Lies and Libations

The cop did not appreciate
When I told him my name
Was Mister Deese
“Mr. Deese Nuts”

He claimed it inappropriate for the moment
I said humor is assiduously situational and this was in context
He countered that context was wholly based on cultural expectations
I offered that all cultural expectations included crude testicular reverence
He opined that I was falling into an absurdist fallacy and failing to consider the feelings of the public
I stated that he just might be an agent of a
humorless fascist oppressive power structure

And a poopoo head.

Ultimately we agreed to disagree but we did find common ground in one area

Tasering people is pretty damn funny,
so if someone would be so kind
to send bail money I would appreciate it

Just make out the check,
to Mister Deese.


I just realized something about the three main characters in my burgeoning novel that makes them suddenly very, very complicated. Goddammit.

I am not a fan of the writers and authors who fawn over their characters or story, the sort who gush about how “oh I just create them and then they tell me how they want the story to go” or “it writes itself, you know, I’m just the interpreter.” Fuck that. I’m the by-gods-writer-goddammit, I decide what the characters say and do and think. Not them. Screw them. If they want to have their own voice, they need to go hang out with some sensitive namby-pambys that drink chai tea and write their novels in Starbucks.

However.

I find that, if I want a well-rounded three-dimensional character, someone with depth and perspective, someone with real feelings and flaws and human interactions, I have to let them breathe a little, let them get up to their own ideas somewhat. Otherwise I risk a world populated with cardboard cutouts of caricatures not worth the keystrokes required to set them in print. Even when their stupid ideas and sudden realizations cause me to rethink the entire theme of the entire damn book and entirely bang my head on my desk until I achieve inspiration or unconsciousness.

They don’t know what “home” is, you see, as none of them have really experienced it, and I don’t know if they will find it in this book, and frankly the whole question kind of frightens me, probably because it hits to close to… well you get the idea.

If you were an outcast, if the only thing like real acceptance you felt came from two other strangers, people that you then lost touch with due to the vagaries of graduating college and adulthood and adult problems and so forth, what would you do? Hell, I don’t even know myself, and if I can’t answer the question, how can they?

Argh. Too much existential bullshit for one night, and not enough alcohol.

Let’s put it to bed for now, leave a cheap plastic bookmark on that page.

I have a feeling it will answer itself soon enough.

Maybe.


Supposedly, he’d joined the police force right out of high school. Gone on to be the fastest rising star in the Memphis P.D. and made Detective in record time. Then in less than a year he quit in disgrace. The papers had a field day with it; “Genius Kid Detective Fired!” the headlines read, though the details were murky even ten years later. Some people Angie had talked to in the force said Arthur got shitcanned because of his attitude with stodgy superior officers. At least one old detective told her (in confidence of course) that the Boy Detective quit because he had, as he put it in his lengthy resignation letter, “reached the apex of what the police could do, and - as my conscience dictates - must move on to a more effective means of resolving crimes, both great and small, unconstrained by short-sighted and ham-fisted departmental regulations.”

Or so it was said.

Supposedly he started his own detective agency, “Eye of Providence Investigations” he called it, “No case too big, no case too small.” The address in the old yellow pages from Angie’s apartment turned out to be a third story one-man office in a run-down complex somewhere off Poplar Avenue. The door was locked, and a blue sheet of paper was taped over the large, unblinking eye logo etched into the glass.

"This is a notice of eviction." Seth said, tracing his finger over lines of legal script, "Dated a year ago, I’m surprised it’s still here. Guess there’s not much demand for this space."

Angie looked up and down the dimly lit hallway, dirty yellow seventies carpet and all, and sighed.

"Yeah. Well fuck, this is the last information I had on him. Screw it, let’s get a drink. I saw a Mexican joint when we came in."

Together they rode the elevator back down and strode into Taco Del Diablo.

They perched on rickety stools at the tiny bar and she ordered shots of Tequila and cold beers from the matronly bartender, who smiled and patted her hand, saying something in Spanish which Angie didn’t quite get. Seth chuckled under his breath.

Angie glared at him, “What was that?”

"Well, my Spanish is rough, but I’m pretty sure she is very concerned about a woman your age dating a black man," he said.

She threw her head back and laughed. “Oh my god, we found the one bar in Memphis where my Mexican mother works, wow.”

They both laughed some more at that and hoisted shots of awful cheap booze at one another.

"Here’s to Arthur," Angie said, "What was it we used to say, back in the old days? Oh yeah." She placed her hand over her heart. Seth did likewise.

"Detectives together! Detectives forever!" they intoned, and drank.

A quiet voice behind them spoke, “Detectives never give up. That’s the other line.”

There was a moment of coughing and spluttering.

And they turned, and there he was. Tall, thin, dark haired, solemn. Like some Gothic stork.

Arthur.

The Detective.

He smiled slightly, which was really as good as he could do.


Reading the news feeds today about bad things happening in a suburb not too far from here and knowing those things could happen right down my street, or any street in America, at any time…

It’s making my Inner Bastard edgy.

Trying to refrain from typing long rants about cops and freedom and racism and politics and history and the overall abiding goddamned meanness of mankind, but it’s not easy. I dunno, maybe I’ll take him to the bar later, let him drink and hobnob with the hoi polloi, that seems to calm him down. We shall see.


Hey man. Been pretty rough the last couple of days, we lost the funniest of funny men, things are getting outta hand in St. Louis, some local folks are having pretty tough times. Don’t even get me started on shit going down in Europe and Africa right now.

Life ain’t always easy, no doubt.

But I suppose right this moment, my Facebook Friends, we can’t necessarily do anything about it. So just hang in there dudes and dudettes, hug someone you love, remember to breathe, have a libation or smoke a J (if that’s your thing, man) and remember that this too shall pass. Stay safe.

And try this, maybe it will help. Picked up a copy from this dude a while back on one of my more far out adventures. Cool cat, think his name was Star something…


"The Southern Detective Club"
A Preview

He shooed them out, eventually, and locked the door behind them. When he was alone, he pulled the headphones over his ears, turned the volume on his cheap MP3 player up to maximum.

Arthur stood there, in the middle of the room, and let it wash over his soul. The music, the events of the last few days, the murders, the crazy hillbillies, the clues (various and sundry), and above all again, the music. In his hands were pieces of colored chalk and before him, the empty white walls.

Angie poured two glasses of wine, handed one to Seth, and drank the other. As she was refilling, Seth spoke.

"What do you think he’s doing in there?" he asked.

“‘Detecting’, he calls it. Writing on the walls like a crazy person is what I call it, but it seems to work. You remember all those pages of notes and drawings he would put up in the clubhouse when we were kids, right?” She took the bottle and sat down heavily at the kitchen table. Seth followed suit.

In the back room, Arthur’s hands rose above his head, and on the downbeat of the music thumping in his ears he began to put form to thought, to draw the patterns. The patterns were all that mattered, he knew that. Chalk scratched on drywall, theory took form, lines were drawn.

His eyes, no longer useful in this world, rolled back into his head as the fit took him.

"I thought those were just his stories, you know, stuff he would make up." Seth took a drink, grimaced at the cheap tannins of a sub-ten-dollar wine.

Angie shook her head, “No. Not to him. It all meant something, right? It’s… I think it’s how he makes sense of his brain, you know?” She drained the glass and started another, “I mean, he’s not like us, okay? He doesn’t think like regular people, and so sometimes he has to get it all out of his head so he can look at it. So maybe it makes sense.”

In the dark room, Arthur danced with shadows. You just had to let it flow, he knew, let the things out, let the hands take over and draw the patterns, the lines of the universe, the secrets, all of it. He knew how to do it, he’d always known.

He made circles and lines, scrawled words and symbols, made connections between hastily scribbled mathematical formulae as his body jerked like a badly controlled puppet.

That was the dance. Music to mind to arm to hand to fingers to patterns.

Patterns that told you everything.

They sat there in silence for a minute listening to the scrapes and thumps coming from the back, then Seth took the bottle and emptied it into both their glasses.

"You knew him before me, Ang. Was he always like that?"

She nodded, long hair falling over her eyes for a moment, “He told me a story once, about when he was maybe three years old. After Tomas, you know, after they found his body. He’d drawn it all out, just from what he’d overheard the adults talking about. Construction paper and crayons, pieces of string, that’s all. He was trying to figure it out. He told me it was in the patterns somewhere but he was too young to understand.”

Seth nodded, “What happened?”

"His mother found all of it and burned it in a barrel in the back yard," Angie said flatly, "said it was a thing of the Devil. I don’t think he ever really forgave her. Or himself."

"What did he blame himself for?"

Somewhere behind them in the darkness, Arthur gave himself over completely to it, and the frantic noises became louder.

"He never solved it, you see, he never solved the mystery of his brother’s murder."

The back door slammed open, and they both jumped.

Arthur staggered through, face red and shiny with sweat. He made to the table and grabbed Seth’s glass, draining it of the remaining wine. His hands were stained with chalk dust, knuckles scratched and bloody.

"I’ve got it," he said, "I think, yes. I think. Come and see."

Clutching the glass to his chest, he turned and stumbled back into the dark room.

With no help for it, Angie and Seth followed him.


They call it “The Goth Rave at The End of The World.”

Underneath a forgotten and abandoned warehouse in the ass-end of Memphis, a city named after a long dead Egyptian capital. Both of which were built by slaves. The dark shadows around me dance and leap and pulse together. Pale and disquieting forms hump rhythmically along in a gods-damned orgy of music and black lights. The music, it was said, had been going since 1874 when the place was built during a Yellow Fever epidemic. Then it was played on a giant phonograph, with teams of thralls tasked to constantly switch wax cylinders and punished harshly if the beat dropped. Nowadays the setup is a bit more modern.

Clad in black and bad intentions, I put a knife through the DJ’s laptop at thirty meters, and the music stops.

The dancers stumble and halt, rhythm replaced with angry whispers and muted growls as a circle of slightly brighter darkness begins to form around me. They’re furious, but afraid. They’ve heard of me, you see.

“That’s him,” they whisper among themselves, “Lorthos. The Llama Walker.”

I light a cigarette in the darkness.

“Alright motherfuckers,” I say, “You know who I am and you should know why I’m here. I need to see Moon, the Goblin Princess, and I need to see her now, and if you little Goth-ass humpy Hot Topic reject fuckers try to dick with me, I will burn this shit hole and everything in it to the ground.”

They are taken aback a bit by that, which is good, because I am bluffing my ass off. Mostly.

From the back, I hear a voice, “You! I remember you, two years ago, you came with the Llama and rented my car. Where is my Nissan, goddammit! I was still making payments you asshole!”

I ignore that.

“Moon, I need be in New Orleans in an hour to catch a plane. I need to use the Railroad,” I say, conscious of the circle drawing closer.

There is a gasp and a tiny form steps in front of me, “How do you know about that? And it doesn’t matter, humans are forbidden!” She’s pretty for a Goblin, all teeth and eyeballs, but she’s scared now, and I know it.

So I show her what’s in the box, and watch her fear slowly replaced with anger. Watch her eyes turn pitch black. The Llama did a lot of favors down here, back in the day.

“Meet me at the Station, you know where it is, I trust?” she says without looking up.

“I do, and Moon, thank you.”

She nods and fades back into the shadows. I turn to leave, flicking ash from my cigarette as the shadows of Goths, Ghouls, Goblins, and Worse part before me.

And in my pocket, my phone complete a discreet hacking attempt on a high-powered wireless speaker system, and the music restarts. My music.

Because I AM an asshole.


If I may take a break from the Llama Drama for a moment, here’s a thing you should see. What’s that, you ask? Why, just my book “Zombie Strippers and Other Strange Words” now available from Amazon.com in print format, that’s all.
HELL YEAH, you reply.
Currently there are two ways to get this delightful tome of my drunken ramblings and awful poetry: first, I will be traveling around the local metro Memphis area tonight and carrying several on my person. Find me and buy one, or buy me a drink and I will give you one. I’ll sign it for free. I’ll sign anything you want me to sign for free. Hell, after a few drinks, it will be hard to stop me from forcibly signing everything in sight. Watch facebook for clues to my location.

The other and probably safer way to get your hands on a copy is just go here: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Strippers-Other-Strange-Words/dp/1491267461/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406157401&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+strippers+and+other+strange+words and order the crap out of it.
This book has many, many uses. For example:
You can read it! You can use it to hold down other, lesser books! You can kill small flies and rodents with it! You can throw it at people who need to be taught a lesson! You can start a fire with it! You can eat it! (*note, book contains no nutritional value) You can find a bunch of other uses for it!
And hey, if you read it, please be so kind as to review it on Amazon. It’s the kind of thing us needy emotional writers live for.
Thanks!
And now back to the action, or the drinking, at least.

If I may take a break from the Llama Drama for a moment, here’s a thing you should see. What’s that, you ask? Why, just my book “Zombie Strippers and Other Strange Words” now available from Amazon.com in print format, that’s all.

HELL YEAH, you reply.

Currently there are two ways to get this delightful tome of my drunken ramblings and awful poetry: first, I will be traveling around the local metro Memphis area tonight and carrying several on my person. Find me and buy one, or buy me a drink and I will give you one. I’ll sign it for free. I’ll sign anything you want me to sign for free. Hell, after a few drinks, it will be hard to stop me from forcibly signing everything in sight. Watch facebook for clues to my location.

The other and probably safer way to get your hands on a copy is just go here: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Strippers-Other-Strange-Words/dp/1491267461/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406157401&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+strippers+and+other+strange+words and order the crap out of it.

This book has many, many uses. For example:

You can read it!
You can use it to hold down other, lesser books!
You can kill small flies and rodents with it!
You can throw it at people who need to be taught a lesson!
You can start a fire with it!
You can eat it! (*note, book contains no nutritional value)
You can find a bunch of other uses for it!

And hey, if you read it, please be so kind as to review it on Amazon. It’s the kind of thing us needy emotional writers live for.

Thanks!

And now back to the action, or the drinking, at least.


It is a small brown box, cheaply wrapped, with stickers all over that seem to indicate it began its journey somewhere in South America. Inside is a simple handwritten note that just says, “Happy Birthday!”

And a problem. That problem is an ear.

A long tufted furry ear, pierced on one end with a steel ring, and with a sticky brown residue at the other. Blood can’t be more than 12 hours old. But I know this ear, the last time I saw it was a year ago, and it was attached to a Llama.

My Llama.

A cold, hard rain falls on the world, and I begin preparations.

Sonsofbitches will pay.

“And I looked, and behold a pale Llama: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him”


Well I got some sleep and feel pretty refreshed. Gonna get my coupon for a free sub from the shop down the street. Still feel a little weird about the lack of Llama, but you know, that’s okay. I think I’m done with that part of my life. I feel good…

Hang on, somebody’s at the door, be right back…


It is quiet here in the dead of the morning. The cats and I listen to music and prepare for the worst, but the worst has not come.

I… I don’t know what to think now. My life for the past two years has somehow strangely revolved around psychopathic llamas and their weird machinations of saving the world. I’ve gone out, had drinks with friends, and things, well… things DIDN’T get weird. I begin to worry about the safety of the Llama, and shake that off while chuckling softly to myself. How can a mostly-metaphorical creature of rogue science and fevered imagination be in danger? Foolishness.

But.

As I lay myself down for sleep, I can’t help to wonder, in this crazy infinite chaos-filled universe, who is really the Llama? And what does is mean to be the Llama? Is there more to it? Have the adventures my last two birthdays been just my own alcohol-fueled imagination? What would that mean if it were true?

With no answers, I slip into a restless sleep.