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Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Slade Ham

Silent Warrior

November 10th, 2009
by Slade Ham


It started at 3:00 am and it didn’t stop. It was relentless. It’s the second attack in as many weeks and my sanity may suffer for it. I am under siege from the most well trained, mosquito assassin on the planet.

I have forever been aware of the buzzing annoyance that describes most mosquitoes. This one though, this one is a special breed. With a regular attacker, you can isolate it by its sound. You listen to it as it gets closer and closer and then slap the last place you heard it. I’ve killed them by the thousands over my lifetime, and I’m afraid that’s why they’ve sent this demon warrior after me. The Uruk-Hai of the insect world.


Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)

Paul Clayton

IeBAF 2001

October 10th, 2009
by Paul Clayton


You’re a writer, right? You’ve been writing for eight years, ten years, fifteen… and you’ve had a few small successes. But not with ‘the book,’ the one you poured your heart into over the years, the one that is not merely an entertainment, but is true, containing the essence of yours and others’ experiences, and the little bit of insight it all gave you. You’ve submitted it to the big New York houses hundreds (sometimes it seems like thousands) of times… with no result other than enough rejection slips to stuff a queen sized mattress.


Ronlyn Domingue

How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Russians (Iraqis, North Koreans, and so on) and Hate War

October 1st, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue


I confronted eschatology too young. Although benign compared to some beliefs, my Catholic upbringing placed me at the sidelines of Armageddon—strange references to a kingdom come, the Second Coming, Judgment Day. I got queasy at the mention of the Book of Revelations. Sermons and syntactically-strained Bible readings led me to infer a tremendous destructive end to all life, human, animal, insect, plant. There were drawings in books, filled with fire, angels and demons, a sea of the damned. For a child, it’s impossible to reconcile a loving Father with one who will kill every one of his children with wanton violence. Children also don’t grasp metaphor.


John L. Singleton

Things I Learned About the Apocalypse Over Labor Day While Vacationing In Palm Springs, California

September 15th, 2009
by John L. Singleton


So, I’ve been working pretty hard lately. And by working hard, I mean that I’ve been working really hard, for long hours (12 or so of them every single day) for about the last two years. As a reader of this little article, you might wonder what I’ve been working at for all of these hours, but that’s not important. What is important is that at this point, the only thing that really punctuates my working of really long hours is the drinking of highball glasses of Jim Beam, which helps me work more but alas (according to all of the addiction recovery books I seem to be reading lately) doesn’t really relax me. At least not in the way a good vacation would. A good, sober vacation. And what better place to get away from it all (or at least the burning, wood-fired Tandoori oven that is LA right now) than Palm Springs, California, just two hours away!

At first this seems like a great idea, right? A relaxing desert, a pool, room service… All awesome things. However…


Paul Clayton

Smiley Face Fiction

September 13th, 2009
by Paul Clayton


I sent one of my stories to a so-called literary magazine and got back the strangest rejection letter I’ve ever received — and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I’d never heard of The @$$!@# Reader until the night I picked up (but didn’t buy) a copy at my local Borders where I go with my daughter, D, every Wednesday afternoon. (more…)

Don Mitchell

Pictures of Makis

September 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell


In the white shimmering overexposed one he’s looking through his chrome camera at Niagara Falls in late December. This was before black cameras were the common things they are now, so the only black in the print is Makis’ face, though little of it shows above the fur collar and below the knit hat. It’s 1978.
In another he’s holding what we christened the world’s largest chicken, a stupendous fowl as big as a small turkey. He cradles it in the crook of his arm as if it were a baby. We couldn’t decide whether to boil it village fashion or to roast it whiteman style. In the end we roasted it because we had neither bush spinach nor coconut milk, and anyway, what’s the point of bogus village cooking?

Kip Tobin

Mil Palabras: Guadalajaran Trees

August 30th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

August 30, 2029


In those days, I was finishing up a degree in the Spanish language in Guadalajara, Mexico, riding the wave of what was left of my mid-life postponement, wedged between two countries, two languages, girlfriends, professions, et al. I remember I turned 36 there, straddling the fence between youth and middle-age, having just moved from Madrid where I had lived for almost six years, and the six weeks in Mexico was an understated adjustment, preceded by the initial shock that Mexico was not even second but third world.


D.R. Haney

3301 Waverly Drive

August 13th, 2009
by D.R. Haney


Jerry and Mary Neeley used to own the best video store on the east side of L.A. That’s where I met them, and since they closed shop two years ago to sell movie collectibles online, we’ve occasionally met for coffee and talk of, among other topics, true crime. We’ve also kept in touch by e-mail, and last week Mary sent the following message:

As you know, the 40th anniversary of Tate/LaBianca is this August 8th & 9th. (Technically, the 9th & 10th because both parties were killed after midnight.)

I wanted to go to the LaBianca house around 1am on the 10th to see if anyone else shows up. Would you be interested? I don’t want to walk up there alone at 1am.

James D. Irwin

The Most Evil Square Foot, or: How to Humiliate Hitler With Spandex

July 13th, 2009
by James D. Irwin


The Frankenstadion in Germany was a venue for the 2006 World Cup.

It is where England managed a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago, where Mexico thrashed Iran 3-1 and the USA were defeated by Ghana.

The stadium is much older than it looks. In its current state it looks like a very modern soccer stadium, but this is the result of several rounds of renovation.

Its original purpose gives a clue as to the evil that lies directly behind it.

The Frankenstadion was built in 1928 as a marching ground for the Hitler Youth.

The soccer team that now plays there is 1FC Nuremberg.

And behind the Frankenstadion lie the Nazi Rally Grounds.


Darian Arky

A Thousand Words: The First One to Die

July 9th, 2009
by Darian Arky

Mary Richert


June 19th, 2009
by Mary Richert


Visceral: Of or pertaining to the viscera.

Viscera: The organs in the cavities of the body, especially the abdominal cavity.

Viscus: Singular of viscera

Viscous: Of a glutinous nature or consistency; sticky; thick; adhesive

Vicious: Addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate

I could go on looking up definitions of words all day. My vocabulary is so lacking. Visceral, though. That’s a good one.


Uche Ogbuji

Tongue of Warcraft, Part One—Taboo Words

June 14th, 2009
by Uche Ogbuji


I’ve studied martial arts most of my life, but I don’t enjoy watching fistfights. Sure, I sometimes watch MMA bouts, mostly as an exercise in making sense of techniques I learned in my Jujutsu days. But I am a salacious voyeur of one class of fights, one that weighs more in murderous intent than in mere blood. When it comes to fights over language, I’m part Don King, part corner, part cut man, part ringside rat, but never referee nor pugilist. This is the first of a few pieces about linguistic rage. First up, the real powder-keg: words of social distinction.


Doug Mulliken

Wherein, Upon the 65th Anniversary of my Grandfathers not Invading Normandy, I Reflect on What I Have Learned in the Past Year

June 5th, 2009
by Doug Mulliken


65 years ago, the wall was written upon.  The allies invaded Normandy, signalling (for all intents and purposes) the beginning of the end of World War II.  Neither of my grandfathers were involved in those invasions.  One was 4-F, the other was 2-B.  By June 6, 1944 both of my parents had already been born, so even if my grandfathers had fought at Normandy, my arrival on this planet thirty-nine years later would not have been necessarily altered.  But my father fought in Vietnam, my brother joined the Army a month before 9/11, I grew up in Navy Town, USA, and I share my birthday with, arguably, the most important day of combat in the entire 20th century.  So the military has always been present in my life.  By the time this posts, it will be June 6, 2009.  So I thought I would take a look back and see how things have changed, and what I have learned, in the last year. (more…)

Peter Gajdics

Persona Non Grata

April 20th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics


My mother has taken to writing letters, in German, to her granddaughter, my sister’s oldest daughter. My niece is 14 years old, and has been studying German, my mother’s native tongue, for three years. When I asked my mother what she writes in her letters—not that it’s any of my business—she said, “I tell her about my experiences in the concentration camp. I think she’s old enough to learn what her grandmother survived.”


David Breithaupt

Killing Pain With Jerry Stahl - A Brief Interview

April 8th, 2009
by David Breithaupt


I kicked my last dope habit in federal prison and I can tell you, there’s nothing romantic about it. Whatever you might imagine the experience to be will probably not be far off the mark. Picture hellish monotony, cramps that never vanish, months of sleeplessness and of course, that special craving. Making art out of this experience is difficult. My own recollection of the episode is dank and foul. As Dante said of his Inferno, death is hardly more bitter. (more…)

David Breithaupt

A Midwestern Koan - Reflections On A Possible Wisdom

January 30th, 2009
by David Breithaupt


Shit is gold. That’s the message I saw written in the snow on the State House lawn as I waited for my bus transfer. It was Monday, January 19th, the last day of W’s reign of dumbness and I was feeling jubilant.  The stinging cold did not hinder the usual crowd of stragglers, panhandlers and misfits. Even the Thalidomide Kid was in his usual spot across the street, bobbing to his interior beat next to his coffee can full of change. I was hoping for the bus to hurry and as I waited, I wondered what the anonymous author meant by his cryptic message. (more…)

Peter Gajdics


December 2nd, 2008
by Peter Gajdics


When my mother was twenty years old she was taken from her home in Modosch, Yugoslavia, and jailed in one of the most notorious death camps in Petrovgrad, known for having nightly “killing parties.” Runnels had been dug in the earth, and every night a dozen prisoners would be led outside and horsewhipped till their blood flowed through the channels below, like veins in the earth, to a large pit at one end of the camp. From inside the barracks, she listened as the prisoners’ flesh was ripped from their bones. One month later she stopped menstruating. Two years later she attempted to escape, but was caught near the Romanian border and returned to the death camp.


Reno J. Romero

The Turkey’s Gone, But There’s Still Pig in the Fridge

December 1st, 2008
by Reno J. Romero


The NFL season is winding down. Which is a little sad. Not entirely sad because there’s still a lot of football to be played. But still. Week 13 is a goner. All bets are settled.

The payoffs are in the distance.

For some teams.

The beginning of the season is always full of talk. All the experts on TV and radio yapping it up, telling us how the season is going to play out.

“I see the Patriots running the table,” some of them said. (more…)

Paul A. Toth

ABC: Always Be Corrupting…Stop Bank “Fees” Now

November 13th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth


Call this Piss Americana.  Not only were we duped into believing a bank bailout was necessary, and not only must we pay the very institutions that caused this economic crisis (”Granny, can I call it a ‘depression’ now?”), but the banks have already unleashed plans to blatantly misuse the appropriated funds. I suggest we should have let them have their free market and take us all down with them, so that real change might occur…and you know what that will take: the burning, the looting, and the exposure of the police state ready to react (but perhaps not so ready as it thinks).  Yet beyond all of this, Bank of America, in particular, and major banks in general, continue engaging in an unconscionable tactic that generates billions of dollar in stolen profits every year: “Fees.” (more…)