Tuesday, June 30, 2009

6/2009 Playlist

In 2006 I started keeping monthly playlists in my iTunes where I added songs that had caught my attention that month. When the month is over, I file the old list, start a new one. I joined Mog.com (www.mog.com/iren) in June of 2006 and started writing a summary and/or commentary for each track, sometimes posting a related video as well. As time passed Mog started to wane, and I decided to branch out my posting of the list. At first I added it to my multiply page, my gather page, my Myspace page, but all of that got to be too much. As of 21 June 2009 (my 3 year anaversery on Mog) I have officially let that account go idle. From here on out I will only post this list on my blog (www.restlesskind.blogspot.com). If you visit my Mog page on the right hand side there is a widget that links to all the past entries from June 2006 to May 2009 , if you want to go back and check them out. Thanks to everyone who has been reading along and feel free to post comments, questions or what ever in the comments section. Enjoy Eric Reanimator.

A Machine for Loving by Iggy Pop from Preliminaires
I never really know how these play lists are going to work out, sometimes I hear something and just drag and drop it into the list, sometimes there is something that is stuck in my head and sometimes I don't really know why I am adding something. This is a great track from the new Iggy album, which I haven't heard a lot of, but it really seems to fit nicely with the unexpected theme of this month, Heroes, Love, Death, and the End. The song is simple in the way it intones a the truths about love and dogs of all things.

Snake In The Radio by Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands from Snake in the Radio
Speaking of death the title track from the first of the Praying Hands album wormed it's way into my brain, with pointed take on the music industry and specifically the radio Apocalypse that was the Clinton backed and signed Telecom act of 1996-- I'm not going to get started on that one now, but do your self a favor and look it up. In a month where the King of Pop and a underground hero passed away on the same day, it's fair to ask, what happened to the radio?

A Nation Fit For Heroes by The Damned from So, Who's Paranoid?
Throw Away Heroes by The Hellacopters from High Visibility
No More Heroes by The Stranglers from D.I.Y.: Anarchy In the UK - UK Punk I (1976-77)
This was a batch of songs about heroes their role in our lives-- and they are all catchy tunes that should be screaming across the airwaves. I want to point out The Hellacopters tune especially as it's really about the flash in the pan one hit wonder types of heroes.

Born To Lose by The Heartbreakers from D.I.Y.: Blank Generation - The New York Scene (1975-1978)
Born To Lose by Ted Daffan's Texans from Columbia Country Classics (The Golden Age) Volume 1
Born To Lose by Bouncing Souls from Maniacal Laughter
One thing about heroes, at some point they are gonna lose. It's simple, you play you win and you lose, and these three songs really about that, and going on in the face of those losses. The Heartbreakers Born to Lose is an original tune, about the grind of life and in the words of Social D (who most likely took them from somewhere else) being Born to Lose and Destined to Fail. Ted Daffin is the classic country/folk/blues tune that is better known, it's right up there with all the great Hank Williams tunes about the loss of love. The Bouncing Souls tune is a punked up version of the Daffin tune, only it has a edge and snear that screams I'm going to play anyway.

Neverland by The Damned from Grave Disorder
I didn't think the Damned would end up on this list as often as they did, but when Michael Jackson passes on, my natural thought is of this song about Jackson and his life. Released in 2001 this is one of the best of the later day tunes The Damned have recorded, with it's pointed, but also questioning lyrics. I don't think that there was anything mean or hostile about this song, just trying to understand more than anything else.

Just Call Me Sky by Naz Nomad And The Nightmares (The Damned) from Give Daddy The Knife Cindy
Can't Seem To Make You Mine by The Ramones from Acid Eaters

Quick-- Michael Jackson and _____ died on the same day. If you answered Sky Saxon you win. What you never heard of Sky? He was the singer in one of the great 60s Garage Punk bands The Seeds. They had two big hits-- Pushing to Hard and Can't Seem To Make You Mine. Along with Love they were one of the IT bands of the Sunset Strip scene, along with The Doors and all of that late 60s psych blues stuff. I picked these songs because the Ramones cover was the first time I heard a Seeds song, and the Naz Nomad tune is a tribute to Sky. There is a lot of info about Sky Saxon and the Seeds on line, I suggest if you are at all interested you check out:

Thoughts, comments, spare change?

Books June 2009

Reading list-- June 2009

Killing Floor by Lee Child
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Fish
I made it 168 pages into this book before cashing it in. I just didn't get what the big deal was. The book started off ok, drifter gets blamed for a murder, only it turns out he has more experience solving homicides than just about anyone on the local police force-- In the Heat of the Night anyone-- pretty soon it's established that Jack Reacher is a ex-military badass-- and it just never took off for me, and I figured what the hell, there are plenty of other books that are calling to me, that I want to read more of, so I moved on. DNF

The Poison Ape by Arimasa Osawa
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Fish (yes I carried the card over from Killing Floor)
This is the first crime novel I have ever read set in Japan, and I dug the fast paced, action oriented pace of the book. The Poison Ape is a Taiwanese Mob Hitman on the hunt for the man that destroyed his life and betrayed him. On his trail is an old army buddy who is now a cop and a Japanese cop, known as the Shinjuku Shark, who plays by his own rules-- I know, I know, sounds like a episode of Mannix or something. One thing that I would point out is that Japan is one of those cultures where non-conformity is almost a capital crime. Honestly it's the fact that it's set in Japan and plays on the culture and customs of that country, along with a solid translation that makes this book well worth checking out. The book starts out with our hero busting low level criminals for selling paint thinner to huffers, I don't think that I have ever seen that anywhere else in any other book I have read. I would recommend this for anyone out there that wants something along the lines of a Hard Case Crime novel from Asia. I have to also note that what grabbed my attention in the first place was the Chip Kidd cover, which seems to pay homage to the Black Lizard crime reprints of the 80s and 90s.

Hunt at the well of Adventure by Gabriel Hunt as told to James Reasoner
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Eye
Hard Case Crime Book of the Month
Fun, Fast, Light and frothy, the first Gabrial Hunt adventure, has all of that and a sense of history. The book starts with a mysterious woman delivering a Civil War flag and a bottle of water to Hunt at a reception, only men with automatic weapons interrupt and the quest is on. Hunt heads south following the few clues that are left to him and ends up danger a couple of times and out of it soon enough. This is summer reading, it's the kind of stuff that I dug as a teenager, and while it's not the kind of story that I would want a steady diet of it was a nice change of pace from the grittier kinds of books that I tend to read. Thinking back it reminded me of a Jerry Ahern's pair of The Takers books from the 80s, with it's slight supernatural twist. I wonder what an Ahern penned Hunt book might look like. All of that said, I wish it had been just a little grittier and had a little more of a puzzle to it. I will be checking out the future volumes of the Hunt for Adventure and will consider this a solid first entry and introduction to the series. I also have to add James Reasoner to the list of authors that I need to check out in further detail.

Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski
Tarot Card Book Mark: Drowning
Speaking of authors that I have to check out, I think with this book I have officially read all of the Swierczynski novels published to date. Like his others this is another enjoyable pulp romp. The gang is called into the office for a Saturday meeting, only to find out that the boss has called them all in to be killed--- only things don't go as planned. I have not read The Ax by Donald Westlake, but what I have heard about that book made me think of it while reading this one. The energy of the book is compulsive and propulsive. Truths come out, crazy work place alliances are formed and broken. In many ways it's a comment on the dog eat dog work world-- OK not really, it is more of a comic bookie action story. I have to say that Swierczynski along with Victor Gischler are creating a body of fast, fun, pulpy crime adventure books that are exactly what is needed in the far to serious world of crime fiction.

Dark Passage by David Goodis
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Moon
This is the second Goodis book I have read, and I am not sure that I am all that ready to tackle more of his work at this point. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's more of a challenge, with a rhythm and a structure of it's own. Dark Passage is about Vincent Perry a nobody of a man who his convicted of killing his shrew of a wife. He maybe be a nobody, but his wife was the kind of leach that sucks the life out of nobodies. He escapes the Big Q and heads back to San Fransisco to, well he's not sure at first. Complications ensue, as he gets framed for another murder before discovering the truth about who killed his wife and why. What I like about Goodis is that he seemed to have a handle on the lives of the those eking by, and those trapped in the drudge of life, with little hope for escape and how their simple desire to have something good can go so bad. Dark Passage isn't a page turner, but it is well worth checking out.

The Outfit by Richard Stark
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Dog
Donald Westlake Book for the Month!
What can I say about the Parker books that I haven't said, and this is only the fourth one I have read. They are fast, fun, and smart. I dig the whole set up of the Pro Thief and his crew, the jobs they pull, and the goal that they reach. The drive of a Stark book is rarely equaled, and I always seem to find them a quick read, and I am rarely ready for them to end. This is the third Stark book, and I think that I liked the previous one, The Man With the Getaway Face better, but the first one The Hunter a little less, still so far they are all top shelf crime books. I am at the point where if someone was to ask me for a couple of books to give them a grasp of the history of Crime Writing in America, one of the Parker books would be right up there with Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books as an examples of the best of the 1960s. Next up on my Parker list is going to be The Mourner, but I think that I am going to end up reading a non-Parker Westlake next month.

Savage Season by Joe R Lansdale
Tarot Card Book Mark: Water
Growing up in Hippie Land U.S.A. taught me many things, among them never trust a Hippie-- pretty much that sums up this book. The plot is pretty basic Hap and Leonard are sucked into a scheme to recover a chunk of money that was stolen from a bank years and years ago. They don't like their partners too much, and several times think on just walking away, but have to see it though. Things go bad, people die and general chaos ensues. I like the look at the hippie Sixties culture though the lens of time and seeing in the end what I have tended to see from the tie dyed moron masses, they are some of the most untrustworthy, selfish, and deluded dangerous fools walking about round today. I like that Lansdale even explores and questions the real commitment of the sell outs and wanna be revolutionaries of that time rather than playing up the BS We ended the war, and saved the world delusion of way to many of his peers. I will be revisiting the Hap and Leonard series some time soon.

Once Were Cops by Ken Bruin
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Horse.
4MA Discussion book
Wow --- I am going to say that again, Wow. Talk about narrative drive and story velocity. I can't think of another author since James Ellroy who has taken the language and story telling of crime and so stripped it down to the bare bones. The book is the story of Shea a Irish Guard (their version of police) who gets his wish and is sent to NYC to become an officer in the NYPD. In many ways the story is your basic riff on Jim Thompson's Killer Inside me, but it's fresh and furious due to the Irish lilt of the story and the language used to tell it. One of the oddest things about the book is that it really cuts out all the action. There isn't really any play by play of the crimes involved, no gory dissections of actions and events, it all just happens and the plot moves on. That's a very brave move, and one that in the right hands will surly fail, but not here. The previous Bruin books that I have read were the collaborations he has done with Jason Starr for Hard Case Crime, but with this book Bruin has joined; Faust, Girschler, Abbott and Swierczynski on my list of new to me authors I need to follow.
No House Limit by Steve Fischer
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Spider
Hard Case Crime book for the Month (2).
I don't have all that much to say beyond another solid Hard Case Crime novel. Vegas baby Vegas, Joe Martin runs a independent Casino called the The Rainbows End-- the outfit has sent in professional Craps player Bello to break the house. Several chapters start with little bits of info about Vegas and how things work.

Note: Tarot Card Book Marks? I have a really lame deck of Tarot cards that I pulled off a free cart at the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library sale a couple of months back, and I started using them as book marks for giggles mostly. I just pull a card at random from the deck, make note of it, and when I am done it goes in the discard pile. Sometimes the card ends up to have a relation to the book in questions, sometimes not.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: The Takers

The Takers (1984) by Jerry Ahern and Sharon Ahern
I recently read the first of the Hunt for Adventure books by James Reasoner, and it reminded me of of the books in The Takers series from the mid 80s. Often times I had to find my way though the maze of over stacked and over flowing shelves, the sneers of the employes and the harassment of my so called friends to strike adventure gold in my quest for escapist fiction. I recall one time that my group of friends in high school picked up my copy of the latest Spencer novel and decided that Robert B. Parker looked like a child molester on the back cover, but I digress.

As a teen in the late 1980s I was a big fan of Jerry Ahern's work. I discovered his work via Handguns magazine, where he wrote about holsters for the most part, but also often about knives and a few times about guns used on TV or in the movies. His writing for that magazine was more fun and adventure filled than the stats and impressions of others. It was from the articles that I discovered that he was also a paperback writer, and set out to find some of his books. I quickly discovered The Survivalist series, and was hooked from there. I found his stories to be accessible, fun and that they spoke to events and culture of the time.

Of all of the series he wrote I think the Takers books stand up best now. There were two Takers novels published in the '84 and '85, todays forgotten book is the first The Takers, The series was intended as the cover copy says to be in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark-- here is the back copy for the book.

Josh Culhane, two-fisted adventurer who'll go anywhere, do anything, teams up with the sexy scholar Mary Mulrooney in breathtaking pursuit of the satanic Steiglitz and his slinky, psychotic daughter. The boldhearted couple races to grab a power so great that world leaders would risk death to get it. Culhane and Mulrooney battle halfway across the globe, through all the labyrinths of human history and myth, to a last stand beneath the Antarctic ice cap, where they find an ancient starbase whose builders had never gotten home.

It's been many years since I read this book, but I recall it fondly, with it's adventure trail around the world, but mostly the parts on the ice cap. Escapist and never taking it's self as anything more than a pulp adventure book, it was a fun and fast read. There was a second book in 1985 The Takers: River of Gold which I also read and enjoyed. Doing a little research for this FFB I see that there was third book published in 2001 The Takers: Summon the Demon.

I still have some of my Ahern collection lurking around and maybe it's time to revisit some of them with The Takers at the top of my list. I am also wondering what a Ahern penned Hunt for Adventure book might be like.

There is a full bibliography of Ahern books with covers HERE

Penance for seeing Transformers

Transformers 2 is gonna take a lot of money in the coming weeks, and it is a shame. Not only is it a shame but way too many people that are going to pony up their hard earned dollars (in the middle of the great recession no less) know that it's going to be a waste of time and money-- but are going to go anyway. It's a Sin I tell you, your vote with dollars for this film is the reason that crap like this gets made. Let me be clear I have no issue with there being films where giant robots hit each other and things blow up, but having seen the first of the series (checked out of the library on DVD and avoiding, or at least adding layers between me and the dollars that went for the DVD) I don't have much hope for the number 2. I could go on and on, about the horrors of Hollywood and the account as film maker, but really what I want to do is give people an out, a way to atone for the sin of paying to help Transform the medium of movie making closer and closer to paying for a punch in the face each and every week.

Here is a list of things that you can do to off set the money that you spent seeing 2:

1) buy a copy of the 2001 film The American Astronaut along with the soundtrack
2) Take friends to see the current Sci Fi film Moon
3) Rent (or better yet buy) the DVDs of; Silent Running, Solient Green, The Day the Earth Stood Still (original of course) Blade Runner, Alien, Firefly (the TV Series) and Dark Star--- no just do it, oh and a copy of the American Astronaut as well.

please feel free to add your own ideas to the list.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

A couple of weeks back I almost had to kick Elmore Leonard out of the lobby at work for smoking. His son Peters beat me to the punch and wrangled him out the door. They were appearing with fellow Michigan writer Loren D Estleman to talk about crime fiction. One of the topics of their event was that the film The Friends of Eddie Coyle getting released on DVD and how it was one of the best crime films ever made. I had never seen the film and it went into my Netflix Queue as soon at I got home.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Robert Mitchum stars as Eddie Coyle a low level criminal who mostly deals in buying and selling guns. He's been busted driving a truck of stolen booze, refused to give up the guys behind the theft of the booze on the truck and is looking at some jail time for his silence. He doesn't think that he can do the time, it's not the Pen that he's worried about, it's his family. He doesn't want them to have to go on welfare, or for his wife to have to work while he is away. He's trying to get out from under as easily as possible, looking for cop Richard Jordan (who I think is a Fed, but it's really never made explicit) to help him out and speak to the judge in the case, but he needs to watch which bridges he burns if he wants to keep on breathing. Here is the trailer

Set and shot in the Boston area the film has a great and real look, no back lot and sound stage stuff here. The location not only geographically but the location in time is really showcased well . The clothes, cars, hair styles and guns were all current in a real way, not in a Hollywood perfect upper middle class way that too many films suffer from.

Boston looks like a city on it's way down, we don't see the ghetto or the inner city and drug culture Apocalypse of the 70s is really missing from the film. One of the strangest things about the film is that lack of overt drug crime, it's as if it wasn't part of what was going down, but I'm left thinking it's more that Eddie is an old timer who's crime world was pre-big time heroin and he had mostly managed to keep it that way.

One thought that I had watching the film was that the cars have more color and pop to them than the clothes. I have vague memories of the earthtone blahs of that era, and this film really showed what that was like. The bars, coffee shops, the parking garages and the shopping centers are all a blast from the past and several of the shots of these places reminded me of films that came later. A shot of Mitchum driving his boat of a car though a new cement slab parking structure to the top made me think of Fargo for instance.

Mitchum is at his best here, this is the older and more world weary Mitchum. Gone is the evil psycho of Night of the Hunter, or the anti hero of Thunder Road (there is a nod of sorts to that film early on), this is the worn down and aging family man who has more to think about than getting a few bucks and a few laughs. His aging is made more dramatic by the distance in time that I have from the film, seeing his youthful co-stars. A young looking Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, not to mention Alex Rocco all of whom I recall from films and TV made a decade or more later. It's been said that this is Mitchums greatest performance, and I have to agree. He's very natural, very solid and understated.

I like the fact that there is an oblique quality to the film, not everything is spelled out and neatly wrapped up. There is no closure on a couple of plot points, there is no big explanation for how somethings come down. A young gun dealer is arrested and we never see him again, the kids who wanted to buy guns from him to rob banks drive away and never are seen again. I can't imagine modern film makers getting away with that--- unless it's the Coen Bros--- and even the end of the film has questions left unanswered.

It's a great film from a great era of film, one that I am going to have to watch again, and would love to see on the big screen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mog first and Last

For most of the last three years I have been posting about music over at mog.com. In that time I wrote about a lot of different music, bands, experiences, mostly tied together by my attempt to give a view of of my life as a Rockfiend. As of this weekend, I have officially posted on my mog pagethat I am going to allow it to go idle rather than delete my account. My announcement went with little comment aside from a couple of old moggers who have been following my page for the last couple of year. I thought it might be nice to look back and see my first Mog Post, share it with the Restless Kind readers out there, and see how it shakes out three years down.

Posted 21 June 6006

Into the Forbidden Dimension
Posted over 2 years ago

After having giving it a lot of thought I have to say that my favorite album of all time is the second one by the Horror/ Psychotronic Rock band The Forbidden Dimension. It's simply
the most well rounded album that I can think of. Musically it runs the gambit of style, you have punk tunes, metal tunes, rockabilly tinged tunes, and intros songs. The record has a flow and drive that keeps it
moving forward, but it never seems forced, or fake or anything but a
great rocking blast of energy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Forgotten Friday books: Never the Same Again

Never the Same Again: a rock'n'roll gothic by Jesse Sublett
Generally speaking I stopped reading true crime books in my mid 20s., for what ever reason reading fiction about people hurting, traumatizing, and damaging each other has little or no impact on my psyche, but when it's about something that really happened I start to get queasy. That said I think it was the Rock'nRoll more than the true crime part of Jessie Sublett's (I wonder if he's related to Ned Sublette?) book Never the Same Again that drew me in. This is a biography as much as a true crime story, it's as much about how a crime, in this case the rape and murder of a beloved girlfriend, shaped, haunted and drove Jesse as he lived on with the guilty knowledge that he had introduced his girlfriend to the man who would end her life.

Jesse went  on to play in The Skunks who were part of the late 70s punk scene in Texas, before heading to California. Many adventures followed including Rock and Roll,Love, and Kids. Like fellow Punk Rocker Johnny Strike, Sublett found himself writing crime novels before too long and working as a writer for TV to pay the bills. But then came the cancer, and facing up to his own mortality. It seems like this brought back all of the guilt and questions about the murder.

I think what I really liked about the book, was it showed how events that aren't supposed to happen bump you off the path of normal live, push you to out of sync and allow you to stand off the path watching everyone else follow it. I understand that, I know that feeling and it's good to know that I am not alone on the alternative path.

I haven't managed to track down any of the crime fiction from Sublette, but I would like to check them out. Anyone read any of his stuff?

Disclosure time: I am not sure that I did this one justice. feedback and comments would be great, and let me know if anyone has any question.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keith 'Doc' Herber

When I was in the 7th grade I had a small circle of friends who were the outsiders of the outsiders. We were all part of the MYA program, Ann Arbor's Alternative Middle School, and most of that group had a more creative bent and outlook. Several of us came from families who had parents with artistic histories. My Dad had a BFA and my mother was one of those writing group/work shop types. My buddy Erik, his Dad-- Keith -- played bass, worked as a cab driver and wrote materials for the Role Playing Game Call of Cthulhu. It was this connection that first drew me to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, and the world of pulp fiction. I like to joke, this helped ruin my life, the truth is that it enriched my life.

I had an e-mail from Erik's mother over the weekend, she informed me that Keith Herber has passed away a couple of months back. He was 60 and his passing was sudden. I recall Keith as being my friends Dad, but also a guy who treated his son's friends like people and not kids who were underfoot. I recall him calling me one day during the summer in the late 80s, he was playing the computer game Wasteland and was stuck. He was looking for help on what the next step in the game was and with the clues he had found. I was more than happy to help him out, as I had won the game a couple of times at that point. I recall also play testing a Call of Cthulhu adventure for Gen Con with his family and seeing him around town into my high school years. As High School went on Erik and I drifted apart, he was a theater guy and I wasn't.

Keith and his wife moved out west in the late 80s, but I saw him again when he was in town for our High School Graduation. I had an e-mail or two with him a couple of years back and sent him some of the Reanimator Records CDs. It is strange the only other writer I had contact with when I was growing up was Robert Asprin(who was also the father of a school mate) and he passed away a year ago, but I guess I was just lucky that there were adults around who were creative and able to be an example of the creative life.

R.I.P. Keith

Thursday, June 11, 2009

FFB- Let Us Prey

Let Us Prey by Bill Branon

This weeks Friday Forgotten Book was inspired by Bill Criders recent entry about the book Open Square
On April 19th, 1995 I was awoken by one of my house mates to the news that there had been a bombing at some federal facility in Oklahoma. Later that day I had my Investigation class, where we were already slated to talk about the unit on terrorism. I recall my Prof. Dr. D. Payne, being very careful to not jump to conclusions about the days events but finding himself in a very teachable moment. As the story of what happened in Oklahoma started to come to light, I found myself thinking back to todays FFB, Let Us Prey by Bill Branon which I had finished reading only a couple of weeks earlier.

Let Us Prey is more of a thriller than a mystery or crime story, the story follows a a pair of hit men as they get caught up in a domestic terror plan to destroy IRS offices and disrupt the funding of the US government. Along the way there are twists and turns, and red herrings and all the kinds of stuff that makes for a solid page turner. There wasn't a lot of talk about this book in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, but it had an eerie resonance. I did check out Branon's follow up, which really didn't connect with me, but Let Us Prey has stayed in the back of my mind all these years, and is on my mental list of books that I need to re-read.

Thoughts, Comments, Conspiracy Theories?

W.I.P.: Show and Tell

I'm working on a short story that I am hoping will help me get back on track with a novel length story I have been working on. I have written the first section as it happens, showing the story as it flows. I want to tell the back story in the second section and then show the end of the events in the third. My question is as a reader are you put off by stories that flip back and forth from showing and telling? Thoughts, Comments, Spare Grammar Rules?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just a Sip

I have read the first paragraph--- A Milk Truck and a Armored Car run into each other--- 
more to come.

4 X 10

Four Movies You Can See Over and Over

  1. The Big Lebowski
  2. L.A. Confidential
  3. Night of the Creeps
  4. CQ

Four Places You Have Lived

  1. Ann Arbor, MI
  2. Vaxjo, Sweden
  3. Moscow, ID
  4. Sault Ste Marie, MI

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch

  1. Homicide: Life on the Streets
  2. The Wire
  3. Veronica Mars
  4. Coupling (The UK Version only)

Four Places You Have Been on a Vacation

  1. Helsinki, Finland
  2. Cape Cod
  3. The U.P.
  4. San Francisco Bay Area

Four of Your Favorite Foods

  1. Grapefruit
  2. Strawberries
  3. Coffee
  4. Cake

Four Websites You Visit Daily

  1. Blogspot/Live Journal - to check on peoples blogs
  2. Yahoo.com
  3. npr.com
  4. aadl.com

Four Places You Would Rather Be:

  1. Stockholm, Sweden (Shocking I know)
  2. The U.P. (I don’t get the chance to spend enough time up there)
  3. Driving Lolo Pass from Montana to Idaho
  4. Home- I have DVDs, books and Music that need watching, reading and listening to
Four Things You Hope to Do Before You Die
  1. Finish and publish at least one novel – I have one manuscript done, but don’t really know what to do with it.
  2. Get a master’s degree in History
  3. Drive the west coast
  4. Visit Sweden during the summer, preferably for Midsommar.

Four Novels You Wish You Were Reading for the First Time

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: Michael Chabon
  2. The Stand by Stephen King (the original version)
  3. The LA Quartet by James Ellroy
  4. The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont

Tag Four People You Believe Will Respond

- no thanks, play if you wish

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Flash Fiction- The Empty Fake Cake Caper

Pervis Moore didn't like guns; however his job almost required one. He'd tried stick-up's with; a bat, a ax and even a grass whip all too less than ideal results. Guns were the easiest way to go when holding people up. He reminded himself of this while looking over the sights of the .38 he was holding up the Cake Walk with.

The woman he was pointing the gun at glared at him, and handed over the cardboard wedding cake cash box anyway. It held $1200 give or take.
"Don't scream," Pervis collected the fake cake under an arm and bolted. A boxed Honey Lemon glazed bunt cake he had won waited in the car.

On the road, Pervis pulled the cash from the fake cake pushing the bills into a cargo pocket on his shorts. He opened the window and sent the fake cake into the roadway, watching as it landed in the road way, spinning like a top before coming to rest on the double yellow line. His money bone sated, his stomach started to rumble.

The Lemon Honey Cake called him from the box on the passenger seat. The box stated that it once held an air filter for a 1997 Dodge Pick-Up. It was shut with a twist of string. Pervis fought with the string one handed trying to pull it from the corners of the box before noticing the bunny ears. He gave a loose end a yank. The string fell around the box and the top popped open.

The Cake was nestled in side, shining with sticky glaze over top a deep brown crust. What to cut it with? Casting around the car Pervis discovered a tine less spork in a door pocket. He used the edge to make a ragged incision in the cake, followed by a second. He looked down for just a moment to pull free the just cut piece, only to be interrupted by the blaring of a car horn.

Pervis spun the steering wheel and felt the car jolt off the road. Slamming his foot down on the break, the car came to a halt knocking over a rotting fence post. The hood popped open. Pervis waited a beat then the air bag deployed knocking him into a daze.

Haile Dixon and David Conner had been enjoying the afternoon drive. Looking forward to their arrival at the cake walk. Haile's grandfather had been raised locally and the family home had become a tourist stop. The late Jet Dixon had made a name on TV, first as a cowboy, then a Cop through the 70s.

Seeing a car in their lane, Dave hit the horn. The other car swerved off the road, hitting the fence post before stopping. Dave pulled over and they watched as the air bag deployed.

"You OK?" Haile asked. She was standing at the window as Pervis came back into focus.

Pervis looked up in a daze at Haile and smiled. His mind told him there was a modelesque young woman, tall and lean, good cheek bones, no curves-- Pervis liked curves, standing next to him.
"Do you need some cake, angel?" He asked "Do I know you?"
"An ambulance is on the way, don't move, you are going to be ok," Dave snapped his cell phone shut. Pervis looked from the angel to the middle aged man who appeared next to her.

Ambulance, wait cops would show up also, they always wanted to be in the middle of this stuff Pervis thought.
"Am I dead?" he asked,
Haile laughed "No silly, you've just been in an accident"
The air bag deflated, and he felt free. Pervis unbuckled his seat belt, and pulled himself from the car. Unsteady on his feet he took a moment. Something was digging into his ribs-- the gun.
"Thank you-- aren't you?" he started.
Haile blushed, "yeah,"
"Dave Conner, from The Post Riders?" Pervis like a lot of other had seen it on DVD where it had become a hit mostly due to the odd ball Cowboy Fence and Home Repair Theme. It hadn't lasted long, but the 9 1/2 episodes that had been produced were strangely watchable.
"Yep, I was on that one" Dave said with a smile.

Sirens sounded in the distance.
Pervis started to panic; he needed to get out of there. He started to sweat and go pale.
"I think he's in shock--" Haile started

the gun came out; Pervis didn't know exactly how or why, it just did. He leveled it at Dave.
"I need your Ca..." Pervis started.

There was a blur of motion and suddenly the gun wasn't in his hand, he was on his knees and Dave had his hand in a painful hold that was pressing him into the asphalt.

"You ok Haile?" Dave asked
"Yeah, wow this thing is a piece of shit," She expertly opened the revolvers cylinder "there aren't any bullets," She pointed the gun into the ditch she squeezed the trigger just a little.
"Major trigger creep, the cylinder is out of time."
"Where did you learn all of that?" Pervis panted
"Making a action movie." the siren arrived and stopped. Haile put the gun on the ground and stepped back as the officers stepped from their car.

"Afternoon officers, this belongs to that gun," Conner nodded to the gun on the asphalt.
"Dave Conner?" the older officer asked.
"Yep, can I have some handcuffs?" the younger officer looked to his partner and received a nod in return. The older officer picked up the gun and smiled at Haile.

Dave cuffed Pervis expertly and let the younger officer pull him to his feet.
"Say you folks know anything about card board wedding cake in the middle of the road a ways back?" the younger officer asked "that's mine," Pervis said as he was led to the patrol car.

982 Words 4 June 2009 Copyright Eric Peterson

Flash Fiction- Sins of the Mother

The Cart with the decapitated wedding cake squeaked not quite in time with the click of her heels. She strode with irritation and defiance, she was used to having her way, and indignant at the interruption. Strike had pulled her from the reception, and directed her to lead the way to the loading dock.

She shoved the door open, turned around, putting her hands on her hips she glared at him. The light was fading behind her, a sodium security light recolored everything, the cement slab dock, her skin, the white frosting of the cake with a sickly orange tint.
"To the left," Strike barked, shoving the cart over the transom.

She crossed the slab to the far railing. Glancing over she noted the 30-odd foot drop to a road below. Strike, followed, the cart in tow.

"You own a debt, collection time," He hoisted the top cake tier. It had started with five tiers, pure white frosting, fancy decorations. Like lace. The wet dream of wedding cakes. The top two tiers had been too high; Strike abandoned them in the kitchen.

"What is this about?" She eye fucked him good.
She had confirmed: her name, Michelle Marie Barker. Attendances at Dark Lake University at the time in question.

Saying nothing Strike reached into the cake, pulling out a handful.

He flung the handful of cake into her cleavage, reached behind her head twisted the graying hair at the nape and slowly pushed the remainder of the tier into her face. He twisted it, clockwise, counter-clockwise. Letting go, he spun her around and smeared the remains of the tier down the open back of her dress before smashing the rest into her back side.

She gave a gasp, and started to sob. Her hands came up and wiped the cake from her eyes. Strike reached out pulling them away.
"No crying," He ordered
she took a moment to compose herself. She shot him a pleading look; he didn't care-- she owed.

"Toss the rest of this over." he pointed to the remaining tiers.
"Pick it up -- throw it over the side," She stood numbly.
"Now!" menace in his eyes
she picked up the first tier and held it.
"Over the side." He glared,
"what debt?" He held up a hand.
She knew what that meant; the tier sailed over the rail. Neither looked, they heard the spat of impact.

"The rest of it,” Strike looked to the last and largest tier.
"Too big I can't lift it," She protested
"Why..." She started
"The cake goes over, then you can go back and play nicey-nice with the family."

"What debt?" the shock wearing off.

Strike slapped her quickly across the tip of her chin. An attention getting slap not a hurtful slap. She did not move. Strike grabbed her pulled her right arm behind her back and pushed her into the last tier, after a moment he let go.

"More manageable?"

She started to tremble; forcing her hands under the cardboard base of the tier she slid it over the edge. This time she watched as it tumbled into the roadway, joining the rest of the cake. A smear of cake and frosting littering the asphalt.

On the now empty cart Strike set down a photograph. It showed a man in his 40s, healthy looking, the light of life in his eyes. He wasn't smiling. Something in those eyes she recognized.
"$700.00," Strike stated, looking for a hint of recognition from her. "Don’t know him?"
She looked blankly.
"I don't know this guy; don't know anything about a debt-- you come here to a family event, and humiliate ..." She'd remembered who she was; people didn't treat her this way.

Strike put down the next photo,

She was in this one, the non-smiling 22 year-old, skinny and fair skinned her. Black hair, dark eyes, long gone Skinny Puppy tee-shirt, olive drab shorts. She almost remembered the girl; angry, lost and full of fire. She almost recalled the boy in the photo, hulking, tender eyes, the embarrassed smile, completely devoid of confidence. He was looking at the camera; she descended a long forgotten porch behind him. He had thought he was in love with her, she had used him.

"Oh, fuck, it's..."
"You don't get to say his name; know what this is about now?"
"Yes, did he send you?"
"No -- he just mentioned you and the mark you left on him, a scar on his heart, one that never healed. You were the first, but not the last, still you were the only one that conned him. He said you were the best $700 he spent in college, learned more from that than any class. He wouldn't want me here, you can think of me as Mr. Karma."
"God that was... the money..."it was all coming back to her.

"Money, he doesn't need, not anymore." Strike laid down the last photo, from two years back, the man, wasting away. Cancer had pulled him apart and he faded into the void. She didn't need any more words. The photo said it all.

Strike reached out and tilted up her chin,
"look at me," he hissed "I get it," she gave a nod and Strike released her.

"Hope your kids never feel the betrayal and pain you left in him" Strike gave her a shove and watched as she slipped away, and then descended the loading dock stairs into the darkness.

921 Words 4 June 2009 Copyright Eric Peterson