Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Damn, I'm Running With Neil's Crew
Anthony Neil Smith's one of my heros, a hard and dark writer who doesn't ask permission before he puts his fingers to the keys. His new book, HOGDOGGIN', will be out from Bleak House June 8th.
To say I was thrilled to be part of the rollout is an understatement. Running around with these guys is...well, let's just say that it might not make the Christmas letter, but it's been on my wish list for ages.
My little riff is over on Neil's site today.
And here's what he had to add:
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In the Last Episode, Victor Gischler helped Steel God and Emerson LaSalle make sweet music together at Blogpocalypse.
When Mar walked into the Virtual Dive Bar with her crew, Smith had the same though he always did when he saw her: I wish Twister would up and die already. But he’d wasted his shot, too shy and too nice too many times. So now they were friends. Good friends. Tore at Smith’s guts.
She walked over to the bar and slapped it a couple of times, her rings like a judge’s gavel. Smith walked over, trying not to smile. Failing. Trying again.
“Fuck them,” she said. “How bout you? Alright?”
He shrugged. “I’ve been up for twelve days straight. Be nice to rest a bit, you know?”
Not like she heard him. She was already casting around, looking for Twister. “He here?”
Smith knew. Regardless of how much he wanted the bastard caught red-handed, it still wouldn’t win him Mar. He said, “Not in days.”
“Get me a Corona.”
He did. She took half of it down I one pull. Then got up and walked out.
Smith knocked once and opened the tool shed door to find Twister sitting on the riding lawnmower, jeans around his ankles, while the girl knelt in front of him, bobbing up and down.
The girl lifted her head and asked, “Who?”
Twister pushed it back down. “Goddamn it, I thought she said tomorrow.”
Smith stood there staring at the girl’s naked back. Not really his type, as she was too blond, too plastic, but something to look at. She had kept on her denim mini and her flip flops, but the t-shirt was tossed in the dust. Like Twister could see those titties--or her head--over his gut anyway. “She’s off looking, so I suppose you’ve got time. Just a head’s up, okay? And clean up that goddamned seat when you’re done. I’ve got to use that thing this weekend.”
Twister put his hands on either side of the girl’s head and pulled her off, her lips actually making a pop when he did. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but I’ve got to go deal with my ex.”
Smith scoffed. Ex. Maybe once a few years ago, for about a week. “Don’t you think you should wash her lip gloss off it, first?”
The girl had reached over for her shirt, but Twister took it from her hands and wiped himself with it.
“Jesus, either that or your panties. Give me a break.”
He wiped down and tossed the shirt at her, zipped up, and pointed his chin at Smith. “All right. Let’s go.”
Out the door of the shed, and a banshee wail goes up. A flying two-by-four slams Twister on the head and Smith on the shoulder.
On one end of that two-by-four is a red-faced and demon-eyed Mar.
The BJ chcik starts screaming, but Mar points at her, shuts her up.
“Ain’t your fault, hon. Just get the hell out of here.”
And she did, clutching her dirty shirt to her chest and bouncing away.
Smith and Twister stood hunched with their surrender palms showing.
Twister went, “Baby, goddamn! What the fuck?”
“You asshole. You fucking asshole.”
“What? We ain’t never had that sort of relationship.”
She thumped him again in the back. “Oh, haven’t we? I at least expect only one woman a day, and today is my day, you bastard.”
“You said tomorrow!”
“And you were suppose to keep it in your pants til then!”
She dropped the wood and crossed her arms. Watched them both suffer.
Twister didn‘t know when to shut up. “How do you know I wasn’t thinking about you while she--”
“STOP!” She wagged her finger at him. “Sit there and hurt, fucker. Don’t talk.”
After a while or moans and hobbling, the guys got straightened out. Mar didn’t look any happier. She said, “You two want to redeem yourselves, come with me.”
They followed her out to the road in front of the dive bar. She mounted her bike and told Twister to ride bitch. That might have been worse than the beating.
“Mine’s just over there. I can go--”
“Get on.” Reved it. “Smith, follow in the truck.
Twister climbed on behind, wrapped his arms around her waist, and nearly started to cry.
When they got back to the store again, it was closed down. Only a few crankheads shuffling around the parking lot, a couple of cars with johns banging whores in the back seats, shocks rocking and squealing.
But no girl.
“She was here.”
“Sure,” Smith said. “When it was open. People leave, you know. Or maybe…”
It looked like Mar was struck by the same thought as Smith. She rushed over to the first car, swung the door open.
“Hey! Fucking close that!”
Not the girl.
On to the other car. Same thing.
The whore said, “Jesus! Is that your wife!”
“Does it look like I’m stopping, bitch?”
Mar close the door and leaned against the trunk while it kept rocking.
Twister went over, rubbed her shoulder. “I’m sorry. I really am.”
“She was just here, though. Why didn’t I…what could I have…”
“Well, the alternative was bringing her to a rally with a bunch of drunk, horny, high bikers. Like that would’ve been a better deal.”
Smith could tell she wanted to give him hell for that. Eyes on fire, oh yeah. But she just shrugged, and Twister embraced her. She didn’t hug him back for a minute. It gave the bar owner some sort of…hope, he guessed that was the word. But then she started to tear up, loosened her grip and slipped her arms around his back.
All Smith could do was stare off into the dark woods, then climb back in his truck and go home.
Once back at the house, he signed up for eHarmony, crossed his fingers, and grinned a little when the first message rolled in…
So maybe I didn’t accept “Granny Panties” when it was sent my way awhile back. Too short (I’m not a big fan of short-shorts. Most feel slight to me, like jokes with punchlines rather than stories to lose myself in). But I have to say, I was intrigued. Loved Sophie’s details. Loved the fetishization of the panties, too. Creepy, splendidly drawn work. Just too goddamned short.
But Sophie Littlefield works in the longer forms, too, thank god. And that’s why I’m eagerly awaiting her novel, A Bad Day for Sorry, in August. After reading her work in Pulp Pusher (the lucky mag that got “Granny Panties”) and Thuglit, two of the best bad ass dogs in the arena, I bring away from it a sense of surprise about how the dark things of the world are all around us, and when we’re faced with them, how we react tells a lot about the sort of people we are under the surface. What do we do with fear? Anger? Frustration? I think of the fight between long married Dalton and Marcy in “Decision Day”, and how she went at him with “all the fury of her years of suburban dissatisfaction and the sheer power of that personal-trainer cultivated firm body,” leaving Dalton with a terrible but inevitable decision to make. Or the friendship that blooms between Destinee and Trish in “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” on a Spring Break trip to Florida, and how that shapes and changes both of them forever.
I’ll order seconds, please. It’s exciting to watch a writer on the rise from our virtual pulp mean streets to the big shot publishers. Go Sophie go! And kick em in the balls once for us, please.
Tonight on the Main Stage: Motorhead, “Orgasmatron”