been in this fucking town now for half an hour and still we haven’t found the damned place. If I totally lose it and start to vomit blood and stomach acid we cannot be on the street. If some backwoods law enforcement officer finds us it will make this trip worse than it already is… We need to get out of here,” I pleaded with him. The night was going badly for me, though Damien didn’t seem to be very worried. Everything was on schedule for him. It was already morning and he had to be at the courthouse in only a few hours, but that didn’t matter. He didn’t need to sleep, not yet. Not until he was safe in California. “You worry too much, everything is going to be fine,” he said, “No one is going to arrest you for being sick. Now get in and let’s go find this elusive joint.”


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Damien put the truck into gear and we made the rest of the drive without incident, for only a few times did he have to slow down so I could stick my head out the window in order to spit out a mouthful of phlegm or hack out stomach fluid. On the road to the hotel we passed the sheriff office and the Border Patrol headquarters, and the courthouse. Damien didn’t even notice. But I did. This was the city where justice would be had the following day and I was unsure what sort of justice that may be. There were two possible outcomes, the judge and the DA would either throw the book at him and whoever else they had arrested, or they would let us all walk out of there somewhat unscathed. But all that was yet to be determined. I wouldn’t really have a grasp on what kind of absurdity awaited him until the next day, so I tried to put the thoughts out of mind for now… now I had to focus on the parasitic feeling I had in my intestines. Like everything in life this was a test, and from what I could reckon, the beginning of many. Damien pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and hopped out and went off somewhere as I began to vomit further into the rose bush planter box, which was full of nothing but the carcasses of once bold and beautiful flowers. When I was finished I had a look around. The parking lot was dirt and to the left of the hotel stood a green barn – once restaurant – that was now partially burned. The temperature hovered at about a hundred degrees and all around us the imported shrubbery stood still in the breezeless night. Damien had gone to find the proprietress whom he had arranged things with earlier. She had promised a cool room with A/C and two beds for $25, but we had to get there by ten o’clock. It was now almost two o’clock in the morning and I wasn’t convinced that anything or anybody would be waiting for us in the dismal night. “What had taken us so long?” I thought as I waited for Damien to reappear, which he

soon did in a green minivan accompanied by a short Mexican woman in a muumuu and slippers. I received a very harsh look from her before she unlocked the room and showed us inside. “She thinks you’re a drunk, but I assured her you were just sick,” said Damien after a moment. “It didn’t help that you had that MD 20/20 bottle in your hand. I hadn’t realized it but I had grabbed the bottle when I got out of the car, not to drink but to wash the taste of vomit out of my mouth with. I threw it into the bushes and walked inside. I was really feeling terrible and the feeling was starting to set in like it was going to be a permanent part of my life. The hotel room was a small white New Mexican style bungalow that had fallen into disrepair. Both the hot and cold water that ran from the sink was scalding. It had two small beds and a window A/C unit that was humming but putting out no air. The room was very hot and humid despite the dry climate outside. I surmised that the humidity was nothing more than a product of the window unit and promptly turned it off before falling face first onto the bed. After giving the room key to Damien the short woman got back into her minivan and drove off to her trailer behind the hotel. “The woman said she normally didn’t check people in this late, but because we called she would make an exception,” Damien said after he had settled onto his bed. “Fuck her, I need to use the bathroom, I feel like I have to take a hundred pound shit.” “You can’t be mad right now. I mean, she only charged us $25.” “That’s all she said she would charge.” “Yeah, but there is a late night check-in fee.” “Like I said, fu….” but I couldn’t finish, I stopped talking and moved quickly from the bed to the floor of the bathroom where I posted up as a permanent figure. It was a small bathroom, white with linoleum-tiled floor. The middle of the floor had a drain in it because water from the


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FALL 2010 shower had no place to run other than over the lavatory floor. Throughout the night I rotated between bed and floor, Pepto-Bismol and convulsions, sweating and freezing. It was a terrible mixture of food poisoning and carbonated energy drinks rising up and out of me. Sometime around six o’clock in the morning I finally made it to sleep. At seven o’clock the alarm went off and Damien shook me awake after he poured a warm

parking lot that when compared to its surroundings stood out as quite bourgeois. They obviously had a sufficient budget, one larger than any other business, public or private, in the small town, except of course for the Border Patrol which was a federal institution, part of Homeland Security, and therefore much more important. Upon entering the courthouse I found a small hallway full of people standing around with paperwork in their hands and family at their sides. The group was multicultural, and it was strange

bucket of water over my head while I lay dormant.

because I hadn’t expected that on hillbilly turf. Some were obvious ghetto refugees while others were well dressed business types. They were all here to face off with the wizards of justice on foreign soil. This was no heaven for the accused, only the bailiff and judge were at home in these parts, for everyone else it had been a terrible journey from all over the country to here. Damien spent the time prior to judgment in the dusty parking lot under the lone avocado tree smoking cigarettes and drinking steadily from a can of beer, while I meandered about in the long white hallway talking to sullen faces. Soon, I realized that everyone here was there for the same reason: they had all, at one time or another, been

[…] The courtroom sat above Los Angeles St. and the palm tree laden sidewalks on a small artificial hill, pushed up in order to give the appearance of grandeur to the otherwise bland building. The courthouse itself was nothing more than a one-story, 2,000 square foot cinderblock structure with a dirt parking lot and handicapped ramps. Next to the courthouse was the Sheriff’s Department, which was an upgraded mobile office unit with barred windows and a cement


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caught at that same Inspection Station on the lonely I-10 with marijuana and paraphernalia by that loathsome canine unit. He had got them all. Now they were all huddled together, awaiting their fate in unison. The mood, as people realized that they were not alone, suddenly became somewhat jovial. People began to laugh and share their arrest stories. Damien, after he came in, didn’t, however, partake in story time. The DA, unbeknownst to most, was in the hallway with us, listening, and so was the judge, who at the moment was setting up chairs in her small courtroom to accommodate the crowd. Soon, however, she made it quite clear who she was by announcing to the group that it would be wise to keep their confessions secret, at least until after the judgments had been made. “These fools,” I thought, “they’re all doomed, they’ve just given up their only sense of security: deniability. And now the judge is calling us all into the fire… what will become of those who spoke so freely?” Damien just looked around as he stood, leaned up against one of the white walls. “We are calling this court to order,” shouted the female judge to all of the accused, “I have set up some seats, come in and sit down wherever you can. I know there are a lot of you, so you’ll have to squeeze in.” After the announcement she went off into her chambers to put on the traditional black smock. Prior to this she had been dressed in a tight pink shirt and blue jeans, which wrapped her pear shaped body into a tight bundle. She reemerged a minute later and began the proceedings. We were all notified of the absence of Public Defenders. They all had apparently taken a day off. This was an unofficial thing to do, since legally we are all supposed to be provided equal protection under the law, which means I get a lawyer. None were there. It felt fucked. But, then the judge says, “No PD’s will be here today, so if you plan on not pleading guilty,

please leave.” Some did. “Now,” she continued, “The DA will get up here and explain to you his offer,” (all the offers were the same, though she made it sound individual). The DA gets up. “I am here and I am authorized to offer you people a plea bargain. You don’t have to take it; but if you do, you can be out of here today. For everyone who does not take the plea they will have to come back for a second hearing.” “What is the deal?” a man down the aisle asked. He was well dressed like he owned a small business. “The deal is that we’ll drop the Attempted Possession of Marijuana charge, which is a misdemeanor thanks to the people who arrested you – they could have charged you with a felony, but they didn’t – but you must plead guilty to the Paraphernalia charge, which can be Set Aside at a later date by a judge.” “What is a Set Aside?” an older man asks, his white head looking inquisitive. “I can’t tell you that. But I can give you a law book to read that will describe it.” The old man grumbled, “I can’t understand that gibberish in law books.” A silence fell over everyone. The DA continued, “Anyway, I will pass out the plea bargain papers to everyone, you read them and then decide what you want to do, you may not ask us for advice as we are not allowed to give it to you. If you sign them there will be a fine and we will give you the Set Aside paperwork.” “Do you think we should take the deal,” a tattooed girl that was very sexy asked me. “I don’t know, I haven’t read it yet. What do you think, Damien?” I looked at Damien. He had no sign on his face that showed that he had seen or heard anything. “Whatever, they said they’ll set it aside. I never plan on running for office or applying for financial aid. I’m gonna end it quick.”


When we got it, I read it. Then I read the legal books that described what a Set Aside was in Arizona. It all seemed very fair, and besides, Damien had already signed the paperwork and made his way to the office to pay the fine and file his Set Aside application. I was just biding time. “Should I do it,” she asked again as we were on the way out. “Yes,” I said. At the teller window Damien paid the $420 fine and flaunted his blasé attitude. “So you giving in?” I said to Damien. “No. But I ain’t comin’ back to this shit hole.” They handed Damien his receipt, I took it, and then they asked for the paper work on the Set Aside, I gave it to them. Damien just stood there, watching. The judge stood there behind the counter and took the form, stamped it, and handed it back. I took it and folded it up and put it with all the other papers, in my pocket. It was over. Outside we got into the truck and made our way to the first good place we saw to eat on Los Angeles Street. There was a breeze and the palm trees were blowing in it. The smell of tacos was in the air as we pulled into a nice looking cinder block structure that advertised cheap beer.

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There is an anarchist living in a fortified compound in the high desert where the wind blows, carrying the strange smells of a haggard people hundreds of miles across rotten stewing images of corpses left like molted skin; and trees to timid to grow,wave scantly in that acrid atmosphere, calling out nameless hopes to the sick man who lives there, like a hermit, writing epitaphs for the lost. His name is Dillon Mullenix. He was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1985, in Echo Park, which is a small ghetto of a place, violent, and at night the calls of the maimed could be heard, like the screech of a big cat. This was no place to live, and in 2003 Dillon moved to San Diego to attend college at SDSU. Shortly after graduating, he published his first short story in Common Ties. Shortly after this he moved to Warner Springs, CA, which is a small high desert town north of San Diego on the border of Riverside County. Its a place like the wild west and has served in fueling his growing passion for the arts, especially literature.

“There aren’t many places in the world where a man can jump off a roof with a loaded gun to kill a coyote running at full speed in the dark without a flashlight,” he said once, “It’s one of those imaginary realms, almost like a fairy tale, but there is a gloom here, an omnipresent darkness that encapsulates the world. It isn’t much, but its a freedom I never knew before.” Since then he has been published in two anthologies, Relationships and Other Stuff and Vwa: Poems for Haiti, as well as some other other magazines and blogs like Forth Magazine, Boho Coco, Glass Cases, and Vivid. Dillon has contributed multiple stories to the Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review since its inception in May of 2010.


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Alien Abductions, Typically Speaking Bill James

Josiah looked down at the area of the kitchen table upon which his mother had placed toast and cereal and milk and juice with a look of confusion. Noticing his look, Josiah’s mother said, “Josiah, from this day forward, we will not be eating chocolate. When I say that we will not be eating chocolate, I mean that we, meaning you, will no longer eat nothing but chocolate. Some chocolate some of the time is ne but as for the rest of the time, we need to start eating like normal people. Most, I should say all, of your life, we, meaning I, have not treated you like a normal person. This is because you are not a normal person. You are special. But you are nearly sixteen now, and I realize that I have possibly treated you too special, and now we have problems. So, from now on, we, meaning you, are going to be doing more normal things, like eating foods other than chocolate. But you mustn’t think that this means that you are normal, like everyone else. You are not. You must never forget that you are


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no way of knowing about him. Jesus did visit this planet, of course, so people on this planet that do not believe in him will go to hell. Hell is a horrible place consisting mostly of re That is why it is very important that we get to know Jesus.” Drew Martell had never chosen Josiah’s mother to be one of his steady girlfriends. Nor had Drew Martell had sex with Josiah’s mother, either in a car or at the movie theater or in the boy’s locker room. In fact, it seemed that Drew Martell had had no idea who Josiah’s mother was. They had had two classes together over the course of the three years that they both had attended the same high school, but Josiah’s mother had never once spoken to Drew Martell and Drew Martell had never once spoken to Josiah’s mother. Despite the fact that Drew Martell had had no idea who Josiah’s mother was and that Josiah’s mother had never once spoken to Drew Martell and Drew Martell had never once spoken to Josiah’s mother, Josiah’s mother, like all of the other girls at the high school that she had attended, had been madly in love with Drew Martell, and had imagined her wedding to Drew Martell and the names of the babies that they might have had together. “Unfortunately, Jesus had not yet made his way into my life at the time that I was taken onto the Parnucklian spaceship and met your father. Parnucklians would have made wonderful Christians. They are very compassionate, just like Jesus. But at the time I was lost. At the time I was just like other teenage girls out there in America, lost and in need of God’s love. I was a very good girl in middle school and in high school. I did all of my homework and studied hard for my tests and was polite to my teachers. I went to bed early and always ate a good breakfast and never talked to boys. But when I left high school and went to college and moved out of my parents’

house and into the dormitory, something happened, something that happens to a lot of teenagers, but especially teenage girls, when they leave their parents and go to college. I became excited. I began to feel a feeling of freedom and excitement. I began to stay up late. I began to miss some of my classes. I began to drink beer and other alcoholic beverages. I had given in to the temptations of The Devil, though at the time I was unaware of it. At the time, what I was doing felt good and felt right. I was having fun. But in reality I was being blinded by The Devil. The Devil was trying to trick me into being his servant, which no one should want to be. Luckily, even though I was being very bad, I did not begin going out with boys. This is an area, for whatever reasons, that The Devil was unable to lead me toward. Many teenage girls, when they leave their parents and go to college, begin talking to and going out with lots of boys. For example, my roommate in the dormitory, Beth, went out with most of the boys on the boys oor of our dormitory Beth would spend the night with a boy nearly every night. She would sleep with boys in her bed in our dormitory room. When I say that they slept together, Josiah, I mean that they had sex, which is a sin unless you are having sex with a person that you are married to.” When Josiah had been twelve years old, Josiah’s mother had sat Josiah down at the kitchen table, not the kitchen table of Johnson Davis, but rather the kitchen table in the former home of Josiah and Josiah’s mother, in which Josiah and Josiah’s mother had lived when Josiah had been twelve years old, and had said to him, “Josiah, the time has come for you to learn about sex. Sex is something that a man does to a woman using his Andre Agassi. On this planet, an Andre Agassi is called a penis.” Josiah’s mother had held up a twelve-ounce bottle of Apple Juice and had continued, “When a man and a woman have sex, the man takes


special. You are more than other people. You are part-Parnucklian, which is a wonderful thing. We, or I should say, I, simply feel that it would be good for you to do normal things for the time being. So sit down and have some breakfast.” Drew Martell had been the sophomore class president at the high school that he and Josiah’s mother had both attended and later the junior class president and later the student body president. Drew Martell had also been the baseball team captain and the soccer team captain and the basketball team captain. All of the girls at the high school had been in love with Drew Martell. Some of the girls wrote love letters to Drew Martell, some having kept the letters in their sock drawer or under their mattress and others having been brave enough to give the letters to Drew Martell, either having passed them to him in class or having left them on his doorstep. Some having signed the letters and others not. Other girls would plan their weddings to Drew Martell and think of names for the babies that they and Drew Martell might have. Some would call the home of Drew Martell and when he answered they would hang up and giggle. A few had been brave enough to stay on the line and talk to Drew Martell. Some girls at the high school had sex with Drew Martell.

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his steady girlfriends, and who had become the envy of all of the other girls at the high school that Drew Martell and Josiah’s mother had both attended, were seen somewhat as celebrities or as royalty. Those girls would soon develop an entourage of other girls. Way would be made for those girls and their entourages in the hallways. Lunch tables would be cleared. Lunch would be fetched. Lunch money would be loaned out. Homework assignments would be relinquished for the purposes of copying. Sluts who had had sex with Drew Martell behind the back of his steady girlfriend, either in a car or at the movie theater or in the boy’s locker room, would be harassed, bumped into in hallways, their books knocked to the ground, “slut” and “whore” shouted in the cafeteria. Phone calls would be made to homes proclaiming to whoever answered that the daughter of the house was a slut and a whore. The names and phone numbers of sluts would be recorded on bathroom walls.

As soon as Josiah sat down at the kitchen table, Josiah’s mother began sliding plates and bowls and pitchers and glasses, saying, “Here. Here is some toast, and here is some cereal, and here is some milk to pour over the cereal, and here is some juice,” and before Josiah had a chance to begin eating his toast or his cereal or pouring his milk or drinking his juice, his mother continued, “Also, real world lessons will no longer be a part Approximately each semester, one girl at the of your home-schooling curriculum. We believe high school would get to be the girlfriend of that your yard maintenance and housekeeping Drew Martell. Every Fall, at the beginning of the skills have reached the Advanced level, and it is school year, Drew Martell would choose a girl to time to move on to something else. From this be his steady girlfriend, making that girl the envy point on, we will be studying the life and words of all of the other girls at the high school, usuof Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a wonderful ally breaking up with that girl sometime around man who changed the world and continues to spring break and then nding a new girl to be his change it even today. He, like you, is also spenew girlfriend, making that girl the envy of all of cial. He is the son of God. On the home planet the other girls, usually breaking up with that girl of your father, which is also your home, they do sometime during summer break. not believe in Jesus Christ nor do they worship him, but that is forgivable because Jesus never The girls whom Drew Martell had chosen to be visited the planet Parnuckle, so they would have


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his Andre Agassi, or penis,” Josiah’s mother had then held up a co ee cup and had put the twelve ounce bottle of Apple Juice lid rst inside of it, “and puts it inside of the woman’s vagina, which is located in the same place that a man’s penis is located. There is no Parnucklian word for the woman’s vagina. To the Parnucklians, the woman’s vagina is a very special and very secret place, and therefore no name is given to it and it is rarely spoken of. On this planet, the woman’s vagina has been given many names. At any rate,” and Josiah’s mother had begun moving the twelve-ounce bottle of Apple Juice in and out of the co ee cup the man puts his penis into the woman’s vagina until he is able to have an orgasm. This can be painful for the woman and can cause her to become pregnant and have a baby, so only people who really, really love each other should try it. Josiah, you should not put your penis, or Andre Agassi, into any woman’s vagina until you know it is the right time, which will be a long time from now.” Josiah’s mother had then set the twelve-ounce bottle of Apple Juice and the co ee cup down on the kitchen table and left the kitchen and gone into her room and shut the door. “But I was not like Beth in that way. I stayed up late like Beth and went to parties and drank beer and missed classes like Beth, but I did not have sex with boys like Beth did. I did not have sex with boys because somehow I always knew that there was something special out there waiting for me. All of my life, from the time I was a little girl, I always felt, always knew, that there was something special out there, and I just had to wait until I found it or it found me.” She had seen him, from across the room, but had never imagined that moments later he would notice her, let alone approach her, let alone talk to her, let alone have any idea who she was.

“I can’t believe you recognized me. I didn’t even think you knew my name.” “How could I not know your name? We went to school together for like three years.” He stood close, but not too close. Two, three feet.


“I know, but…” The fraternity house was wellfurnished, and as she searched the space behind her in search of a means of support to combat the feeling of tipping that she was experiencing, her hand conveniently came into contact with what, without looking, appeared to be an oak side table She kept her right palm at against

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the table, which was nearly the height of her waist, and held a bottle of beer in her left.

“We even had a couple of classes together. Didn’t we?” He held a plastic glass in his own right hand. His left was shoved halfway into his jean pocket.


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“Yes, but…”

“There are three days, Josiah, that I consider to be the most important three days of my life. Of “And now here we are. So how are you liking course there are other days that are also very State?” Though it had been only a year, he was important, but if I had to choose three days that di erent she thought Di erent but the same are the most important, these would be those three. Those three days are, not in chronologi“It’s great. I mean…it’s amazing.” cal order, the day that you were born, the day that I found Jesus Christ, and the day that your Is this your rst Kappa Chi party he asked father came into my life.” with a shrug of the shoulder and a bending of the neck. She could feel the upper parts of her arms and the back part of her legs begin to lightly shake. “Yeah. I mean…my roommate and I were going She had, other than the brief period she had to come last week…but, well…she got sick.” held onto the oak side table behind her, been holding her beer bottle close to the body, one “But you guys made it this time.” hand at its base and two ngers of the other hand on its neck. Without it, her hands now “Well…yeah,” she responded, remembering her felt awkward. She pushed half of each into the beer and taking a sip, hoping that the behavior pockets of her jeans, as she had seen him do. would hide the lessening, but lingering feeling She looked around the room, feigning apathy. of awkwardness. “Actually, she still isn’t feeling that well But she dropped me o Beer s out I guess he said upon nally - return ing. “I brought you something else.” “And is she picking you up?” The surrounding noise in the room, while it did not stop, seemed “Oh, okay.” to quiet itself. She watched his eyes gaze into hers. “Cheers.” “Yeah…I’m supposed to call her…when…”

“Cheers. This tastes good. What is it?”

“Do you need another beer?”

“A Midori Sour.”

She let go of the table behind her and shifted the weight of her upper body forward, toward him.

“Oh. Wow.”

“Sure. Sure.”

“Yes. It tastes really good.”

“I’ll get it. Be right back.”

“…”

He had already stepped away, grabbing the empty bottle, quickly but gently, from her hand. “Okay. Thanks,” she said, but he was already too far into the crowd to hear her.

“…”

“Like it?”

“Want another one?”


“Okay.”

“I…”

“Be right back.”

“What?”

“Alien abductions, typically speaking, Josiah, are seen as scary, traumatic events. But there was nothing scary or traumatic about my alien abduction experience. Your father, who was my alien abductor, and who was on a research mission for the planet Parnuckle, which is one of the job duties of the planet Parnuckle s Key master of Gozer, was very kind and very gentle throughout the entire event.”

“Nothing. I…nothing.”

“Here you go. Cheers.”

“Okay. Be right back.”

“Cheers. What is that you’re drinking?”

“Here you go.”

“Oh, this is 7- Up. I have a soccer match tomorrow, so I’m taking it easy?”

“Thank you.”

“A soccer match?”

“No problem. I was just thinking.”

“What were you thinking?”

“Oh.”

“How crazy it is seeing you here.”

“…”

“Yeah.”

“…” “Ready for another?”

“…”

“Okay.”

“No problem. I was just thinking.”

“Here.”

“Great. That’s better.”

“Ready now?”

“Thank you.”

“Where?”

“Sure.”

“…”

“Here you go.”

“Yeah.”

Can we maybe sit down

“…”

rst

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“Yeah. When I saw you, I didn’t really believe it. I was like, ‘it can’t be her.’ But then it was you. It’s all sort of…I don’t know…surreal.” “Yeah?” “Yeah.” “Can I ask you something?” “Okay.”


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“How come you never talked to me like this in high school?” “What do you mean?” “I mean, you never talked to me like this. You never really talked to me at all. Why is that?”

“I noticed you.” “You did?” “Of course I did.” “Yeah?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yeah.”

“You don’t know?”

“Come here.”

“Not really. I guess I was just shy.”

“When I woke up that morning, I was already on the Parnucklian spaceship. I hadn’t felt a thing. The spaceship, or the room I was in on the spaceship, was warm and dark. But it was not scary. It was dark, but there was a glow. At rst I could only hear his voice but as my eyes got used to the dark glow I could see him rst just his shape, and, eventually, everything. He was very handsome. Like you. Parnucklians look just the same as Earthlings. They are built exactly the same, but they are often more handsome.”

“You didn’t seem shy.” “I didn’t?”

“No. You had all those girlfriends. And all the girls liked you.” “Allll the girls?” Yeeeeahhhh dent.”

I mean…you seemed so con -

“I don’t know. I guess…around those girls, it was easy to be con dent It was like…I didn care what they thought. You know?” “Sort of.”

Girls like you were di

erent

“Girls like me?” “Yeah. You know. Like…pretty…but smart.” “Yeah?”

“Yeah. With girls like you…it was like you could see through me.” “I never thought you even noticed me.”

“You’re a good kisser.” t “I am?” “Yeah.” “Thanks. You’re a good kisser, too.” “Thanks. Ready for another drink?” “Actually, I feel really tired.” “Oh. Do you want to lay down for awhile?” “Yeah. That sounds good.” “You can lay down for awhile and then we’ll call your roommate.”


SEAHORSE RODEO FOLK REVIEW

FALL 2010 “Okay.”

“Do you want me to fuck you?”

“Because he was on a research mission for the planet Parnuckle he asked me many questions about the planet Earth. He started by asking me what we called di erent things such as trees and water and rocks. He spoke perfect English. Communication was not at all di cult He was also interested in our education system.”

“I…I don’t know.”

“Mmm. What are you doing?”

“I…Mmm. Mmm. I want you to fuck me.”

“It’s okay.”

“Tell me you want me to make you come.”

“Mmm.”

“I…I want you to…I want you to make me come.”

“You like that?” “I…yeah. Mmm.” “Oh, baby.” “I…” “You’re so fucking hot.” “I…” “I want you so fucking bad.” “I…Mmm.” “You like that, baby?” “Yes. I…Mmm.” “Do you want me inside you baby?” “I…I don’t know.” “I want to be inside you, baby. I want to fuck you so bad.” “I…”

“Do you want me to make you come?” “I…Mmm…I don’t know.” “Tell me you want me to fuck you.”

“Tell me you love me.” “I love you.” “Oh, baby.” “Mmmm.” “Ohhhh.”

“Do you…Do…Should you use a condom?” “I don’t have one. Ohhh.” “But…” Is it your

rst

“It…” “Ohh. Is it?” “Mmm. Yes.” “Then it’s okay.” “…”


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FALL 2010 “Okay?” “Okay.” “Ohhhh.” “Mmm. Ah! Mmm.” “Oh. Oh. Oh.” “Ah. Ah.” “Oh, baby.” “Then, he began to tell me about his home planet, Parnuckle. He came closer to me and told me, in a tender voice, to close my eyes and be still. He placed his hand on the top of my head, and when he did I could see a vision, in my mind, with my eyes closed. I could see a vision of beautiful elds and mountains and lakes. But these were not beautiful golden elds or beautiful purple mountains or beautiful shimmering blue lakes as we are used to, and which are beautiful enough as it is, but rather these elds and mountains and lakes, and whatever else I was shown, as there were other things, it’s just that these are the examples that I can remember, keeping in


mind that visions, like dreams, are very abstract and can be di cult to remember were lled with all colors all at once, all the colors of the rainbow, but even more, as there seemed to be colors that we are unaware of and cannot comprehend with our limited minds, and there were cities vibrant with life and color and people who were all smiling and happy and handsome.” “Do you need a ride home?” “Oh…uh…yeah…yeah, I guess.” “Be right back.” “He then removed his hand from the top of my head and placed it on my chest. He told me to open my eyes and when I did he told me that I had been chosen. I had been chosen to be the one person on this planet with knowledge of the beautiful planet of Parnuckle with its beautiful people, and this gift was something that was to be cherished and to be protected because it was something wonderful but also something dangerous, though he didn’t explain that part all that thoroughly, but I suppose it has something to do with the destructive nature of man’s insatiable consumption, and I expressed my thanks for this gift by thanking him over and over and telling him how honored I was to be the one to receive this gift, and then he leaned in close and told me that I had one gift yet to receive and I started to tell him that that was unnecessary as he had done enough already, but he silenced me by adding additional pressure from his hand to my chest and once again told me to close my eyes.” “Who are you?” “I’m Mark.” “What are you…what do you want?” “Drew asked me to give you a ride home.”

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Bill James is a contributing writer to the September 2010 issue with his story, “Dismantled” and the December 2010 issue with his story “Alien Abductions, Typically Speaking.”

Bill is 32 years old. He has generally low self esteem and eats too few vegetables. He teaches English to teenagers in an, at times, somewhat effective manner. He recently moved, along with his lady love, from Stockton, CA to Brooklyn, NY. In January, he will receive his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Low Residency program. Contact Bill: whjames78@gmail.com

Find Bill on facebook: by going to Facebook. And looking for Bill Howard James Bill’s stories have also appeared...

Mississippi Crow Issue 7 “Lonely Days Are Gone” http://stores.lulu.com/RiverMuse

Cause and Effect Magazine (now closed) Issue 10 “A Paper-Clipped Life” The Duck and Herring Co. Pocket Field Guide (now closed) Cold Weather 2008-2009 “From Me to You” Foliate Oak October 2008 “Admitting It” http://www.foliateoak.uamont.edu/archives/ october-2008/prose/admitting-it-by-bill-james “Admitting It” was also featured in Foliate Oak’s 2008 “Best Of” Anthology

Leaf Garden Issue 11 (forthcoming) “Parnucklian for Chocolate” http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/


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Interm


mission

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CITY OF THE PSYCHE

JAKE DAVID


T

he river styes are open, their innards puke Vaseline waterfalls, and the vagabond shops are closed off for tonight’s show! Getchur tickets! A sailboat rolls through the top of the hill’s halfway plastic poles -- electric barbershop lottery is littered again -- the moon is a cardboard stain, overnight, by the convenience store rocking chair been here long time long time smiling at the dead fish swimming downstream up the street around the world with a snot-green handkerchief sonnet hand-out for the bum’s a parlour phones fingering Sax’s joyous moon tonight, sure to be a good show. Good show. Children beside dead ponies, both they fell from the toilets of Eden. Gonna see the show?

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Well ya want to see the show about it and if ya don’t, well, half-off with your head then about right sounds! Aphrodite’s wicked virgin in the alleyway doped up on Dopey’s grin and grinning for more dough than can be had, wild moan-scream night. Just another moon’s tonight show plays dance cadences tonight in the City of the Psyche. Lessgo on now. Bloom and Venus, couple of lovers in for the show, just a good time is about it. As promised by the Chocolate Jesus with a red megaphone screams at crowds form doves of people passing: Bring your wives, bring the kids! Don’t bring yar girlfriends! It’s a love to love itself supposedly! Well-moisted will ye be! Airly! Tonight! Tonight! G-e-e-e-t your tickets, get your tickets! Brothels


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dressed as schools! Cathedrals masquerading as Army camps! Crack pipe is the Bible! Moose dung on Queen Elizabeth the 2nd’s face portrait! Watch it all! Come see Edie Sedgwick’s ghost give an Encyclopedia a blowjob, ain’t no happy ending for anybody but YOU lovely folks! Hearye, hearye! Watch the MAGICAL Mr. Waits turn a nine-year old Hindu boy into Hyundai’s toy! Come get your tickets, folks! Pay the ride! Ye ain’t no good Doctor if ya don’t got a ride. Come get yours tonight! Step up on! Hey man! What time’s the show? Ah? The show? S’about uh.. Gotta clock anywhere? Lost mine yesterday, m’girl Time took it somewhere. Hickatock. Tockaticka. Frockaki. Show’s at twenty-three twenty-three. And what time’s it now? It’s about twenty-one forty-two I think it is, yessir. Thankyaverymuch. Onwards, Bloom and Venus’d made graveyard grave scars tomb combs sink in honey frilk money’s thrill all ‘round tourist’s attraction. Prettyized decompartmentalization, a modernized history once true and well. But who’d expect 1966 to taste any better than curbwalks plastic meals doesn’t provide ‘cept in grunken Deorgia?

TONIGHT WILL BE PERFORMING THE CLASSIC ACT! THE BAND WILL PLAY THE CLASSICAL SONG, “I w i s h I d r e a m e d i n P a r i s--h e r t h i g h s c r e e p m y k i s s e s--T h i g h i n t h i g h u p M o n t a g n e--a l a u g h--m y f r i e n d s--a n d m e--W h e r e y o u ‘ l l h e a r t h e b a n d travel in the footsteps of they‘ve w h o w e n t b e f o r e--a n d w e ‘ l l b e a l l reunited like children in a striptease show on a new and m o o n l i t s h o r e--S k e l e t o n a l m i s t r e s s e s i n a m a t t r e s s--I V tubes wrapped around their t h r o a t s--E v e r y b o d y s m i l e s a n d w i n k s a t t h e m--h e l l o w h a t a f a n t a s t i c n i g h t i s n ‘ t i t! A n d nobody dares think too much a b o u t s k e l e f u s e d d e s o l a t i o n-G ‘ b y e g b y e--W h e n t u b a s b e g i n t h e i r b e l l o w--w a i t i n g f o r t h e n e w m o r n i n g--a n d t h e w o r l d n e w-r e v e a l e d--G b y e--h a h i.” HEAR YE!

Venus is a moving violation on the temptation of his veneer, and a consequential insight that comes from secrecy, jealousy, and everything tainted humility provides when having a purpose isn’t enough to stop walking alone, alone.

Gathering up another cigarette, Bloom: Where’dya wanna go, sweet? See if I give a damn where you go just along from me. Oh, she feigns, lighting up her own got about an adventure somewhere. Made childhood memories outta phlegm bottletops and ashtray butts. Said loneliness didn’t matter as long as life stayed away from boundary’s call, didn’t matter who said what did when broke their ass over who got a job lost the job now the job don’t matter doesn’t pay doesn’t matter. Let’s see what’s in New Zealand, I’ve always fancied New Zealand so (Hehehe, New Zealand is and Venus too bent over heehehee)! Aaahhh. Hangsclarsped, getchurs today!

On the other side the burgundy-moon, swirling around trying to keep its balance, ye can hear the advertisement Chocolate Jesus still on his megaphone gathering a crowd: THE SHOW

Light this, Chandelier’s dancing naked: Danceline, danceline, yaheehee. Been every town around: Achtron, Birmingbologna, Hooligansburg, Nightton. Everybody sighs. Damn tiring, man.

Bloom leans on the fencepost, thinking about an old her crooning lowly to the snot-green sea below their feet, secret is silence’s ovation, an audience in itself: “And my New Zealand is soaking wet on California’s shoulders.”


S’TIRING. G-e-e-t your ticket tonight Ain’t more tiring than being ME, the sidewalks say, tired of (and who wouldn’t) hearin’ Bloom bitch-moanin’ about no direction home, lovely Venus on his side. Hitchapitch, frwarprpt. Slimslider, onward! Lessgo past, see where used to happen and recall it again. How many hours swallowed by sweat to live? In chance? Wheredya wanna go now, darling? Well, Bloom says, drink in hand. Wan go where Eternity isn’t contemplated by humans, man. Where’s that? Venus, man, she’s a.. Wait.. Down on fourth street.. Is that.. ? Musicatall come! Yes! Remember when this year of last! Ah yes like it was tomorrow I memberre! Some’s way like this: “Breepepe’e’eepeeeee, yyoouuineearai -- a hoohanakneeppeepeeppittiydoo, raioueoo.” Other’s ah yes what I dug was: “Soabupbampbuppado, onawn-no-no-noooownn.” Ah yes sweetum’s yes, wonder what they got this time in store for. Bloom checks his watch, another drag, forward downwards gotta be dry sometime soon. It’s twenty twenty-seven now. And where’ll we eat? Paradox Lust, I think. Paradox Lust, that old place we met? You remembered! ‘course I do babe, I lIourrchghtve you. She blushes, throws her cigarette away. I lowahahahve you, too, CraigIMEAN(ahem) Bloom. Aw. Where how? By the moon, where you.. G-e-e-e-t your ticket tonight! One time only Where we? Nearly there? Through avenues stolen and readyized: Beeiptbupt. Bloom closes himself together ‘gainst his date, s’cold night to be in love, the autumn’s shower of whispry breaths nearly frozen. Electric yards sprawling across each street-corner. Smiling LED lights. Darling, I’ll never love anyone as much as you, come with me to soulgasm. A teenage romance could be made these parts if being in love wasn’t such a

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drag for Bloom or Venus. Brian Wilson shoulda been shot, man. Heading for the graveyard, they, shivering in hand and warm still though however’ll never know. The show! The show! Come, it’s soon get yours! Bloom? Yes, dear? Are we in the right place? Yeah, lookit that guy up on the stage. Look ‘round here now. Maybe not the right planet or atmosphere, or, hell, even the right universe. But the right place? Ain’t the end-all place and that’s good enough for me. The stage guy? Chocolate Jesus. Has to be. Seen him on TV, he’s famous. HE’S ARRIVED EUREKA!

Ah he thinks I been here all the damn time waiting for your slow asses Ain’t even paid either.

Oiaah I need a new line of work Shshshhsh. ClipclapclipclapWOOO. Here is nearly, there is rarely gone. Is it! Yes! Where been, my blueeyed son? How long the hours before coming, watching, going; nearly wrapped around, another night. Merolely, just a night as any. But no. But isn’t. Course of. Is it or? Or is. Hearye! Crowd wild goes. Cigarettes lit. Uproar motion heat. Casped caper: Bows a smile tippy tophat.

On-turn’s megaphone (Chocolate Jesus does): LAAAADIES A-A-A-A-N-D GENTTLEEM-E-E-N! TONIGHT! We... Husshhh.. Are all... Ooooh.. Going to.. Mhehee... D-I-I-I-I-I-E-E-H-Ah-HAH-HA-AH-hAAH! Step right up! Get your nooses tonight! Sway from the trees! Dance yourselves naked, the beginning is here! See the Human Torso! Piss on Whitman’s grave for twentyfive cents! Vomit on Bukowski’s lifetime of work for fifty cents. Half-off! AND NOW, THE MOMENT YE’VE A-L-L BEEN WAITING FOR! THE SHOW, MY LOVELY PENNIES, IS ABOUTTA BEG-II-I-I-N-N! Clipclap. Haaah. Clopclipclip. Haah. Clipclapcli. Hah.


Although yet to be formally published as an author or poet, his future looks brighter than a city of vagabond Suits stripping naked and flooding the streets of America’s lamp post alleyways. Jim Morrison had the right idea with wanting to set the night on fire, even if his pleas were a few decades off. Feel it? Jake finds joy and artistic redemption in the introspective irregularities of J.D Nelson; the sweetened suburbia-like veneer of Sam Peczek; a sanctious draw towards Moira Magneson’s synthetic balconies, and others. In history’s literature, his obsession with the sereneful streams of Jack Kerouac at 17 lead him to discover the psychological assault of James Joyce, and chimes of Bob Dylan’s freedom with one hand waving free. Words like ‘freedom’ and ‘creativity’ are thrown around just as much as ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’, and both sets are more deadlier than coffee and cigarettes injected through a syringe.

PATNAUDE

Jake David is a twenty year old Native American writer living on the outskirts of a plasticized Cornwall, ON junction, and an asylum-drenched Massena, N.Y. In his three years as a writer, he’s taken on the challenge James Joyce and Jack Kerouac set in the literary world of defining ‘life’ by utilizing the everlasting-highway of a seamless mind. Social recluse by day, avid page-scribbler by night, he curses. Sweats. Gulps coffee like Bukowski drank whiskey.

NICHOLAUS

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SEAHORSE RODEO FOLK REVIEW FALL 2010


SEAHORSE RODEO FOLK REVIEW FALL 2010


Nicholaus R.P. draws dead bunnies, writes dream novels and makes short, experimental horror films. He is also a teacher at a private school. An excerpt from his illustrated novel, First Aide Medicine, was published in The Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review November, 2010 issue (http:// seahorserodeoreview.com). First Aide Medicine, which won the 2010 International Emergency Press contest, will be published in its entirety by Emergency Press (http://emergencypress.org/) in late 2011 or early 2012.

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Nicholaus Patnaude currently lives in Litchfield County, CT. Nicholaus feels frustrated by genreconventions that try to pigeon-hole what a work can do; at the very same time, he loves genre work and the possibility of bending and blending rules. Nicholaus has a profound hatred of anything Disney and sentimental rappers such as Lil’ Wayne (he prefers Biggie). Nicholaus R.P.’s blog: http://nicholausrp.blogspot.com/


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Stuffed Animals Eric Suhem

The pink-bowed teddy bears looked on serenely as Matilda cooed, “I will jab him with a piece of glass, also I need another stuffed animal to round out the collection,� while tending flowering basil bushes in her bright yellow pinafore.

She was frolicking about in her bucolic garden, spraying fertilizer on her beloved floral pets. Attached to each flower was a grey, often frayed, photograph of some person or another who had crossed Matilda in the past.


“As for her,” sang Matilda, staring at another photograph, and stopping to gently prune and nurture the radiant apricot and nectarine plants in her yard. “As for her, I will tie her down to a card table in a harsh barren room (she had just bought a card table at Sears which didn’t fit into the back of her car, so she had to have the surly Sears assistant load it onto the top of her Toyota Camry and tie it down with rope, grumbling all the while…she would deal with him later), and I will spray her with pesticides while wearing a bouquet of cauliflower and mangoes!”

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voice “I hope you’ll join me at the corporate picnic tomorrow!” “Yes, but only if we bring the lawnmower,” said Billy quickly, and William beamed with approval.

The next day at the park, the company for which Matilda worked was indeed having a picnic, and the management team would be awarding Matilda the ‘Happy Fun-Girl Award’, as she was always a cheerful presence around the office. Matilda, arriving with William and Billy, was carrying a few of her stuffed teddy bears, some coconuts, and a set of pliers. Some employees were on the lawn, playing She looked up from her beloved nectarines and listlessly with hula-hoops, and Matilda couldn’t declared, “Oh, it’s getting late, William and the resist. “Hula-hoops! Whoo! Count me in!” kids will be home soon, I must get the fruitscreamed the Ice Maiden happily (though she candy cookies into the oven!” Before going into was bubbly at work, some there referred to her the house, Matilda stepped out of the yard to- as the Ice Maiden). A hula hoop rolled in her ward the street and sprayed a large amount of direction and she snapped at it with her plihigh-powered pesticide into the air. Soon perers. “Hey everybody, do the hula-mooga!” she fumed poodles were writhing on the hot sideyelled, gyrating joyously as her whitened knuckwalk, though their owners didn’t mind so much, les clutched the stuffed animals, sweaty palms as they always appreciated Matilda’s sunny dis- matting the artificial fur. position. As she entered her kitchen, she took a look at her shelf of pink-bowed teddy bears, “When I was young, my brothers and I had a all twisted into obscene positions. competition of who could hula-hoop the longest, whoever lost had to stand on their head in the That night, William and Matilda had a birthcorner of the basement for 8 hours, in a vat of day party for their stepson Billy. William gave coconuts!” she laughed good-naturedly. Matilda Billy a Sears lawnmower for his birthday. “See usually lost these contests, but she had kept a the lawnmower, it is your new friend,” said grim smile on her face during the excruciating Billy’s stepfather William as he detached the sibling headstands, tears flowing, constructing small motor. “See the engine. Cradle it, pet her lifelong coping mechanism. it,” he said, handing the motor to Billy. “The mower will help you through many scrapes, The Ice Maiden opened a coconut and ingested and you must report to it what you do durthe nectar. Looking at her toy bear, she joviing the day. Listen to the lawnmower! It will ally said, “If you don’t shape up Mr. Panda, teach you about the cycle of life and survival I’ll crack open your skull like this coconut and of the fittest!” As Matilda took dishes into the suck out your brains.” The panda bear’s glass kitchen, William reattached the motor, started it, eyes stared emptily at the parking lot across and then placed one of Matilda’s teddy bears the street, as Matilda threw him onto the lawn, under the rotating blades, cutting it to pieces, getting ready to receive her corporate ‘Happy unbeknownst to Matilda. “Don’t question the Fun-Girl Award’. lawnmower!” whispered William urgently. Matilda called out from the kitchen in a sing-song Billy, running amok with the lawnmower, mowed


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the panda bear that Matilda discarded, but as he did so, a shard from one of the panda bear’s cranberry-colored glass eyes flew up from the mower and cut deeply into the left leg of the park ranger, rendering him non-ambulatory. The park ranger was a middle-aged pseudo-Boy Scout, who also worked at Sears, tying purchases to car roofs. Upon Matilda’s cheerful urging, William and Billy loaded the park ranger onto a makeshift stretcher, constructed from a hammock and strollers, then rolled him haphazardly down the street in a zigzag pattern towards the hospital, but with an unfortunate detour to a morally unstable taxidermist. Days later, Matilda was back in her bucolic garden, smiling as she sprayed the plants. The nectarines and apricots were doing well, thanks to her loving attention. She looked toward her pink-bowed teddy bears for reassurance, and in the corner of a yard, her newest stuffed pet, a park ranger doing a headstand in a vat of festivelycolored paper-mache coconuts. Matilda smiled cheerfully as she sprayed more pesticide.

FALL 2010 Eric Suhem began writing years ago while chewing on the oddly-shaped fruit, legumes and roots that grew in the yard of a dank, seaside apartment building in southern California. He found (and still finds) writing to be an inexpensive and enjoyable form of selfinflicted therapy. To pay bills, Eric drove to a building in downtown Los Angeles and typed in data for a year. When he emerged 52 weeks later, he found his car still at the curb, parking tickets attached on the windshield in an appealing fan-like design. He was able to use his wages to fix the torn car upholstery, defective steering wheel, and cut brake line. At this point, Eric moved to Northern California. While driving on Highway 1 at night, up the coast, a small light began to appear on the right. Upon further approach, it grew visible as a fruit stand, selling cherries, raspberries, and melons. In the middle of the stand was a jack-in-the-box with a plum in place of the clown’s head, seemingly beckoning him in. He veered off the highway and parked nearby, sleeping in the car that night. When he awoke, he looked towards the ocean on the other side of the highway, and could see the faint outline of the plum-in-the-box, floating out to sea. From then on, he would sense a subtle, mysterious difference in his life. Eric’s current project is the attachment of painted eggshells to the side of his house in a mosaic design resembling the face of former TV quizmaster Bill Cullen. When asked why he is doing this, he replied, “It’s good to have goals.” Eric believes in absurdity and the power of the subconscious. He loves to write, and he hopes that his enjoyment of the process can link to the experience of the reader. He continues to toil in cubicles by day and scribble surrealistically by night in the orange hallway (www.orangehallway.com).


Last week I walked in on myself in the bathroom. I have to admit, he looked as surprised as I felt. He was reaching to flush the toilet when I barged in. I froze. He froze. Does my mouth really gape that way, like a zombie on valium? He had blond hair, and his part ran down the middle instead of on the left the way my dark hair does. Blond does not suit me. Like an idiot, I started to tell him so. Not “Who are you,” or “What are you doing here?” or even “What the hell is happening?” No, my reaction was to tell my double that blond hair makes him look washed out. I have to believe it was the shock of it. It doesn’t much matter. We only stood like that for a few seconds before he began to fade, and pop in and out in erratic flashes. When he seemed to be gone for good, I realized the urge to pee, which had brought me into the bathroom in the first place, had departed. Also, it would be best if I changed out of my soaked pants. The rest began with little things. Out of the corner of my eye, I’d see movement, turn

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my head and nothing was there. I’d reach for my coffee cup and it was gone, only to have it turn up a minute later right where I had left it. My shoes were often an Easter egg hunt, though I learned that if I took a breath and waited a few minutes, they’d be back in the closet where they belonged. It spooked me, sure. But only in the sense that I might be losing my mind. The physical manifestations came a few weeks later.

I was standing in my living room when the whole world seemed to lurch sideways. I snapped my arm out and clutched the back of my recliner for balance. The air woofed out of my lungs, and my stomach tightened like I’d been punched. The hard edges in the room lost definition, smeared like a child’s watercolor painting. The pressure in my ears felt as if all the windows in the house had been slammed shut simultaneously. And then it stopped.


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I stood like a fool, one hand clawing marks into the leather chair, the other braced against the unmoving wall. All was normal – colors, shapes, and edges were sharp and innocent of funny business. The light fixture above my head held steady, no swaying to give away tectonic activity. An earthquake would have been a relief. Something was seriously wrong. I considered going to see a doctor. What could he possibly say to me? Either I was losing my mind or was terribly ill. In either case, I couldn’t imagine what he could do about it. My faith in science has always been a bit weak, especially in the medical field. We think we know so much, but time and again, current theories are proven wrong. For all the new technology we’ve acquired, we might as well still be using leeches and waiting to sail off the edge of the earth. There was also the possibility that I wasn’t the problem. Maybe something was happening, and we were all in a lot of trouble. But a doctor wasn’t likely to tell me that. I admit, I’m no scientist. Quantum physics is a little beyond my scope. I know they’ve been theorizing about alternate universes for some time, but that’s all it really is – theory. I have my own ideas. While they’re busy measuring waves and particles, I look for a simpler explanation, something my non-scientific mind can comprehend. According to the Bible, God created the universe in seven days. What has He done since then to amuse Himself? I see no reason why He couldn’t be cranking out another universe every seven days, layering each one on top of the other like a vast, cosmic lasagna. The way I picture it, between each layer of universe-pasta, is a barricade of ethereal cheese to keep them from sticking together and sharing space. When the cheese gets thin and the noodles touch, we get a sort of “dimensional slippage.” I’ll be honest. I’m not particularly religious. I picture God doing all this because I have to believe someone is in charge. Other-

wise, I get a little claustrophobic, picturing the weight of a million universes crushing down, compressing us like sprigs of baby’s breath in the family Bible. In reality, I don’t think there’s anyone in the kitchen. And the oven timer is about to go off. At work, a few days after the bathroom incident, I found a redheaded version of myself sitting at my desk. He looked tired, much like I imagined I must have looked. I wondered if he’d encountered the blond as well. No. The blond was my cosmic neighbor. I wondered what version of us lived on the cosmic noodle two layers from me, on the other side of this tired, ginger me. Perhaps he was Asian or bald? How many of us were there? There were framed pictures on the desk of a family I’ve never had. A pretty wife smiled at the camera, two pretty children in her arms. I stared at a snapshot of my brother and the other me. The photo seemed recent and showed the men in fishing gear with a river winding behind them. My brother died in a boating accident when he was sixteen. I dragged my focus to the other me, and he was staring back at me with weary eyes. He wasn’t as substantial as I’d assumed. I could see the light from the computer monitor shining through him. He gave me a tired smile, and then he was gone. No flicker or fade, no theatrics; he was there, and then not. Two days ago, I woke up with blond hair. The bed was much more comfortable than the one I’d gone to sleep in the night before. When I wandered into the unfamiliar kitchen, I stepped in the dog’s water bowl, sloshing it onto the elaborate mosaic tiles on the floor. I don’t have a dog. I have cheap linoleum floors. I tried to make coffee, but I couldn’t figure out the fancy, expensivelooking coffeemaker. Photos lined the walls. Blond-Me bungee jumping. Blond-Me water skiing. BlondMe in a tux, dancing with a woman in a red evening gown. I examined the pictures for some time, standing bare-chested in silk


pajama bottoms, my beer gut replaced with abs of solid rock. I wondered how I had wasted my own life. I wondered how long I’d be able to keep this one. I wondered where the dog was and if he would recognize that I had stolen his master’s body. I blinked and found myself standing in the middle of the hallway, staring at peeling paint on my own blank wall. My shabby underwear riding low beneath my sagging belly. I turned in disgust and pulled out my $20 coffee pot. There was a puddle on the floor where no dog bowl had ever been. I was never particularly dissatisfied with my life until these events began. I’m a moderately good-looking, outgoing guy. I have friends. I’m a good employee. Maybe I’m not top salesman, but I’m never at the bottom either. My house is comfortably furnished, and my clothes, while not expensive or high fashion, aren’t exactly bell bottom leisure suits and wide ties, either. I was fine before all this. I didn’t regret not having a wife and kids. Sure, at 35, maybe time was ticking a little faster than before, but I wasn’t over-the-hill. I had time. Then the cheese started to dry up in the cosmic lasagna. It showed me everything I could have been, everything I could have done. Everything my life wasn’t. This morning I woke up next to my pretty wife. Her eyes are sapphire blue with tiny crinkles at the corners when she laughs. The kids squabbled over the cereal-box toy while we ate breakfast. Against my wife’s protests, I opened another box from the pantry and pulled out a second toy to make it fair. The girl has my red hair, and the boy looks a lot like my brother did at his age. We’re all supposed to go fishing this weekend with him. I hope I can stay.

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As a child, Rachel ran from fall leaves blowing toward her on the street because they were spies sent by the Evil Empress. At night, she dreams of buying a three bedroom house, only to find the third bedroom is an inter-dimensional real estate scam owned by five different families in five different states. It’s difficult to fit five beds in one room. By day, she hears a leprechaun arguing with a lonely middle-aged woman who only wants him to stay long enough to watch Letterman with her.

She has blown up the Earth, let the Hunter kill off Red Riding Hood, and given a community of women allergy medicine that caused them to act like a hive of bees. On her hard drive, she is a god.

In her career as a freelance writer she writes what others tell her to write. Everyone has to have a secret identity, even gods.

After trying out seven different states and the country of England, she currently resides in Kansas. Joining her are a patient husband, two children more mature than she is, three cats, and an imaginary dog named Waffles. She doesn’t have time for a real dog. She hides here: http://www.rlnaquin.com/ .


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“Eat the Twin Superheated Flames of My Quasar Pistol, Bottomfeeders from Jupiter!”

The first time he saw them descend, the sky riven with arcs of vainglorious red, Toru Strangler Itakawa could discern no cordiality in their appearance. He gambled his Christianschooled virtues and guessed that their motivations were of an entirely barbarous design, because he’d braved enough winter sheets of gossamer rain and invested enough brighteyed discipline into his late-hour Harajuku nights, the pistolero otaku of the arcade parlour, to recognise a badass when he saw one. Shit if they weren’t one disconcerting breed of intergalactic invader, and as any soul equipped a cultivated learning in physiognomy would attest, no alien born from the idle dream-teemings of bong or Bosch could ever

engineer a species quite so confrontational. Never mind physiognomy; anyone enabled the apparatus for logical thought, anyone involved in and operational amongst the workaday fray, walking beneath the catastrophic loom of cloud on that Thursday afternoon in the capital of Tokyo, had to consider adopting the phrenology method when seeing these tentacled motherfuckers. Each one bore a head of bestial proportions; a Lynchian metaphor might prove utilitarian, but chalking up the frontal lobes on these extraterrestrial creeps against The Elephant Man would simply constitute an oversight. Put like this: when the creatures had finally made landfall within Shimokitazawa, parked their ytterbium-pro-


Or: Mork Shits His Pants, While Toru Saves the Day

pelled multi-cylinder stealth engine, lowered the mechanised galley door and assembled with billowing appendages and leviathan features on-street, the collective topography of their cranial domes was like watching a committee of mountains jawbone on the sidewalk. Man if their faces didn’t make everyone within eyeshot think of a riot of assholes. Toru didn’t harbour any sweet secret inclination to go on disdaining the galaxial Butthole Patrol, for he wasn’t racially segregationist and if he was wise up against an ambit claim suggesting that he was a political subversive, he’d have told you for himself that he thought xenophobia was the charlatan responsible for creating the Zorba dance. He

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Kirk A.C. Marshall

was an all-loving gentleman. A rosy-minded agent of lionhearted ambition. A cigarette-fuming, dragon-breathed surfer-boy sort, complete with milk-blue eyes, blonde pompadour, and laughter like a fulsome shoreline booming with the song of the sea and the chatter of a tide of clams. Let’s be real. Toru was pretty beautiful; if you’re willing to momentarily dismantle all sexually-elicited categories and surrender to a fleeting moment’s revision of what is wholly remarkable and glorious in life, then you’d have to be ballsy enough to concede, Toru was golden with dishevelled glamour. And it wasn’t in the nature of our champion, he with a professed ardour for all things friendly, to go debating the worth of a new race. If they had arrived with fascinated and


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tranquil pursuits in mind, Toru would have been primary amongst those gathered ’round the circumference of the spacecraft to elect himself as their host and ambassador. As it was, the aliens erupted from the base of the vessel with baleful fishy-mouthed peepers and fat, fatuous maws transmitting their abominable gut-churning dirge, pretty much supplying everyone the necessary head’s-up to rotate on sneaker-feeted heel, flock the fuck out, and run, so it’s only really their extraplanterary superintelligence that can be designated blame for their downfall, an exacting plight to eradicate humanity foiled at the hands of Toru Strangler Itakawa. And shucks, what hands. The fastest fists in all of Tokyo, the quickest grip to be found in pachinko-slot palace or in Shinjuku arcadia. Listen now, read on, and watch Toru’s hands win back mankind from being monstered by the mouths of untrawled, deepest space. Those hands are like birds, and they reign down upon the unsuspecting like a descending volley of arrows. This isn’t really a Bmovie romance, because our hero’s a man of superlative pedigree. This is probably concerned with the day we almost all got destroyed by a siege of spacecraft, populated by animals with forested faces of antlers and tusks. But it’s mostly about the semblance of valour required to

stand up against the most ungovernable horror.

It’s actually really about video games. ***


Insert Coins: Y/N? One or Two Players? Press “A” to Start Level One: Rappongi Hills Dig this. When the Neckties – the English conversation school underlings – shoot the breeze it sounds like they’re poaching for farts. I ain’t splicing the truth. At the centre in Shimokitazawa, they call me Maverick Mile, mostly because the Neckties are all genki American gaijin with sufficient facial hair between them to seduce the bride of the Wolfman, and they like to cultivate the pretence, even in Japan’s capital, that they’re still cocksucking pioneers of the westward frontier. But spare some love, because you can’t blame them for being American or for being tourists. See, it don’t matter where an American tourist is. He’ll always be a cowboy. I’m “Maverick Mile” to the Neckties because my English is rhinestone-studded – flamboyant – which they all individually are fond to attribute to their educational efforts. Hai, truth now, it don’t seem an especially complex dialect, English, not when you been moonlighting at a gaijin cinémathèque in Rappongi and slinking in on your balls to the Scorsese triple-features for the past six years. Fo’ sho’. To be Americandid – to speak like a jarhead gaijin – you just got to invert the structure of the sentence in your head and make room for tenses: “Toru is the possesser of an attitude of total pimpedness” dispenses with its clumsy noun-verb to become “Toru possessed a totally pimped attitude”. I’m no philologist – woah, watch out homeboy! – but there don’t seem nothing wrong with that first sentence. Sumimasen. A sucker can rearrange the truth in what ever way Western syntax demands it, but all the fool’s doing is wardrob-

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ing it to look respectable. Thing is, words are tourists too, they pursue their own agenda. You can’t make ’em any prettier just because you give them a necktie.

I’d feel one chuffed motherfucker effusing chutzpah to claim that I were thinking this particular pedigree of whizz-bang genius while scooping out two waffle cones of Aztec Gold ice-cream behind the confectionery counter in my barbershop quartet slims, but that weren’t the factual actuality: the factuality. Iketeru! What I was really applying my unparalleled whoop-ass quality of investigative cunning to, was how to blindside my girlfriend from recognising that I’d forgotten to furnish flowers upon her for our one-year anniversary. Burn! I’m no insensitive, party-surfing punk, I’m a fast-hearted lover with monogamy on his lips and a prodigy between my hips. My daddy tutored me long ago on the methods to satisfy a woman, and surprisingly a great many of those involved domestic lore about clipping your toenails out on the lawn and sweeping convergences of cobwebs out with the end of a well-administered broom. Yo, I’m not a naïf, but I’m man enough to admit to my adolescent notion that a hot-blooded dame wants only for a round of hokey pokey in a barn-loft somewhere, or failing that, a soap lands pleasure hotel, so my education as to feminine necessity was a little arduous. Saru mo ki kara ochiru. What I’m convinced of now, however, is the razzle-dazzle, immediate, amnesty-cultivating effects of a masterfully arranged bouquet of Parisian peonies, and I gots only my daddy to thank for those moments when I’d be otherwise foresworn to suffer a life of luckless romance. Dig now what I’m about to impart, playa. You’d have to be a whack example of the masculine specie to neglect lavishing your sweet-footed tootsie with roses redder than blockbuster blood – aka – or lilac – ao


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– the lustre of a blueberry Slushie. That’s the only way to woo the weeping willow, apologise to regain your size. Fo’ real, or my name ain’t Marathon Mile. And I was about to do just that, don’t you doubt it, make a call to 555-APOLOGIES-FROM-ASSHOLES and secure myself a festoonery – booya, literati, you best watch your back! – of pink lilies, when a gripgrain Escalade crested the kerb and a gangsta in a pair of lenses crafted from his vehicle’s own tinted glass, opaque as an aquarium filter’s instruction manual, stepped his leopard suede onto the carpet beneath the theatre marquee.

attired adversary, so that he knew the nature of my grim and slaughterous soul. Pimp Bizkit nodded at me once, a subtle register chiming across his chops, and then surged towards me, a playful psychosis in his eyes. A real carnivorous creature, this heat-packing brother. He swung a bruise-mottled fist onto my countertop. Impatience tap-danced across his forehead.

Zakenayo! Swear to the “ho”s and hucksters in all of Rappongi Hills, dude was one mac brick-shithouse with pimp written all over him like a thousand-yen bill. O ya. I coulda shoulda woulda started kowtowing to the cornroll’d kingpin if I didn’t lay a bird on the axe tattoo emblazoned on the inside of his neck. Mutha was yakuza, ate geisha pussy for breakfast, consumed cocaine like a templetop breatharian inhaling truth. He was as tall as a Miyajima torii, with a head like a Tsukiji trout. He extinguished a Lucky Strike cigarette on his own tumescent bicep and then, wincing only while generating pleasure from the horror, that clusterfuck rasta-schmuck ate the butt, fisted it into his sneering kisser and swallowed the smokin’ thing. Word, playa, it sounds gongodoodan, but I’m telling you no deceit! The bling-decked goon, in his gold discothèque blazer, eased off his Aviators and exchanged daggers with me from across the cinema atrium. I might’ve squirmed and concealed myself, with a violent heart, behind the popcorn oven unit, and simulated the keening sounds of the machine’s heating function with the back of my throat, but instead I maintained my footing, made a gun with my fingers and pointed it square at my noisily-

“You the resident Mr Whippy?” He overenunciated this last phrase, slinging it harshly through the theatre’s unobtrusive silence like the taut crack of the word’s namesake. I busied myself by rolling up my cuffs. “I need to ask you to do me a flavour.”


I understood. He wanted to hire me. I accommodated his unspoken solicitation with a dry smile. “And the order of the day?” I coasted above the snack bar icecream container to ward off the undue suspicion of unoccupied patrons. “Killer vanilla,” gonged the contractor, his voice as barren of love as hotel satin sheets.

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posing cardboard plunged and wheeled in the dead air.

I quickly assembled my Lee-Enfield No. 4 bolt-action in the feeble light, engineering its construction with perverse dexterity. I shouldered the brunt of the rifle, fastening it to my back like a quiver of arrows, and with the gamble and swagger of the most monstrous lionfish in the fish-tank, I erupted front-of-house, all-combat, no-forgiveness...

I received a gut-churning slap in the back of my head from my manager, Mr Yasuhiro Dustin T-Bird, – a queer, runny-eyed mendicant with elastic aeroplane suspenders and a face like a horrified watermelon, – and I lampoonishly scattered entire boxes of Crackerjack all over the atrium carpet. “Toru Itakawa! Is daydreaming a disease for you? Wake up, or I’ll personally sweat the fever out of you by getting you to plumb the patrons’ toilets.” Ame ni furareru! I nursed my mean, ranklesome head, and gave the boss the forks behind his back, whispering, “For king and country, bitch,” under my breath. Level Two: Tokyo Intermission

I understood my purpose. Ishin denshin. Offering up a placatory palm to that spackle-jacketed lunatic, I gestured to the cinema store-room, and retreated swiftly into its dust-riven darkness. Shelves strained from the inert inventory of bulk-bargain lollies long past their expiry dates, and motes of decom-

Nou aru taka wa tsume o kakusu. That’s right, peeps: “A hawk with talent conceals his claws”. Now, slugger, I’m requesting that you don’t wig out on me when I fan out my Royal Flush. I been trying to keep the following deets on the lowdown, incognito-like, because I never saw the sense in prematurely promoting a confidential precocity. But here’s the grand reveal: From Shin-Ōkubo to Shimokitazawa, from Ikebukuro to Akihabara, and throughout the chatoyant shimmer of the whole effulgent principality that is Shinjuku, – that gold prince giggling luminously


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through the night, – I’m the king of the games arcade. I stalk down Tokyo’s narrow-channelled labyrinth like I’m a schizophrenic outlaw or a caped crusader, with an iPod in my ear, and one million songs chanting for a moment of acknowledgement, locked fast in the electric trove of my vandal-crafted heart. I know the long, shape-shifting, bloodletting history of contemporary hip-hop like my mummy exclusively fed beat-bustin’ tunes to me via the umbilicus while in gestation; I’m a reincarnated nightclub, see, because I got rhyme in my veins, two turntables for lungs, and a dance in my primordial step that’s been there since I first heard my own mummy’s heartbeat. I discovered much later, when I was old enough to appreciate it, that she used to complain to my daddy for all my amniotic kicking, and ever since birth I ain’t been able to shake off my doggedly perfect comprehension of rhythm. Ishi no uenimo san nen. Music haunts me now like a shadow. So please do me a solid, friend, and sit on what I’m telling you because, for me, it constitutes an all-encompassing secret: When it involves music, I’m the fastest video games pro that’s ever breathed Tokyo’s frost-sharp air. My hands move so swift with the melody, it’s almost criminal. Tanuki neiri. That right there’s the notorious enigma surrounding the legend of Toru “Marathon Mile” Itakawa . Now’s the time you just got to chillax. Because this is where the aliens come in. Level Three: Shimokitazawa After harbouring a rapturous headache for the lion’s share of four working hours – and all the while spilling incessant streams of carbonated beverage onto my brand-package-

new pink Tigers – I shuffled out the alleyway entrance of Rappongi Hills’ Six-Screen Cinema Complex with a mouth dribbling ribbons of Mild Seven smoke into the effortless glow of afternoon. A haze scudded across the plane of the sky like a reckless skimming stone. What up, then, homez? I tell you now, the world above me was a nefarious shade of colour, uglier than kitsune shit. Nemimi ni mizu! I quickly extinguished the cigarette onto the brickwork wall, generating a few half-hearted sprays of embers onto the flagstones beneath my pink, pimpin’ feet. Then I found my groove, my jumper’s hood cowling my monasterial head. With headphones snaking from the recesses of my neckline to the iPod sheathed in my tartan-patterned asspants’ pocket, I shimmied up the lane to flag down my lunch-hour train. Brooding beneath the hoodie, the hackles on my neck were crackling with static. Nasty shit was up, motherfucker, and I could feel it reverberating like a bad soundtrack beneath my heels. Within minutes on the Rappongi Hills subway platform, a JR Metro lunged from the tunnel like a heart attack, sending dangerous shudders through the fibres of my brain , but I fended it all off with a dope gangsta front, turning up the volume on my fist-gripped soundbox. The train made its glissando passage through the Metro loop, and I watched the shoulder-packed Tokyo suits with luggage accumulating in wrinkles beneath their eyes, thinking all the while Why can’t I feel the music today? Listen up, champ: As I caught the wave of disembarking office jockeys and surged out the train doors with them, thrashing for purchase, ’til I was wading creep-deep in my Shimokitazawa surrounds, it was the sound that knocked me for a delicious six, and not the sight of the abandoned spacecraft.


In the dead centre of Shimokitazawa prefecture, newly garlanded by a hundred vaporized human corpses that stunk of bubbling sulphur, was a glemmin’ silver disk the likes of which I’d seen a thousand times before during my numerous 1am work stints harvesting rubbish during the sci-fi double-bill. I set my jaw, then, anticipating the ominous slap of my manager’s hand, but it never came. That’s when I realised what I were eyeballin’ was actually physically there, a length of twelve feet away, and that the katana-hot UFO pulsing before my knocking knees was really only some hyperspatial boom-box turntable, because a music so pugnacious was oozing from its superheated carapace that you could feel the extraterrestrial vibrations rattling the earth under your shoelaces. They were blasting everyone, fo’shiz, with a cacophonous track of white noise, but before they could treat me ill, I surrendered my higher brain to the momentum of my hands. Soon my iPod was at maximum volume in deference to the craft’s invading, gum-bleeding wail, and I could hear nada but a jam of classic hip-hop, such that my heart thundered with it. In less than a phat ticket, standing before the countless pained faces of those decalcified human cadavers, I was introduced

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to the entire, damaged zoomorphic parade. For from within the disk’s tumultuous interior, and down the lambent galley-plank came a tiger-striped rabbit the size of a dodgem car, its pink eyes cavorting about the landscape like a firefly. I was seized by a sudden crazy


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compulsion to deck that souped-up Bugsy, such that I’d send the jungle-juice cottontail into a motherfucking Leporidaze. Iketeru! I had to will myself to ball my fists to my hips, and leaven these to my pockets. I chewed darkly on my lower lip as the new freaks of the hill exploited their opportunity for a grandiloquent entrance. Fool, I ain’t playing you when I say it felt like some taxidermist’s revenge. Before me was a giant avocet, its grim gold plumage the course texture of mohair. There was a mottled black chameleon as big as an evil armchair, with eyes like gun turrets that it obsessively preened with the windscreen-wiper arc of a distended tongue. Next, I craned my neck to best appreciate the pear-shaped sea cucumber which suddenly towered above me, its yellow, tubular anemone-like head secreting a queasy-making smell which reminded me of steaming barbeque duck. I almost didn’t catch the fifth superintelligent parasite emerging from their eye-watering songship – it resembled a baseball glove, with hooves! – because I was leggin’ it like spaghetti to the threshold of the nearby music store along Awa-Odori, the district’s main street, my head low like a moon-fed rose, and my Tigers vaulting over concrete.

So this is how they’ll get me, send me duking into the gutter with my eyes screaming for silence. Clown, I wouldn’t allow myself to be so easily seduced from foregoing my mortality – not me, Marathon Mile! – and certainly not for this bitter pack of brats and Fraggle Rock critters. Hip-hop jangling clammily beneath my skin, I swept towards the store counter, and slammed the heel of my palm into the woodwork. Without warning, the clerk-twerp behind the desk was completely skeletal, with folds of flesh stripping off him like ceiling paint. I gagged immediately, fearing I’d blow chunks, my hands on my guts and my face buried into my sleeve.

This was a full-blown nightmare, now, and I couldn’t shake off the sweat of decay beading my brow. I pivoted ’round with spastic abandon, barren of equilibrium, and saw the Moog Moogerfooger M-105 music synthesizer trembling like providence on a rack. I lashed it to my back, sheathed a Marshall MS-2 Mini amp at the belt-loop of my pelvis, and jacked the assembly cables into a power socket, before descending upon a set of wide-headed, handheld taiko drums. The bachi sticks were already in my hands before I felt the deep-bass beat stampede through me, and then I was stomping like one dope I guess I expected that surly hurly-burly motherfucker through the swing-door, with to cop my steezy, and come after me in panto- the crown of my head unhooded and my mime pursuit, munching their Martian mouths pompadour bouncing like the mercury in a and shitting out their musical discordance, but thermometer. I didn’t reckon with their unanswerable nonchalance. I stormed through that Setagayan I turned the amp to 11, and brought shopfront, sending the doorbell clapping, and the sticks down on the skins. I could feel the exercised a stealthy surveillance through the plangent feedback loop being generated in crowded emporium window. Them outerspa- real-time, before trawling through the chop tial suckers were noncing about the underside and churn of the district’s hissing soundscape. of their spacecraft, fiddling with their wine“For king and country, bitch,” I crowed, letting souring frequency so that their turbulent my parlour-game hands set the scene. Ame tunes were amplifying over the breadth of the futte ji katamaru. district. I clamped my palms over my ears, and sneezed. The mutant sea cucumber farted its


intestines out through its head, and yet deep in me, one billion fathoms below the surface, I called up the doomsday hymn, and it bloomed fuzzily within like a mushroom cloud. Dig this. I busted out an incendiary sort of freestyle. I drummed the stars out of the sky.

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I think my girlfriend will understand about the flowers. Fuku sui bon ni kaerazu. After all, life ain’t a B-movie romance. It’s actually really about video games. Play Again: Y/N?

Kirk Marshall. Born in Australia; satori in Japan: Melbourne-based; Tokyo-dissevered. Wordsmith. Sentence architect. Proponent of literary Maximalism. Sketch cartoonist. Independent filmmaker. Small-press publisher. Mobilised environmentalist. Amateur ornithologist. Momijigari enthusiast. Autodidact in translation theory. Occasionally known by the moniker “Mississippi” among exclusive circles of literary paladins whom sport armour fashioned from star-rock. Editor of Red Leaves, Australia’s (and the world’s!) first English-language / Japanese bi-lingual literary journal. Writer-director of About 8, promoted by Prodany Entertainment (a mockumentary feature film concerning the exploits of a musically-challenged teenage Australian boy band). He has also authored one speculative farce about the banal political complexities involved in ridding the streets of Godzilla’s decaying corpse: A Solution to Economic Depression in Little Tokyo, 1953, a 2007 Aurealis Award-nominated full-colour illustrated graphic novelette. He has written for more than sixty publications, both in Australia and overseas, including Going Down Swinging, Voiceworks, Verandah, fourW, Word Riot (USA), 3:AM Magazine (Paris) and (Short) Fiction Collective (USA). Kirk’s debut collection of short fiction, Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories, will be published by Black Rider Press in 2011. He is currently completing his first novel (entitled Reinventing Coffee), an illustrated novella (entitled The Signatory), and a collaborative multi-media narrative project for younger readers (entitled Wild Ones of the Witching Hour). For Red Leaves, Kirk Marshall’s English-language / Japanese bi-lingual literary journal: Facebook: http://www.myspace.com/redleaveskoyo MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melbourne-Australia-and-Tokyo-Japan/Red-Leaves-/21417527572?ref=nf Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kirkmarshall MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/diamondcrotch Or visit Kirk’s up-to-date online weblog here: http://fun-withkites.livejournal.com/


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THIS MONTH . . . Y R O T S I H N I

n, ia or st hi eo od R se or ah Se l ia from the offic k Moffett ic tr Pa

December 3rd 1931

Alka Seltzer goes on sale for the first time. Got Stomach pains? Acid Reflux? Fever? Headache? Leprosy? Ebola? Lucky for you there is a one inch compacted tablet that can cure all your ills, and when dropped in water creates a fizzy concoction that resembles an 8 oz. cup of spit and tastes like a urinal cake. The original tablet was first designed and sold by the Dr. Miles Medicine company and was a combination of Aspirin, Sodium Bicarbonate and Citric Acid. The product has since been acquired by the Bayer Schering Pharmaceutical Company and they now offer many different versions and flavors. Each of these new flavors seem to be created by taking various versions of taxi cab air fresheners and putting them in a blender with some week-old Red Lobster jumbo shrimp. Take two of these and fill your mouth with vomit.

December 31, 1935

Charles Darrow makes a pantload of real money by making fake money. Anyone want to play Monopoly? Sure, that sounds like a great idea! 48 hours later you and your sleep deprived friends are throwing punches because the son a bitch who owns Baltic Avenue keeps raising up the rent and you have to go to jail for the third straight turn because Tim forgot to shuffle the god damned chance cards. Darrow patented Monopoly but it was based on another board game called The Landlords Game which was created by Elizabeth J. Magie Philips and was released in 1924. Darrow and some others created and played different versions of the game but he alone cashed in when Parker Brothers purchased the rights and the game took off. Despite the fact that he did not come up with the idea, Darrow became the first inventor of a board game to become a millionaire. Darrow died in 1967 and now has a plaque on the boardwalk of Atlantic City near Park Place. So, there you go kiddos...be observant, find a good idea, steal it, and get rich. Then tell everyone it was your idea and when someone disputes it, immediately hire someone with straight cash to have them killed. Have their bones ground down and compacted into dice for a board game.


December 11th 1968

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The Rolling Stones bring the circus to town but never open the tent. The Stones, The Who, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull, John, Yoko, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell as Dirty Mac, this unbelievable collection of musicians was put together by Captain Thunderlips himself and was titled the The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. It was shot in front of an invited live audience and then shelved when the Stones were upstaged by the other acts and Mick decided to strip down and have a screaming epileptic seizure during Sympathy for the Devil. Mick was apparently very disappointed with the Stones performance and he decided that the show could not be aired. It has been said that it was not that the Stones were so bad, but that The Who were just too good. The entire show was eventually released in 1996 and remastered in 2004 and can be viewed in parts on YouTube. The Who’s “A Quick One While Hes Away” is the highlight but the whole show is worth seeing.

December 25th, 0000

Jesus of Nazareth is born and everybody gets all “son of God” on us. Despite all the crazy stories you have read in, say...the bible, the real story of Jesus Christ is a little inaccurate. Jesus was really just the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the guy who had created the B.C. system of counting years. Christopher Christ was working as a historian for one of the Pharaoh’s of Egypt when he was given the responsibility of keeping track of the calender, and he was like, “to hell with all this counting up shit, we should start counting down because every time you count down, something cool happens at the end.” Christopher passed this idea down to his son and so on. By the time it got down to the final decade, the Christs knew they were in serious trouble and had better come up with something good. Some people were excited as hell about the years counting down because they were sure something badass was going to happen at the end and others were scared that the world would explode. With only one year left, Mary, the wife of Joseph Christ, came up with a plan. She would wait until there were only nine months left on the calender and then seduce some blackout drunk from the local pub. Since nobody had come up with a good a cool God story in a while (unless you want to include Bisquick, the Spatula Wielding Roman God of Pancakes), she would tell everyone that the baby bump must have been divine immaculate conception. Unfortunately, after he was born and the years started counting up again, Jesus and everybody else actually believed he was the son of God and we have been stuck in a 2010 year bloody shitstorm ever since. Even though the Christs did manage fix the way we keep time, they also provided us with nearly constant war, pain and suffering. Jesus Christ, what a bunch of fricken’ pricks.

Movie of the Month: The Rising Low, Mike Gordons documentary of the gathering of bass players for Government Mule’s Deep End double album honoring Allen Woody.

Song of the Month: San Tropez, the bizarrely awesome little jazz short from Pink Floyds Meddle album.


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American Bastards is not an acid novel,

although some characters occasionally do take acid. It is not a fairy tale, but it might, at times, seem magical. It is not a science fiction story, despite taking place in another world. The world is Americana and it features a panel of dead rock stars trying to save the world, a booze hound Tom Sawyer, a hitchhiking Uncle Sam heading to Hollywood with stars in his eyes, a love story with a prostitute, fortune tellers, gypsy-punk circus performers, visions of new York City invaded by the restless dead, and a war between Art and Business. American Bastards also deals with a generation challenging more than authority, but the nature of existence. Rising up not in protest marches, but in creativity, they all fell what the not-so-humble narrator knows: that we are the bastard children of the American Dream because it, like so many dead-beat dads, abandoned us at birth. The debut novel of Trevor Richardson, Editorin-Chief of The Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review, will be released January 2011 by Inkwater Press. Trevor is already working on a unique method of promoting his novel, believing that the day of reading from a podium in Borders or Barnes and Noble or the local library is dwindling. The book itself is too bizarre, too out there, and too wholly unmarketable in any mainstream sense to ever be promoted by any traditional means. Perhaps the plan is simply the act of a desperate man, or perhaps it is pure contrarian obstinacy on the part of the book’s creator. Whatever the case, the book will be presented to the public in a series of performances featuring writers and artists from the Seahorse Rodeo Folk Revival, along with a broad range of musicians, some short film features, animation, theatrical elements, clowning, circus acts, and more. Dubbed “The Seahorse Rodeo Circus Theatre,” the first event will take place on January 22nd, 2011 at a new artist’s space called the Water

Heater in North East Portland. The Water Heater event will serve as both the launch party for American Bastards and the arrival of The Seahorse Rodeo Folk Revival as something more than just an art collective that publishes a fiction magazine. The book itself, much like Seahorse, is all about expressing the idea that many of America’s ideals and habits are outdated and simply do not apply to the newest batch of grown ups. We don’t care much for our parents’ or grandparent’s ideas of validation or success. The book is a call to action, to do things differently, to take back territory for the creative thinkers wishing to break with tradition. And Seahorse itself is Trevor’s attempt to do more than demand action, it’s him trying to take some himself in order to remain true to his own words. Check out American Bastards, available on amazon. com, barnesandnoble.com, and powells.com, this January.


Dear Revivalists,

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The big January kickoff event approaches, faster than a speeding bullet, faster than a dropping missile. Missiles, yes, and we’re all riding it like Slim Pickens going down with the bomb at the end of Dr. Strangelove. Remember that one? How could you forget?

Seahorse has really come together over the past seven months and dreams have become as tangible as helium. Sure, it’s physical matter, but you still have to work your ass off to contain it, hold onto it…“Contents Under Pressure” and all that. But, if you can do that work, and survive, it’s full of lift. So now’s the time for a few news updates. These are facts that have been known since the outset, but until now have been held secret like a good hand in a poker match.

For starters, if you haven’t already guessed, Seahorse is finally doing more than just publishing fiction. As of January 22, 2011, we will have launched ourselves as a public presence here in Portland and hopefully all of our talk and hopes and chess games and dinner rolls will have paid off. January will feature work from some of our writers presented in a theatrical setting with elements of film, concerts, art viewings and more worked in. It should be as eclectic as the people that make Seahorse happen, both its builders and its contributors, and once this day is behind us the sky is the limit. From there we move on to finally obtaining the much wanted, much labored over nonprofit status which will enable us to pursue greater resources to help our artists and make a lot of our big ideas finally become a reality. Additionally, Seahorse will be moving away from our extremely basic web site. We’re upgrading to a more interactive, user friendly, all-singing, all-dancing, write-home-to-your-mother-because-you’re-set-for-life, deluxe model. Our plan is to blend elements from peer review sites like DeviantArt with writer workshop elements. The idea is to combine these into one experience that will allow everyone in on the process of making a story great -- editor, artist, and reader alike. This transparency, ideally, will break down that wall that has existed between writer and editor for so long. We think, having done absolutely no research on the validity of this statement, that we will be the first peer review/writer workshop site that can result, when a finished product is created, in the publication of that work with a magazine that represents the interests of the overall project. It is our goal to revolutionize the process of submitting work once and for all. If any of this has been something you feel you can get excited about then stick around, get involved, and help us make Seahorse into a beast with enough teeth to really make a difference. We don’t have to accept the nature of the publishing industry or the art world as immutable facts of life. Things can change, but we have to do it for ourselves. Thanks for reading, Trevor Richardson and the Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review Team


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