Budget Press Review #1

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A Message from johnnie b. baker Greetings to you all! Welcome to the Budget Press Review! This is the first of hopefully many to come your way. As both publisher and editor-in-chief, I have scoured the globe to find the highest level of artistic fluency anywhere! After all, everything I publish has my name on it. From within the Budget Press family, I found ! Micromegalomania! by S. T. Brophy, author of nice guys finish furniture, and Exiled by P. Sebastian Strong, author of Unpleasantly Plump. Also included within these gilded pages are three new illustrations by Chris Katko and two new poems from Chad Davidson. Even I, johnnie b. baker, is represented with my short story, Funland at the Beach. So sit back, relax, and let Budget Press do its stuff. Be sure to check out the Review on the web! www.budgetpress.net The Budget Press Review #1 is dedicated to Flex Manflower and the River Bottom Monkey. We can only aspire. COVER ART BY STEVE HOVEY


!MICROMEGALOMANIA! S. T. BROPHY She teased herself with the luxury of a cigarette, letting the smoke roll into her mouth, flow down her throat and fill her lungs until her entire body felt like a great smoky cauldron. She allowed herself one a day, either after invigorating sex or a particularly satisfying meal, an exclamation point at the end of some hedonistic sentence. In those moments of permitted and forgivable excess she felt ensured of her domain, the reigning queen of her carefully cut corner. In his realm she could be slave or mistress, beguiling witch or rutting beast, an omnivorous polysexual giant subject ultimately to her whim alone. Other supposedly sentient beings presented themselves as tools to be used and manipulated, but players awaiting expanded roles in the endless swirling melodrama of her important life. She had a mate, not a husband, carefully selected for his educational background, exceptional grooming skills, secure financial status and noteworthy sexual prowess. He perched across from her now, looking suave and assured and only occasionally glancing her way for a nod of approval or gesture of encouragement. He intercepted and reacted to the conversational flotsam and verbal subterfuge streaming in from curious interlopers, media junkies, guru groupie, sex, money, and attention starved worshipers of anything and everything that they themselves were too lazy or too stupid to be. He played his part with casual ease and a certain flair; he relished the chance to bask in the warmth of her limelight. All she had was his to share as long as he remembered who signed for it. She scanned the room, detached as a camera. For her, the limiting eternal curse of the human body, an otherwise perfect machine, was that it could not record its own experiences. Oh well, that’s what videographers are for. Amazing that everything she could immediately survey had been engineered expressly for her. More amazing was that she was so underwhelmed by it all. All so perfectly natural that it was positively mundane. Again, that almost blue-blooded certainty; this was


her inalienable birthright somehow. She sat enthroned and unchallenged; not because she did not have enemies or detractors, but because she was unafraid of them. Besides, she had not won her throne, but built it, and no one could unseat her now. At the appropriate time, she accessed the podium beneath which they all cowered like worshipful slavering dogs at some crude pagan altar. They would ride her line of lingo and jargon for as long as she could keep laying out track, and they would pay for every syllable as if it were some substance so precious and rare. She could tell her life story, if she felt like it, all the way back to conception and every word true, or lie her way to a miracle birth from the swollen tumorous loins of a starving Ethiopian boy, Christ come back with a vengeance. Didn’t matter. If she spewed it out they’d lap it up and even if they ate themselves sick the first time they could always be coaxed back for more. Have another nibble, dahlink. Just one teeny-tiny itsy-bitsy little taste. “There’s always room for more.” That’s how she decided to begin, and she gestured towards the onlookers, gawkers, and passers-by hovering beyond the periphery of the banquet room. The lunchtable crowd tittered over the frosted tinkle of hastily consumed drinks. “I know you have just eaten, but I’ve given you plenty of time to unhook your belts, loosen your bowels, stick your fingers down your throats and generally do whatever it is you do to compensate for all the daily wear and tear. All the kids have been cleared from the room, I hope, save for those who don’t want to wait to hear this, and all the grandmothers and other easily offended folk are either napping or dead, so whoever is left, I commend your bravery.” Spontaneous applause. They were having a moment. She was having a cheap thrill. “Much has been made, in the recent past, of this bogus notion that men and women were somehow created…” Pregnant pause. The crowd said it with her in a hushed collective sigh. “…equal. Preposterous. I mean, look, if you will, at me…” Catcalls and wolf-whistles, as if on cue. She wasn’t hard to look at, for a woman her age. A lilt on the short side, maybe… “Now look at Mr. Umploon, the organizer of this wonderful event. Randy is a good head and a half taller than I am. What are you


Randy, 6’1”, 6’2”? Randy’s a middle-aged man in relatively good shape with, I assume, the normal sexual appetites of a male in his socio-cultural group. Keeping Randy as our prototypical patriarchal prototype, we introduce little ol’ me, the female half of this so-called equation.” She had the room, held it, breathless, confident, ready to plunge down any path she chose. She didn’t have to bait them; they were hot on her heels. “And no matter how liberal or un-biased you consider yourselves, I’m sure there are very few of you who would lay down even money that I can take Randy in a fair fight, unless of course you had previous knowledge of my martial arts training.” Another round of applause. They wanted her, every man, woman, and all the hermaphrodites in between. “On his worst day, laid off, divorced, and dealing with a hangover, Randy could most likely get a hold of me, if he chose to do so, subdue me, and take me in the classic, if you will, ‘biblical’ sense. And that is because I want him to!” She tried to lock gazes with everyone at once, so they could all see she meant it. When there was a lull in the gibbering murmur, she continued. Keep your pants on, Randy.” They all got a second to laugh. “What I am saying, and what so many people don’t want to hear, is that passivity is inherent to the very nature of the female, encoded to the core. But fear not, stouthearted feminists and agro would-be bullies, for I preach passivity with a purpose. A passivity that is manipulative and transcendent and which gives the female her very secret power.” Even she didn’t know where it was coming from anymore, but it kept coming so she just left her mouth open and let it fly out. “Just as it in the animal kingdom, the subject of mating is given it’s due, alongside territory and food, all part of the carefully staked domain. Females, as the vessel of life through whom species, and more specifically bloodline, are carried forth, are seen as prizes, a to-the-death duel between prospective suitors. And this pas-de-deux, this deathmatch that could only end in bloodshed and rape, has all been orchestrated, in some casual and voiceless fashion, by the female.” Another time, another place, shrill cries of protest, hated invectives, healthy raging debate. But this was her world, and she was having none of that today. She tore through her speech with an impassioned vehemence that


defied the very passivity of which she spoke. Mostly because her bladder was beginning to define an urge. Time to wrap it up. “Of course, ladies and gentlemen, this whole theory presupposes an environment in which females are in short supply. As for us, Boys, we gotcha outnumbered by 2%, which means we’ve got a lot more work to do and you shouldn’t have to kill each other to get some.” She half expected them to pass her to her seat, each one honored to share in the moment as they handed her along to the next. As it was, they stood when she passed them, all at once prom queen, blushing bride, bitch goddess and eternal virgin. The prize they might win if they cop to all their sins. She collapsed into her chair with a dramatic pretense of exhaustion; she couldn’t well have gone straight to the bathroom. “Did I do alright, hon.” She asked her chosen. She started fishing for a cigarette, but caught herself. He hadn’t answered. She fund his eyes, hung there like back beads, dead as bugs in amber. Oh God, he’s drunk, she thought, all at one horrified and amused by the potential public display. Sweet controversy! But he just st there, that dumb-jerk halfsmile and his pale, too-thin lips. “Honey!” She snapped her fingers and the look on her face said it wasn’t funny anymore. When she saw the drool forming at his lips she knew that it must be some kind of attack, seizure, embolism, coronary, whatthefuckever. She wanted nothing to do with it. This guy wasn’t good for much more than sack time and she sure as hell wasn’t going to pay for his hospital. She got up as if to mingle, swept away by the moment and all that but the son-of-a-bitch chose right then to slump forward, and pinned to his back with a knife like it had been fucking thumbtacked was a note that read: YOU HAVE AN ADMIRER S. T. Brophy thinks chivalry is not dead.


Chris Katko


EXILED P. SEBASTIAN STRONG (Authors note: Dear gentle reader, the following story takes place in the bestest bar in downtown Riverside, CA. I’ll give you five Pesos, a Poptart, and a boot to the head if you can guess which one.) I. “No one ever listens to me.” “What?” I said, taking another deep hit off my cold beer in a glass mason jar. I quickly surveyed the beer scene. The three pitchers the six of us had been filling, emptying, and refilling were almost empty. “I said, ‘no one ever listens to me,” said this fidgeting kid with a slicked back pony-tail. He had had the thin table in the middle of the bar to himself when we came in and took it over. He didn’t move. He just sat there for a while rocking back and forth; dividing his attention between the three edgy meth-freak-ex-con types quietly playing pool, and the crowd at the bar. My group had been drunkenly babbling for some time. He hadn’t said more than a couple words up to that point. “Really,” I said, while I looked towards the bar. I was checking out this strangely attractive girl with multiple long pony-tails and glasses. I was trying to figure out where I had seen her before. She was being waited on by what appeared to be a very good natured, female ancestor of Methuselah’s. “People just don’t listen to me, no matter what I say,” he said as the jukebox three feet behind me began blaring out Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” “I love the Boss!” said Jesse to Ernie tilting his head around the fidgeting pony-tailed kid. Jesse’s eyes were more glazed than normal. “Jessie Jessie,” said Nick from across the table after avoiding spitting out his beer. “Fuckin’ Springsteen?!” “Fuuuuuuck,” said Ernie, as he put his beer to his lips. He took a sip, tipped his head back to see Jessie, and said, “Springsteen blows a fat dick!”


“It amazes me,” said the fidgeting kid as I looked back his way. I looked to the girl and noticed that she had huge hearing aids. “No one just seems to know I’m alive,” he said to my profile. “That blows,” I said, polishing off my mason jar, and I reached over to the pitcher between the arguing trio. “The Boss gobbles my ‘nads for Christ’s sake,” said Ernie as he polished off his mason jar and reached for the pitcher I was emptying. “I just seem to be a fixture,” said the edgy kid. His voice seemed off in the distance. “BORN IN THE U.S.A./ I WAS/ BORN IN THE U.S.A.!” Jessie sang out the chorus of the song as the song went into the verse. The ponytailed kid began doing some spastic dance moves while he mouthed the lyrics to the song booming out of the jukebox. I thought for a second he was throwing gang signs at me. “Fuck, Jesse,” said Nick with his eyes wide open in serious disbelief; most likely wondering what the fuck was wrong with the lead singer of his band. “This shit?” “Yeah baby!” said Jesse as he tipped his head back and began singing aloud against the grain of the song again, “BORN IN THE U.S.A… NOW!” The kid was still flailing around and mouthing the words. I looked away from him and looked back at the girl who was looking in my direction. She turned away from my view for a few seconds to pour herself another glass of beer. Bob turned his attention away from Terry, who was getting into the Springsteen argument, and he said to me, “I fucked that chick over there at the bar.” “Really,” I said, looking at Bob’s evil Marty Feldman like smile and then back at her. My attention went back to the kid, who had picked up his intensity. He was flailing so hard back and forth that I thought he was going to smash into the video games behind us. He almost seemed like he was going into some Tourette’s fit, but he was mouthing the lyrics to the song. I looked away, it was painful to watch. “I think I know her from some place, but I can’t figure it out,” I said taking a hit off my refilled glass. “I know her in the biblical sense,” said Bob, his eyes opening wide, as he smiled and put his glass to his lips. “She’s quite the sports fan.”


“Fuck the Boss!” drunkenly yelled Nick as he slammed down his glass. The crowd along the long middle table, Jesse, Ernie, Bob, Terry, and I, turned toward the glaring Nick. The pony-tailed kid was oblivious, he merely kept up his dance. I looked back to Bob and said, “I kinda had the impression she was the shy type.” “Oh no,” Bob laughed. “She fucked the shit out of me, while her dyke lover watched, and like, …did house work.” I tried to look at her but the kid bent over the thin table into my line of sight and said, “I sign.” “What?” I said to him as he backed away and continued his interpretive dance. Bob turned to Terry and said something in her ear that made her crack a devious smile. “I sign,” he said, singing the lyrics to the song. “I make twenty-three dollars an hour. More than anybody else in this place!” He turned his head up in some bizarre, unsure pride. He continued signing and mouthing the lyrics to the song, as the chorus rang out “BORN IN THE U.S.A./ I WAS / BORN IN THE U.S.A.” “God I need to get her number so I could throw her a bang again,” said Bob to me as the girl turned our way and smiled at him. The kid looked over to the girl Bob and I were looking at, walked over her way, and signed something to her. She shook her head in a certain, almost disgusted, ‘no’, signed something back to him, and he walked back to his seat. “BORN IN THE U.S.A!” sang Jesse with the jukebox; his eyes closed, and his arms held in that Neil Diamond one arm up pose. Nick’s mouth hung wide open, his beer hand hovering indecisively between the table and his mouth. Between the curtains of his dread-locked hair, his eyes were almost wide with terror as he watched Jesse sing. “The Boss lives to stick things in his ass,” said Ernie as he emptied his drink, got Bob’s attention, and pointed towards the empty pitchers. It was Bob’s turn to buy the round. Bob grabbed the pitchers and walked toward the bar as the pony-tailed kid gathered up his stuff. Well, I gotta go get to bed early for my job tomorrow,” he said with a dejected smile. “Go and make the big bucks.” He looked back towards


the bar as he got ready to depart. Bob was talking to the girl with the hearing aids while he waited for the pitchers. The girl was smiling back at him and nodding. The kid turned, walked around the one lone pool table, carefully avoiding the three wiggers playing pool, and left out the cracked glass front door quickly without looking back.

P. Sebastian Strong is currently lifting heavy objects in Portland Oregon.


Chris Katko



Quarters Chad Davidson I grope by twos for scattered quarters glazed with thirty-weight. They’re cold and fishlike on the garage floor and slip in my smallish hands. Father is watching, and I wonder what he thinks, if he’s sorry and will, at any moment, scoop me out of the muck and hold me, or kneel down next to me, like mother when I floundered in the tub, unwilling, afraid the water lost its power to clean, that my mother couldn’t separate me from his stains. The oil is seeping through my dress, and I feel it on my knees and pray my mother won’t kill me when I see her. These hands, unclean like father’s habits; his change, my small allowance, worth slightly less in her eyes, dirtier than before.


FUNLAND AT THE BEACH johnnie b. baker There was this couple, Jane and Fred, and they lived in Southern California. One day in August the temperature was 100f, so they decided it would be an excellent day to go to the beach. So they packed the towels, boogie boards, kids, suntan lotion, lawn chairs, cooler filled with beer and colas, the new Jackie Collins book for Jane and a Mechanics Illustrated for Fred, into the family Vanagon and went to the beach. The kids, three boys and two girls, were thrilled about going to the beach. The oldest boy, Trigger, had one hell of a time getting his surfboard into the car. The other boys, Motorhead and Skip, grabbed their skateboards and Agent Orange tapes. The oldest of all children, the girl named Green, who was seventeen, grabbed her bikini and put it on, then a Budget Press t-shirt over that. The youngest of the kids, the girl Gertrude, was only a few months old so she just spit up and drooled. It took them about 40 minutes to get to the beach, although it took them about an hour and a half to find a parking place. They finally spotted someone pulling out, and Fred, being a former Indy car driver, beat the other 437 cars trying to park there. The second the car stopped Motorhead and Skip put on “Everything Went Gray” and skated off into oblivion. Trigger ran off to pound some waves. Green took off her t-shirt to expose her ample breast to some surf punks walking by. They clubbed her on the head and drug her off. That left Fred and Jane to carry everything to the beach. It took them two hours and four trips to move everything to the perfect spot. Neither Fred nor Jane actually wanted to go in the water. They just sat there and acted like they were reading, when actually they were secretly having orgasms at every turbo tit of delicious dong that walked by. Fred was drinking Jim Beam and coke in a can and Jane was drinking Lite beer from Miller. She commented on the great taste of the beer, at which time the northern side of the beach said “LESS FILLING!” The southern side countered with “TASTES GREAT!” after which there was a riot that equaled any RUN-DMC concert. Fred stayed


cool through it all, though. He pulled out a Swanson Hungry Man Veal Parmesan t.v. dinner and flung it into the microwave which was plugged into a cord that ran ten blocks to the lighter of the family Vanagon. The surf punks took Green under the pier where a gang-bang proceeded. Green was conscious by then and was proceeding like a trooper. After about 37 guys, 6 girls, and a platypus had finished, she went and got a pepperoni pizza. Sex made her hungry. Trigger happened to walk by and sat down and ate a piece. “Why aren’t you pounding?” Green asked. “They won’t let me surf because I munched on some dude’s skull. Look! It scratched my board!” “Those assholes!” “It’s this entire bourgeois Orange County establishment system! Any outside surfers are labeled insignificant turds on a fly’s sphincter muscle! If it was Joe Mission Viejo who cracked a guys skull he’d be pounding right now!” Trigger then whacked some dirthead with a Metallica t-shirt with the fin of his board. The blood spurt out through his eyes. “I don’t want no more pizza,” he said. “Let’s go check out that riot!” So they did. When they arrived the riot had just been broken up. There were a few skinheads lying in a pool of blood with cops bludgeoning them, but besides that, the only ones around were Fred eating veal parmesan and Gertrude drinking her mother’s beer. Nothing unusual. “Where’s Mom?” Green asked. “Oh, she was taken off to be a human sacrifice by some Slayer fanatics.” “Oh”, Green and Trigger uttered simultaneously. Henry Rollins of the band Black Flag walked up to them and puked. He then walked away, never to be heard from again. This upset Trigger. He wondered what band Greg Ginn was in this week. Was it WURM? Black Flag? October Faction? Gone? He walked away, thoroughly perplexed by the situation. Trigger went walking all up and down the beach. A couple of girls tried to pick up on him, but he had been fucked over by so many girls that he had decided to be celibate. He figured he could satisfy his wants


by himself. That way he could do it anytime, anyhow, anywhere possible without the headgames of a selfish egomaniacal female present. He spotted his brothers riding their skateboards off the pier. He started walking down the pier when he saw…her. Beautiful purple hair…large tattooed breasts…all available for the once-in-a-lifetime price of $69.95 plus tax and blood tests. Trigger swung his board around and hit a dirthead with an Armored Saint shirt with his fin. Blood spurt out his eyes. Trigger walked towards her. She walked towards him. She kicked him in the balls. He through her off the pier into the jagged rocks below. He came. He threw $69.95 plus tax off the pier to her disfigured body below. “Maybe celibacy isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be,” he thought to himself. Trigger then continued over to see what his brothers were doing. Motorhead, Skip, and about fifteen others were skating off the pier. They had Barry Manilow tied to a buoy right off the pier and they were trying to skag him. John Denver was trying to protect him, but soon they tied him up. Suddenly, Don Ho popped out of the water. All 17 skaters jumped off the pier to get him, but it was to late, Don had already saved Barry and John and they had went swimming back to Hawaii. Fred decided to go swimming. He grabbed one of the boogie boards and went off into the ocean. Then, all of the sudden, the moon shifted, and the lunar pull scorched the waves to ten feet. Fred started tripping. He did some intense boogie surfing. Trigger saw him and yelled. The entire beach ran over to watch. The wave got bigger and bigger, until it was 45 feet high. In the crowd a dirthead saw Green, her ample breast only slightly covered by her wet, white bikini. He walked up and asked for a fuck. Trigger picked up the microwave and threw it at the dirthead. He then stuck the fin of his surfboard into his skull. Blood spurt from his eyes on to his Saxon t-shirt. It started to rain. Fred jumped off the wave. All the surf punks jumped on all the dirtheads. All the dirtheads jumped on all the surf punks. The dirtheads started playing “The Crunge” by Led Zeppelin. The surf punks played “Rise Above” by Black Flag. People’s heads were being smashed to and fro. Trigger speared 15 dirtheads with the fin of his surfboard at one time. Blood spurt from all their eyes. A dirthead named Bob threw Gertrude in the wave. The impact crushed every bone


in her body. Roman Polanski picked her up and cried; “Why are all the women I love killed!” Trigger ran up and smashed the fin of his surfboard into his skull. Blood spurt from his eyes onto his Venom tshirt. Green looked down into her hand, which held Bob’s torn out heart, and suddenly realized what was going on. “STOP!!” she yelled. “STOP!!!!” yelled a blood drenched Green, until all on the beach had come to a standstill. “I don’t understand why we are fighting each other! We have so much in common!” The crowd grumbled. “We all wear leather and chains and spikes!” The crowd mumbled in approval. “We all listen to loud, socially demoralizing music!” The crowd started to cheer. “And we’re all treated like shit on this beach!” A roar of approval. “Who should we be killing?” “The Mission-Viejo, shag haircut, KROQ-listening, Bad Boy Club mini-truckers!” said Fred. And they did. And they played “Skankin’ to the Beat” by Fishbone.

johnnie b. baker is old school.


Phonecall from an Old Neighbor Chad Davidson I tend to our spices in the yard, water the grass when I get sick of oatmeal and George. But George isn’t all scaliwag. Always Walter, that brother of yours. Hear he’s in beauty college? A little queer, I think. Told you that last week? Damn memory’s a dog: mighty slow going; just pees and eats. And sleeps. Sometimes, I think dogs live pretty fat. No mind. Stay indoors, grow old. Sis says she hardly works for thinking of her dog. Food and water? Did she leave enough that he won’t cry? I hear you’re getting paid to think nowadays. Sis says she can’t believe how little brain she uses anymore. Dispenser of pills, prescription filler’s about all it takes. She and her school are like George and the war: Good nightmares. She says they used to make the pills from scratch. No gadgets. Where’s scratch come from anyway? About all I know is that dog scratched a lot. Fleas in the crotch. Had heartworms, right? I think that last snow


She almost lost him. Thank God for pills: slip them down in old hamburger. But Dad’s still teaching, Mom’s still teaching Dad that Mediterranean food. Says she’ll have to keep on trying until they’re dead. You should go visit sis and the dog before winter. She misses your wit and watercolors. Tells me to quit bugging you; but that snow—it’s so quiet. She’s so alone what with her dog near gone. Some mornings, poor guy can hardly strain to go out and pee. Sis keeps a special one— a little pill for him in case the pain gets to bad. She asks why we can kill old dogs, not old people. Damned immoral, I tell her. And did you know I’m going to tea at your mothers? Winter get’s her lonely what with your dad still teaching late. So very lonely. Did I tell you little Walter’s a pharmacist? He calls near every night, asking if I need more pills. Sweeter than sleep he is, but I still like to order. You ought to visit your sis. She misses you like summer. Lake’s near frozen over blue, but you could make water so lovely for her.


Chris Katko



Budget Press Catalogue of Fun. ? by David Reeves poetry from the bipolar man. misogyny johnnie b. baker, ed. Read why women hate men. Rockess by Jessica poetry from the queen of the storage shed. nice guys finish furniture by s. t. brophy wisdom from the poet laureate of the Lower Haight. Sign of the Cross by Bob Nye poetry from the king of punk. Unpleasantly Plump by P. Sebastian Strong more shit from a guy who’s full of it. meagarity by Jeffrey S. Ribaudo look at the pretty pictures. Hamwax by Cadillac Luke and Clay Raelings the ‘zine that proves anybody can do this. The Book of Shadows by Tricia G. O. Etz poems about love, pain, and death. Road Worthy Hungry and Mean by Mel Bain poetry as hot as a jalepeno butt plug. It’s Always Something by Kelly Mcclure poems from a woman on the verge. Twisted by Jenna read her, love her, just hope that you never meet her. The Budget Press Review #1 with P. Sebastian Strong, s.t. brophy, Steve Hovey, Chris Katko, Chad Davidson, and johnnie b. baker this one costs a dollar. www.budgetpress.net


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