Wednesday, March 30, 2005

by Wred Fright

This will be the last post either Pat King or myself will make on Underground Literary Adventures during our editorial run because we're now turning over editorial duties to the new co-editors and fellow Underground Literary Alliance members, Marissa Ranello and Patrick Simonelli. We hope this will be the first of many "changes of the guard" on the blog, bringing fresh and different perspectives from the underground.

Pat King started the blog in 2004 as an experiment. It initially ran ULA news and he generously shared the blog with others in the ULA. For a time, it even served as a prototype of King Wenclas's blog. In the spring of 2004, Pat decided to start running a wider variety of material on the blog, including fiction and other writing by ULA members. At about the same time, I had been desiring to publish a printed book anthology of ULA writing so others could read the material for themselves and understand why myself and so many other enthusiasts of indie and underground literature found it such exciting and refreshing reading. Unfortunately, that old stumbling block, money, kept putting the goal of a printed book further off in the future, but with the blog, there was an opportunity to do the anthology in a certain fashion online. I pitched the idea to Pat and he liked it, and we were off, running material from an assortment of indie, underground, and zine writers, more or less weekly, showcasing the great and diverse writing of the literary underground. Ultimately we ran 47 pieces, fiction, nonfiction, prose, poetry, whatever struck us, from 37 different writers. I hope the numbers will only grow in the future under Marissa and Patrick and beyond! Thanks for reading and please keep doing so as I suspect there are many more underground literary adventures ahead of us!

Wred Fright served as one of the initial co-editors of this blog for the Underground Literary Alliance, along with Pat King. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio. His novel The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus will be published this year by the ULA imprint of Out Your Backdoor! Press.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

by Crazy Carl

so last week I went to the english teacher convention in philly in hopes of landing a (decent) teaching job . . . a two-night stay in the wyndham plaza was over $330, but my parents thought it would be a good idea for babyboy to get some much-needed interview experience . . . I did actually manage to stumble upon one interview (with a community college in new york city), but like the song says: just send me to hell or new york city, it would be about the same to me/ . . . i’d obviously take the job to ease my parents’ burden, but I think I’d rather live deadcenter of your taint, dear reader . . . most of the (brighter) recent grads would have had a job interview lined up before they drove 5-hours and spent hundreds of dollars, but my parents thought I should just go and start handing out curriculum vitas . . . i had even hoped that there’d be a message board with 300 or so job postings, but the actual list contained 32 entries with names like angelo state and messiah college . . . did I mention that I was coked up for my interview? . . . did I mention that I staggered around the convention for 2 days drunk-as-shit? . . . did I mention that every morsel of food that I ate while there was robin-hooded off a room service tray? . . . did I mention that a fucking large cup of room service coffee was $8? (that last one was for you old fuckers out there) . . . the drive up interstate 95 from washington to philadelphia was its own lil slice of hell--like driving the daytona 500 surrounded by serial killers and new jersey grandmas who all drove like jimmy spencer on a bad day . . . there were wrecks and fender-benders and shredded tires galore and no one stopped or even batted an eye (like I woulda stopped, but I didn’t see any stranded motorists who were also hot chicks) . . . there was a 5-minute line at the rest area for the men’s room and a 20-minute line for the ladies--and it would appear as if acid-washed jeans never went out of style in the state of delaware . . . what can I say about philadelphia? . . . i gave the first cabbie a $5 for my $3.50 fare and he kept the change . . . i demanded change back from the second cabbie and it really pissed him off . . . i gave all the subsequent cabbies the correct change . . . i can’t say the people were rude to me, but they were very abrupt--like "pay me my money, hillbilly and keep moving" . . . the hotel was nice, but not worth $118 a night, plus $20 a day to park there . . . after I unpacked, I did a few lines and took a cab over to the convention center . . . the graduate student who was taking resumes was nice to me at first, but quite motherfucking smarmy after he figured out that I was leaving a resume and cover letter for messiah college (wherever the fuck that is) . . . then I went back to the hotel and started pounding beers back in my room . . . i went down to the hotel bar eventually, but it was chocked full of fags with morning interviews and fag-hags who were pretending to be happy for their fags (even though they knew the next day would bring 18,000 seminars on jane austen through a 2004 lens) . . . i guess some of them were hot, although each and every one was a short-haired brunette with tortoise shell glasses and wannabee designer shoes . . . i’m fat, ya know, so the fact that I wore jeans and a patagonia tee-shirt to the bar really didn’t help my chances of scoring . . . i did run into an english professor i knew in the elevator, but she ran like the wind when the door opened after I offered to pack her a bowl . . . after that, I went from floor to floor stealing room service trays that people had left outside their doors . . . and maybe you’d pay $12.50 for three pancakes, but make goddamn sure my mama wouldn’t . . . i think I had 2/3rds of a philly cheese steak that night that some rich fucker decided that he didn’t want . . . the night ended with me back in the room using hotel conditioner to masturbate to a lesbian porno on showtime . . . day 2 and the song remains the same: king karl from the underground literary alliance called me the next morning and we arranged to meet at some seedy bar downtown for beers at noon . . . and maybe the king karl you know is all about fighting-the-power, but the king karl I know is all about getting-some-pussy . . . we pounded a couple pitchers, commiserated over lost loves and wound up wandering the streets of philadelphia in search of girls who wanted us to look at them so they could hate us for looking . . . we ran into an english instructor i knew named lilly and somewhere in the mix i traded king karl for her . . . lilly had already had 2 job interviews that day and as we walked, she said that "maybe karma was with her" since the number of interviews she had was equal to her number of ex-husbands (she had one final interview that afternoon) . . . lilly is younger than me and kinda cute, so walking down the street with her on my arm, ex-husbands or no, put me in a significantly better mood . . . we stopped off for coffee at a dunkin donuts and she explained that she divorced her last husband because he gave her a four year window to finish her dissertation . . . I dropped her off at her interview and then proceeded to stumble around looking for a seminar that seemed the least bit interesting (and obviously I could have given 2 shits about "the gendering of metonymic violence from medieval to modern german culture" or "hybrids iii: psychosocial amalgams," but my intention was to make fun of something--just for you) . . . unfortunately, the coke wore off and I just couldn’t bring myself to sit in on any of the seminars . . . plenty of fat nerds and fag hags checked me out, but none of them had the nutsack to actually come up and start chatting me up . . . and again, the coke was wearing off to the point where I didn’t think I could even make up something about "south asian feminism" if my life depended on it (i.e.,: "yeah, that writer chick’s name was wong or something like that, right?") . . . eventually, I walked the 20-25 blocks back to the hotel, got high, and worked out in the weight room in my street clothes (two 13-year-old girls seemed intrigued and talked to me whenever their mom left the room, but the "smart girls" avoided me like the plague) . . . after that, I robin-hooded some dinner rolls and fries from the floor above me and started pounding beers . . . I considered going to a cocktail party thrown by a virginia university english department and I was working on my introductions (i.e.,: "hey, I grew up in the next county over and I have a ph.d in english") when the phone rang . . . it was the head of the english department at some community college in new york wanting to set up an interview with me for the next day at noon . . . I had no computer (no way to do research on the college or to correct the type-o’s on my vita), so the only thing left to do was to smoke the rest of my guru gnu’s funky five and masturbate to lesbian pornos again on showtime . . . i saved my last bump for 9 am the next morning with the rationale being that an 11 am bump would prolly make me all big and red and sweaty for the interview itself (wise old squirrels usually have a vicodin put away for rainy days and I think the combination of the two made me chatty, yet ultimately calm and reserved) . . . there were prolly 500 or so anal-retentive ph.ds going over their resumes in the waiting room outside of the interview area when I arrived and you could have heard a pin drop for the entire 45 minutes that I was there . . . when it was time for my interview, the receptionist herded me over to this middle-aged, smooooth turtleneck-wearing, bald dude sitting at a card table . . . and a 3-hour, fading coke buzz + a brand new, vicodin mellow = a pretty good interview . . . the dude asked what I planned to do with my career--and I said "publish my dissertation" . . . the dude asked what I thought was the main problem facing academia today--and I rattled off some crap about "mainstream hegemonies v. alternative answers" . . . then I talked about the joy that I felt when "a light bulb went on in some kid’s head when he finally understood what I was talking about" (as opposed to the stiffie I get in my pants the first time I see some lil slut’s ass cleavage) . . . the interviewer asked if I had any questions for him and I obliged with "teacher-to-student ratios" and "cost-of-living" queries . . . and then it was over: 4 days of exchanging meaningful ideas about "ideology, power, and linguistic theory" with my colleagues crammed into 2 days of stealing food and doing lines off the back of the hotel toilet . . . i did stop off to have dinner with my friend-from-undergrad, gipper in dc afterwards though . . . gipper reminded me that the last time we had dinner (at hooter’s!) back in ’98 that he had paid . . . he also conveniently forgot to mention that he was giving me the hard sell to invest with his company at the time as well . . . anyway, gipper suggested that we meet in front of this italian restaurant in one of the ritzier maryland suburbs . . . he walked me up to the menu outside of the restaurant and then proceeded to tell me that this particular restaurant was "too expensive for me since I didn’t have a real job" . . . we then got back in his car and drove to a lil diner outside of town--and he bitched and bitched and bitched about how the meal that he bought for me back in ’98 was much more expensive . . . i suggested that we hit a chili’s or an outback steakhouse and gipper responded that he didn’t like chili’s or outback steakhouse . . . as we were walking into the diner, I suggested that we go to a greek place across the street and gipper agreed . . . i had $60 in my wallet and order a $13.95 trout . . . gipper ordered 3 whiskey sours, 2 appetizers, a leg of lamb with spaghetti on top and dessert . . . the bill came to $82 (and gipper knew that I only had $60 in my wallet) . . . then gipper whips out 8-10 credit cards and says that he’ll pay since i "don’t really have a job" . . . dinner with gipper sounds fun, right? . . . well, in retrospect, that’s what my undergraduate days were like . . . on the way home, mama called and scolded me for a half hour about how I shouldn’t use my cell phone because I was already over my allotted minutes for the month . . .

Crazy Carl, a member of the Underground Literary Alliance, hails from Virginia but lives most of the year in Ohio. His first novel Fat On The Vine is being published by ULA/Out Your Backdoor Press this year. Contact him at carlrob (whereit'sat) earthlink dott net . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

by Cheryl Townsend

Someone slapped my face
Someone stole my joint
Someone lied about last night
Someone really loved me
Someone bought me emeralds
Someone fucked me good
Someone forgot my phone number
Someone sucked my toes
Someone made me breakfast
Someone waxed my car
Someone liked my cats
Someone gave me HPV
Someone sang me a song
Someone read me poetry
Someone wore my shoes
Someone liked my paintings
Someone got me shit faced
Someone called late at night
Someone farted in my bed
Someone took me skinny-dipping
Someone spoke to me in dreams
Someone wanted to smell my hair
Someone died of cancer
Someone got me pregnant
Someone came too soon
Someone fed me chocolates
Someone rode a Ducate
Someone wouldn't let me leave
Someone left my clothes on
Someone called me crazy
Someone proposed in high school
Someone tried to come back
Someone was afraid of worms
Someone believed I loved him
Someone helped me in math
Someone still has my shoes
Someone lied about his poetry
Someone showed me the mountains
Someone was just passing through
Someone took me home to his mother
Someone fucked me on the stairs
Someone called me another's name
Someone liked my finger up his ass
Someone danced with my mother
Someone nicknamed my cunt
Someone thought I needed them
Someone gave me a dildo
Someone promised forever
Someone called me at work
Someone shared his cheesecake
Someone said he didn't smoke
Someone drank more than me
Someone couldn't get it up
Someone held his breath
Someone locked my door
Someone wore Drakar
Someone bruised my thighs
Someone did imitations
Someone played guitar
Someone never told me his name
Someone already dated my best friend
Someone cried when I left
Someone didn't tell me about his wife
Someone thought something would happen
Someone is still waiting
Someone taught me football
Someone had a bad temper
Someone wanted more than sex
Someone thought he was better
Someone kissed me in 2nd grade
Someone broke my heart
Someone tasted horrible
Someone tried to break up my marriage
Someone growled when he came
Someone had a 9 inch cock
Someone was allergic to my cats
Someone drove with his knees
Someone forgot my birthday completely
Someone couldn't let go
Someone never watched TV
Someone liked to go for walks
Someone always made me gag
Someone took me to a Who concert
Someone ate my edible underwear off
Someone never happened at all
Someone became famous
Someone stunk
Someone tied me up
Someone stalked me
Someone thinks he is in here ... somewhere

Cheryl Townsend is regularly read on the-h© and Thunder Sandwich, where her photography also shares space. She is the editor of the sporadic journal, Impetus and is the poetry/visual arts editor for Epitome. Townsend was recently in a movie of the life of Christ as a woman called
Jesus and Her Gospel of YES! and is reading a script for her next film. This poem is republished from the new Thunder Sandwich. Contact her at IMPETUS (whereit'sat) aol dott com.

Friday, March 11, 2005

by Steve Kostecke

For a year before I left the States I wore a nametag that read Hi, I’m Jack while working as assistant manager on the afternoon shift at an extremely large corporate supermarket, whose name I want to forget. A manager gave me the tag my first day on the job (when I started as stock boy) and told me to go to Human Robotics to get the name changed (meaning Human Resources). I told him that this robot had no need for that. John happened to be my middle name, nicknamed Jack, and like a lot of good folk I went by my middle name instead of my first. None of this was true but what did it matter. Human names didn’t matter. The nice big barcode tattooed on my forehead that automatically bleeped each time I entered and exited the workplace, that was what mattered.

There was a reason I worked at an extremely large corporate supermarket: I had graduated from an extremely large Midwestern University (whose name I want to forget) with a degree from their humanities department. I did not understand at the time that there was not much of a buck to be made in the humanities, or in benefiting humanity, or in general in being part of humanity. My employment options were just the same coming out of the Big U as they had been before going into the Big U, except now I owed a small fortune to a student loan corporation. (That right there was the most enlightening part of my education.) I didn’t know what to do about this. I could have continued along the educational conveyor belt in those hermetically-sealed classrooms and earned a master's degree in something like creative writing--and learnt how to write like a writer is supposed to write--but instead I dropped out and learnt how to write the wrong way. I started writing a zine. If you were into the zine scene of the late 90s you may have heard of it: I Ache Therefore I Am. It was a per-zine, meaning a personal zine. I wrote about my daily painful existence. Waking up was a pain, getting out of bed was a pain, spooning oatmeal into my mouth was a pain, so on and so forth until going to bed was a pain, which was actually an extraordinary pain because of how painful it was trying to fall asleep with all this pain. At one time I had as many as five dozen orders for my zine after one of its appearances in A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press. I considered this a big success. Why anyone who didn’t know me would care about my daily life was way beyond me.

I moved out of the house where I had been renting an expensive room near campus and moved into a one-room apartment on the outskirts of my university town. This apartment happened to be within walking distance of a certain large corporate chain grocery store. I had no car and so I applied for any opening there out of sheer desperation. Desperation is good--for those who aren’t desperate. Like a good little drone I sold myself into wage labor. I took a position as a stock boy and spent eight hours a day stocking shelves with products that provided the customers with the illusion of freedom of choice. They were wowed by the fifty-two varieties of salad dressing--so wowed that they never caught on to the true choice staring straight at them: buy more or buy even more.

The hours of braindead busywork made my shift fly. Before I knew it, it would be eleven o’clock and 5A77K (or whatever my barcode identity was) could return to its regeneration quarters. The problem was: I began to degenerate in my down time. Those things existentialists talk about--like angst and anguish and forlornness (knowledge of this comes with a degree in the humanities)--they rocketed inside of me. I felt like I had lost all potential through a very large barely-perceptible con, and that all I had ahead of me were even furtherly large cons of the same imperceptibility. To top this off, I was reading far too much Beckett than was healthy for me (I admit now that I was a comparative lit major). Texts for Nothing became the literary anthem of my corporate chain grocery store days. How can I go on, I shouldn’t have begun, no, I had to begin. This type of rumination made me require a few stiff drinks each night in order to slip into subconsciousness.

I started to lose contact with the people who still called me by my real name. They were down near campus. I was out in a burb. I decided to make an effort to get to know my fellow workmates better in order to see if anything clicked. We were of different classes but I didn’t see how that could matter. I brought two slips of paper with me to work one day, and whenever I had the chance I handed the first one to whoever I could. On the front it said: Where does Superman go shopping? (please turn over). They turned it over and read on the back: At the supermarket! The workmate laughed or not, and then I took the first slip back and handed them the second slip of paper. On it read: Where does Batman go shopping? (please turn over). On the back was: In actuality, Bruce Wayne was a rich capitalist and never needed to go shopping. He would merely make a list of things he wanted to be bought and give it to his manservant, Alfred, who would then carry out this laborious task for him. I then took this second slip back and asked which one they thought was more hilarious. Nobody--and I mean nobody--appreciated the Batman one. A couple of my workplace equals even told me that it was not a joke at all. This forced me to explain that it was a joke in being not a joke, in a cool zen kind of way. Get it now? They shook their heads at me in pity. One fellow wage-slaver, a black guy, picked a can of food off the nearest shelf and held it near my face. "See this can of soup?" he asked. "Well it’s not a can of soup. Get it?"

I got it all right.

Steve Kostecke is a member of the Underground Literary Alliance where he edits The Slush Pile, the ULA's zine. He also publishes very engrossing oneshot literary zines of his own such as Auslanders Raus, Asian Kix, and Seoul in Slices. A Detroiter, he currently resides in South Korea. Contact him at skostecke (whereit'sat) hotmail dott com.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

by James Nowlan

My concept for The Bitches of Sam finds its inspiration in numerous sources. Russ Meyer’s film Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill, the Manson Family, the films of Jean Luc Godard, my own experiences working as a security guard in Paris, and the television series and film Charlie's Angels. It’s the story of three kickboxing transexuals (I’m not going to use real transexuals but rather women with protheses, I’d like to get Paris and Nicky Hilton and Heather Graham for these roles) working for a mysterious government organization called "The Ranch" whose mission is to eliminate the enemies of America’s ideological and economic interests in Europe and especially France.

The film starts with an introduction by "X" a mysterious cowboy dressed like the Lone Ranger and looking and talking like William Burroughs. He explains that after 9/11 the USA was forced to find new ways of dealing with threats to its values and freedoms. Unconventional groups were set up to deal with our enemies. These groups might be anywhere--skiing in the Alps, sunbathing on the côte d’azur, or driving along in a convertible through the French countryside. Cut to three attractive young women in a cabriolet cruising down a narrow road that winds through vineyards. They might be any young American girls on summer vacation and are bobbing their heads in time to a Serge Gainsbourg YéYé tune "Hey There Mister Chic Habit." They see a muscular suntanned man at the side of the road and stop to give him a ride. He gets in the car with a smile. Without being asked he starts to outline his political philosophy. He feels that bourgeois feminism is the number one barrier to the workers revolution. For the present power structure to be overturned women must accept a subordinate role and acknowledge that men are the leaders in the proletariat’s struggle. The girls say that they would like to fight in the revolution as well. He offers to show them how.

They stop the car and the macho Marxist jumps out. The bitches follow; he gets into a martial arts stance and the shemales quickly overwhelm him and after beating him down forcibly sodomise him. The bitches get back in their car and drive away leaving the pinko weeping with his pants down. They get to the temporary headquarters set up by X. He gives them the rundown on the region and the difficulties that they are facing. They are having trouble with a local group that wants to block the opening of an American fast food restaurant, called "Murder Burger" a concept restaurant where the food is named after American serial killers, the Bundy Burger, the Son of Sam Dog, etc., and you kill your own cow or pig by hitting it on the head with a sledge hammer or cutting its throat.

They go to the site where the restaurant is opening and a crowd is gathered to disrupt the ceremony. They are led by a man in a Mexican wrestling mask and held in check by the the CRS (La Compagnie Républicaine de Sécurité French riot police) and a band of American rent-a-thugs called the Stankertons who are dressed like sheriffs in a western and mounted on horse back with their revolvers in one hand and their whips in the other. X berates the chief of the CRS for not being aggressive enough. Saying that he does not take orders from men dressed up for "le carnaval de mardis gras" he lines his men up and marches them off. The crowd led by the masked man overwhelms the Stankertons and trashes the newly opened Murder Burger. X and his bitches look on helplessly.

At a traditional festival later the same evening they watch a sort of ritual combat in which the masked man participates. He defeats all comers and wins a trophy. They approach him later in a café where he is celebrating and after encouraging him to drink they lead him stumbling back to his house where he passes out to wake up naked in his bed to discover to his horror that he has spent the night with three shemales and shamefully lost his hardwon manhood. They leave him crushed and humiliated and go back to the Murder Burger that is now being hastily repaired.

The broken ex-fighter roams in the mountains until he comes upon a chapel lost in the mist. Going inside he enters the confessional and recounts all that has happened to a priest hidden behind a curtain. The priest explains that manhood is not meant to be a source of vainity but rather an expression of God’s grace and that by serving God one can recover his lost masculinity. He then reveals that he himself is an expert in traditional forms of combat and will train the masked combatant.

While the girls and X use Murder Burger as the citadel of their campaign to oppress the people of the region the priest trains the fighter. When he is ready he comes down from the mountain to challenge them. The people are shocked that he offers to fight with the women since they do not know that they are not truly female but the bitches accept and the combat is scheduled to take place the same evening. The bitches use every dirty trick they know but by relying on the wisdom of the ancient priest warrior the masked fighter defeats them tearing the clothes from their bodies to reveal the truth of their sexual identity. The enraged townfolks tie up the shemales to burn them at the stake. But just before the brave transexuals are consumed by the flames X rides in with the Stankertons cracking their whips and firing their pistols into the air they cut the bitches lose and ride away with them into the mountains.

James Nowlan is a member of the Underground Literary Alliance who resides in Paris, France. His last film, Compte A Rebours ("Countdown") is something to see! Contact him at EstelleNowl (whereit'sat) aol dott com.