Thursday, May 31, 2007

To The River

If you're a new reader, this story appears to pick up in the middle of nowhere. Revisit the comic book stuff, particularly Parallel and Barren, to find out who the hell these characters are. I know I am not supposed to be posting comic book stuff here, but this seems to be the only way I ever make any progress on the stories. I'll see you after my 4-day weekend! Neener neener neener!

It was nearly dawn before Wyatt gave up on Emma and left the asylum alone. She might be okay. But she wouldn't be in travelling shape. And they'd be adding more than antibiotics to her diet of pills once she started babbling about Wyatt's visit.

"Dammit." Once more for good measure. They're so fragile. And so they put their faith in their own creations, personalities with a little more longevity than one human life. Faith that's misplaced and misunderstood. In most cases.

Wyatt stepped into the night and lit a cigarette. Hand-rolled.

"Nice to see you, Wyatt."

He hid his startled jump by turning around a little too quickly.

"Jonathan. How are the Ends?"

"Ending. The usual."


"But... something interesting happened."

"Oh? What's that?" Maddening old man, thought Wyatt. He has a point, he just won't get to it.

"We had a visitor. Didn't seem to know where he was, poor soul."

"Really? You don't see many anymore, do you?"

"Other than the Types, no. This one wasn't a Type, but... he made the sky run backwards."

Wyatt coughed. "Do what?"

Jonathan didn't look like he was joking. The burly, friendly red head had his arms crossed, his jaw set. "It's tough to explain. I think you should come with me to see."


"Emma will be fine. You can come back later for whatever it is you need, if it still seems important."

"Come, Wyatt. Come see the river and let me tell you about Stewart."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jason Lammons

I was so intent on seeing RRI and NONO's transfer happen, I completely forgot to mention Jason Lammons (BOOK · PHOTOGRAPHY · MYSPACE). Jason co-edited the first issue of NONO, and the blasted thing never would've been printed without him. Plus he just rocks.

Forgive me, Jason!


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Every Bell & Tick

Last night I got on the train looking for Nica. I looked all through the elementary school and the orphanage, but she wasn't there. I tripped over saw palmettos running through pine trees. I knew she was just ahead of me. Last night the clouds shook with every bell and tick. She couldn't wait for me. Nica's out there somewhere. Tick tick tick. Her footprints are deep, and that means she's running.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

A River Filled With Ink

For the last several years I've hosted a website called Red River Ink, and published a zine called North of New Orleans. Both were intended to let writers from Shreveport reach each other and the community as a whole. Now that I'm leaving Shreveport, it's time to pass those endeavors on to someone else. Because they did bring a lot of people together and make some noise in our literary community.

Thankfully, I found two eager volunteers who are going to do an awesome job of keeping both projects going, and take them in new directions. Everett Webb is turning Red River Ink into Red River Writes, and already has the new site up and running. If you had an old page on RRI, you can check the new site for instructions on submitting updates or new entries.

Get to know your webmaster. Check out Everett's other projects and websites:
TopCat Live
Poet's Registry
Legacy of Shadrack

Pam Raintree of the Fertile Pen Group is taking over NONO, and is ready for your submissions. This issue will focus on religion in the Ark-La-Tex. Now, I happen to know Pam, and we can be fairly certain you don't have to write about how awesome Baptists are. I expect to see her produce an intelligent issue with worship, diversity, and skepticism. Pam's announcement and submission guidelines are pasted below.

I'm really excited to be leaving my hometown and starting a new and very different stretch of my life. But I'm also going to miss the great community we have here. I think Red River Ink and NONO are two of the things I am most proud of having contributed to Shreveport. I hope all of you will support Everett and Pam the way you've supported me.

Don't forget to go check out Red River Writes!


Call For Submissions

The Fertile Pen Group is seeking submissions for
NoNO (North of New Orleans)
Deadline: 15 July 2007
Send by email to:
Include "NoNO" in the subject line

Seeking original writings and/or B&W drawings depicting the cultural aspects of religion in the Ark-La-Tex, as follows: 1 Flash Fiction 100 word limit; 2 General Fiction 700 word limit; 1 Investigative Report 250 word limit; 1 Essay 500 word limit; 1 Anecdotal True Story 750 word limit; 3 Poems 30 line limit; 6 Poems six line limit; 1 Cover Art 4 x 6 format.

Written material should be sent to the editor in the body of an email. Contact the editor prior to sending artwork. Previously published work should be accompanied by the publication information so proper credit can be given. Submission for publication in NoNO constitutes a one-time copyright release for the issue following submission. Two free copies of NoNO will be reserved for each person whose work is published, to be claimed in person. Reserved copies will be held until the next issue is released.

Registration of copyrights is the responsibility of the copyright holder.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

We'll Need Coffee

1: Beating the Timer
2: Learning to Walk
3: Flores para los muertos

4: We'll Need Coffee

Nica lit a Camel, took two drags, and threw it on the decomposing body, already losing its glammer. It flashed like gunpowder, reflecting in her eyes. Light green eyes, almost yellow, Kemp thought. Then she turned away from him and marched toward the front of the alley.

"We'll need coffee," she says.

Right into Shoney's. As though that wasn't the first place they'd come. But the fugitives would be gone by then. Nica'd bought some time.

Time. Don't trust that word.

But of course they're delaying the inevitable. You can't become immortal.

"All-day breakfast buffet. Don't you love it?"

They didn't love it. But they were hungry. So all three filled plates.

And got a table by the window. Just in case.

Nica lifted a heaping fork of dirty rice into her mouth and glared at Alan. "Hacky wha na fuh oo cotton uh inu?"

"That's gross, Nica, swallow your food before you start swearing at me."

The bacon is burnt just the way he likes it. But the salt shaker makes him think of slugs. Albert dissolving like a slug.

"Seriously, Alan, you've got us in some deep shit here."

"Well," says Kemp, sarcasm dripping down his chin, "please tell me all about it, dollface, because I just helped you kill something out there. And you're fucking welcome, Alan."

"And who the hell else would I have called?" Alan spat back. "What exactly was I supposed to do?"

"Shut up, boys, everyone's staring at us."

The waitress finally filled their coffee cups, eyeing them suspiciously. They smiled and waited.

"You were supposed to die," Said Nica. "But I guess if I believed that, I wouldn't have come running in like fucking double-O-seven, eh?"

"And now," said Kemp, "I'd like to know why we went running in there like fucking double-O-seven."

"Kemp." Quietly. Nica'd been robotic efficiency. Which was scary as hell. But the desperation, the pity in Nica right now? Kemp thought that was scarier.

"How can I explain? It's a gift which, if you'd never watched someone die, you'd never know you had. I've known about the Timers a long time. I've known death a long time."

"Alan, not until he was 20. And you, Kemp, that's what you've seen. Seen. But you still don't know shit. And thanks to Alan, you've gotta learn quick."

the windows we haven't been watching the windows

"Everyone done with their coffee? Because I think we'll need something stronger."

She slammed enough cash on the table to pay for everyone and apologize to the waitress. Maybe bribe the waitress, in case she'd recognized the crimson flowers on their hands and shirts and shoes. Slammed it down hard enough to rattle a vase of wilted roses and baby's breath pushed behind the napkins and salt and ketchup.

"Wilted," said Alan.

"Yes, flowers wilt, things die, how poetic and observant of you, Alan," said Kemp.

"No. No they wilted when the Timer came near. Or maybe they wilted for us."

He held out his hand. Held out his mark. His hourglass, his timer.

Nica wasn't quite ignoring them. But her only response was, "flores para los muertos."

"Nica!" Kemp was close to panic. And it didn't help that no one else seemed to be. "Does this mean we're Timers? Are we Timers now?"

"No. I figure it means we've got pickups scheduled."

She lifted the dead flowers from their vase and walked out of the restaurant, not even waiting for Alan and Kemp to finish eating.

Outside the door she... stopped... walked back into the alley. Laid her flores on ashy residue that called itself Albert.

"Red Room Lounge okay?"

"Aren't we on a schedule?"

"We're on their schedule. May as well work with that."


Monday, May 14, 2007

Flores para los muertos

Illustrations for the continuing "Nica & the Timers" tale.

1: Beating the Timer
2: Learning to Walk



Learning to Walk

1: Beating the Timer


Edited as of 5/17/05

Nica set the body on fire before she and her friends nonchalantly walked into Shoney's for a breakfast buffet.

This did slow Albert down a touch. It's hard to adjust to a new body. Walking's always a bitch.

Humans could never have been intended to walk. They certainly aren't designed for it. The center of balance is up in the chest, close to their ridiculously heavy skulls. The feet are too narrow, the inner ear too dull, the ankles impossibly fragile. Albert felt a tickle in his human nose, tried to brace himself, then sneezed and fell over on his ass.

Losing the old body was just an inconvenience. But a hell of an inconvenience nonetheless.

Reattaching neurons and learning to walk was hard enough in a human body - and why they had to insist on inefficient human bodies, Albert couldn't comprehend - but it was even harder when you inherited one with more obvious injuries. This one had a grand total of seven toes and a malfunctioning artificial knee.

"I am the great and mighty monster come to take your soul!" he bellowed. What a joke.

He started laughing, and fell over again.


3: Flores para los muertos


Monday, May 7, 2007

Let's take a vote

You've all been spelling y'all wrong. Seriously. You know how an apostrophe works, yes? In the word don't, the apostrophe goes where the o would be if we weren't so lazy we turned everything possible into a contraction. So if we agree that y'all is a contraction for you all, there should be no more debate about this very important subject.



Thursday, May 3, 2007

Beating the Timer

Edited as of 5/17/05
It began as a dream...

This one called himself Albert. He'd cornered Alan in the alley behind Shoney's.

But he'd also cornered himself.

Nica thought it was the lead pipe in the Conservatory. Kemp bet on the glass bottle in the alley.

Nica saw the relief in Alan's face when he caught sight of her and Kemp silently marching in, putting the Timer between Alan and themselves.


The Timer turned, black eyes flashing.

"Nica. You have to let me do my job"

"I ain't gotta do shit."

She swung the pipe into his temple.

She heard a cracking noise. But first, during the slow-motion sling, even as the splashing connection traveled through her arm, she heard a melodic sound. Like a windchime as it danced with the air.

Thick black blood leaked into his eye.

"Last warning, daughter-"

But Alan's foot in his neck knocked the words loose.

Kemp took out the eyes with broken glass.

There is no feeling, no thought, no relief in this silent moment.

"Are you okay, Alan?" asked Nica.


"Savor it," gurgled the shrinking Timer. "You know I'll have to come after you now, love?"

"I know." Nica can look him in the eyes. Or in what was once the eyes.

The regret in his face slackened. She saw the tattoo on the Timer's hand, then the entire hand, begin to fade.

And watched the hourglass take shape on her own hand, between her thumb and index finger.

I know.


2: Learning to Walk