Archive for November, 2011

The Corner: Chapter Five

Chapter Five

I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that Greg Marshall turned out the way he did. Granted, if I had a Dad like the Good Chief I’d be a complete fuck-up too. Growing up in a small town where your Dad is the chief of police would be bad enough, and that plus him being a holier than thou Bible-thumper must do wonders for your popularity. Young Gregory soon found a way around that stigma by doing things to prove he was cool, like vandalism and selling drugs.

Hence, G-Rock.

I’d imagine it’s the kind of thing that can make family dinner a little awkward. “Gee son, how was your day at school” “Well, don’t you remember Dad? You caught me with a dime bag during a random locker search.”

Since graduating a couple of years ago he and his two minions moved into one of the houses on the outskirts of town so as to expand on their criminal activities. They didn’t bother with having jobs or doing anything to account for they made their living and it was only a matter of time before they caught the attention of the Sheriff’s Office or the State Police. At that point Daddy won’t be able to turn a blind eye to it anymore.

It’s funny. You’d think that the Good Chief was enough of a hypocrite that he’d want a little cut of his son’s operation. No, he was above all of that. He’d rather take $100s to forget about speeding tickets and make sure that the flag was protected from gays than dip into sinfulness like that.

I’m sure Greg was as thrilled at the notion of driving his father nuts with a stunt like this as I was. After watching the Good Chief argue with camera crews and refuse to give any statements, I headed home to send my regards to G-Rock and congratulate him on a job well done. My high had been lessened a bit my the Good Chief’s thoughtless forgetfulness but it had been replaced by the high of my first attempt at organized chaos going so smoothly.

When I decided to get this whole thing started I’d figured the internet would probably be the best way to get in touch with Greg, and finding him online had turned out to be no trouble at all. Greg loved pimping himself out on the various social networking sites and included plenty of thinly veiled references to his misspent youth and current money-making enterprises.

Once I found him I created a generic email account, set up a mostly empty profile and sent him a message. It took a little doing, but I finally got a response

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11 2011

The Corner: Chapter Four

Chapter Four

I woke up that morning in my hallway. My pants were around my ankles and for a minute I thought I’d wet myself. I wasn’t mad or grossed out, just filled with the resigned disappointment you get when you realize you’re a grown adult that’s pissed on himself. There’s nothing you can do other than just look down and go “Well, I thought I was better than that. Guess not.” It’s a bizarre mix of humbling and liberating.

I realized that I hadn’t pissed myself and had a dim recollection of finally making my way home, loosening my pants and trying to walk my way out of them. Not a high degree of difficulty when you’re sober, but when you’re as drunk as I was it requires a level of dexterity only found in your Olympic athletes. What I’d mistaken for piss was in fact the moisture my pants and legs hand picked up from crawling around in the woods in the middle of the night.

I stepped out of my pants with an ease that would’ve put my drunken self to shame and looked around for the package I’d brought home last night. Rather, the package I hoped I’d remembered to bring home and not just leave in the woods. Or by the side of the road.

I didn’t get frantic when it wasn’t in the hallway. Nor when it wasn’t by the couch. Or in the kitchen. Or the bathroom. Okay, that’s a lie. Checking the bathroom was desperate, panicked mayhem. So was the tearing through piles of incredibly dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. I may have just been in my boxers and a t-shirt, but I was burning up with that sudden, frantic fever you get when things began to spiral out of control. I hadn’t felt this way, since . . . well, that just made things hotter.

I squatted down on a pile of clothes, trying to put myself back into that gibbering, gleeful drunken state I was in on the way home. It had been a while since I had felt that happy, and I had no idea what I would’ve done. Not remembering was new, and it filled me with a sick unease that it’d started just as I was setting everything in motion.

I looked up at the door across the hall from mine.

I wouldn’t have, would I? There couldn’t be enough liquor, could there be?
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11 2011

30 Characters – #1: R.E.X.

originally posted on the #30Characters site


It was a little shack, tucked up against the side of a cluster of boulders in the desert. Calvin, John, Herman and Zeke rode up on their dinos, stopping the beasts in a semi circle around the entrance.

“Hey!” Zeke called at it, stepping down off his dino and strolling casually forward. Calvin and the others followed suit. The place wasn’t much, just some sheets of metal leaned up against each other and tied to some wood. The entrance was tall and wide and covered with dirty cloth that flapped in the breeze.

“Maybe he ain’t home,” John said, taking a handkerchief out of his back pocket and wiping the grime from his face that had built up over the ride.

“Naw, lookit that,” Herman said, gesturing toward the roof of the shack with hat. It was hard to see in the bright sun but there was a small trail of smoke coming from a small stove pipe in the back.

“Who the hell cooks inside in this heat?” Calvin said. He’d grown up in the north and had never gotten used to the desert heat. He often looked back to the time before he started running with a gang and getting himself thrown out of town as the best times of his life, but maybe that’s just because it wasn’t so damn hot then.

“I don’t care,” Zeke said with a sneer, twisting the over-sized ring on his finger as walked up to the entrance. “He’s on our land, and that means he’s got to pay.” Herman and John followed close behind, but Calvin hung back to stand in one of the small spots of shade the rocks provided.

“We know you’re in there,” Zeke yelled, kicking at the wood that framed the entrance. “C’mon out!” Still nothing. Zeke spun his ring again in irritation.

“The hell with this,” he muttered, grabbing the cloth that served as a door and yanking it down. Zeke was big, close to seven feet and as strong a man as Calvin had ever seen, and pulling the cloth so suddenly brought down several piece of wood with it.

The interior of the shack was small, probably not big enough for the four desperadoes to have all stood inside together, much less the figure sitting near the back of the shack wrapped in robe with a hood pulled down over his or her face. There was a small fire in front of him and a pot sat on a cooking rack on top of it, steam rising and escaping out the rudimentary chimney in the ceiling. There was a large roll of blankets in the far corner, taking up nearly half the shack but other than that the place was empty.
“You broke my door,” the figure said in a buzzing, electronic voice. Calvin’s hand dropped down to his repeater instinctively. It didn’t make sense, but the voice sounded similar to the Bots his folks had warned him about when he was a boy. Calvin had only seen them and heard their shrill, buzzing gibberish once but that was enough; he’d been the only one in his gang to get away from their steel claws and burning lasers.

“What the hell is wrong with your voice?” Zeke said, taking a step back. Calvin gripped his repeater harder. He’d been riding with Zeke for almost five years and didn’t think he’d ever seen him take a step back.

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11 2011

This Week in Things I Did

Kind of a lot going on this week, which is cool.

First up a bunch of stuff this weekend I had my hand in for Panels on Pages. First up was an article/interview with Rusty Shackles about his PaletteSwap art blog (which takes old video game box and has artists re-imagine/reinterpret it) which was doing a Halloween Art Jam of horror themed games like this one from Rusty, doing Castlevania.

In addition, we do a Fangirl of the Month feature on the site and I found this month’s Fangirl, Jamila Rowser of the Girl-Gone_Geek blog. She’s pretty cool and you should check her out.

Then there was my regular stuff, like my column Back in the Game (this week’s being about how my old shop was selling more copies of Strawberry Shortcake than Wolverine) and my hosting duties on the Super-Fly Comics Podcast (where we talked about the conclusion to the Super-Fly vs Wizard/Mid-Ohio Con beef, the aforementioned Strawberry Shortcake vs Wolverine and the psychiatrists who want DC to be more realistic in their depictions of the criminally insane). Since it’s kind of impossible for me to not jump at the chance to talk about things, I accepted the call to co-host the main Panels on Pages PoP!-Cast since the 11th Hour were unavailable. It was a slow news week, but you do get to find out which of my Super-Fly co-hosts I’d make a skin-suit out of, my financial destituteness and I still managed to talk a lot about comics I haven’t read yet. You can listen & subscribe to all the shows on the PoP!-Cast Network on iTunes.

In non comics news, Misty reviewed my horror novel SHADOW OF THE PAST on her blog, KindleObsessed, giving it 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a great review, and while there were some parts she didn’t enjoy I love hearing someone say they couldn’t put it down, as well as “that was freaking fantastic” and “the story was a very well thought out and intricate one.” I assure you those quotes aren’t completely taken out of context. I’m well aware that the book, with teenage protagonists and more than it’s fair share of “self-loathing monologues,” has aspects that aren’t for everyone but I’d like to think there’s enough violence, humor and mystery to make it entertaining for most (and maybe, if you’re really unlucky, you’ll find something from your own teenage years you can relate to).

SHADOW OF THE PAST is still available on Amazon and Smashwords for only 99 cents. I’m still serializing my next novel, THE CORNER, here on the site with a new chapter every Saturday.

My comic, THE ROBOZOIC AGE is still coming along (pages from the artist J.C. Grande arrived in my email today) and I also decided to push/punish myself by participating in 30 Characters, the month long challenge for comic people to create a new character for every day in November. I’m already a day behind, but I’m looking to correct that once I’m done with this little warm up. It’s mostly artists that take up the challenge, but occasionally writers like me jump in. I’m still working out exactly how I want to do this, but I think some with be little snippets of stories, some will be full short stories and others I may try out a weird “text-trailer” kind of thing, where there’s some over-arcing narration and short little scenes picked out from what would be a larger story. I’ll try to avoid using “In a world…”

So yeah. November, it looks like you’re going to try to kill me. I look forward to it.


11 2011