Spillin’ My Guts @ Spillers Tonight!

Speaking of fiction: tonight I’ll be at Crescent Ballroom to read at Spillers. This is the second time they’ve done this show, and I’m really excited to be a part of this one. Spillers is a live show where writers read short fiction; for Phoenix, this is an unusual literary event, as the vast majority of shows like these focus on poetry or real life storytelling. Having a night devoted purely to short fiction is a much needed addition to our local cultural landscape.

So, yeah: if you live in Phoenix and enjoy literary events (that are FREE), come on down tonight and check out Spillers. You’ll get to hear 6 writers read their work (including yours truly reading a new sci-fi/dark comedy short story, “Sing For Your Supper”).

For more event details, click this link.

The Wizard Infomercial

The following is a piece I wrote for Space 55’s “Rate Your Face” (a theatrical collaboration with director Aaron Landsman and ASU Gammage), a fake infomercial inspired by Chuck Klosterman’s “wizard question”. We didn’t end up using it for the show (though we did use my “Ashley’s Dream” monologue and another solo piece which I’ll post at some point in the future), so here it is.

Note: all dialogue not attributed to Theresa, Vern and V/O Announcer comes from The Wizard.

The Wizard Infomercial

They say beauty is skin deep. I say it can go as deep as your pockets!

I’m the Wizard, master of magic, and with a wave of my wand I can summon a better you into existence. For a price.

Do you want to know what it feels like to feel like a million bucks? I can make that happen. For a limited time only, you can pay me any amount of money. And I will make you beautiful. And the more you pay, the better you’ll look. And the better you look, the better you’ll feel.

But don’t take my word for it! Ask Theresa-

ENTER THERESA

THERESA

Before I met the Wizard, I hated my nose and my frizzy hair. Nobody ever messaged me on OkCupid or flirted with me at bus stops. But after he cast on a spell on me- I look like a movie star! And now my inbox is always full, and I get ALL the attention when I’m waiting for a bus. Thank you, The Wizard!

EXIT THERESA

Theresa only gave me $200, and you can see the difference I made in her life. Imagine if she gave me $500! Or $5,000!

And don’t think I just work on women. My magic works on men too, like my good friend Vern-

ENTER VERN

VERN

I used to have jacked up teeth and a pot roast belly. I ponied up 6 G’s and now I got Kate Upton on my speed dial!

EXIT VERN

And age ain’t nuthin’ but a number, folks. You could be 10 or a 100. So long as you got the money, honey, The Wizard can turn your lead physique into a solid gold bod.

Don’t invest your money in IRAs and corporations. Invest your money in something real. Put that money in you. Raise your personal stock by raising other people’s eyebrows.

Don’t settle for less. Don’t settle for yourself. The perfect you that you could never be is just a call away. Dial 1-800-GLAMOUR and let me work my magic on you.

VOICE-OVER ANNOUNCER

This is a one time only, name-your-price deal. Satification NOT guaranteed. No refunds.

-FIN-

And now, for no reason, here’s a picture of me rocking a wizard hat.

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Runnin’ On Instinct: A 50 Word Western

Gut-shot and cold, Early rode out.

He wondered why he bothered: if the mob caught him, he’d die quicker. Stupidity, he guessed, flicking the reins. Same stupidity that drove him to cheat at cards. He didn’t think. Soon he wouldn’t think at all.

It was what he was best at.

(Inspired by the prompt of “cowboy” for the August edition of the monthly 50 word story contest at scottishbooktrust.com)

New Face; Old Dream (50-Word Story)

I have a story up on fiftywordstories.com today! This is the second time they’ve run one of my tiny tales (here’s the first). The site is worth a closer look if you haven’t already been there: there are some amazing gems on there (like Guy Preston’s “One Job From Retirement”).

faces

New Face; Old Dream

Lana dreamed about her face. The bunched curtain eyelids. The crooked witch’s nose. The wrinkles that multiplied like hydra heads.

Lana woke up and saw her new face. It was smooth, symmetrical, sleek.

She wondered how long it would be before she started seeing this face in her dreams, instead.

The Lost Journal of Jack Kirby

Unveiling the totally legit Jack Kirby cigar box.
Unveiling the totally legit Jack Kirby cigar box (photo by Jason Nosaj)

A few weeks ago, I found a posting on Craigslist for a yard sale in New River. I went there because I figured “Yard Sale + New River = Drugs” but alas! My math was faulty. No drugs to be found, but I did end up buying a cigar box that the owner claimed belonged to Jack Kirby himself! I had my doubts, but I took it to Antique Roadshow and they authenticated it as being 105% legit. But that’s not the amazing part, folks! Inside the cigar box were torn-out pages, lost entries from Jack Kirby’s journals! Not believing my good fortune, I drove to San Diego to speak with the world’s foremost Kirbyologist, Dr. Nicholas Riviera, at the Four Color Institute, who verified that this was indeed Jack’s own work! Thanks to Craigslist and sheer dumb luck, I had discovered a cache of never-before seen or published autobiographical writings by The King himself! Last night at C-MOD for their Jack Kirby Birthday Celebration, I brought along the cigar box and read these entries out loud. I present these journal entries now in their original versions, with absolutely zero edits: this is pure, unfiltered Kirby!

THE LOST JOURNAL OF JACK KIRBY

March 1st, 1941

Submitted my sketch for the Captain America cover. Some of my best work so far: really tight lines. Cap looks so good he’d give Uncle Sam a raging stiff one! But then that son of a bitch Joe Simon has to walk into my office and tap dance all over my dick. “Jack, you can’t have Cap punching Hitler in the nuts,” Simon tells me. “Where else is he supposed to punch him?! It’s his only weakness!’ I shout back at the prick, but Simon’s adamant. Started working on a revised sketch with Cap clocking Adolf in the face. Doesn’t have the same pizzazz, and it makes no sense from a story perspective… but hey, these cigars won’t buy themselves!

September 7th, 1941

Finished 5 new pages of Cap today, and surprise surprise Joe Simon hates them. “Why is Captain America fighting the Eiffel Tower? And why does it have crab claws?” The schmuck actually asked me that! I tell him: “Because the Germans had the great-great-great-great grandson of Victor Frankenstein reanimate it with lighting blasts and Nazi magic and the blood of Poseidon, you idiot!” Simon then tells me you can’t reanimate something that was never alive: at best, the Nazis would have animated the Eiffel Tower, not reanimated it. I responded by stubbing my cigar out on his left eye.

June 13th, 1942

Rosalind told me to take out the trash today. I screamed at her: “DAMMIT, WOMAN, I’M CONJURING INFINITE DIMENSIONS OF PROFOUND ARTISTRY AND MIND-EXPANDING AESTHETICS HERE!” but she would not let up. So I had to take the trash out. Worst of all: she made me put some pants on before I went outside! She knows that Little Jack has to hang free for my creativity to flourish. Ah, married life. Best thing I ever did… other than that time I filled Joe Simon’s corduroys with fire ants.

August 23rd, 1944

Landed on Omaha Beach. Despite the protests of my commanding officers, I brought my Captain America shield with me into battle. I made it using a garbage can lid and taping a bunch of Crackerjax box-tops on top of it. They’ve got the perfect shade of blue! Sent 16 German boys to Hell using that shield. Lost it when I tossed it at a fleeing German officer, who had the gumption to snatch it in mid-air and run off with it!

September 17th, 1944

Found the German who stole my shield. They painted a picture of Hitler fucking Minnie Mouse over my original design. Hate to admit it, but whoever drew it has great drafting skills! Really clean, tight linework and bright colors. Should have asked who drew it, but by the time that thought had occurred to me I was busy slapping the dead German across the face with Little Jack.

October 1st, 1947

Guess who threw a saddle on top of my ass and took another ride on it? That’s right: Joe Simon again. He comes into my office while I’m on the phone with my wife to tell me that he has a problem with my cover for Young Romance #1. “It’s not romantic”, he tells me. “You son of a bitch!” I scream at him. How dare you come into my office and tell me that I’m not romantic! I’m all about romance! I kiss hookers on the mouth! When the cats in my alleyway are in heat, I put on string orchestral albums to get them in the mood! I tell my hand that I love it and take it out to dinner before I jerk off! Jack Kirby is the God of Romance!” And then Joe just looks at me, blinks, and says “It’s 1947, Jack. You can’t draw full-frontal analingus on an American comic.” I’m surrounded by philistines.

October 28th, 1961

Stan Lee bursts into my office, waving my pages for Fantastic Four #1 like he’s trying to flag a plane down on the runway! “JACK! JACK!” he shouts, his glasses all fogged up. Stan’s glasses get foggy all the time: you can hear him banging into walls like a blind bat. “The Thing! The Thing, Jack! Is his thing made out of rocks too? Stan’s gotta know, true believer!” I threw that son of a bitch out of my office right then and there. How dare he ask me that? Of course The Thing’s dick is made out of rocks! What kind of idiot would I be to be that inconsistent?

March 5th, 1962

Stan brought another hooker to the office today. I don’t mind the smell of their perfume or all the noises they make, but everytime Stan cums he screams “EXCELSIOR!” and it makes me to want to throw myself out the window into a pile of rusty bayonets.

April 16th, 1962

Almost got into another fistfight with Stan when he changed the name of Bin Bang Boom into Fin Fang Foom. He KNOWS I hate using the letter F alliteratively. This must be payback for last Tuesday, when I put that black mamba in his bag of bagels. I don’t see why he got so butt-hurt about it: I had a desk drawer full of anti-venom, and besides, it only bit him 12 times. By black mamba standards, that’s a peck on the cheek.

MAY 20th, 1962

I pitched Dr. Doom as a character today. Everybody loved it, esp. Stan, which is funny considering that everything about Dr. Doom, from his obsession with dark magic to his constantly referring to himself in the third person to wearing fruity green capes all the time: that is all 100% Stan. I was going to pitch a panel where Doom kicks a puppy, orgasms and screams “EXCELSIOR!” but that would probably have been too much of a tip-off.

July 23rd, 1962

Lee tells me today that he wants Steve Ditko to draw Spiderman in Amazing Fantasy #15 instead of me. “Ditko? Ditko?!” I scream at him. “He wouldn’t know how to draw a spider, even if was on top of him impregnating his face!” That bony-assed, owl eyed ghoul just looked at me and said “Excelsior.” I threw an abacus at his forehead and drew blood.

FEBRUARY 5th, 1963

Challenged that walking advertisement for the necessity of abortion Stan Lee to a duel today. I demand satisfaction, pistols at dawn, the whole works. Turned out to be a bust: we both missed and our bullets ended up inside Steve Ditko. Used my field medic training to fish the bullets out of Ditko using tweezers, whiskey and a chewed up wad of Bazooka Joe. Instead of thanking me, Ditko begged for death. Not only can he not draw spidermens, he can’t take a stray bullet in the gall bladder like a man either.

January 12th, 1966

I was going down on Rosalind today and I was telling her that if the whole planet was her pussy I would eat it. That gave me an idea for a character, and so today I pitched Stan Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds. I even drew Galactus wearing the purple suit I always wear when I have sex with my wife. Big hit at the pitch meeting!

December 5th, 1975

Got the go ahead to do “New Gods” for DC Comics. They asked me to explain what it was about. I took a long drag on my cigar, blew smoke in their face and said ‘Check it out, baby. They’re these old gods, see? But these aren’t old gods. They’re new gods, baby. For a new era. And one of them is Death, and he flies around on a pair of skis.” The editor starts to say “I don’t know, Jack” until I put my cigar out on his tongue. The new editor gave me cart-blanche on the spot.

May 16th, 1975

Stan calls me today to say there’s no hard feelings. I tell him no, I’ve got a hard feeling, and it happens to be my dick inside his mother. Just try and say “Excelsior” to that, asshole.

September 5th, 1979

I got into a barroom brawl with Lou Ferrigno after I told him that my left butt-cheek could have done a better job as The Hulk. Woke up in the hospital face-down and bent over: a Hell’s Angel was tattooing “EXCELSIOR” across my ass. Stan Lee has screwed me over yet again, true believers.

February 5th, 1994

The end is near. I can feel it. Today I saw Death follow me down the street, hovering on a pair of skis. I hate being right all the time! I called Rosalind to tell her that I loved her, set my affairs in order and attended to one last piece of business: leaving a flaming bag of elephant shit on Stan’s doorstep. I feel that I’m a peace now. Seeing Lee knee-deep in immolating brown, sobbing profusely, I feel that I have finally completed my life’s work. I can leave this world knowing that I have lived a full life. I was an artist, a veteran, a lover, a prophet of the new gods, a rootin-tootin’ wild man and a King among men. Nobody can take that away from me.