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.
Then our very own trans superhero MP Johnson gets interviewed by Litreactor about language, masculinity, and her latest zine, Trans Mess. Represent, girlfriend.
MP Johnson, author of many weird and wonderful books, has created a zine chronicling her journey coming out as a trans lady. And since I’m a regular guy, I’ll let her pitch this powerful piece of art in her own words:
For those of you who don’t know, I recently came out as a trans lady. I changed my name to Emma, although I’m keeping MP Johnson as my pen name, and I moved to Chicago. Anyway, this has all been a long time coming, but in the process I’ve been writing a lot about what’s happening, what’s led up to this and how I’m feeling about all of it.
I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think it’s some powerful stuff, and I put a lot of heart into it. Since I’m a long-time zine nerd (Holy shit! It’s been almost 20 years since I released my first zine), I thought a lot of this writing would really fit that format, so I created a zine called Trans Mess, which is available now. Here’s the cover:
This is a good companion piece to my book Nails, which is coming out in November from Lazy Fascist Press. That book is a snapshot of one weekend in my life from about 10 years ago. It’s kinda upsetting even when I read it now, just not knowing who I was or how to express my gender identity properly. This zine shows where I’m at now. It’s still messy, but I think I’m in a healthier, more positive place. Anyway, I hope you’ll consider reading it. It’s definitely some of my best writing.
Buy Trans Mess at MP Johnson’s store!
Bizarro author and editor MP Johnson got to sit down with Rue Morgue to talk about HYBRID MOMENTS, his anthology of weird fiction dedicated to the Misfits. You can check it out here, and if you’re feeling purchasy, head to Amazon for your own copy of Hybrid Moments!
The maniacs at Weirdpunk Books are putting together another anthology based on awesome and transgressive music. Last time it was G.G. Allin. This time it’s THE MISFITS.
You know the songs. They’re etched into every punk’s brain. Not just because they’re catchy, but because there’s something else there. Glenn Danzig’s lyrics evoke intense imagery. Beautiful, dark, monstery imagery. There’s poetry between the whoa-oh-ohs. There are stories in those songs. They just need to be told.
The guys at Weirdpunk Books have already put together an insane table of contents and now just need a little backing to get the project printed and distributed. All fans of weird fiction or devotees of the Misfits should seriously consider donating! Head to the Hybrid Moments Kickstarter to join the fun. Even the smallest donations can earn you some great prizes.
by MP Johnson
A young man pissed on an illuminated lamp, shouting, “See, I’m not electrocuted!” A teenage girl with dripping eyeliner announced, “I’ll stick this wine bottle in my vagina for 30 bucks.” Two guys punched each other in the face, laughing as wounds opened up. The sound of amateur porn being filmed in a nearby bedroom occasionally overtook the cacophony coming out of knife-wounded stereo speakers. Donald sat on a couch in the corner of the trashed apartment and realized that, at age 41, he was too old for this party.
But his girlfriend wasn’t.
Cinda shoved Lamp Pisser aside and snatched the wine bottle from Eyeliner Drips. She took a swig and sat beside Donald. “Enjoying yourself, hon?”
“Do you go to college with these people?” Donald asked.
“They’re mostly artists,” she explained, shrugging.
The face punchers started kissing. Blood dripped from their lips as they pressed their mouths together.
Cinda pulled Donald into the kitchen, where it was mercifully quieter. She casually introduced him to the half dozen partygoers crammed onto the dirty linoleum as “The best thing that has happened to me all month.”
“Beer pong!” someone screamed.
Everyone stomped and cheered. Nobody heard Donald say, “I don’t think I’m going to play.” He always declined invitations to participate in activities involving coordination, which his coworkers constantly harangued him about. It had cost him many lucrative golf course networking opportunities. Still, the face he saved by not revealing his ineptitude seemed worth the tradeoff.
But now he was cajoled, not just verbally, but physically, into playing this game he had never heard of. He was forcibly shoved against the kitchen table. Cinda kissed a ping-pong ball and placed it in his hand. He muttered something about being a little tipsy, and then bounced the ball against the tabletop.
As expected, it did not land in any of the full cups of beer on the other end of the table. Instead, it bounced straight into the open eye of a stallion-haired man standing on the other side of the kitchen.
“Motherfucker!” Stallion Hair screamed.
Cinda ran to Stallion Hair’s side, patting his mane and cooing.
One of the kids pushed Donald. “That was shitty, man.”
Everyone in the kitchen grunted in agreement.
“What?” Donald asked.
“Throwing the ball at Cinda’s ex. That was fucked up. You here to start a fight? Mr. Alpha Male?” the confronting kid accused.
“I didn’t know that was her ex,” Donald said.
“So you threw a ball into some random guy’s eye?” the kid asked.
Cinda interrupted. Donald hoped her words would inject some reason and get him out of this jumble. Instead, she said icily as she coddled her ex, “You could have poked his fucking eye out, asshole.”
Hand over his wound, Stallion Hair said to Donald, “I think my vision’s coming back. You should be gone before it does.”
So Donald fled. Into the suburban streets. Alone.
He opted to walk home to contemplate the evening’s events. It took a few blocks for the rush of adrenaline to die down. Even then he couldn’t understand what had happened. Well, he understood this: He had fallen for a gorgeous college girl and gotten sucked into her world, calling in sick to run around between high-end boutiques and scummy record stores, buying her food at restaurants he would never have gone to on his own, and following her around like a lost puppy. He had kept up with her well until tonight. She had made him feel half his age.
The sound of footsteps behind him interrupted his thoughts. He spun around quickly, hoping to see Cinda chasing him down to apologize, to tell him that everyone was drunk and they had made a stupid mistake. He hoped it wasn’t Stallion Hair stalking him with bunched fists and a boner for vengeance.
But it wasn’t Cinda. It wasn’t Stallion Hair.
Standing in the middle of the road: a man with frayed electrical cords wrapped around his head so tightly his nose seemed to squeeze out from between them like dough through fingers, splotchy with burst blood vessels. Sprouts of calico hair stuck out amidst shredded black insulation and exposed copper wire. Little gaps made room for staring, deep-set eyes.
The man wore a flannel shirt, buttoned to the top. Nothing else.
“Hey man,” Donald said, “are you okay?”
The man nodded.
Donald started to walk away, but couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. He turned around again. TVs flickered in the picture windows of poorly maintained houses. The strange man still stood there, half naked, basking in the glow of the streetlights.
Donald said, “I feel like something is wrong?”
The man nodded.
Slowly, the man unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a freshly waxed chest. Words had been scratched around the inflamed follicles: “Something is wrong!”
“Were you at the party?” Donald asked.
The man ran his hands over his electrical cord-covered face, like a cat cleaning itself. Then he squatted and shat in the street. Runny shit splashed off the blacktop and onto his hairless ankles. Finished, he stepped back, kneeled down and began fingering through his shit, rooting for something.
Donald asked, “Who are you?”
The man drove his hand deep into the shit puddle. Too deep. It sank in to the wrist, to the forearm, to the elbow. He wiggled his tongue through his electrical cord mask, concentrating as he reached shoulder deep into the puddle of feces. When he withdrew, he had something clenched between his dripping fingers.
Even in the streetlight, Donald couldn’t make the object out. He squinted. Had he drank too much? His alcohol-clouded brain recognized that, whatever the object was, the man held it in a threatening manner. Indeed, something was wrong.
The man moved closer, stomping barefoot through his shit puddle and leaving a trail behind. Donald backpedalled, but tripped over his own feet. His tailbone cracking against the street made him cry. Or had he been crying since he left the party? Probably. And now this crazy man was going to make matters worse. This man, with electrical cords wrapped around his head and shit running down his smooth legs, this man who now hovered over Donald, viciously wielding…
Donald laughed nervously.
The man peeled the banana, revealing a sharp stake molded out of petrified veins, blue and solid. He raised the stake over his head to strike.
“Who are you?” Donald cried out again. “Are you an artist?”
The man drove the stake into Donald’s forehead.
“I am Kreepy Krawly.”
MP Johnson’s short stories have appeared in more than 25 underground books and magazines, including Bare Bone and Cthulhu Sex. His debut book, The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, was recently released by Bizarro Pulp Press. He is the creator of Freak Tension zine, a B-movie extra and an obsessive music fan currently based in Minneapolis. Learn more at www.freaktension.com.
Artwork “Shadow Games” copyright © 1993 Alan M. Clark
A special Flash Fiction Friday event Oct. 4th – Nov. 1st. Featuring the talents of MP Johnson, Shane McKenzie, Alan M. Clark, Robert Devereaux and Gabino Iglesias. Check back soon… or you may not have a back. Or maybe you’ll have a back, but with a knife in it! Boo!
“Shadow Games” copyright © 1993 Alan M. Clark