Two anthologies have recently arrived, each featuring some familiar names from the bizarro scene.
First, Lee Widener has a story called He Was So Old in the latest issue of Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine.
by Garrett Cook
“Won’t you come home, Bill Bailey, won’t you come home?” she screamed the whole night long.
But that was not the name of the treacherous object. The name was raincoat slick, slippery as a womb, harder to grasp than grief. And it was off. The name moved onto the next town and found work as a roustabout, married a girl named Carol but it didn’t last. It was the type of name that had a girl in every port. It was no Messiah, so it couldn’t be nailed down.
In a parking lot outside the bank, William Mack, sheriff of Treesbleed, ducked behind a car as an elephant with a James Dean pompadour opened fire with dual shotguns.
“The jig is up, Billy Joe,” said the sheriff, “I know exactly what you’ve done!”
The crowd gathered round clapped for this staccato three times. They were glad to know their tax dollars were so hard at work. They knew he would never let Billy Joe or his Lakota shaman accomplice, Robert Smallhands escape justice.
But the radio barked to life with the sound of problems that had nothing to do with rogue elephants or Native American sorcerers.
“There’s been a murder.”
“Stop!” the sheriff shouted, waving his arms.
“Why?” asked the rogue elephant as he let loose another burst.
“Why?” asked Robert Smallhands, as he sprinkled some sort of magic dust on the ground.
“Why?” asked the spirits of Robert’s ancestors as they loaded the elephant trailer with sacks of money.
“There’s been a murder!” shouted Sheriff Mack.
One of Robert’s ancestors whispered in his ear. The shaman nodded.
“It is so,” said Robert.
“Was it anyone I know?” asked Billy Joe.
She was dancing as hard as her hooves could take, high off the soul of the pizza guy on the floor.
“Come a little bit closer,” she’d said, “you’re my kind of man, so big and so strong…”
And he did, failing to register the green of her skin and her cloven feet, instead taking in her curves and the rapacious gleam in her eyes. He’d had no idea how rapacious and how ravenous she was. He had no idea that she’d dance him to death and suck his soul out through his cock.
It was in him, the name, vagabond though it was, way in the back with other trivium. She encountered it sometimes before it took its leave. But it always took its leave and it always became Bill Bailey. And she did. She made the usual promises, and they didn’t come to fruition.
William Mack of Treesbleed had a sweet green corpse in his swimming pool. It was a sloppy frameup. Pinned to the chest was a note that read “you did it.”
“How could you!” exclaimed the elephant, eyes dripping great big pachyderm tears.
Robert the Sioux squeezed his temples.
“He didn’t. It’s a frameup.”
“Oh,” said Billy Joe, “I’m very sorry. She was someone I knew.”
“We all knew her,” said the sheriff, “she was an important part of this community.”
“What are we gonna do now?” asked the elephant.
She danced around the room orgasmic and sated. She danced around the room knowing something was coming, and it was going to be good. She stopped screaming for Bill Bailey since morning had broken like a hymen, letting loose a stream of epiphany. Yes, that was the name, that was the thing. She’d attained it.
The doorbell rang and she assumed it was a giant check from Ed McMahon, who would roam the town all revenant-ish to give out giant checks even after death. Because someone had to do it. But standing at the door wasn’t Ed McMahon. It was a milk man, or at least a deliveryman in the whitest uniform she’d ever seen. He was carrying a bouquet of flowers.
“This is for you,” he said, “you’ve done it.”
“For me?” she asked.
And so was the knife in his other hand which he drove in and out thirty times over just to make sure it was done, just to make sure that someone else would be lost to a broken taboo. The Man Who Delivered Flowers took her out to his truck and made a political statement. It was an election year and the other sheriff candidate was his cousin.
What would they do without her; she, who lent beauty and effervescence and hope and asked nothing but souls to drink, she, who had been so innocent and well behaved and not done the one thing she wasn’t supposed to until she did, she whose loss would no doubt cause some sort of important change in the heart of some man or another, she, who was almost a person interested in things besides not doing the wrong thing that would get her murdered…what would they do without her?
The sheriff experienced a complicated epiphany.
“You might just make it out of this alive,” an angel whispered into his ear.
He looked to the crying elephant and the crying shaman and the crying ancestors and knew what to say.
“Take the money and run.”
Author of Murderland part 1:h8, Murderland 2:Life During Wartime, Archelon Ranch, Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective, and Time pimp. Find out more about me: http://thegarrettcook.blogspot.com.
by Garrett Cook
An Author is a Beagle As a Flying Ace
Julie Newmar walks into my office. She doesn’t know that I know who she is. Because she’s wearing her costume.
“Can I help you?” I ask, though I’m afraid I can’t.
“There’s been a murder,” she tells me.
“It’ll cost you,” I tell her, though it’s a lie.
She stands up, and improvises an awkward, but sensual dance. Outside it’s raining, but I’m not concerned. Julie Newmar is dancing.
“I’ll take the case,” I tell her and it brings me to Morocco. There’s a hot tip at The Blue Parrot. Turns out I’m a cartoon dog with a vivid imagination.
A Girl in a Girl Mask Three Sizes Too Small
Julie Newmar walks into my office. But I know that this time it isn’t her. Because her girl mask is three sizes too small.
“Aha!” I shout, pointing my gun in the face of Kali.
Kali pulls off her Kali mask and underneath it is Julie Newmar.
“Aha!” she says, pointing a gun in my face.
She pulls off my detective mask and underneath is Jackie Gleason.
She cries. Rips open her Catwoman suit. Rips open the skin underneath. I take a bite from her chocolate heart. I cry. Julie Newmar is a woman like other women.
“Baby, you’re the greatest!”
I am chasing Julie Newmar through the jungle. This is a new thing for us. I am caught by feral businessmen.
“Actualize yourself!” they scream.
“Branding is important!”
“Build your business development!”
“What the fuck does that even mean?” I shout.
They begin to cry. They pound the ground with their tiny business fists.
“We don’t know!” they weep.
“Gold ticket inner circle audience!” one ventures.
Gold chains appear on my neck. I spit jargon at the speed of light. They eat each other. I don’t want them to. I want them to. Wherever she is, Julie Newmar is sopping.
The Manchurian Can’t-i-date
Julie Newmar is running for president. She has an assassination fetish. I’m curare’d up and standing on a building. She is giving a speech on how assassins are pussies. A man dressed like me has a question. Turns out it’s me. Which is odd because I’m standing on that building.
“Will you marry me?”
“Yes,” she says, looking up at that building.
I am confused. Do I kill her? Do I marry her? Do I fuck her? This game is hard.
The crowd disperses. Julie Newmar clutches her neck. She falls down.
“Avenge me,” she says. “Marry me.”
Author of Murderland part 1:h8, Murderland 2:Life During Wartime, Archelon Ranch and Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective. Find out more about me: http://thegarrettcook.blogspot.com
Issue seven features the novella “Noah’s Arkopolis” by David W Barbee short fiction by David Agranoff, Molly Tanzer, Andrew Wayne Adams, Shane McKenzie and Dustin Reade, comics by Andrew Goldfarb and SCAR, articles by Constance Ann Fitzgerald, Carlton Mellick III, Kirsten Alene Pierce, Garrett Cook and Bradley Sands, a spotlight on author Jordan Krall, reviews, and more!
Click HERE to order The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction (Issue Seven)!
A feeling has been tearing up the underground of the fiction world. It’s a nightmare reflection of the society you inhabit, a surreal explosion of pop, punk, and the post-apocalypse. Over the last decade, Bizarro Fiction has changed the definition of avant garde, it’s abolished the traditional prose of yesterday and established a new precedent for awesome. Collected in this anthology is some of the best weird fiction from the past decade. Award-winning writers, cult prodigies and burgeoning talents all collected together in one place. This is what you’ve done with the last ten years of your life.
With stories by:
D. Harlan Wilson, Alissa Nutting, Joe R. Lansdale, Carlton Mellick III, Kevin L. Donihe, Blake Butler, Ryan Boudinot, Vincent Sakowski, Cody Goodfellow, Amelia Gray, Robert Devereaux, Mykle Hansen, Athena Villaverde, Matthew Revert, Garrett Cook, Roy Kesey, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Aimee Bender, Ian Watson & Roberto Quaglia, Jeremy C. Shipp, Andersen Prunty, Jedediah Berry, Andrea Kneeland, Kurt Dinan, David Agranoff, Ben Loory, Kris Saknussemm, Stephen Graham Jones, Bentley Little, David W. Barbee, and Tom Piccirilli.
Published by Eraserhead Press. Edited by Cameron Pierce.
Order The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade today.
by Garrett Cook
Hey guys, sorry about the lack of flash fiction last week. To make it up to you, I’m offering you this super great portrait of Garrett Cook I drew, in addition to his amazing flash piece, “All About the Sheriff”.
There is nothing to be known in this donut shop. But every day he comes in with his questions and his pliers and his high beaver count ten gallon hat. And he comes around and keeps on asking questions and twisting the fingers of local low-lives until everything they know comes pouring out. It’s inconsequential that it’s never what he needs. What’s he supposed to do? He’s the sheriff.
There was a time when this city was just a bare whitewashed wall that walked around with him, interposing itself between him and those he loved, in particular this one woman whose name he has forgotten, but if you ask the wall, it will tell you. You just have to know which wall to ask. And that information doesn’t come cheap.
In the beginning, she could sneak behind the wall, trick it into looking away, pole vault over it or approach him from the sides. It was just one wall and she was brave and beautiful and optimistic and used to men and their sad, secret places. Every man has them, after all. They could carry on their life and love almost as if it wasn’t there. But it was.
The first wall attracted a second wall, as walls often do. While it is hard to get around a wall that doesn’t want you getting past it, it’s twice as difficult getting around two of them. Physical contact becomes exhausting, lovemaking virtually impossible. That’s what the walls tell me at least. And I have no reason to believe they didn’t perform their tasks admirably.
Though the man who would be sheriff wasn’t getting any, the walls found time to breed and gave birth to twins. Walls grow up quickly. It was only a matter of days before the man who would be sheriff found himself in a box. The box had almost no cellphone reception, just enough to hear her pick up the phone, say his name, a name he has since forgotten and ask “is that you?” and God help the poor bastard, by the end of the week, he wasn’t sure. A week in a box that you know you’re responsible for does that to a man. Had he not known from the cellphone calls that there was a girl out there somewhere, there would have been nothing left of him.
At last, a door appeared in one wall. Was it the will of the man who would be sheriff? It’s difficult to say. What the man who would be sheriff knew was that he was grateful for it. He opened the door and walked out into a snowbound city, born during his seclusion. There was a cowboy standing in the street, face wet with tears red as a stoplight from misery.
The cowboy hugged the man who would be sheriff. He placed his cowboy hat on the man who would be sheriff’s head and a tin star on the man who would be sheriff’s chest. The cowboy turned, took a few steps, put his sixgun up to his head and blew his brains out. I meet a lot of people here in this donut shop and I haven’t met a single one that knew who this cowboy was or where he came from. There are some folks who are adamant that the cowboy doesn’t exist and others who will scream out “by the cowboy!” as an oath.
The man who would be sheriff found himself wearing a tin star and a high beaver count hat and wandering the streets of the city that grew around him during his time in the box. Petty crimes stopped at the sight of the desperate tinstarred gentleman whose loneliness was poison and whose fear turned quickly into a rain of lead that would cleanse the criminal souls of their impurities. And it wasn’t long before his loneliness and fear spread across this whole damn city.
There is nothing to be learned at this donut shop, although he comes here often enough. The criminal types that congregate here only know about crime. It’s what they do. They’re criminals after all. There is nothing that can be learned in this donut shop. I make sure of that and he could twist my fingers off and not hear a word he doesn’t already know.
I’ve seen her a couple times. Late at night when the criminals have left and the sheriff has already made his rounds. Yeah. The one he built the wall to protect himself from, the one he built the city to avoid, the one he’s still trying to find. She gets a lowfat muffin and a coffee and she tells me “don’t tell him that I came.” And I never do.
Garrett Cook is the author of the Murderland Series, Archelon Ranch and Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective. Find out more about him: http://thegarrettcook.blogspot.com