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Flash Fiction Friday: The Pub Fight

by James Burr

“You, sir, have spilled my pint!”

All eyes in the pub turned at the sound of breaking glass, a pool of foaming ale rapidly spreading out at the feet of the furious Academic.

The Professor eyed his accuser angrily. “And I contend that I did not spill your pint, as all property is theft. Ergo, if a pint was spilled, it was certainly not yours.”

The Academic jabbed the Professor in the chest. “But a pint was indeed spilled, as we can see from the shards of glass and pool of beer at my feet.” His companion, an elderly man in a tweed jacket tried to restrain him, weakly muttering, “Leave it. He’s not worth it.” The Academic continued. “And the pint was indeed mine for does not First Occupancy theory proceed on the basis that it does not particularly matter how I took possession of it or what sort of use I intended to make of it; what matters is that I am acting as the owner of said beverage.”

The Professor snorted at him. “Well sir, I could proffer Liebniz’s contention that everything is contingent: that is that, logically, it is quite possible for the pint to not even exist!”

“But something can be said to exist if it has a place as part of objective reality?” the Academic replied.

“But what is ʻreality?’”

“ʻReality’ is real existence, what is real, what underlies experiences.”

“But what is ʻreal?’” the Professor asked.

“Something can be considered real if it exists as a thing or occurs in fact. I can determine the existence of the former pint through my eyes and the stickiness under the soles of my shoe. A pint has been spilled. Such a fact can be undeniably determined through the sense organs. The fact that the pints exists – or at least did until you spilled it – is an undeniable, objective fact.”

“Very well,” said the Professor. “I shall accept your objectivist observation that the presence of an ex-pint before us means that a pint was spilled. However, I counter your assertion that it was I who spilled said pint as that would require conscious agency on my part. Without such deliberate intention, the very best that can be said is that your beer was spilled – the result of mere accident or act of God.”

The Academic puffed out his chest. “Pah, but God does not exist. A claim that is further evidenced by the fact that if He did exist, His omnipotence and omniscience would ensure that He did not go around accidentally spilling pints.”

“And yet, my slippery-fingered friend, you contend that God does not exist when the adherents of scores of faiths and religions would argue that their personal experience of God is very real. Billions of souls have experience of whatever deity they worship, so by your own definition, God must exist and so be real, as is evidenced by the fact that we are talking about Him.”

“Rubbish! Liebniz believed that it is possible to describe the essence of a person or thing whether they are real or imaginary. God has an essence, in that his qualities and personality and station can be described, yet he does not exist. The fact that an entity has an essence does not necessarily imply existence! The pint was not spilled by accident or through some act of God. Ergo the pint, if not spilled by a non-existent deity, must have been spilled through some agency, and I contend that that agency was you, hence my original assertion!” The Academic angrily pushed his face into that of the Professor.

His companion turned and cried, “Someone, call the Police!” to the other patrons.

“Nonsense!” said the Professor. “We may have determined that there was a pint and that it has now been spilled. We may have even decided that it was not spilled through some act of God. However, I cannot yet be sure of your existence, as your existence is integral to your belief that it was your pint that was acted upon. Just because you may, as proposed by Liebniz, have some essence as an argumentative, small-minded buffoon, the fact that such an essence can be described does not necessarily mean that you exist. Using your own argument, you, like God, may not exist, and so it was not your pint that was spilled.”

The Academic’s companion tried to feebly pull him back by the arms. “Leave it” he muttered weakly. “He’s had enough.”

“Indeed,” said the Professor. “Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. I can be certain of my own existence but not of your own.” The Professor smiled as he sought to end the barbarous altercation with a brutal strike. “And of course, as Spinoza believed that everything is ruled by an absolute logical necessity, there is thus no such thing as ʻFree will’ in psychology, or ʻchance’ in the physical world. As such, the pint was simply spilled – not by accident and certainly not through any intention of my own.”

The Academic rounded on him. “Yet you argue there is no free will! If there is no free will, there can be no independent thought. Thus, if you cannot think, using your own philosophy, you cannot exist!”

The pool of beer on the floor spread across to where the Professor may, or may not, have once stood.

The Academic cracked his knuckles, nodded at his companion, and went to the bar to buy another pint.

________

Jim Burr wrote Ugly Stories for Beautiful People and is working on a second collection, State of the Nation. You beautiful people can read more of his writing here and here. Ugly people can follow him on Twitter. Do either or both, depending on your mood.

________

Submit your bizarro flash fiction stories to FlashFictionFridaySubmissions@gmail.com.

 

Tons of New Releases! Mud Season! Tenderbear Goes Apeshit! Mother’s Revenge!

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From Justin Grimbol and Atlatl Press comes a book of poetry about Upstate New York and marriage: Mud Season.

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Next, Moses Guttchenridder has several problems. His business, Macramania, is going under. His lovelife is in the toilet. Oh, and he has been forced into helping a murderous garden gnome take his revenge on the brothers of a fraternity who make sport out of destroying garden gnomes. The only spot of good news is that he has been chosen at random to become the new face of Krap-Wad Toilet Paper, replacing their beloved spokesanimal, Tenderbear, who has been arrested for drunk driving. The new head of Krap-Wad, Regan Moribund, falls in love Moses, but their relationship is put immediately in jeopardy when Tenderbear escapes his jail cell and goes on a murderous rampage, killing everyone who crosses his path. The former head of Krap-Wad toilet paper, Giles Moribund, attempts to re-take over the company  by hiring a hitman, Asigao, to kill his daughter, Regan.  When Moses, Regan, Giles, Asiago, the muderous gnome and several others converge on New York City, it becomes a bloody masacre to see who will remain on top of the dangerous toilet paper world. At turns humorous and horrifying, Tenderbear Goes Apeshit is another twisted offering from the mind of Bix Skahill (Babes in Gangland and Dope Tits). Get it here!

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And finally, Mother’s Revenge: A Dark and Bizarre Anthology of Global Proportions. What happens when you abuse your mother? It’s not pretty. It’s not nice. And she can get downright mean and nasty if you don’t straighten up and make amends. In this mixed genre group of eco-tales, thirty-two authors from around the globe offer up some lessons in why it’s wise to be kind to Mother Earth. Read and take heed. Your very life may depend on it!

Out Soon: John Wayne Lied to You

Coming soon from Rooster Republic Press and John Wayne Comunale comes the tale of a modern day legend in the making, JOHN WAYNE LIED TO YOU. It’s half autobiography, half creative nonfiction, and an extra half of good old fashioned lies, and will be available for purchase soon. Keep an eye out!

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In the meantime, Comunale has created a new podcast, John Wayne Lied to You, to promote this book and recount his insane real life adventures. Listen! Purchase! Read!

Support John Skipp’s ‘HOPE IN HELL’

John Skipp is putting together a feature film where the house isn’t haunted. YOU ARE! And you can help make it happen!

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Here’s the pitch from the man himself:

For my 60th birthday, I swore a “bucket list vow” to make a deeply personal micro-budget feature, full of heart, soul, and strangeness, which I knew no studio would ever finance. Moving into my new house gave me the perfect location AND inspiration. Not saying HOPE IN HELL is my fancy “magnum opus”. But it is the one work in which I devote all of my skills — as writer, director, musician, performer and more — into one sweet, sexy, philosophical slice of pure tripped-out art-o-tainment.

Check out the Hope In Hell Indiegogo page for more details and to help John Skipp make something cool!

Bizarro Features at Litreactor

Our bizarro tribe is producing plenty of content across the net, and recently we’ve infiltrated the ranks of literature-loving Litreactor.com! First we have Christoph Paul, who is a regular contributor to the site, interviewing the founder of Hard Times, Matt Saincome. Fans of fake punk news should enjoy it.

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Then our very own trans superhero MP Johnson gets interviewed by Litreactor about language, masculinity, and her latest zine, Trans Mess. Represent, girlfriend.

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Out Now: The Lucky Ones Died First

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“It’s like Jaws but with Bigfoot” – Shane McKenzie, author of Muerte Con Carne

Crushed heads, entrails, and piles of body parts are littering the woods surrounding the quaint English vacation town of Hambleton. A hungry cryptid is on the loose and is biting and tearing to pieces whoever and whatever it can catch. Now the residents must team up with a former-Nazi Bigfoot hunter to save themselves and their livelihood from this monstrous horror.

People must fight. Many of them will not live to see the next day…

The lucky ones died first!

Deadite Press is proud to present modern splatterpunk revivalist Jack Bantry who delivers an action-packed and blood-soaked creature-feature of a novel for fans of David Schow, Skipp & Spector and Richard Laymon.

Get it at Amazon

Wonderland Book Award Preliminary Voting Begins Now

Voting for the Wonderland Book Award preliminary ballot begins now for the Best Bizarro Novel and Best Bizarro Collection of 2016. Please send your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place votes in the Novel and Collection categories to bizarrocon@gmail.com with the subject line “Wonderland Book Award Preliminary Ballot.” Preliminary voting ends July 31st.

NOTE TO AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS: Please do not solicit or campaign for votes.

NOVELS

Aunt Poster by John Wayne Communale

Automated Daydreaming by William Pauley III

Bacon Fried Bastard by David Barbee

Bastard Virtues by Daulton Dickey

Bonespin Slipspace by Leo X. Robertson

Building Heaven by Andrew Osborne

Charge Land by John Wayne Communale

Death Gets A Book by Frank Edler

Dope Tits by Bix Skahill

Drunk Driving Champion by Eric Hendrixson

Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes by Carlton Mellick III

Exquisite Corpse Orgy by Kevin Sweeney

Governor of the Homeless by G. Arthur Brown

Great White House 2: Billary Bites Back by Christoph Paul & Arthur Graham

Guitar Wolf by Nicholaus Patnaude

Hate from the Sky by Sean M. Thompson

I Miss the World by Violet LeVoit

I Will Rot Without You by Danger Slater

Joy by Russell Holbrook

Kaiju Canyon by Shane Cartledge

Long-Form Religious Porn by Laura Lee Bahr

Mother Fucking Black Skull Death by Matthew Vaughn

Not Safe For Kids by Kevin Shamel and Jim Agpalza

Puppet Skin by Danger Slater

Pussy Transmission by Wol-vriey

Rattled by the Rush by Chris Kelso

Satan’s Little Helper by Kevin Sweeney

Shit Luck by Tiffany Scandal

Starr Creek by Nathan Carson

Static/Oregone by Jamie Grefe

The Hottest Gay Man Ever Killed in a Shark Attack by Douglas Hackle

The Mortuary Monster by Andrew James Stone

The Nightly Disease by Max Booth III

The Terrible Thing That Happens by Carlton Mellick III

Tetraminion by R.A. Roth

The Ugly by Alexander Boldizar

We Did Everything Wrong by CV Hunt

World Revolver by Gina Ranalli

COLLECTIONS

A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson

All the Toxic Waste from My Heart by Kevin Strange

Berzerkoids by MP Johnson

Cartoons in the Suicide Forest by Leza Cantoral

Death Confetti by Jennifer Robin

Ecstatic Inferno by Autumn Christian

Minivan Poems by Justin Grimbol

Turdmummy by Zoltan Komor

Very True Stories Starring Jeff O’Brien by Jeff O’Brien