By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
A whole day spent agonizing over three simple paragraphs. When you exhaust the better part of a day on a three-paragraph lead to a short story, you want to put a gun to your head.
If I owned a gun, I can see the headline now:
Neighbor Finds Dead Writer in Trailer, Bad Prose the Reason.
But, as I have said in the past, I don't own a gun. So the headline seems unlikely. I've always subscribed to the notion that guns were merely the tools of morons and pussies, or those who suffer from acicular paranoia. I've come to this conclusion not from reading wimpy, leftist blather, or from child-fetish paranoia borne of Colorado youth disasters, but by simply witnessing many of my own neighbors in action.
You don't know how many fools are allowed to carry a sidearm, my friends. The whole of my trailer court is empowered by the right to bear concealed arms. Between 6 and 10 p.m. -- happy hour around here -- I don't want to leave my trailer. Booze plus morons plus guns equals curtains. In the past two years, four of my neighbors have been shot to death, each by a friend or relative.
Of course, when one of my neighbors invariably chirps, "As long as the cops are armed, then I'll be armed," I just have to shake my head and gulp more beer. The idiots.
The government will always win. You have a gun; they have bigger ones. You have a bazooka; they'll have tanks. You have a tank; they'll have fucking nuclear warheads.
Your little Glock might as well be shooting jizz. And isn't that what this entire gun business is about? Shooting jizz?
Regardless, my theory is, "Why kill yourself when you can drink?"
When I write, I don't drink. And when I drink, I can't write. The drinks come later, as a kind of recompense. Thing is, I can't write 99 percent of the time. But I still reward myself.
Fitzgerald, it's said, would write all day and drink at night, but never drank while writing. Capote is said to have written well while drunk, as did Henry Miller. Bukowski made similar claims.
I am stone sober and failing at a story miserably. My nightly cutoff time for work is 11 p.m., and it's quickly approaching that hour now. I'll get a beer and just tell you about the story. Okay?
I have just guzzled three beers in the past half-hour, and cracked a fourth. It's 11:33 p.m. on a crisp and cold February night under a huge, starry Arizona sky. I can hear the soft patter of my cat's footsteps across the roof. Cat on a Cold Tin Roof. It makes me laugh.
All right, as you can tell, the beers have helped; I'm feeling much better.
So here's the story:
Meet Twees, a bass player in a horrible rap/metal rock band who falls in love with a porn star. Twees is 28, overweight, unruly and has a bad habit of breathing through his mouth. A lack of intelligence justifies his insolence, and he talks in monosyllabic bytes. He wears baggy shorts, owns and mistreats a horrible bulldog he calls Dude, and covering his legs, arms and torso are ghastly tattoos. Twees is generally pathetic and will inspire no empathy, even in the most generous of observations. He's your basic mook.
A DNA test has revealed that Twees, for the majority of his life, has been sending the card to the wrong man on Father's Day.
As you can no doubt see, I base Twees on a single composite of Limp Bizkit and Korn members, focusing primarily on the groups' lead singers.
Anyway, Twees shares a house with his 80-year-old grandmother in a nice, clean Fresno neighborhood. He snorts meth, drinks Natural Light Ice and beats off day and night to porn videos. On occasion, when his mind, hand and dick lose drug-addled connection with each other, he'll stop the rote and go out for more beer, fast food and a quick visit to his dealer. Sometimes he'll drift into a brief recess of unsettled sleep.
From his collection of smut videos, Twees soon develops a crush on a particular porn star, a blond anal queen from Anaheim named Tiffany. Her lovely dimples and wholly utilitarian orifices hook him in with little cajoling. Before long, Twees restricts his smut scrutiny to Tiffany videos only, and his crush morphs into full-blown love.
Night to night on his bed in the darkness, his life becomes a bone-in-hand vigil to Tiffany. That is, until he acquires a new Tiff vid and witnesses an insufferable dork named Jack Hammer defile Tiffany's creamy body in the sunlit backyard of some Southern Cal mansion.
Hammer is buff, butt-ugly and, of course, tattooed. He's your basic porn stud troll. But he's tattooed in the worst way imaginable. He has an anarchy symbol and the words "West End Punks" etched onto his chest. Tattooed on his back are the words "White Power." Also, Hammer's member is shaped like an old, six-ounce 7-Up bottle. There, Hammer doesn't have a thing on Twees. Still, for Twees, this fact offers little comfort.