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Flash Fiction Friday: I Like Your Attitude

By Ross Peterson

The asphalt was hotter than the charcoal in Satan’s Weber. On the rumblestrip, gray fragments of Jared’s sundered brain crawled toward one another, reassembling. Little particles of him lay littered across the highway, speckled over the swath of brown roadside grass.

Once his brain had put itself back together, the gored pieces of his face began to reform. Like magnets attracting, his hair found its way back to his scalp, his lashes to his eyelids, his lips to his gums. Body part by body part he repaired—unexploded.

Whole and corporeal again, Jared stood, shaking it off, exhaling in annoyance. This was his fifth explosion today. He’d forgotten to take his medication. He’d been in a hurry. He couldn’t wait to see Kate. If he’d only known before leaving his Ford would be sizzling like a chimichanga on the side of the road, miles from cell range.

Fuck that. He needed a ride. He didn’t care if an inbred serial killer methhead Jehovah’s Witness picked him up, so long as he got home, off this highway, out of this suffocating heat.

Jared stuck out his thumb, hearing a motor in the distance. How long had he been out here? The time between explosions and reassembly was lost. For untold moments his consciousness suspended. Please, please, please, he said to himself, the car nearing. Then he felt the unmistakable tingle in his face, the vertigo. He saw things in tunnel vision. Not again. His knees buckled. Sonofa—

Like a watermelon to Gallagher’s hammer, Jared blew up again, all over the hot black road. A fleck of his nose landed on a littered bag of Fritos. The car whizzed past his splatter.

Reassembled again.

Like sperm to an egg he held his thumb out to an advancing Mercury Cutlass. Smoke poured out the windows. It wasn’t moving very fast.

The Cutlass stopped. A woman rolled down her window. She looked like a shhhing librarian but crispy and ashen and engulfed in flames. She was on fire.

“Where you headed?” she said.

“Missoula?”

“Hop in.”

“Hey, thanks so much for stopping,” Jared said, fastening his seatbelt. “It’s been hell trying to get a ride today. This heat.”

“Tell me about it,” the woman on fire said, pushing her gear selector to Drive.

“Oh, yeah…you want me to drive? Looks like you’ve really gone up.”

“Nah. I’ll be fine. It’ll go out. Always does.”

Jared looked out the window at the vast grass under the snaggle of mountains. “You know,” he said, “I like your attitude. I’m learning, good things come to people with, I don’t know, your attitude.”

“I’ve always said, as long as no one’s dead, there’s really no cause for alarm.”

“So true. Hey, you don’t care if I explode in your car, do you?”

________

Ross Peterson is the vice president of FAR (Foundation For Amoeboid Rights). You can read all about his efforts to curtail amoeboid violations on his blog, Ross Peterson’s Atomic Avocado Luncheon. His short story “Prison Food” will be featured in Weirdpunk Books’ upcoming anthology, Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits.

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Want in on this? Submit up to three bizarro flash fiction stories at a time, pasted into the body of an email (no attachments) to FlashFictionFridaySubmissions@gmail.com and include a brief bio. Put the title of your submission in the subject line of the email.

Eraserhead Press Summer ’16 Releases

It’s summertime, and Eraserhead Press has released three new books to make your beach reading as weird as possible.

EVERY TIME WE MEET AT THE DAIRY QUEEN, YOUR WHOLE FUCKING FACE EXPLODES

Known for his cute, disturbing, and utterly absurd novels, cult author Carlton Mellick III returns with a tale of childhood love and spontaneous face explosions.

Ethan is in love with the weird girl in school. The one with the twitchy eyes and spiders in her hair. The one who can’t sit still for even a minute and speaks in an odd squeaky voice. The one they callSpiderweb.

Although she scares all the other kids in school, Ethan thinks Spiderweb is the cutest, sweetest, most perfect girl in the world. But there’s a problem. Whenever they go on a date at the Dairy Queen, her whole fucking face explodes. He’s not sure why it happens. She just gets so excited that pressure builds under her skin. Then her face bursts, spraying meat and gore across the room, her eyeballs and lips landing in his strawberry sundae.

At first, Ethan believes he can deal with his girlfriend’s face-exploding condition. But the more he gets to know her, the weirder her condition turns out to be. And as their relationship gets serious, Ethan realizes that the only way to make it work is to become just as strange as she is.

From the award-winning author of Sweet Story and The Haunted Vagina, comes a twisted love story that is as creepy as it is heart-warming. Get it HERE

DRUNK DRIVING CHAMPION

When a hundred drunk drivers line up for a cross-country competition, it will be a race you won’t forget and they won’t remember.

The best drunk drivers in the nation have gathered at the U.S. Capitol for a race to the Pacific Ocean. They have talent. They have ambition. They have breathalyzers in their cars that will shut off the engine if the driver’s blood alcohol content drops below .16. The flag drops at the height of rush hour.

After a fifty-car pileup at the starting line and dozens of major accidents on the streets of D.C., only six cars make it out of the city. Second-string stockcar drivers, German Kung Fu masters, forgotten Soviet sleeper agents, frat boys, an unemployed sommelier, and a washed-up 80s pop star battle it out in this grueling, action-packed race. Facing overwhelming obstacles and outrageous intoxication, the racers battle the police, AA sponsors, each other, and themselves for the grand prize of one million dollars and a free liver transplant.

From the most sardonic voice in modern fiction comes a debaucherous action-comedy in the form of a bizarro “Cannonball Run.” Get it HERE

NOT SAFE FOR KIDS

WARNING: THIS BOOK IS GUARANTEED TO EMOTIONALLY FUCK UP YOUR KIDS

Ah, children. They are obnoxious little question machines. And they won’t shut up until you’ve given them a response. Dumb jerks. This book addresses all the cold, hard answers to all those stupid, stupid questions like:

Does your poop smell bad? That means you’re dying.

How do little rocks turn into big ones? They eat people.

Did you know you can breathe underwater? It’s true. Your body doesn’t like it at first, but you totally can.

Did you know that holding babies makes you run faster? Try it and see!

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go back in time and fight dinosaurs for control of the moon? No it wouldn’t be. You’d totally die.

So sit down and layer on the emotional scarring with this read-aloud picture book you WISH you could share with children. A hilarious read that is NOT SAFE FOR KIDS.

Get it HERE

Flash Fiction Friday: Gondwana Fragmenting

by Nimrod Tzarking

The furry morsels feast on our clutches. And we are dying.

A star burns in the sky. Every day it hurtles closer. And we are dying.

The continent shatters beneath our feet. Talons scrape at splintering fault lines. Ferns drift imperceptibly apart, gravel shifting between them. And we are dying.

The thunder-meals have stopped their rumbling. Long-necks and horn-faces fade away and rot. Our guts bloat with glass as our teeth chip and weaken. Our steps trudge heavy as we digest what remains. And we are dying.

But the feather-things remain.

They hang in branches, their scales overgrown and frayed. They strut like the Tyrant King and chirp like the Swift Seizers. Yet their lips are hard, their talons many-fingered, and their eyes burn with untimely Knowing. They come from something called Tomorrow- a sun that’s yet to rise.

Crystals grow where they scratch the ground. As the crystals grow, so grows the falling star. It smells them, hungers for them. And those who seek to tamper with the throbbing growths are pecked to death.

Every day there’s more of them, hatched full-grown from red-veined eggs. They build their nests from shining twigs and laugh with stolen voices. Mammal sounds and thick wet clicks rattle from their beaks. They eat nothing. They touch nothing. They stare at the sky and wait.

________

Nimrod Tzarking is a middling dungeon master and a bad influence on children. He eats nothing but whey powder, eggs, and coffee. He teaches literacy in Kansas, which means he might not be teaching for long. His fledgling website (nimrodtzarking.wordpress.com) features angsty fan fiction and Bizarro fiction reviews. You should be his friend!

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Want in on this? Submit up to three bizarro flash fiction stories at a time, pasted into the body of an email (no attachments) to FlashFictionFridaySubmissions@gmail.com and include a brief bio. Put the title of your submission in the subject line of the email.

The 5 Ws of BizarroCon

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A friend of yours shared something weird that caught your eye. Someone told you about it. You read an awesome blog post about the best chaos and creative mayhem in the history of ever. You only know it’s called BizarroCon, but you want to know more. I got you, boo. Here are the 5 Ws of the best time in the world (yeah, I shook them around a bit to better fit this post, but I’m a trained professional, so don’t worry about it):

What:

BizarroCon. We’re talking about the largest gathering of bizarro fiction writers, publishers, editors, artists, performers, and fans in the universe. Four days of panels, learning, performances, superb food, readings, love, creativity, partying, hugs, dancing, music, awards, New Bizarro Author Series presentations, art, and fun. Between the Wonderland Book Awards dinner, the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, the hotel, the beer, the books, and the workshops, it’s impossible to do everything the convention has to offer, and yet we try every year because BizarroCon is like a four-day spa for your soul. And yes, we welcome all of you. Here’s where you can register: BIZARROCON REGISTRATION. The price of admission for the whole shebang gets you into the Friday night book celebration/performance mayhem, into, seated, and fed at the Saturday awards dinner, Saturday breakfast (the peppered bacon is no joke), and Sunday brunch.

When:

November 17-20, 2016.

Where:

At the awesome, artistic, and haunted McMenamin’s Edgefield (2126 S.W. Halsey St. in Troutdale, OR). Call them to check on rooms because they usually go on the first two days. There are also plenty of hotels in the area. Reach out to any member of the Bizarro Family if you need help or have any questions. You can reach me at gabinoiglesias@gmail.com if you need anything. You can also ask questions at the BizarroCon Facebook page HERE.

Who:

Like I said, BizarroCon is the go to place for bizarro fictions writers, artists, publishers, and fans. It’s also the best small press convention out there. Usually you’ll find folks in attendance from Eraserhead Press, Lazy Fascist Press, Deadite Press, Word Horde, Broken River Books, Ladybox Books, King Shot Press, Atlatl Press, Grindhouse Press, Sinister Grin Press, and many, many more. The bizarro community is welcoming and supporting and every BizarroCon rookie I’ve talked to expresses how comfortable they’ve felt. More than a convention, this is like a family reunion where you also learn from some of the best authors/publishers/editors in the game (i.e. John Skipp, Rose O’Keefe, Carlton Mellick III, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Laura Lee Bahr, Cody Goodfellow, Stephen Graham Jones, and many more). Here’s a list of those who have already registered.

Why:

Because we can. Because we need it. Because feeding off the creative energy at BizarroCon is sometimes enough to carry us through an entire year of bullshit. Because you can learn and exchange ideas while also partying and watching the craziest, more entertaining show ever (I’m talking about the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, not the costume parties Ross E. Lockhart and I do in our room).

There you have it, folks. I hope to see in you in Portland. Schedule me in for a hug and some book talk.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth, Hungry Darkness, Zero Saints, and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

 

Weird Comic Watch: Dear Creature

When you’re an aquatic monstrosity with a hunger for human flesh, dating can be hard. Everyone on the beach runs away from you and your only friends are bottom-feeding crabs.

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This is the life of Grue, a pulpy lagoon creature who’s started reading Shakespeare and now wants to fall in love. His crab friends think it’s a terrible idea, but Grue believes in love just as much as his cannibalistic urges.

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Dear Creature is a weird mash-up of old school movie monsters and classical romance, and it reminds me a lot of several bizarro romance stories, where love and humanity are juxtaposed against monstrous horror, usually to hilarious results. You can check out more Dear Creature here.

Grue

Flash Fiction Friday: No Encore

by D.M. Anderson

Donald sneezed his brain all over the audience, his head emptying like an accordion until there was little left but a pancaked face sitting deflated atop a quivering neck.

The deafening applause of the gore-splattered audience’s adoration thundered into a crescendo that would surely echo across the eons.

He bowed low, his pinwheeling arms pausing for an aggressive flair of jazz hands, his fingers dripping motes of confetti, like crystalline dandelion fluff dancing in the spotlight’s glare.

He had finally done it, his birthright fulfilled, as nobody can deny, and, by golly, was his momma proud as punch.

Tears glistened deep within emptied eyeholes, the floor strewn with ocular detritus as the congregation collectively decided to spork themselves blind. After all, there was nothing left to see.

_________

D.M. Anderson hides inside his hermitage, leaving occasionally to scavenge for food and toiletries. When he isn’t setting a bad example for his kids, he’s mercilessly beating his head against the keyboard, hoping something interesting spills out onto the screen. You can watch to see if something does at Silent Insomniac.

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Want in on this? Submit up to three bizarro flash fiction stories at a time, pasted into the body of an email (no attachments) to FlashFictionFridaySubmissions@gmail.com and include a brief bio. Put the title of your submission in the subject line of the email.

Weird Movie Watch: Yakuza Apocalypse

If you’ve been around the bizarro genre long enough, then you know that Takashi Miike is one of our patron saints. Miike has made a ton of different movies but he’s never afraid to unleash mass cinematic insanity, whether it’s a horror film, a samurai film, or even children’s movies. His latest is Yakuza Apocalypse, a gangster flick involving bloodsucking vampires and an unstoppable frog monster.

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And besides a man-sized muppet who can unvelcro his mouth and breathe fire, Yakuza Apocalypse has a badass vampire nerd, a turtle guy, Mad Dog from The Raid, and human babies grown in a garden. It’s one of the best weird flicks you’ll see. Check out the trailer below.

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