November 24, 2005

November 2005, Vol. 4, Issue 11

November 2005, Vol. 4, Issue 11

1. Las Vegas Blvd. Hookers by Tenzin McGrupp
The Joker wanted me to teach him how to spot a hooker in Las Vegas and I gave him a quick tutorial. We identified the ladies as they walked right next to us... More

2. Dead of Night by Joe Speaker
I shade my night eyes toward the floor, groping with my left hand for the chair I know is there somewhere, cradling my pen and pad in my right. Sleep has eluded me again, pushed aside by the wall of thoughts stacking impenetrably in my head... More

3. To Be Determined by Human Head
The only two people he had ever been exposed to with that name came in the form of a television show about a retard named Bill, and his grandpa, who smelled like a mix of body odor and dirt... More

4. The Shit House by Al Cant Hang
I think I recently killed my new co-worker and friend. I'm not saying that I murdered him, but I think my actions led to his demise... More

5. Walk by Scuba Steve
After getting bleary-eyed on Buddha, nothing is better than a Marlboro and a Mountain Dew. Man, what I wouldn’t do for a Mountain Dew right now... More

6. Me, Bob and the Blonde by Tom Love
We walked a couple of more blocks, eyes bloodshot, eyelids puffy. In front of a pharmacy, we were approached by two cute British girls in miniskirts who started a flirting conversation with us... More

7. Gemini a poem by Jaxia Kiley
To pulverize a living, beating heart... More

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

Thanks for returning back for another issue of my literary blogzine. This special November issue features a few returning writers and even two new ones. The poker bloggers are back. Joe Speaker, Al Cant Hang, and Humand Head are all contributors this month including a hilarious tale from Al Cant Hang. Jaxia Kiley joins us as our token poet. I forgot to include her in the original publication of this issue, and I apologize immensely for my incompetence! I erased her submission by accident. I hope that she can contribute her work on a monthly basis. Tom Love returns after a hiatus with another groovy story. ScubaSteve debuts with a short story and I hope to publish more of his work in the future. Oh, and I wrote something too. I share a most recent encounter with ladies of the night in Las Vegas.

Thanks to everyone who shared their bloodwork this month. I always say that the other contributing authors inspire me, because it's true. You guys write for free and if I could pay you, I would. Your time and effort is worth more money than I can ever afford to pay. My apologies again to Jaxia.

I ask that if you like these stories, then please do me and the rest of the writers a huge favor: Tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along the URL. I certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Thanks again. I am grateful that you wasted your time with my site. Until next time.


"Every good painter paints what he is." - Jackson Pollock

Dead of Night

By Joe Speaker © 2005

The kitchen light is harsh and I shade my night eyes toward the floor, groping with my left hand for the chair I know is there somewhere, cradling my pen and pad in my right. Sleep has eluded me again, pushed aside by the wall of thoughts stacking impenetrably in my head.

I begin to focus, idly noticing how filthy the kitchen is. The single bulb illuminates the dull, hospital green linoleum splattered with all manner of grime; onion husks here, a puddle of godknowswhat there. This evening's party isn't any excuse, either. This is always how I find it when I sneak out of bed to write. The tiny house was once someone's home, I imagine, but to us--myself, my roommates and the revolving cast of overnight characters--it's a purgatory with no discernable exit.

We've lived here far longer than the four months we were promised. Our landlord planned to raze the house and build apartments on the huge lot. A recession nullified that plan and so we continue to live in a squalor we’ve created for ourselves, no longer giddy that our actions held no consequences. We've pushed this house to its limits. Graffiti on the walls, holes where none should be, a forever-clogged bathtub and dirt. Everywhere, dirt.

Like usual, the kitchen this early morning is the only room in the house without a sleeping body, the only place for a conscientious insomniac with demons to confront and apologies to make. One of my roommates secured himself some female companionship. The other with whom I share a room, both of us flopped on the floor in our $49 futon mattresses, doesn't miss me. I can hear Riv snoring from the living room couch, Critter wheezing in his sleeping bag. The regulars, drinking and smoking themselves into oblivion, into easy sleep. I could not envy them any more at this moment.

I start to write, never knowing where to start, sure that it will come out long and circular and meaningless. Life before becoming trapped in this adolescent nightmare, this ritualistic avoidance of adulthood, of responsibility. Like the house, we push ourselves to our very limits. But only in search of escape, never improvement. I've lost my sense of perspective, of past mistakes. In fact, the past continually blurs together, with only bare snatches of recall available. I've been numbing myself for years. My inability to sleep suggests it's not working.

I don't do this to find order. It's dreadful purge. I'd rather the thoughts visited me at noon, exposed to the light. In the silent dark, alone, the hurt is magnified, stumbling upon self-truths, announcing themselves without warning. Sure, they exist inside my head, but until they become tangible words, they're easily dismissed. Instead of searching for a beginning, I tap a random moment, the one that pulled me from my feckless search for slumber.

An afternoon picnic, a cramped dorm room, the two of us heaving, pleasantly perspiring in the dusky light. It was the ecstasy of youth, of discovery, that first connection, form, content, heaven, hell, every mystery suddenly and forever revealed, stripping us raw so we were left only with naked truth split wide-open. There was a soft nature to it all, a slow-motion disbelief that lasted until we could no longer accept each others' gifts and collapsed in exhaustion.

I can't see her face, nor hear her voice, nor imagine her breath upon my skin. Not any longer. But the way she smelled, her strawberry hair mixed with the sweet sweat of passion, tossed with spring's ascension. I can conjure it at will and am transported.

I suppose I'm talking about loss. Of the details. Of the girl. More ceaseless regret. How very fucking unique. "Life has wounded me and I am unable to cope so here I sit with my pen looking for salvation." Very deep, idiot. Honestly, I'd rather just be able to find regular sleep than look for answers. I'd rather the self-flagellation gene were excised and I could go about living again, removed of the weight of all my failure. It's so heavy. Riv rumbles deep in his throat from the other room. It sounds like mockery. This stinking kitchen. This aimless walking through day and tortured endurance of night.

I'll never capture that scent again. Nor anything like it. For a time, all I did was chase that moment, that buzz, too often in the early morning hours. I wish I'd never lived it, never knew an experience that lifted me above common existence. All the events of my life pale beside that afternoon. I've given up my fruitless bids to recapture that feeling, that impossible place. I've been sapped of any motivation to strive beyond the usual, the soul-kicking mundane.

So I write. To remember. To forget. To work my brain to the point where it will shut down, invite sleep. Because I'm so tired.

Joe Speaker is a writer and poker player from Southern California.

Las Vegas Blvd. Hookers

By Tenzin McGrupp

We wandered back over to the front of the casino and sat down to do some more people watching. There was a kid in a tie-dye sitting next to us who looked like he was in high school. His girlfriend wore a long green dress and looked like she was barely 16 years old. He had a ton of acid to sell but was worried that he would get busted. We joked with him that we were FBI agents, but he sold us some anyway. He mentioned that he had not been to too many shows because he wasn't 21 and most bands that he liked had an age requirement of 21 and older. He was trying to tell the Joker that Cheesekids (teenagers who followed around String Cheese Incident) were good people.

"I know. I live in Boulder," answered the Joker. "I see Cheesekids and the guys in the band all the time."

The kid liked the Cheese and didn't even know they were from Colorado. That's what happens when you chomp on acid every day from ages 16 through 18. Although naive, he seemed nice enough and he had a hot girlfriend who we still couldn't figure out was jail bait or not. For a brief moment, I considered beating the piss out of him, stealing his drugs, and running away to San Francisco with his girlfriend. But then I'd have an Amber Alert on my hands. The federalies would lock me up and throw away the key for sure if I was caught with a glove compartment full of doses.

The Trey Anastasio Band show ended and the crowd rushed back into the casino as hey left the theatre. I yelled, "They're letting the freaks out! Here come the freaks."

Thousands of spun out hippies, Phishkids, wookies, and other weirdos flooded the Aladdin casino floor just around 4 AM. For a tourist couple who had no idea there was a music festival going on in Vegas, they must have been freaked out to see so many dirty hippies walking around in a jovial daze. The unleashed freaks did nothing to deter the degenerate gamblers from plugging away at the slot machines. They kept their heads down and continued to gamble while they ignored all the weirdness that went down right behind them. Kids were slinging pot and molly behind rows of slot machines, while other rolling hippie chicks watched the various lights on other slots, or headed to the bar for post-show cocktails, or continued to dance at the bar above the poker room.

Grubby was in the poker room at the time and told me that the entire casino reeked of pot. He thought kids were actually smoking it inside. I'm sure that the aromas of various kind buds wafted from the theatre out to the floor. Grubby also said he saw a few braless hippie chicks wander through the poker room.

The Joker and I made our way outside and walked from the Aladdin to the Excalibur. Along the way, we spotted two hookers on Las Vegas Blvd. just outside of Fatburger. The Joker wanted me to teach him how to spot a hooker in Las Vegas and I gave him a quick tutorial. We identified the ladies as they walked right next to us. One was a tall, super thin black woman with a blue wig. Her friend was a portly white girl with a super short skirt and her beer belly slipping out of her top. Two middle-aged tourists also spotted the girls and began to follow them. We walked a few paces behind them. I couldn't tell if they were interested or just fucking around. The black hooker with the blue wig walked up to an older gentleman wearing a suit. He was by himself and she made a decision that the guy was going to be her mark for the moment. The other chubby hooker slowed down and made a phone call while she let her friend do her thing. I assumed she was calling up their pimp telling him that they have a possible john. The old guy walked into the MGM. The black hooker with the blue wig walked in with him, followed by the chubby hooker a few feet behind them. The two middle-aged tourists followed the chubby hooker. I looked at the Joker and motioned towards the MGM front doors. We followed everyone into the casino. We decided to investigate.

By then, the Joker picked up on which girls were hookers and which weren't. As we walked by one of the bars, we saw about a dozen at work. He was amazed at what was going on, but for me, it's just part of Las Vegas. It's not anything out of the ordinary for me to see hookers crawling around a Strip hotel bar. It's simply another integral part of Las Vegas, just like the Bellagio fountains or the all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet.

The black girl with the blue wig struck out with the older gentleman. I assumed he wasn't interested. The middle-aged tourists soon disappeared from sight and we found the two hookers sitting at the hooker bat at the MGM. We sat down for a little while before retreating back to the Excalibur. On our way from New York, New York to Excalibur, I spotted a woman sitting down in front of the Statue of Liberty. She was drunk with a souvenir goblet nearby, she was missing her shoe, and crying hysterically. Another Las Vegas 5 AM casualty.

We headed to the bar at Mandalay Bay where we met up with some of the Joker's friends from Colorado. We all watched the hookers over there work it. One guy had a table of three or four of them and we wondered if he had any idea they were working girls. There was some sort of bull riding contest in town, and a slew of cowboys were all around. They stood out with their tall black cowboys hats, blue jeans, and shiny buckles. Some of them were getting hit on by the hookers. The bar had an interesting mix at 5 AM with drunken cowboys, tripping hippies and scantly clad hookers elbowing each other and fighting over which girl is gonna blow the only high roller in the bar.

The Joker is originally from Texas and said, "Tourists from Texas must get a lot of hookers when they come to Vegas, because every time I tell them I used to live in Texas before I moved to Colorado, the hookers start flocking and hit on me even harder."

Since Vegoose was supposed to start in seven hours, we decided to leave Mandalay Bay. We eventually walked back to our room as the sun was coming up over the mountains, and we spotted a hooker walking towards us. The Joker nodded to me with a funny face which said, "Spotting hookers at sunrise is tons of fun."

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

To Be Determined

By Human Head © 2005

For the first time, he is leaving the city where he grew up.

Sam always hated his birthplace, and remembers thinking of it with derision from the beginning. As the first comprehension of abstract and logical concepts began coming together in his young mind, he knew. I don’t belong here. He didn't know how he knew, but the knowledge was there as certainly as if it he had been born with a birthmark that spelled it out. He was five years old when the thought hit him for the first time. Sam was on his way to the first day of kindergarten.

It was cold and rainy that day, and it sent goose bumps loose on his shoulders the way a cold day always did. Being skinny, he desperately longed for warmer weather, but those days were few and far between. Sam knew he had been dealt a geographically shitty hand and couldn't understand why on earth anyone would willingly subject themselves to such torture. A homemade book bag sat on his lap, and he wondered at the strangeness of disliking the bag but find it comforting at the same time. Mom had worked a long time making the bag, lovingly adorning it with his initials, SJM. Samuel James Montrose. Being conscious of his own age, Sam thought it was odd that he wasn’t proud of his own name, but was eminently thankful that he wasn't named Bill. The only two people he had ever been exposed to with that name came in the form of a television show about a retard named Bill, and his grandpa, who smelled like a mix of body odor and dirt. Why can't Grandpa just take a shower after he gets off of work? I think I would like him more if he would just do that. Even though he had never entered a classroom before, he knew that the other kids he would be stuffed into a room with would never have considered disliking their names.

The bag was navy blue (his Mom's favorite color, the one that she deemed appropriate for all nice young boys), and his bright red initials were sewn on the side, each letter larger than his hand. The handles sewn on were gargantuan, and when he carried the bag normally, the bottom would drag on the ground which meant that he had one of a few choices, all of them unpleasant: carry it with his arm at a 45-degree angle that hurts my shoulder, sling it over his shoulder like a purse I don't want to look like a homo (Thanks to diligent efforts from his parents, he was well-versed on the evils of homosexuality), or just drag it on the ground I'll get in trouble for getting it dirty and tearing it up. Even though they had just started their trip, Sam felt the preemptive pangs of embarrassment that would intensify as he found out with certainty that the other kids had backpacks, just as he thought they would.

He could worry about all of these things later, though.

There were more pressing issues at hand, namely, how to get into the school without his Mom walking in with him. Sam loved his mother, but was embarrassed by her, as well. He didn't need anyone to hold his hand, and it was intensely frustrating that his Mom didn't know him well enough to realize that fact. Traveling through the rain on roads that never undulated and rarely curved, he knew that this was the first day he would have to stand up for something he really wanted, whether it hurt her feelings or not.

The school building was plain, an uninspiring combination of light golden brown brick with dark shit brown trim. It would be pretty funny if there was corn. Yes, the subject of poop was always funny, even though it was strictly forbidden in conversation. Farting was amusing, as well, but was also a subject not suitable in front of closed doors. This was something Sam was reminded of two days earlier as he expelled a particularly forthright statement from in between his cheeks and found it proportionately hilarious. I don't care what they say; I still think it's funny. In the lawn of the school was an imposing cross, with something attached that he could only imagine was intended to represent flames. The fact that it was a private Christian school embarrassed him a bit, as well. The whole thing just seemed a bit artificial, his only benchmark for such things being an internal measurement of how uncomfortable it all made him. Awakening from a movie-like dream sequence (he was fond of imagining things in a cinematic context), Sam noticed that the car had been still for some time and that his mother was looking at him expectantly.

"Are you scared? Do you want me to go up there with you?"


It came out harsher than he meant it to. He had intended to be emphatic in his statement, wanting to convey the seriousness of his need to join the line for class all by himself, but the quickness and tone of his response hid everything he felt about as well as sheet of plastic wrap. His mother knew that he wanted to act independently but she could also hear the embarrassment. The recognition brought a familiar look of pain, similar to when one accidentally steps on a dogs foot, prompting that look that says that they didn’t think such a thing was possible...not in a million lifetimes.

There was an innate knowledge that a line had been crossed; a crossing that came several years ahead of when it is typical to do so. Sam had no idea what exactly that line was, but it was behind him now and he knew that it couldn't have been any other way. He tried making it up to her by expressing his thanks for the book bag, and this seemed to console her somewhat even though she knew it wasn't the genuine truth. She grabbed his hand in an effort to hang on, for one last moment, to the little kid that had inexplicably changed in the space of twenty minutes, from home to the first day of school.

As he ran up to the school, surfing on a wave of expectant adrenaline, he knew that something had changed. It didn't matter that he couldn't articulate what it was. He had escaped the confines of his familiar world and was filled with satisfaction as he rushed headlong into this new frontier of learning. He wasn't afraid of school, thanks to his parents showing him some basic reading and writing mechanics during the previous summer. Sam knew he had a jump on these kids, a fact that was confirmed as he took his place in the line and saw the blank stares coming back at him. Looking back, he now realizes how strange it was for a kid so young to think such things, but that’s the way it was. No, he was not afraid of the academics (such as they are in kindergarten) that lay before him, he was afraid of the people. Already he could feel the stares of superiority from those who already knew one another, and the only thing he knew how to do was grit his teeth and hope they got distracted with themselves.


Sitting in his room full of bags, he tries to remember some of the more tangible details, but there really aren’t very many. It seems as though the only things that he can remember in any detail are those that are part of a separate life lived only in his own head. Pretty soon it will be time to go.


The Human Head is a writer and poker player from Whicita, Kansas.

The Shit House

By AlCantHang © 2005

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jack. I clean shit-houses for a living. Port-a-johns, outhouses, etc. Those tiny plastic shitters you see at campgrounds, concerts, and construction sites. Lovely job. As you may imagine, there are quite a few stories which I could tell but this one is the most important.

I think I recently killed my new co-worker and friend. I'm not saying that I murdered him, but I think my actions led to his demise.

Fat Charlie was neither fat nor was his name Charlie. His name was Bob and he was remarkably skinny. He'd made the mistake when he first joined the crew of trying to give himself his own nickname, like Brutus or Butch or some odd thing. Our drunken foreman decided that Bob's new nickname was Fat Charlie. The foreman was an idiot but he was the boss. I wish I was working with the foreman that fateful day instead of Fat Charlie. But it wouldn't have mattered because I would have been out in the heat instead of him.

Fat Charlie was an oddity amongst our crew. He was young, in shape, and college educated. No one could figure out why Charlie showed up every day to ride beside me from site to site cleaning up crap when he could be sitting in a nice comfy office doing accounting or lawyering or whatever he went to school for. He was tightlipped and we never did find out.

I had the easy part of the job. Being the senior man on shit detail meant that I drove the Honey Wagon while the other guy ran the suction hose from the crapper to the tanker. A good day meant going to a campground during the off-season. It's cool out and they're rarely used. Those days I might even get out of the truck to help. The bad days were in the middle of the summer. Particularly the day after a 100 degree day baseball game in August. The games don't have the same number of drunk tailgaters as the local pro football team, but what the stench lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. Imagine a shit sauna and you have a small clue. Those days you were lucky to get me to acknowledge the outside world as I paid more attention to a dog eared copy of Louis L'Amour and the pint of Jack stuffed between the seats.

Fat Charlie's last day on this earth was one of those bad days.

It wasn't our standard Monday morning. I started the day off easy by hitting the local construction sites that never got much action. The hard part would come that afternoon. The sports complex promised to be ugly. A Sunday baseball game with a heated rival, the first pre-season football game was played across the street, and one of those weird jam bands played the arena. Those freaks would have been in the parking lot all weekend. Who knew what kind of abominations we/he would see.

I'll give Fat Charlie credit. He never did ask for my help. He knew I'd earned the right to sit in the remarkably efficient air conditioning while he siphoned the human rot of a thousand people. The pattern was simple: I would pull up to a group of a dozen units and Charlie would hop out. He would grab the hoses, one for suction and one for cleaning, and start with the first one. My job was easy. Sit in the truck and make sure to move forward occasionally so Charlie had enough hose to do his part. I caught up on the latest masterpiece by Tom Clancy or John Grisham. I was hopeful that the pint of booze would last until the end of the day. If not, there was always the other two stashed in different spots.

Charlie gave a yell to move forward so then next unit could be handled and this is where I made my mistake. I was a little slow for a night of partying and the hair-of-the-dog might have dulled my senses. The clutch was tricky and the truck jerked forward a little harder then normal. I could hear the john move along the pavement and I had an instant sense of horror. I looked in the mirror and was relieved to see it still standing upright. Nothing can ruin a week like knocked one of those things over.

I went back to reading Clancy explain the intricacies of a nuclear explosion in 2,000 words and lost track of time. Finally I realized it had been quite a while since Fat Charlie had asked me to move forward. Not completely unexpected you see. Sometimes they fight back. After yelling his name a couple of times, I hopped out of the cab to check on my friend and co-worker.

There was a reason I couldn't hear Fat Charlie scream as the jerk of the truck caught him between the hoses and overflowing shitter. To this day they've never been able to explain how a human could end up in that position and the official cause of death, drowning, was too horrible to think about.

I made a silent promise to my friend that day. No more drinking.

At least on the job.

Al Cant Hang is an internet celebrity from Phoenixville, PA.


By ScubaSteve © 2005

"When you believe in things that you don't understand..."

My Walkman should have died hours ago. I mean, I’ve been walking on these tracks all day, listening to Stevie’s Moog over and over again, you’d think the wheels would stop turning soon. I stole these batteries yesterday from that old man's store in Saugerties. It took me ten whole minutes to wait for him to drop his cigarette and finally look away from me. How can I swipe things if he’s watching every move I make? I bought a fifty cent can of Coke and walked out the door with five dollars worth of double-A’s in my pocket.

I think it was Saugerties. Who the hell knows? I’ve been walking for about two weeks now with no destination. If it wasn’t Saugerties, then they really seem to be into Woodstock. They were selling those two-birds-on-a-guitar-neck tie-dye t-shirts everywhere. They even had them hanging up at the post office. When I slipped that postcard into the big blue mailbox outside their front door, I saw one swinging stupidly in the breeze, like some Jersey shore tourist-type crap that no local would be caught dead actually wearing.

I probably should have packed more than a couple t-shirts and a carton of smokes. Even though the corners of the carton dug into my back as I walked, the cigarettes were pretty important. After getting bleary-eyed on Buddha, nothing is better than a Marlboro and a Mountain Dew. Man, what I wouldn’t do for a Mountain Dew right now. It’s probably 100 degrees with nothing but sizzling hot iron lying in front of me, further than I can see. All I can see is the heat rising off the ties and millions of rocks doing the best they can to make me twist my ankle.

So long as I don’t stand still, I’ll be okay. I can’t stop moving. There’s no point in sitting on the side of this path to give the devil a chance to ask me where I’m going. Right now, my biggest enemy is reason. One hesitation is all he needs to completely destroy my compass. Just keep walking. I’ll know where I’m going once I get there.

My Electronics manager can figure out some other way to move the Sparkomatic car stereos. As far as I am concerned, in Lancaster, there’s nothing going on but the rent. I am not about to root down in that town. Going back there would be like admitting defeat, and I won’t give anyone the satisfaction. I don’t need walls. Though, they would be nice right about now. I think I just felt another drop.

I haven’t seen a house in about three hours and it’s teasing rain. I’m not so stupid to think that the indestructible me is immune to catching a cold. That’s all I need. A nagging cough is a real drag when you’re born with lungs like mine. I was under the jaundice lamps for about a month after I entered this world. Besides which, I smoke like I’m on death row.

Thankfully, I can just barely make out a switch house about a mile or so down the tracks. As I learned when I was a kid, they never seemed to lock those rust-caked doors. So, it looks as though I’ll be resting for a bit in a mold farm.

Lucky for me, I have some shelter, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, half a bottle of stale water, and enough green to make the time pass by nicely.

Just as the rain began to pick up enough where I could feel it behind my belt, I reached the door to the bunker. Locked, but not in any serious way. A few quick shots with a nearby rail spike is the key I was looking for.

The rain was hitting the tin roof like a can of nails, loud and angry. Upon entering, it only took a few moments before I noticed the smell of not showering for way longer than is probably healthy. It’s probably pretty severe when the smell from your body is outdoing the microbial stink that nature likes to put in confined places. I don’t think you could have beat that odor off with a stick; sort of a mix of salt water and pepperoni.

Inside was a small table littered with paperwork. Upon closer inspection, I noticed these papers didn’t date any later than 1974. It’s been awhile since this place has had a visitor. It didn’t seem to have any official business since before I was born. Cool. That means no interruptions.

On the floor was a small wooden crate branded with some crude-looking bird. It looked like the kind of wood burning project a fourth grade Cub Scout carried home from the pack meeting; a real treasure worth burying.

Who would care if I looked? Employing the spike once again, I pried the lid open. Keys. There was probably about a thousand unique keys in that box. Exactly the sort of package Goodwill loves to find lying next to their big red dumpsters. Oh boy, a box of pre-cut keys… Gee, thanks.

I don’t think I realized how tired the walking had made me. I sat down on the floor with my back against the wall, hit my dugout twice and passed out behind a stack of broken chairs. While I slept, I dreamt about my mom’s finger. It was the last thing I saw before I left. She was shaking it in my face and telling me what a disappointment I had been, how I would have to start paying rent, and that my only hope was joining the military. I just needed some direction in my… WHAM!

The door flung open, nearly falling off its hinges, slamming against the brick with an unapologetic clang. It was pitch black outside, save the dark form standing in the doorway, heaving.

ScubaSteve is a DJ from the outter suburbs of Philly. He spends equal time annoying and pleasing his listening audience but always entertains.

Me, Bob and the Blonde

By Tom Love © 2005

It was the spring of 1969, Paris. Me and my friend Bob were on a three-day pass from our Army base in Germany. We were roommates and big on smoking hashish that we would score for $30 an ounce. Hash from Lebanon formed in big blonde slabs. Our plan was to load up a Galois with a mixture of tobacco and hash and stone up in public in Paris. What were we thinking???

So we walked into a crowded cafe that served wine and sandwiches, and lit up. Within seconds, the air took on a quality of hazy blueness. An electric buzz filled our heads. The sour Galois smoke paralyzed us. We noticed that everyone in the room was looking at us, all those dark French eyes, the paranoia was palpable. We exited and hurried down the boulevard. We looked at each other and shared a nervous laugh, still reeling from the smoke and the experience.

We walked a couple of more blocks, eyes bloodshot, eyelids puffy. In front of a pharmacy, we were approached by two cute British girls in miniskirts who started a flirting conversation with us. One of them pulled out some comic books depicting Biblical Revelations. Bob and I took one and looked at it feigning interest. Out of the corner of my eye to my right, I noticed a guy in a trench coat who had been reading a newspaper, was walking toward us. To my left another trench coat guy was walking hurriedly in our direction. Suddenly a black Mercedes pulled up behind us on the street. All of this occurred simultaneously. Two guys, same trench coats, jump out of the car. One says "Passports please!"

Bob and I knew we had just been busted! Smoking hash in public, walking around Paris stoned, plus we were holding a good five ounces of the blonde Lebanese. Man, it was over. We pulled out our military IDs (back then they served as passports in Europe). The head trenchcoat said in heavily accented English, "You two get out of here." Bob and I started backing away in stoned confusion. We overheard the head guy tell the girls that they were under arrest for being in the country illegally. The trenchcoats were Interpol, conducting sweeps to rid the country of the Children of God cult who were selling sex for Christ in order to gain converts. Bob and I escaped with our stash and manhood intact and beat the hell out of Paris that night.

This would not be my last experience with the COG. They used the same ploy to kidnap me in LA three years later. Will I ever learn not fall prey to the prostitutes for God? Serves me right!

Tom Love is a writer and musician from Atlanta, GA.


By Jaxia Kiley © 2005

So cruel
To pulverize a living, beating heart
With words that reek of acid
Formed by such beautiful lips


Before you, love was a little girl
playing dress up and pretend.
The shoes fit me now and the
clothes are my own but
loving you is still like still like
being in a fairy tale.

Jaxia Kiley is a poet and writer from Forth Worth, Texas.