You are on page 1of 37

Contents

- To Build A Dream On - Ian Adams // Pg. 4 - Through the Eyes of Another - Andrew Ballantyne // Pg. 14 - Mother Culture - Mother Culture // Pg. 20 - Behind the Other - Oscar Valle // Pg. 22 - The King Of the Hill - An Interview with Joe Hill // Pg. 26 - January 5th, 2012 - Katie Lee McNeil // Pg. 29 - June 29th, 2012 - Katie Lee McNeil // Pg. 31 - October 13th, 2013 - Alexander Vasquez // Pg. 32 - Love Sleeps - Alexander Vasquez // Pg. 34

To Build a Dream On -Ian Adams-

Showing up half an hour early is so pathetic. Also, it is so my style. When I was in elementary Dad had the worst sense
of time a human can have. Hyperbole is not my style. On May 16th (the day before my eighteenth birthday) he interrupted supper Shit! Its tomorrow! to counter act that I, whenever possible, show up to appointments before I need to. So half an hour before ten I come to the Steel Trap near the Bayou St. John and sit myself at the end of the counter where no one else is sitting. Morons in the room across the way rib each other to ruin perfectly good songs by the Strokes. Fussing with my strap, I feel obscene with how little support I have. I wont repeat last time. Slip to the bathroom and have him leave. I am far more patient with my boyfriend. In this, I deferrer credit to my dad, who kept me waiting through adolescence. I never know why my man insists on meeting in these fresh license bars for kids. He relishes praise from fans, like the dribbling tween belting the worst Sing a Song I can recall. I dont drink. It isnt a rule. Never cared for it is all. But this man who had eyes for me since my firm ass stepped through the doors is coming my way with a question poised on his lips. Watching his finger occasionally stir scotch on the rocks I tell him I dont want a thing. He asks me if Im positive because money is no object with a big shot like him. I glance at my slender wrist watch to make up a reason he should leave me. Its half past ten. I have endured an hour of this trashy dive. I tell him I just got a text. Checking the phone there is no message waiting. If I ever once kept my boyfriend waiting thirty- he would not wait thirty minutes. I came to this hole holding hope that eighteen months together and three weeks of acting strange he might want to talk about future plans. Then I thought what hed do if he caught me drinking with a strange man. I told whats-his-name guy Yes, Id love a drink. The bartender blended me a banana daiquiri. I sipped, and then raced the guy to the bottom of a glass. He chugged straight liquor like it was water. I dont drink. It hits me at once, my head is light and leaning back on my stool the scene went dim. A wrenching of my stomach gave the prospect of vomiting a cheery sentiment. They guy had to be a fan. He had a New Orleans Saints sweeter.

Sitting at the bar in my own world I realize I have spaced out too long. I check the phone. Its ten past eleven. And also
this is not my cell. I accidentally grabbed my boyfriends after the last sleep over. The dog is probably hungrier than I am. Zipping up my hoody a voice calls out Girl! Hey- someone in a gorgeous dress is coming toward me with an arm out. Are you sobering up on me? We cannot let that stand. At my side smirked a short -ish man in a long expensive dress with layers of purple lace ruffled around the skirt. On his plump fingers sapphires studded silver rings sparkled. White

pearl earrings on each earlobe accented the double strand pearl necklace draped down to the low cut opening of chest hair. His long lashed curved up against the purple of his lids. I dont know you. Im going home. I said. Going home? But its early still. He pouted full lips. You must have been right fucked up, girl. Weve been drinkin and laughing this time. Dont make me get on my knees and beg. Im told Im good at it, I just dont want to. I dont go for drag queens. What? he looked hurt. I am no drag queen. I am an ebony goddess. Sherry to you though. What is your real name though? Sherry. What does your ID say? Gilad. But thats this one. When I got this on and the heat is coming off me like the swamp, boys call me Sherry. I say its classy. You? Tamkara. So last you were saying how some guy sent you here to meet even though you hate the Steal Trap. Your husband? he somehow maneuvered over the counter in his dress to grab a tall glass and a bottle of cheap white rum. Do you know the bartender? Most of his family. Dont think I always complain- but my boyfriend was supposed to come here at ten and I felt pretty confident he would purpose soon- since never mind. Hes an athlete. Did I mention? No, Im clairvoyant. That is written on your face: sport man lover. Sherry tipped back the bottle. The C rated hell hole was nearly cleared out. One booth of college kids chattered in the other room. You are the first clairvoyant cross dresser Ive met. You knew a lot of transvestites growing up. He said definite, not a question. Big drag community in Thibodaux. His smile was pretty when it parted up. Been there. Some talented armatures. Do you want me to read your future? I carry a deck with me.

I thought he was joking. His face still smirking crooked at me persisted. Fine. I said. Do your worst. But then I really need to bus home and check on- Hush girl. Tell me something like that could take the magic from this. Your dog is fine by the way. He shuffled a deck. That was really weird. But I had gained sense enough (processed the banana daiquiri) to know I mentioned my dog, Franco, in my black out or that a worry about a pet is a stab in the dark that makes sense. He had me draw six tarot cards from the deck. Sherry placed them in a slightly overlapping configuration on the counter. Studying the pictures in between swigs of cheap liquor he glanced at me a few times. Chuckling a deep nasal laugh he explained. You have great ambition. You could be an ebony goddess if you wanted. That wont happen as long as you settle as a secretary for a sport agent. Number two to a middle man. That is ruff. You also respect yourself more than the woman you grew up around. This confidence i s wasted. Broad statement. I said. That is fucking over your love life. You lost boys when they thought you were a cross legged ice queen and the current man wants out. He has celebrity. He travels and you know of one of the times he cheated on y ou. You wouldnt stand for it. you shouldnt. But you went thirty and you felt like he was good for stability. Girl - Tamkara you need a guy who is stable to depend on stability. I knew my face was getting hot but I had nowhere to look. Sherrys pleased smirk wouldnt quit. I wanted to slap him. I know you want to slap me, but you wont. Youre a good girl. You didnt hit Vivica at camp even though she lived life like a cunt hate bitch. That wasnt my future. He told me Kindling can bring repose but only in the warmth of the waters will you gain peace past justice. Cryptic. What do you expect? he collected his tarot deck, shuffled and fanned them with one hand. We are liars and frauds. Vagueness lets you interpret the truth as you see it. How did you know that? I got up to stretch out my legs. I realized the building was empty. The bartender had left. A cross dresser and me sat alone for a few hours according to my old watch. Fear didnt come as I had thought. There with some cute, plump, young guy in a dress nicer than any I could buy felt fine. Sherry answered Jet with me. There are livelier places you should be, Tamkara. Why go with him, I thought as I buckled into a Celica. We drove through the gully of St. John s, past homes so dirty they appeared to be painted brown. Cracked windows haunted each porch. He had on an oldies radio station but I had my fill of the Pips that night. I asked if he could play something better like Erykah Badu or Libido. Instead he switched off the radio, in a motion that showed off onyx nails. Sherry started singing some song I never heard. The melody went all over and he would look at me like call and response when singing Dans le pot deau bouillante/ santer par un incendie,

I cant sing with you. How about this? he drove sloppy. Row, row, row your boat! I laughed. He was so funny. So I humored him and joined in. Row, row, row, Row, row, row, Row your boat, Your boat gently down the stream, Merrily, merrily, merrily, Merrily, merrily, merrily, Row, row, row! your boat, Row, row, row, Gently down the stream, Sherry whipped the boat of a car to parallel park by a miracle. We got out and the car beeped. Walking behind him some I admired how the strips of silk on his dress waved in the balmy night wind. Coming to an opening in the high cinderblock fence we had strolled along I searched for a sign. I hate how lost I feel. Walking out on the square of grass I stopped. The cemetery? Are you for real? No. Im just imaginary but if you clap loud enough I can live. Why am I going in there with you? This whole thing has probable cause written all over it. He leaned on a cross. You know my real name. I pressed him. Why would I go in a cemetery at 12:30 am with you, Gilad? I know things about you youve only told your mother and you have got to know how. I scare you but you want to know what else I have to say. He walked on. I chewed my lip. He had been right so far. I wanted more out of him. I wanted to hear what Sherry saw in my future, can I get somewhere by forty? One foot first I went after him. Dead saplings partitioned the concrete cemetery. Sherry swiftly maneuvered past rows of sepulchers with the familiarity of a man coming home. Crying herons passed through the night sky. Over the slanted tombs a light gyrated with red sparks, the size of the blue- white stars. The embers rose steady before dying. Sherry welcomed me to a lot of two mausoleums entrances, secured by padlocks. A crosshatch of logs burned in the center.

By the fire, drinking from his own bottle, lurked a man. He was taller than any boyfriend so six, seven or six, nine. He buttoned a tuxedo, worn at the knees. The pants were so faded they didnt resemble his mat -black coat. A violet ruffled shirt and bow tie matched the violet silk scarf wrapped at the base of his tall top hat with clutches of white crane feathers tucked in. He smiled behind sunglasses with straight white teeth set against his handsome dark skin. Meet Mr. Saturday. Said Sherry. Coming near the fire I asked You brought me to meet a bum? Mr. Saturday flicked his sunglasses into the fire. Taking my hand he kissed it. I am no bum, I am an entrepreneur. Think kindly of me mademoiselle. What has this reeking cocksucker told you of me? Sherry growled If I am any cocksucker that I got it through daddys genes. I am a master cocksucker but your ass is adopted, Gilad. He laughed nasally with cotton up his nostrils. Clapping his son on the back he returned to my space. Brushing out his lace he commanded the implausibly tall man Offer her a drink. She wants to live a little. The banana daiquiri messed my skull up. Sherrys father hunched. Fuck that! he teared in one corner reframe from that evil fruit of nigerfication. Shit on them- promises? I did. Brandishing Hells Gate Rum Mr. Saturday said I helped build up this com pany living back in the Caribbean. Still get a check now and then. I drank. Isnt Hells Gate an older brand? Youre Sherrys dad? You must be a few years older than me. Thirty -six? No. Mr. Saturday said. But it is good to know I still look good. Dad said we age better. I sipped sweet rum. Naw- we age correctly. White folks age for shit. They look all sorts of scrawny, unfuckable for twenty-five years of what I call pre-death. He produced a radio from his pocket. He switched it to Latin swing. Dance? I squinted at him, unsure what I saw. Fine. He spun me. You arent a bum? What is your business, Mr. Saturday? Transport. Drugs? I relocate people. A coyote? You bus in illegals? No. Not that ether. But, as we stepped he told his son Remind me to talk to Whisky Jack soon. We have dealing. You are good on your feet. Im better if your feet were up here. He tapped a shoulder.

You- I should have known from the clothes. Youre a pimp. I may live like one but no I am in no business of owning others mademoiselle - oh how wrong. Here I go, falling in love and I dont know your name. Tamkara Goodheart. Mademoiselle Goodheart, an ideal name for you. The song ended and he bowed with a cap tip. Why? Youll tell me Im prefect in every way? I braced for flirtation. No, you have several flaws. You piss yourself at the sight of the retarded. You blame others too often. How? I take responsibility. I watched my mom till she died in Thibodqux. Could of gotten a nurse but I did it. I unzipped my hoody. You did it rather than take a promotion. Then you quit to be a secretary. You think youre something hard enough and become it. Mr. Saturday said. I think Im a secretary? You think youre pathetic. I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell him he was a drunk liar. The words came scrambled, so eager to attack his ears they overlapped and chocked in my throat. Walking past Sherry I leaned my forearms on the black rot iron. Below the bayous water laps at the concrete through the vines. Across the way city lights reflect in the black water. A warm hand rests on me. Mr. Saturday whispered Ill give you a job. I wipe my face hoping he did not see. I have a job. You know. Employment is a fragile state. Employed. Unemployed. Think about my offer. Mr. Saturday, Call me Sammy D. Sammy D. how can you say Im pathetic? I didnt. Your clothes did. An old gray hoody with khakis and dyke shoes. Not nice. My sons a dyke. I can say it. he grinned again with teeth so white they caught red off the fire behind us. You put up your hair in a lazy bun for a night out? I see a girl who gave up. He shook his head. Passing the rum to hi s son I forced more tears away. Why dont we dance? I asked.

Mr. Saturday led me back to the archway of a crypt. Undoing his tie he stuffed it in his ragged trousers. As he unbuttoned his violet shirt I say Sherry hold the padlock behind him. A clanking of chains preceded the stone doors with fleur-de-lis windows chiseled in them parting. Sherry announced Its open. Suivi mademoiselle Goodheart. He managed to get me in. three gray tombs, ornately carved lay end to end. Tinted light from the fire passed glass over us. Sherry sat up on the third sarcophagus. I asked about the dance. He had to first handle his entrepreneurial duties. With the side of his fist he knocked three times on the lid. I asked if we could leave. The atmosphere of decay upset me and the dog had to be starving. The stone lid popped. I jumped a mile back. The sepulcher Mr. Saturday banged on vented dust. Fingers crept out pushing the lid to one side. Up sat this white woman in an orange cardigan. She smiled at me and Sherry. Mr. Saturday was a pimp. A screwed up pimp with tricks who slept in graves. I wondered then if Sherrys beautiful sapphire rings were stolen from the graves of New Orleans. The business man lifted his top hat to the woman. Digging in his coat ha handed her folded papers. Take these. There is a map. Follow my directions to the letter. Aller de lavant, abelle ouvriere. He ushered her out. Think about working for him. said Sherry. Is the pay any good? His purple painted lips stretched You have a sense of self -worth. You dont believe him do you? I asked following the queen to the fireside. Sammy D. is back for ya beau, Goodheart, my boo. He swept me into another dance, this one with a fa ster pace. Im not your boo. I rolled my eyes as he slid across my body. To say how many dances we had would be a lie since I cant remember. We danced to several songs. We switched so I could dance with Sherry (I led). Mr. Saturday never got tiered but I did. He son went easer on me on the grave lined dance floor. I caught my breath with gulps of Hells Gate Rum. I asked if he could dance to the old city classics of Oliver o r Satchmo. But of course. I went to swing clubs almost every weekend. I went to the first show put on by lonesome Leroy Johnson after his deal at the dusty crossroads. I hid my face in his bare chest to cover my laugh. Youre full of it Sammy D. Work for me and youll feel how full I am. He flexed his brow like a ham. I need another brake. Sherry passed the rum. Armstrong was good, Sammy D. edged by the fire. Dont ever doubt that his town, New Orleans is my town. Her people answer to me.

Daddy D. we should go. Said Sherry. I protested not putting out the fire but Sherry pointed out there was nothing to catch fire and no one to die. So we returned to the lavender upholstery of his car. I read my watch at two in the morning. We rounded blocks of shamble homes. The pedestrians ignored us. The old man patted the armrest hating the expense of fuelling the boat. Did you think Gilad wanted to have sex with you at the bar? I thought how to introduce some tact. I could tell he didnt admire my looks that way. He does look like a cocksucker. That is what these lips were born to do. Dont care if its a farmers son or the preachers boy. You heard him call his pop a cocksucker? Rude. I said. Accurate. I suck a dick good. I love eating a pretty pussy too. He slurped and w iped his chin. I have a boyfriend. I watched the ugly homes as he breathed on me in the back seat. Youre too in the now. I have a job. I have a boyfriend. What if you didnt? I still dont think Id sleep with you Sammy D. He snorted. I think you would if you saw this weapon. It cheered some women up in my day. They got no acres and no mule but I let them feel like they had the world and a donkey onto of them. I looked at him too near my face. I feel like a jack-ass is bearing in on me. Sherry pulled over. Were here. Together we got out. The drag queen led us to an ally between two old houses. We peered through a window. Asleep on a flattened recliner squirmed an ugly man with a TV still on. He wore leather moccasins and a Saints sweat. I said nothing. Taking a cue from the others I sensed the importance of what we did at this unjustifiable hour spying on a sleeping man who I may have seen at work. The white woman in orange came around to say shed finished in the kitch en. They praised he hard work and then we all returned to staring in the window. Rolling on his arm the fan nearly kicked his slippers off. A nasty noise came from inside. Long hissing and clicking rattled the pains. Shorter than a second of quiet passed and then a wall of fire roared down the hall slamming the glass. When are vision cleared the Saints fan leapt to his feet. Screaming clumps of hair left burned off. Running to nowhere he clawed at his clothes. We watched him char. I felt no dread. I felt things were going as wright as they could as he coughed on the crackling carpet. Am I dreaming? Sherry looked at me. He let me know Life is but a dream.

We returned to my apartment after. Sherry opened the door despite me remembering to lock it. Or I may not have. I may be as dumb as he says. We go in. Panting Franco scampered out between my legs. I felt I would regret not going after him. Sammy D. slipped off his shoes and Sherry excused himself to the pouter room to change. I announced my intent to fix a breakfast burrito. With a mitt on I fried potato cubes as the bare foot man tugged at the brim of his hat. A final meal would be divine. Adding in peppers and nuked chees I scrambled in eight eggs because they could eat after the flood of firewater. Dishing it out I went to the den to tell Sherry I nearly finished. His dad stopped me. Work for me. Run errands of value. Guide what requires shift, his top hat shadowed his face. His open shirt framed a perfect glistening black body. You can give me companionship. I bring strong spirits. Im a life of a party. But its lonely. I dont want to work for you. I stood my ground. Then lets fall back in a bed one first and last time. Ill suck tities, ass to mouth and fuck punani where time gets lost. I could smell Sammy D. Throat clearing stirred me. Sherry had a burrito. Reapplying his makeup he and slid off his dress. A bruised purple, sequined suit jacket hung on his narrow shoulders. Under that he wore a black Cuban shirt adorned with white skulls.

Open toe heals that could make Dorothy of Oz jealous sparkled violet. Slut. He bit into it. A compulsive liar and youre a nymphomaniac. Sammy D. said Well, you are a psychopomp.

Sherry drove me and his dad after breakfast. At three AM we came to the sorriest house in New Orleans. We walked
up to the front together. Black cocks with long necks fluttered and scratched at dirt. Along the fence sick reads grew a wrong green over a pen of squealing black pigs. The place was less of a house than a shack housing mold. A woman called Brigett let me in. She had on sweat pants and a veil in black. Her breath reeked of gin and burning chilly. Sherry introduced Brigett as his mother. I yelled at Sammy D. I told him I dont flirt with married men no matter the situation. And I have a boyfriend. He shook his head slow. My wife used to dress better than my son. Then came the day sweats there went the night sweats for malatto. Stuff up your ass half n half cocksucker. Criminal has housed my lady wants low there months. Brigett said. Oui je taime tant, my bride. Every woman bent over a car hood or drunk with my rum left no less love for you. Criminals cock is so big and black it won state fair prizes, and the parish adores his piglet. She sneered. By soft cohesion Sammy D. led me farther in the baron, dank building. Wood walls bleak with exposed wire and nails rattled with led pipes. The last time he asked Please work for me. He held his hat and I saw his head as sparse as his wifes house. No. I answered. In the other room I met Brigett Saturdays lover Criminal. He was huge in stretched priests vestments, c olor bulging at vain rupturing muscle. At the side of the room sat a boy who would frequent scummy establishments like the Steel Trap. His shirt under him as a cushion he didnt acknowledge me. Blood red on his lips hot as Brigetts chilly breath from the three gashes I could see on his arms where he bit through muscle to eat. Blood ran off and became black, sinking in the floorboards. Criminal pointed at the back screen door Go Tamkara. his voice deep as thunder. I turned back once to Sherry who already headed out front. Sammy D. told me Adieu, Madmoiselle Goodheart. With a bow Aurait pu etre belle. After Criminal I walked on alone to the back. Opening the screen were like the path to the bayou banks. Gently the water that erodes even the cement of the cemetery touched me. The murky water set warmth over me until I had completely submerged.

Through the Eyes of Another -Andrew Ballantyne-

The sweltering heat served as yet another reminder of why James hated going back to school. It made the two mile walk
seem all that much longer and forced him to bring an extra change of clothes in his backpack. By the time he got to school, his shirt was drenched. Hoping no one would see him in his less than attractive state, he rushed through the halls, ducking around corners all the way to the boys bathroom, so he could change and cool down. He opened the door to the bathroom, walked to a sink, and began to wash his face. He didnt hear anything from any of the stalls so he assumed the bathroom was empty. He stood in front of a sink, glanced in the mirror above it, and took some time to examine his body through his gym clothes which he always walked to school in. At about 510, and 250 lbs he wasnt the most fit kid in school, but his mother and father both swore that now that he was starting high school, the pounds would begin to come off, and he would stretch out. James always told them that he didnt care what he looked like, that he was happy with himself. But inside, he hated being fat, the constant self-consciousness, having to pack extra clothes because he perspired so much, and always feeling like he has to avoid girls. Not to mention being laughed at by his classmates. Sure they never did it to his face, but he could tell when they were talking about him or staring at him. The nicknames they had for him probably bothered him the most, they ranged from the generic, fatso to the slightly more unique, jumbo James. He felt like he had cooled down enough to change his clothes, so he entered one of the stalls and proceeded to switch his sweaty gym clothes for a fresh pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a heavy zip-up hoodie. During this time, someone had entered the bathroom, but James thought nothing of it. He finished changing, exited the stall, walked back to the sink, and washed his face one more time. As he was drying his face off, he heard a stall door open behind him, followed by footsteps toward the sink. Mornin, fatso, said the person behind him. He turned to face the source of the voice. Uh, hey, Craig, James replied avoiding eye contact. Craig was James neighbor, and had been his best friend for most of middle school, all the way up to the s econd semester of eighth grade when he had started practicing with the high school football team. He, like James, had always been very self-conscious about his body, but for the opposite reason: he was extremely tall and lanky growing up. One almost couldnt help but laugh at the two of them as they walked down the street, like a giraffe and an elephant roaming the savannah together. However, once he started playing football, he bulked up and put on a lot of muscle and suddenly he was Mr. popular and had no time to hang out with James, his socially awkward overweight neighbor. He couldnt help but envy him though, his newfound confidence was something James felt like he would never have.

Craig must have decided to go all out on the first day of school; he was wearing a dress shirt, a button up vest, a pair of tailored slacks and some very shiny dress shoes. How was your summer? he asked It was cool, I spent most of it visiting family. Oh that sounds fun anyway, later Craig said as he finished washing his hands and exited the mens room. James was a little angry at Craigs lack of interest in his summer activities, but then again, James didnt even find his own summer activities interesting. After pacing back and forth a few times in anger, he exited the bathroom and went to the courtyard to find out where his first class was. The rest of the day proceeded in the usual tedious manner, checking into classes, critiquing teachers in his head, avoiding social interaction, the usual. By the end of school, James wanted nothing more than to get home, lie on the couch, and watch TV. He decided to take the side streets home today in hopes that it would get him home quicker, and there was also more shade along the way. He walked at a brisk pace until about halfway home when fatigue got the best of him. He started to get really thirsty and was desperately searching for a place to get something to drink. He noticed a small building on a corner about a block away from him which looked promising. He rushed to it and looked at the sign which read, the Old Switcheroo. Thats a weird name for a store. He muttered to himself. He walked in and the first thing he noticed was an old middle-eastern woman sitting behind the counter. She wore an elegant black dress that didnt look like something a convenience store cashier usually wears. She was staring at him as if she had seen him before. He turned away, but he still felt her gaze lingering upon him and it sent chills up his spine. He walked to the beverage aisle and grabbed a can of Coke from one of the refrigerators and returned to the creepy woman at the counter. Self-satisfaction or friendship? she said as he approached. Huh? Self-satisfaction or friendship? she repeated. Im just thirsty, thanks. he said with a smile. Which is it that you thirst for? Coke is fine. What if you could have one but not the other? James was getting creeped out by this point so he decided to just put two dollars on the counter. As he reached up to leave the money, the woman snatched his hand and held it like a vice grip. With her other hand she grabbed a small black object from underneath the counter and pressed it against his hand. James yanked his hand away and the woman let go, he almost lost his balance but recovered and darted out of the store, Coke in hand.

Make a choice in good time or it will be made for you! she called out after him. He ran for about half a block before his lungs felt like they were on fire and he had to stop and catch his breath. He looked down at his left hand and saw a golden eye stamped just above his wrist. What the hell?! Creepy old hag. he said to himself. After a couple of minutes, he regained his composure and continued to walk home, nervously looking behind him every couple of minutes. When he got to his house, he rushed to his bathroom and scrubbed his hands in the sink trying to wash off the stamp, but no matter how long he scrubbed, it did no good. He finally gave up and went back to his original plans of lying down on the couch, and watching TV, which he continued until he dozed off. He woke up and rolled out of bed, eyes closed and half asleep as usual, but things felt somehow different. His bed felt shorter, and lower to the ground and his sheets were softer than usual, he was really confused as he opened his eyes and in fact he wasnt in his room or his bed. He felt like he had been in this room before however. As he reached up to rub his eyes, his feelings went from confusion to utter shock as the hands he just tried to r ub his eyes with werent his they had the same stamp from the previous day, but they looked strong and lean. He ran out of the room and down the hallway, one way, and then the next until he found the bathroom. He burst through the door and looked in the mirror, and as soon as he did, everything made sense. The bed, the room, the hands, the bathroom mirror, all of it belonged to Craig and it was Craig that James was looking at in the mirror.

James ran back to Craig's room and hurriedly got dressed; he thought about showering but decided against it, not liking the idea of washing someones body that wasnt his own. James tried to sneak past Craig's parents but his mom noticed James just as he opened the door. Arent you going to eat breakfast with me and dad? she asked.

Not today Ms. mom I really have to get to school. Eat breakfast and I will take you right after, it will take you just as long as if you walked. said Craig's father. No thanks dad I Craig. His father cut him off Okay. He sat down and Craig's mom served him a plate, just as he was about to start eating, Craig's dad spoke. Hows football going? James had never seen a game of football in his life so he just said the first thing that came to his mind. I caught the ball a few times yesterday. What?! They are trying you out at receiver?! Are you doing something wrong at quarterback?! Craig's father seemed really upset. Umm I dont know. James said before frantically shoveling food in his mouth as an excuse not to talk anym ore. After finishing breakfast, Craig's father took James to school where he was welcomed by handshake after handshake and at least a hundred hi-fives before he reached his locker which he realized wasnt really his anymore. He left without even opening it having no use for the books inside; he decided to go to the flagpole to see if he could find out where Craig's first class was. On his way to the flagpole, he was grabbed by his backpack and dragged into the bathroom. Hey! What the fu...James said James is that you?! Wow Craig, youre me. Duh, anything else you want to tell me? How did this happen? How the hell am I supposed to know? All I know is I cant handle being fat, all I do is sweat and everyone stares at me. James noticed the stamp on Craig's hand, and then he looked at his hands and saw the same symbol. Did you stop at a place called the Old Switcheroo yesterday? James asked Yeah and a creepy old Mexican lady gave me a stamp. She wasnt even Mex-, never mind, What did she say? Something about me not being myself or not being anyone or something.

We need to go to her and get some answers, meet me at the front afterschool. Screw that, lets just go now! Craig said. Yeah, I wonder how Coach Watts is gonna feel about you missing practice and I dont want to get switched into other classes just because I missed the second day, lets just wait. Ugh! Youre right well, take my schedule so you dont get lost, Craig reached into the backpack that James had on, pulled out a small yellow card with a list of classes, and threw it at James in frustration. Wheres yours? Craig asked. Have you checked MY backpack? James replied Oh yeah, well dont screw anything up too bad jumbo, especially in football! James had to fight stop himself from laughing at the nickname Craig had just called him. Yeah, right back at you bones. James replied sarcastically. They both exited the bathroom and went to their first classes. James had no problems doing any of the work that Craig's classes required. Sure, he hated school but he was a genius compared to Craig. He breezed through all of the classes up to seventh period, football. This was going to be the real challenge; he entered the locker room and immediately realized that he didnt know Craig's combination, or locker number. He noticed that he was built relatively the same as most of the other players, so sure enough, he asked around and ended up borrowing workout clothes from some of his teammates something he never would have been able to do had he been himself. The first part of the class was weightlifting, James walked over the weight room and was completely lost, he stood back and observed what everyone else was doing and then tried to copy them. He sat down on a bench, laid back and lifted the bar which had at least one hundred and thirty pounds on it, it felt extremely light and he finished off his set with ease. He was surprised at how strong he was, and after the lifting session was over, the team went on the field to run plays. James had no clue what any of the coaches were talking about, but he didnt care because whenever he got in trouble, the coaches made him run. It was a feeling that he had never felt before. It felt like he was running a hundred miles per hour yet he never seemed to get tired. He felt powerful. This day was by far the best day of his life. He never wanted it to end. When football was over, James once again thought about showering, and once again decided against it. He met Craig at the front of the school, he looked miserable. Looks like someone had a good day. James said sarcastically. How the hell do you live like this? I cant even walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like Im gonna pass out. I just take it one step at a time. Yeah, and Im sorry I have been such a jerk to you, its not fun being called fat ass and tubby all day. Its cool man, Im sure we can find some way for you to make it up to me.

Yeah, maybe I could buy you a burger or something sometime. Uh sure. I didnt mean it like that- Yeah whatever, lets just go find that old lady. James cut him off. They both walked toward the Old Switcheroo, but when they got there, it was closed and had a sign on the door. The sign said you have seen the world through the eyes of another and the time has come to choose: either close one eye, whats old anew or two eyes close forever. What the hell is that supposed to mean?! Craig yells I think I know what I have to do, come on lets go home, we arent going to find anything here. But we have to find- Craig lets go. James cut him off. James spends the remainder of their trek home thinking about the decision he has to make. This is quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to him, and he is scared to go back to his old life. They both arrive at James house and Craig is horribly winded. Well Craig, I guess Ill see you tomorrow. What do you mean? What are you going to do? Am I gonna be me again? Just trust me, everything will work out, I know what to do. James said calmly. You expect me to just trust you with my life?! I dont really think you have much of a choice. I guess youre right, well Im really trusting you on this one, I mean we ARE best friends right? Yeah, right, goodnight. With that, Craig walked into James old house. James continues to walk to his new home, wishing he could go hug his parents and tell them goodnight and that he loves them. After walking through the front door and dropping his stuff, he heads down the hall to the bathroom. He stares at his reflection in the mirror, and looks down at the stamp on his hand, trying to decide whether to wash it off or not. He places both hands on the knobs of the sink and takes some time to think about how much he enjoyed himself today. He walks back to Craig's room lay down on the bed and closes his eyes. He wakes to the sound of a woman screaming from a few houses down, a mother, his mother. He looks down at his left hand, and gently touches the golden eye imprinted on it.

Mother Culture -Agalin Donunez-

She lulls us to sleep. Puts our minds to ease when the world is falling apart. People are dieing and starving on a daily
basis, but Mother Culture tells us to look the other way. We are alright. It is not happening to us. She tells us not to worry about it and that everything will be fine. We are suffering but Mother Culture whispers in our ears, Do not worry about these things. They are of no importance to us. Go back to working. Although how can we? Our lives are miserable. Our pay has gone down, the bills keep getting higher and higher, but our efforts are going to waste! Mother Culture wont you give us a hand? No, she replies, This is the way. Produce, produce, produce and things will be well. However it is all a trap. One that has been fed to us since we were infants. We have been brainwashed. Looked over by Big Brother and lulled to a state of calmness by Mother Culture. False promises of a happy ending, success, wealth and a better future. Bitter endings made of broken dreams and lost hope. Our worn out bodies and failed attempts of happiness were all burned to ashes. What is the use of fighting a story, an act, a play that has been going on for hundreds of years? As independent as we like to portray ourselves there is not a thing we can do to change it. No matter how hard we try to open our fellow mans eyes, Mother Culture and Big Brother control our lives. Through fear and a story, they control our lives.

Ghost Story Contest Submission Dead Line


Oct. 31 at Midnight

Who Goes There?!

There is no God and we are his prophets. (McCarthy 170)

Behind the Other -Oscar Valle...Then there must have been an eschatological necessity. That is, in both Marjane Satrapis Persepolis, and, in Cormac Mccarthys The Road, nightmares of war and the ends through wars are all of that which debases the cosmos. But here let us not get confused with a return to a problem on ontotheology, even though the possibility remains open, or any metaphysics. So, that to avoid all disquisitions at order, in this strict case, instead what must be thought of is that whi ch no longer guarantees any fiction in the world, and this is also not the cosmos from a linear humanistic(s) division. Instead a thought on the difference between two cosmic models: 1. The one expressed by Majane Satrapi in Persepolis: in her intro to Persepolis, Satrapi invites her readers to give thought to the radical history of her country. She explains where the name Iran originated from, and how it originated from the name Ayryana Vaejo. And also how the Persian culture survived many attempted invasions. So Satrapi pav es way to be able to say, Since then, this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half of my life in Iran, I know that this image is far from the truth. (Satrapi 2) Satrapi then goes on to write a semi-autobiographical graphic novel. But the main importance is the world in flux; the world that is constantly unstable, and unfree. The encounters in all extremity. 2. And the other one, given form by Cormac McCarthy in the Road: McCarthy, creates a potential world. Something that can happen. And during the entire adventure between the father and the son, illness and weakness conquer their bodies. Limited by the world, they created their highest hopes. The father placed all his hope on his own child, and the child believed in his hope. Their hope was fictional. To save his son, he gave him a fiction to base his thin existence on. The cosmos is dealing with a virtual event, and an actual event. The universe that comes in between these two texts is that of one with an end to an original cosmos and its consequences. An extreme point of revolution: to its own limitation, subtracting all of those values that are said to connect and stabilize our own entire world. The social fabric, and its functioning is of a main concern to us here. For Satrapi, her country is not justly presented to the western world, and for Mccarthy, every material value is now without worth. So the social stratum is one w here meaning is questionable. Although, the difference between events in the world can be taken to be too distant, or alien, Literature enables the possibility of social functions within an uncertain time. In Persepolis, the main character named Marjane, is followed throughout her life as a child. As a child Marjane wishes and hopes to be a prophet. Marjane gives her grandma a few of her laws. At one point, Marjane determines that she will not let anyone know her secret of being a prophet. She would constantly have conversations with God. In all her innocence, God would aid her and guide her. Until there came a point when Marjane, once she was a little older, kicked God out of her existence, due to unjust deaths done towards her loved ones. At this point, Marjane implicitly forgets that

she was a prophet, creating an ironic account in the memory of literature. But why is it implicit? Marjane the writer, by beginning the novel with her character as a child, this allows a dislocation of any nave approach to any end of a world, to its socio-political ambiguity. In other words, but in some particular instances, all stupidity (or uninteresting) thought on others is shifted and effected by the innocence of little Marjane. So in a way Marjanes forgetfulness on he r secret, adjusts any preoccupation with her own image. A backdrop, a lonely secret amongst all humans is now clearly acted upon from understanding. Not to mention the capacity of Marjanes humor amongst all terrors of change during war and protest. Here is Marjane in all innocence when her knowledge on the situation came from the television, and her uncle and Ebi were discussing serious matters: Her uncle Anoosh: Calm down Ebi, shes just a child who repeats what she hears! Marjane: But its not my fault! Its the TV!! Boo hoo!! (Satrapi 62). The same or something similar can be said in the case of the child in the road. The child in The Road is very much aware of what is happening. We can even say that the knowledge and experience of his father has been passed on to him. In order so that his father can pass on the torch, put differently, the memory of the living, the child has attained superior thinking compared to the world around him. In a way, those around him had valued, and still value those irretrievable values. While they cling on to some old human values, the father and son are already a few steps ahead since they seem to deal with the reality of their fate (that means everyones fate). They created an island around themselves and for themselves in order to survive. Both maintain a secret alive, and both remain hopeful. This island of theirs is a sovereign one, without having any debt owed to anyone imaginary and to anyone living. The name of God in the mouth of the father is not used to renounce life, but to pull his sons name, and his own name out through the catastrophe. The religious nature of man runs through the father. It can be said that he is the last faithful man, and his son is done with all fiction. For the son, has already taken on the story as if it were an ultimate point, very much so like little Marjane. The child is always already in play. But how did this happen? It may be that his fathers story was nothing more than a finality of the real. As if the real snapped onto another wo rld that would become the childs natural perspective. And in this natural perspective, what keeps his sense alive is that he has knowledge of the dead, and also that of the living. All the conditions that threaten his survival are at last confronted by hi m in full play: He tried to talk to God but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him and he didnt forget. The woman said that was all right. She said that the breath of God was his breath yet though it pass from man to man through all of time. (McCarthy 286). Both of these texts combined create a mirage of one another, and consequently, the social vulnerability of our existence. In the road, the place of destruction has already taken place in the country, except this is not a Middle Eastern country, this is in fact inverted and reposed onto the U.S. This creates a shakeup of ends, for themes of the end of the world actually occur when huge militarys encounter and attack those in which they dehumanize in the first place. Creators of Gregor Samsas, constantly not taking the speed of thought into account, within the differences in history. Now since the terror is almost always felt outside of the U.S, McCarthy does a fine job placing the country that is supposed to be the most civilized through its technics, and its moral values, into a context that totally brings it down to its natural and inescapable possibility. What stands at this moment in history for McCarthy, is his story. It is not necessary to view The Road as a fiction without any truth, for since it is a fiction that maintains any truth, it runs on a correspondence to a thin realitythat is, the event that he expresses through his writing is happening. Let us make this more clearly. For if we were to be with any after life, the life that the father and son (and the revolutionaries of Persepolis, like Marjanes uncle Anoosh who was persecuted and killed on the account that he was a communist) lived, would not have survived on its own. Life already becomes concentrated in the desire through an immanent form of hope.

It is in both extreme contexts, that this life may be re-born again. Shaved of all the impossibilities at one point, life takes on new faces and new possibilities. So is it that humans are not human yet? The social functioning that Literature enables, is precisely the call to our vulnerability. But also, as McCarthy and Satrapi have shown, the actuality of nightmare in a bottle of illusion that promises and never wields, and promises promisesbut that already implies a symptom of decay, of the exact decay that these two texts have clearly shown; and the combat that all humans face after facing that very decay.

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York, NY: Pantheon, 2003. Print.

Modern Corsair brought to you by:

The King Of the Hill -Ian AdamsIn a book store in San Diego Joe Hill (eldest child of Stephen and Tabitha King) came to speak on his new vampire Christmas story NOS4A2 about an immortal motorist who abducts children to steel their life force. Protagonist Victoria must vanquish the old demon by accessing her own inner creativity and strength. Joe spoke in science fiction book store Mysterious Galaxy.

Q: Victoria in NOS4A2 rides a Triumph. Can you talk some on your bike?

Joe: Well she and I have different models. Victoria rides a 1968 Triumph like Steve McQueens and like Evil Kenevil before he started taking to crash on Harleys.

Joe: Ill tell you what. When I came here I came up with a million dollar idea: drive through. Just up there at the front you put in a pull up window. Pull up in your car and ask Can I have an order of science Fiction with a side of dark fantasy? You get yourself home and crack open Red Mars [Bradbury] and a copy of Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman.

It is the mental space of the creative, and I truly believe inscapes are real.
Q: Did you ride your bike here? Joe: NO. But Ill tell ya I, at one point before the tour, thought Id ride to each of these signings in a star-spangled Evil Kenevil suit. I might have. Helmet and everything. Then before I bought it online my brother said What if you look like fat Elvis?

Q: Speaking of- you and Mr. Gaiman contributed to a collection of short fiction not long ago. What was it that inspired you the style of print in your short story The Devil on the Staircase?

Joe: I didnt actually think of it. I came to it sorta by accident. When I was retyping it in the word processor the formatting was all screwed up and it made a staircase shape. And I thought Oh, thats it. Now this may be rather inside baseball talk but when I wrote DOTSC for Neil Gaimans collection it became the most impossible story to reprint. I wrote it in currier, which is a monospaced, or fixed pitch font. As in all the letters are the same size. So in other fonts the staircase kind of melts. My friend from IDW said he would fix it by creating a whole new fount for me, but that never happened.
Q: Can you talk about the origin of the novels name?

Joe: I need to come up with a good story. Its really banal. Writers are people who make a career in horseshit. Anyway, the name NOS4A2 is Charlie Manks vanity plate for his Wrath. When you sound it out it sounds like nosferatu witch is German for vampire. Where I live, in New Hampshire, theyre crazy about vanity plates. Ive been in like three near collisions the last year being- (he gestures steering while squinting over the imaginary dash). There was one I think it was CTHGUD and I thought Yeah! Cthulhu is God, but then I thought see the good.

Joe: Locke and Key is my comic series about magical keys in this 250 year old mansion in Massachusetts. Now I started as a comic writer. Love Sandman and Allan Moors stuff. Marvel asked do you dream of muscular men in tights fighting each other? And I said Yes,. I pitched them Baby Hulk. I had a two year old whose tantrums scared me and I thought What if that plastic truck was real? they said no. I wrote a bad Spiderman comic. IDW wanted to adapt cult writers short fiction. They wanted something from 20th Century Ghosts. But I pitched this magic key, dark fantasy that would take six issues. Its ending at 39 volumes. The last of Omegas arch is Alpha one and two. Standalone Sparrow is a favorite. Gabriels art is beautiful as usual. But its an homage to Calvin and Hobbs in style and format.

Yeah! Cthulhu is God,


Q: Where did this story come from?

Joe: a buddy of mine back home asked if Id like to help him fix up his old Wrath. Witch actually means I stand to the side and hold his wrenches. And as I held his tools I thought of this girl who could tap into her inerscape and that would make a good short story. And it became a novel.

Q: Picking up from what you mentioned, do your children have a regular influence on your output?

Q: You mentioned Inscapes in NOS4A2. Explain this more.

Joe: I think through Locke and Key, all my work thus far, has dealt with Inscapes. The realities we form in our minds. Imaginary places where physics and rules of nature dont apply. It is the mental space of the creative, and I truly believe inscapes are real. We can all tap into them. Its how Steve Tyler can wright notes from his mind and then months on we can here it on the radio. We are hearing something that came from that cut off part of someones imagination. In my stories people like Victoria can access their Inscape so well they can effect this real world. Thats what those are.

Joe: Short story; Im punch drunk from sleep deprivation. Out getting dippers and everything is like hyper real. The PA announces Lunch meats in deli, half off. Fifty percent off lunch meats. And my three boys left me so tired I go Lunch meats? LUNCH MEATS- LUNCH- and I bump into this woman, scare her to death. So Im embarrassed, I rush to check out and get away. I get in the red car. It wont start. I realize I didnt come in the red car. I picture a frightened woman with the police He was shouting about lunch meats, then stole my car! I got home but that is my creative state.

Q: Your second novel Horns is being made into a film?

Q: Can you talk about Locke and Key? A favorite part of the series?

Joe: Yes- directed by a Frenchman, Alexandre Aja who did High Tension. And Dan Radcliff plays Ig. I love the thought of Harry Potter facing his inner Voldermort.

Q: Do you chose human interest over horror or vice versa? Q:Your stories reference to each other. Will you ever do a story with a character recurring?

Joe: Not a main one. Igs story is done, as is Victorias. but the Tree house from Horns is mentioned in NOS4A2 and Ig listens to Judes Hammer witch is from Heart Shaped Box. Maggie is a librarian in this new novel and shell be impotent in an upcoming book called Crooked Alley. Lot of plot points set up in the novel for that.

Joe: Its like Juicy Fruit. Two sides, the best for the first fifteen seconds, then it tastes like an eraser. Horror is that surgery blast. But human feeling hooks a reader. People are puzzles. I love working that Rubiks cube.

Q: Whats the next book?

Joe: A novel called the Fireman.

Q: what do you think of naming characters? Is it characterization or verisimilitude?

Joe: Slap a name on the page and if it feels wright, stick to it. I do like George R. R. Martin. Marbrand, a man with a burning tree as a crest. Brand. You can almost hear it. But it cant be too on the nose.

-Katie Lee McNeilJanuary 5th, 2012 Early Morning Cock. Its what every woman needs, With the alarming wake and the repetitive sounds Expected to please whos ever around. A black eye shinning coat grabs the eyes And by that sight No woman can deny. Harsh awakenings only reminded of a better time And every morning, she will hear the cocks chime.

Katie LeeMcNeil

-Alexander VasquezOctober, 13th, 2013 Helix cases undress autumn on pallid rib cages of red orchid, Fanning the strewn tin windows, breeding tender truths of no wind: a family still inside. Pompeii stirring at the bottom of sage coffee accidentally acetone, leche from his lips, he muttered one year orbits timelessly. Consoling chlorine from the italic Jacuzzi: You stretch a two wanton swans. unclasping gently, then forwardly withdrawn, uncertain of sad oysters collecting candidly, sucking pine dew from touristas archipelagos of hand palms drinking close to the rim of glasses, and squandering microscopically as rigid Georgia pineapples punctually swirled as the defunct flailing of latino winter as the slow isolation of wild lentils without you there is something inside a balloon that seems very empty when morning argues honestly: silent deer replace kitchen chairs,

pots orchestrate as if conducted by nutmeg ghosts like a pulsing savanna out of small breasts like an eminent loneliness wearing suede on a hill watching skeletons of the horizon human behavior revolving in sun remnants under posthumous stones walking down the same path then leaving and it feels the same one. The futures cold ecstasy, Symmetrically icicle, Opened stern key doors And closing tulips: Siempre Frank O Hara offering the coke can In times of fearing your own body Because it forgets the flora in faces.

-Alexander VasquezLove Sleeps Flint spirit paradoxically scaled to a zero Draped as some tautly torn cake, from the premises of memory. So well, the riveted hemp enthrall warm bodies. Inebriated as some solemn penis kissing: te amo

Tireless drummer, Mourning existentially in the crooked tire of a left armpit. Eroded in the Indian circle as crossfire. Sprawled on a planet, menstruated morning. Horrendously concave as a Cheshire cat. Hands as two almond bowls asking for forgiveness: because virgins are stale because the wall is too cold because madness is another woman Brewing a sonorous stove to feed the prisons behind your immortal eyes (on lockdown). On square podiums on neglect sparrows, seeping through the whimpering cages, evading my piecemeal orgasm in shades of chestnut, beautiful Mayan brown; love solamente

Loveless in this small chair and the silver Plate as the bastion of nudity. Prancing

harmony of Joni Mitchells mandolin. Barely room for unequivocal fidelity: For the prosperity of third world countries For the pastels of native artists For the secrets of a silent science You have believed nonetheless None as quite so as Those weary gestures you have believed. Nocturnal film and rape painlessly elope Grappling these shy sheets, as the vile third kind among your own living as you seem incredibly, vulnerably varicose, still believing me.

Credit
(Where it is due):Poetry by Alexander Vasquez- 10/13/13,
Love Sleeps. Katie L. McNeil- 6/26/12 & 1/5/12. Fiction by Andrew Ballantyne- Through the Eyes of Another. EssayistOscar Valle-Behind the Other. Illustration- Mauricio Bustamante- Black Cock, The Vision, and Paris. Lawrence Ervin- Saturday Hat, &Switcheroo Tattoo. Head Photographer and spirit warriorFrankie Concha Cover art (Joe Hill compendium).

Many thanks to Joe Hill King for speaking with me, with so much generosity and courtesy.

Related Interests