On the west side of Toronto there’s a little town of about 600,000 called Mississauga. That’s where Julia Madeleine lives and works and writes nasty little tales of mayhem and suspense. She’s also a tattoo artist and runs a shop with her husband. You can check out her artwork at www.malefictattoos.com.
Driving a cab teaches you to cultivate your inner asshole. Especially at night. I drove a taxi for the Prometheus Cab Co. for four years in Fayetteville. Despite uneven pay it remains one of the best jobs I ever had. I quit when I got engaged to a tall blonde Texan party girl I’d known and chased for years at that point, who was stuck in a halfway house in Tulsa and said she wanted to move to a place where she could kick back and play her guitar. I suggested Eureka Springs and she said yes, so I quit the job and moved. Continue reading
By Paul D Brazill
Billy Karlsson is a disgruntled hospital porter; an urban Raskolinikov; an existentialist powder keg waiting to explode. An angry young man who has hatched a plan to blow up a hospital in order to vent his revenge on the world. But there are one or two obsticles in his way, the biggest being that he isn’t real. Karlsson is, in fact, a charcter in a long-shelved, unfinished, black novel by writer Declan Burke.
A smashing, crunching of wood woke Bryn from his afternoon nap. He jumped to the window and rattled the net curtain. The door across the street had been demolished. Six officers, heavily booted and uniformed piled into the house.
“Druggies across the street being raided,” he called to his wife.
“That’s nice dear,” she said, her head not moving from her laptop screen.
“Six of them, police, piling in.”
He watched them fly up the stairs, the door half hanging from its hinges. “Get the bastards,” he muttered. They’d been nothing but trouble, that lot. Rented house, that’s what the problem was. This wasn’t that sort of area. Parties at night, comings and goings at all hours. They were nothing but trouble.
Harry Bales heard the slap of the newspaper on his doorstep as the paper boy cycled by. Whistling cheerfully, he went out to get it.
It was a placid early summer day. A light breeze ruffled the tops of the sycamore trees up and down the street. Bales picked up the newspaper, glanced at the top half of the front page. More dead soldiers in Iraq. More lay-offs from major corporations. More salmonella in canned goods.
He nodded, comforted by the predictability of the news. He started back into the house, flipping the paper over to see the bottom half.
He stopped cold in his doorway.
A photograph took up most of the space at the bottom of the paper’s front page. It showed a man with thinning hair, a pleasant but slightly crooked nose, an unassuming mouth. The caption under the photo read: Harold J. Bales, 36 years old, Complete and Total Bastard.
He stared at it for a long moment.
I am immersed in the sepia shot of memory.
Maple Summer and the slow lawns drenched in water. They soak the thick blades of grass and make you drowsy in the heat. The air is full of sap. Fluids breed. Drop by drop the water falls, saturating the drooping petals that want to rise with dawn’s tumescence. The lawns extend to the river that uncoils like a fettered snake beyond human harness and the things we keep at bay in daylight but not the night, never the night, for it knows.
The synthetic packet of eight cooked chicken pieces stared at him illogically. “There are more chicken pieces if I want them, but less if I don’t,” Jack was thinking to himself, facing into the fridge. He wasn’t good at thinking.
“Bitch,” he muttered, “Bitch.”
The Bitch was thinking at least I left some chicken pieces; they should calm him down, like a comforter, a drum stick as a comforter; she half wanted to laugh at the picture of Jack with a drumstick sticking out of his mouth. The other half of her wanted to jam the drumstick into his gullet so he choked to death and collapsed blue and dead on the Continue reading
You know what it’s like when you go around thinking you know there was something you had to do, but you can’t remember what it was. Yeah, I’m sure you do. Happens to all of us now and again, don’t it? Well that’s what happened to me this morning, prob’ly because I got up late and went out in a hurry. Apart from that, it was just a normal day.
I have a routine, see. First, I go to Hardwick’s newsagent and get a paper and a pack of Marlboro. Shouldn’t I know, but you know how it is. Then I walk across the rec. to Manny Mohan’s hypermarket. Always makes me laugh that . . . hypermarket. It’s not much bigger than my back garden. Mind you, there ain’t much he don’t have. Amazing Continue reading
He winked, she winked. Her wink slammed into his libido like a tennis ball ricocheting off of a racket. It sensually stung. It aroused his senses with the eternal vague promise that every man wants from every woman, that tantalizing tease of sex. A twenty dollar tip left on the stage sent a return volley of interest. She winked a second time as she absconded with the tip. Now she danced only for him. This man to her was interested and interesting. Significant tips will make men seem more significant than they probably are or possibly ever will be. It will fog a girl’s judgment. Money will do that to a girl in her line of work. It will probably do it to most women regardless of their line of work.
He was nailed to the wall.
Not a stitch of clothes on. Nailed to the white painted wall with arms and legs splayed out. Nails, about a dozen of them in each arm and leg, held him firmly on the wall about six feet off the dull colored gray cement floor. A dead carcass on a virgin white canvas-covered wall. Blood, dark . . . almost black . . . from the gapping hole in his neck ran down his chest and one leg, pooling on the floor beneath him in a grim lake of past deeds.
Last week, I hit a homeless man. Okay, I hit him a few times. He didn’t hit back, only helplessly yelled, “stop, stop, stop” like a poorly timed chorus in a punk-rock song. I finally did stop when I heard more honking cars than I had my whole life. They sounded the same, all too high-pitched to be taken seriously, all operated by people too pussy themselves to stop what I was doing. I rushed back in my car, blew a red light and turned the wrong way down a one-way street but kept going, focusing on my rearview the whole way until I heard another honk. Then, I instinctively, immediately stomped on the brake pedal, for my own safety.
The subway train flew by Lowell Sweeney as he pulled his body weight backwards at the last possible second. There were a few sighs of relief on the station platform, muffled by the roar of underground public transportation. At this hour, it would take four or five minutes before another train stopped by. He would have to stay on the edge, rocking and keep asking himself. Over and over again. Keep trying to find the courage. Might as well get in before somebody calls security. There would be a better moment to die.
“Well now, looks like we got us a little situation here son.” He leans back looking at the ceiling and blows a perfect smoke ring, then another.
“Yessir. You got that right.”
He lowers his head and stares at me with his one good eye. The other, the lazy one as my dad used to call them, drifts up above me and to the left. Whatever you want to call an eye like that, I didn’t like looking at it so I concentrate on his mustache for the most part.
“And I ain’t your son.”
“Well yeah, there is that. Thank heaven for small miracles.” He shifts his position on the couch as he speaks and I follow him with the Remington. Des is a rough piece of work. My mother’s latest in a long line of boyfriends. This one was a hard man no doubt, as big as a fuckin’ doorway and not an ounce of fat on him either.
We stare at each other for a bit more.
Alone now, I tread the shore to a tangled spot in the jungle and calm myself under a roof of wilted palm trees and wild weeds. To the west, The Cannibal Priestess and Cannibal Daughters sharpen tools for another hunt; I imagine their snarling mouths ripping into my flesh. The Priestess chants a litany of wavering verse that crescendos in a sustained falsetto squeal to the delight of her audience. I shiver through the echoing applause of twisted giggles and wild cheers. All night the Daughters hum praise to their Priestess like beautiful engines of insatiable death; bare bellies and murderous lust-songs gurgle through the jungle night.
Izzy spit teeth onto the sidewalk outside the Hidden Cove Lounge and watched the reflection of the bar’s neon in the window of a long black car parked at the curb. His eyes shifted to the bald tank of a man who’d liberated a couple of his pearly whites. “You’re gonna have to do better than that, Randall.”