Giovanni Mangiante


anguish and disorder
keep the fingers typing,
and a little wine
is always
good for the neck pain
that comes with it
when the muse
keeps you
strapped to your chair
feeding you cigarettes
until either 
she goes away
or you drop unconscious.

I’m a few loose vertebrae away
from my first collection
although I am yet to write
a poem 
about my scoliosis—
but there’s plenty of wine
for that and my flat feet.

Eric Bischoff


It feels stale—
wanting some dramatic destiny
to be drugged into my dreams
but being only
into a poet
and wanting and feeling nothing more,
and so that poetry is spat prepubescently
into a dented trumpet I play,
sheepishly swaying an imitation of a dance
on marbled romances, absurdities;
On a quest to deify myself, honestly,
and finally be shown to the world
as a donkey.

This line of work will make your mother faint.
This will make dad drink again,
advise knocking it off while he nods off.
This is a sick fetish for the

self-proclaimed mystics,
a poor excuse for laziness, really,
a lie for some disgruntled manager.

I’d’ve gotten my head straight, I swear,
but I knew I’d use too much force
and twist it ‘till it breaks in its place,
would’ve popped my head out of

those rippling pages,
but I knew it was too late,

Too late to stay safely crouched into
computer friendships and households,
or soaked in a sexy self pity,
too late to be lazy without the constant
drag of a dream, too late to stay

behind, rolling my eyes
at the dreamy poet who dies with

each word I sacrifice.

So goes the work and it’s slot eats your coins,
and so goes another hungover morning
as I slowly bend and deeply,
in my own dreamt destiny decline,
to write out some beauty which I know
will rot in the hideous sundown
of a horrible caffeine comedown.

But, by god, in the face of all that,
I will be the most insane mistake to ever
sneeze upon a sunny face;

the worst retired beauty,
fat and sick like hospital flesh smells;
a terrible screech cracking golden bells;
a hellish, disruptive, degenerate smear-

Yeah, that’s it alright,
drink up over there, friend,
sure, I like your lips stained red, humor me now,
and pass that red kiss onto a furrowed head—
another bum poet is burning his words,
letting each dog-ear come to life with flame,
hoping to bake loaves of bread to break,
and feed to crows for misery’s sake.

James Diaz

That boy ain’t nothin’ but some poor momma’s grief

i thought i wrote to tell you
everything is fine
but the bottle slipped
pages got wet
here, you want honesty
smell my honesty

burning in the field
under this junkyard sky
bobby lint and the 12 year shadow
my phone is disconnected
but I’m not
i got 32 flavors of razor blades
and base hits, one shoe wonder
up and down the highway in the freezing rain

i thought i told you i wasn’t shit
how come you never believed me
how come you fight the dark
i got laid out every damn place
i ever laid my sorry head
here to Tuuscaloosa
prison yards and my mama’s back porch
day i died in her heart
i went dark
i went dark

i thought i wrote to tell you i wasn’t dead yet
but who can be sure anymore 

feels like dead is everything i do
you know what i mean?
aw shit, you don’t know what i mean 
give it time, you will.

Mather Schneider

Bologna and Grasshopper Sandwiches

In Hermosillo, I get Natalia out of bed and up on her feet with her crutches, and we drive over to Alameda’s house. We try to talk everybody into going to the beach at Kino Bay. It’s an hour drive. But Alameda doesn’t want to go, Adriana doesn’t want to go, nobody wants to go. Well little Leo wants to go. Ok now Alameda wants to go, just let her paint her nails first and call her boyfriend. Can you pick up Pablo? Sure I can pick up Pablo. If Alameda wants to go, then Adriana wants to go too. Now Suegro wants to go. He hasn’t been to the beach in 30 years. 

An hour later we are on the road with a minivan full. Blue skies, music on the radio, chorro of Spanish chatter.  

Halfway to Kino Bay we stop at a small store in a pueblo called “The 12.” Everyone’s thirsty. Everyone gets out and I stand in the sun and smoke a cigarette. This is a dusty town of rocks and poverty. A tiny Indian walks barefoot through the shattered glass and stands squinting at me with delirious drunken eyes. I give him a dollar. He never stops staring at me as he takes it and I turn away like from some boogie man in a dream.

When everybody gets back with their Gatorades and lime-chile peanuts, the car won’t start. It just turns over and turns over.

  “Start, start, start!” 

“It’s the battery!”

“It ain’t the fucking battery!”

I pop the hood and 3 Mexican guys appear out of nowhere. They dive in, arguing and checking things. The consensus is it’s the fuel pump. The fuel pump’s gone fucked itself. Well what now? It’s Sunday, no mechanic is open here. Somebody phones Arturo my brother-in-law and Arturo calls Cacharpas, the mechanic in the family. They say they’ll get the part and come on out from Hermosillo.

And we wait.

The girls fan themselves and text on their phones, but they don’t complain. Me and Suegro stand in the shade of the little store. At least 4 young Mexican kids have washed the car windows with their squirt bottles. 

There’s a taco stand across the road with green plastic chairs. We trudge over. The taco lady doesn’t want to stand up but finally she does. She ladles out a plate of greasy pork covered in flies, corn tortillas, bottled orange sodas. I ask her for a fork and she looks at me and walks away. We scoop the meat up with our hands, choke down the tacos. Everything smells like urine. A drunk sprawls on the sidewalk, arms outstretched, more sun-burnt than Jesus ever was. People step over him like a rotten banana peel. A truck crashes into a utility pole 20-feet away. We jump and watch the smoke billow from beneath the hood. Two drunk men fall out of the truck cussing at each other. 

Suegro says, “This is a town without law.”

In an hour Arturo and Cacharpas arrive. They’ve brought Cacharpas’s wife, Alma, and their 2 boys, Santiago and Chato. They’ve also brought a cooler full of beer. We push the car over to a shady spot on the edge of a vacant lot. Cacharpas checks under the car and shit god dammit they’ve brought the wrong kind of water pump. 

“I told you,” Arturo says.

“You didn’t tell me nothing!” Cacharpas says. 

They have to go back to Hermosillo and pray the auto store is still open. 

Another 2 hour wait. 

Alma and the kids stay. We drink beers and play Frisbee in the rocks and broken glass of the vacant lot. I’ve brought the Frisbee. They call it a “platillo volador” which is another name for a UFO. Alma has brought folding chairs and burritos. Natalia sits with Suegro and Alma, rubbing her knees, wondering if they will ever work right again. She smiles and waves. 

A little kid comes up to us. He’s selling fried grasshoppers. I buy a bag, eat a couple. Not bad. Better with salsa, Natalia tells me.

Arturo and Cacharpas get back with the new fuel pump. They’re drunk now and still arguing about who’s fault this whole thing is. 

“All I’m saying is we should have gone to Neto’s. Neto’s is cheaper,” Artura says. 

“Fuck Neto! Shut the fuck up!”

“Calm down, both of you,” Alma says. “You sound like an old married couple.”

Cacharpas shakes his wrench at Alma and grins. He slides under the car on a piece of cardboard and sets to work bumping his head and beating on something. 

‘The god damned gas tank has to come off,” Cacharpas says from below.

“I told you,” Arturo says, and winks at me. 

The light leaves us. Arturo pulls his car up close and turns on the brights. Nobody watches the sunset, all eyes are trained on the mechanic working his magic. The gas tank comes down and he gets it out from underneath.

“Damn, it’s heavy, got to get that gas out of there. Give me the hose.”

Cacharpas sucks on the hose to get the gas flowing into a bucket.

“You gonna kiss Alma now?” Arturo says.

“Look at this gringo gas, it’s so clean! It looks like lemonade!”

They put the gas into Arturo’s car, he’s almost empty.

“Now the radio’s gonna play gringo music!”

Cacharpas wrestles with the new fuel pump. He’s got to get it on tight. He bitches and moans and laughs, makes jokes I don’t understand. 

“Where’s the last screw?”

Everybody walks around kicking the dirt looking for the lost screw in the dark. Natalia finds it! Arturo gets in behind the wheel, crosses himself and tries to start it.

“Start, start, start!”

It starts! Everyone cheers! Cacharpas the hero! 

I give Cacharpas some money and buy more beer and gas. Everybody climbs into the cars. I’m tired and drunk.  

“Follow me, Mateo,” Arturo says.

He heads for Kino Bay. I let the tide take me, my eyes bleary in the oncoming headlights. 

45 minutes later we roll into the fishing village of Kino Bay. Everything is quiet and dark. The restaurant where we had planned to eat crab tostadas is closed. One small store is still open. Alma and Natalia buy bologna and bread and crackers and cream cheese, which they simply call “Philadelphia.” 

We walk down to the beach. The sand is warm when we take off our shoes. The heavy humid breeze brings the slush of the surf. Stars like white beans scattered with a broom.    

The kids jump in the water like goofy mer-brats. They splash and shriek with their t-shirts on. I toss the Frisbee to them. It glows in the dark. 

The women make bologna and grasshopper sandwiches and pass them around.

“Kino Bay has changed since I was a boy,” Suegro says. “Everything’s changed.”

“Was it more beautiful then?” Natalia says.


“What was it like back then, Suegro?” I say.

“It was empty. There wasn’t nothing. I saw a UFO right here on this spot.”

“How old were you, Apa?” Natalia says.

“Seven or eight,” he says. “Like those kids there. I was with my brother Isidro. Isidro was a year younger. It came from way out in the ocean. It was shaped like a disc and it was very bright. It moved toward us and it hovered in the air over our heads. It was completely silent and made no wind. It was too bright to look straight into. We had to shield our eyes. The lights were blue and white. Then it flew up into the sky, and got smaller and smaller.”

Suegro’s brother Isidro died last week. I never met him. Nobody talks about him. There was no funeral or service. Somebody called Suegro and told him that his brother had died. That’s all we know.   

“Then it disappeared,” Suegro says, “over there.”

He points to the southwest. 

We turn our heads and look to where he points. Suegro wipes his eyes with his red handkerchief.

“Don’t cry, Apa,” Natalia says, putting her arm around his shoulders.

“No, Mija,” he says. 

We are quiet and sit like that for a while, staring at the night sky, wondering what’s out there, listening to the children scream and splash in the water, making our secret wishes, until it is time to go home. 

Judge Santiago Burdon

Venus Envy

When I lived in New Orleans a long while ago, my dame de mois at the time, Simone, gave me a Ledbury dress shirt for my birthday. It was magenta with the inside collar and cuffs in a subtle eggshell hue. I was excited to try it on and model it for her.

The process of opening a new dress shirt is tedious. I have always been curious as to why they use so many straight pins in new shirts. I began pulling out the pins and putting them in a nearby empty beer can.

“Wait, don’t throw them away!” she screamed. “Give them to me, I save straight pins!”

“Why the hell would you want to save all these pins?” I inquired.

“I use them on my voodoo dolls,” she said, smiling in a scary sort of way.

“What the hell are you talking about? Are you telling me you’re a witch?”

“I don’t particularly care for ‘witch’. I’d prefer the term ‘wiccan’, as this would describe me much better. ‘Witch’ has had many connotations popularized by books, movies, and music. Most often we are portrayed as evil or wicked in some way, which is usually not the case.”

“So you practice magic, like casting spells and mixing up potions and stuff like that?”

“Well, yes, but it isn’t sinister like you’re making it sound. Are you familiar with the Wicca religion and its practices?”

“Somewhat, but I’m not as knowledgeable as I’d like to be.”

“We aren’t evil or Satan worshipers. I’m a good witch, not a bad witch, celebrating nature as well as the moon and planets.”

“I appreciate your attempt to comfort me, but the good witch / bad witch reference doesn’t really help. It only reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. That damn movie caused me a great amount of anguish as a child, I’ll have you know. Witches, those damn flying monkeys and all those dwarfs, midgets or little people, whatever is the politically correct name for them, they all really freaked me out. My mother made us watch it every Thanksgiving back home in Chicago, and that song “Over the Rainbow” still sends me into panics whenever I hear it being sung by Judy Temple.”

“No Santi, it’s Judy Garland who sang it, not Shirley Temple. You mixed them together.”

“See what I mean? A perfect example of how even just talking about it causes me distress.”

It was the first and only time I wore that shirt.

I don’t believe in witchcraft, God, ghosts, angels, astrology, ESP, tarot, numerology, palmistry or mediums, werewolves, vampires or any of that pseudo-science garbage. I haven’t made a decision on whether or not Bigfoot exists, however. If so, he is the hide-and-seek champion of the world. Still, I experienced some things in my time with Simone, for which I have no logical explanation.

I’d met her at a gathering to celebrate the movie premiere for Interview With The Vampire. I was excited at the opportunity to meet the famous novelist, Anne Rice. She even autographed my copy of the book, which of course I lost long ago. I’d been invited to the gala event by Richard DuBois, a an college roommate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who was now a Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University. It was the perfect subject for him to be teaching, the reason being he was always so full of bullshit. And that’s exactly what I consider most philosophy to be.

I got drawn into a conversation with a group of people discussing vampires and other supernatural beings when the subject of witches and Marie Laveau, the most famous witch of New Orleans came up. New Orleans is known for its large population of practicing witches, with witchcraft as a registered religion in Louisiana.

I mentioned Nietzsche’s book, Beyond Good and Evil, and his quote in reference to witches: “Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was nonexistent. It is thus with all guilt.”

No sooner had I finished speaking, there she stood before me, as if materializing from the shadow of a nearby magnolia tree. She was an absolute vision of beauty in the moonlight, with facial features that were hauntingly familiar. She reminded me of someone I’d once knew, but I couldn’t recall who or from where.

“Good evening,” I said, introducing myself. “Have we met before? You look strikingly familiar to me.”

“Hello Santiago. I’m Simonetta, Simone for short. I don’t believe we’ve met but it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“I apologize for being so forward, and this isn’t a pickup line, but I have a strong feeling as though we already know each other, and if we don’t, we should should do something to remedy that.”

“I hope it’s not a pickup line,” she laughed, “because it isn’t very clever and lacks originality. But I do enjoy making new friends.”

“Wonderful,” I said. “I don’t bite, well, not immediately anyway.”

We strolled about the garden in the moonlight, immersed in intimate conversation which felt strangely comfortable even though we had just met. Simone knew things about me I had rarely shared with anyone. I found the insightful knowledge she revealed about me astounding. My turbulent childhood, my failed marriage and incredible children, my work and the dangers involved. She even knew I was a musician and that I played both guitar and piano. It had felt as though she was reading my soul.

When we finally returned to the reception hall, we discovered most of the other guests had already left. Apparently our little stroll had consumed close to two full hours. Seeing as how there wasn’t anyone else left to mingle with, we took a moment to admire a few of the paintings which hung throughout the hall before parting company for the evening.

“Do you enjoy art, Santiago?” she asked.

“Yes, with a passion. I’ve gone to a many gallery openings and visited art museums in quite a few different countries. The Louvre in Paris, The National Gallery in London, and of course the Art Institute in Chicago, but my all-time favorite would have to be the Uffizi in Florence. Hey, wait a sec,” I continued, “I think I’ve finally got it! I know why you seem so familiar to me. Do you know anything about the artist Botticelli?”

“As a matter of fact, I know that he painted the “Birth of Venus” and he was Italian.”

“You’re exactly correct. Did you know he used the same model for most of his paintings? “The Primavera” and “The Birth of Venus” are among his most popular works of art. They both hang in the Uffizi, actually. And do you know what is incredibly strange? The model he used in both of those paintings was named Simonetta as well. It’s as though you were her twin. You’re absolutely a work of art, a true angel without wings.”

“Now that’s a great pickup line. You’re getting much better.”

“If I may ask, just exactly how old are you?”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m older than time itself…”

Simone possessed a celestial, angelic air about her, drawing me to her as though I were bewitched. There was a power in her eyes, and when I gazed into them, it was as though she had cast a spell over me. I’d drift off to a place where the night comes to rest and the stars go down to dream.

I should’ve had some idea of her association with witchcraft by then already, now that I think about it. There’d been numerous clues I just hadn’t picked up on at the time.

She’d been born on the Spring Equinox, celebrating both her birthday and the change of season. The practice of worshipping the cycles of the moon, the change of seasons, and basically all of nature is an important part of Wicca.

We visited Audubon Park together often, where I’d been impressed by her knowledge of all the plants. She knew the Latin name for every tree and flower. She had a large herb garden in her yard and worked part time at a local herb shop. She knew the healing power of each and every herb as well as what malady it cured. She prescribed licorice root for my asthma and heartburn, but I’m not sure if it actually helped, because I am a horrible patient. Never obeying orders, I’d usually opt for scotch, marijuana, or cocaine as my medicine, in addition to other recreational drugs as well.

Still, we did enjoy a wonderful relationship in general. The sex alone was fantastic, like a mystical experience, our souls wrapped together as one at many times.

There was this one time we’d attended a “handfast ceremony” with some of the people in her coven, which actually turned out to be a wedding ceremony. Not thinking much of it, I expressed my surprise to her later, but I seemed to have offended her in some way.

“Santi,” she said, “I thought you were aware of and accepted my practice and beliefs. You were always so willing to participate in celebrations and ceremonies, I just assumed you knew what was going on. You never questioned or commented and didn’t raise any objections. This doesn’t cause you to rethink us being together, does it?”

“Hang on,” I replied. “The reason why I never questioned anything was quite possibly because I didn’t want to know. I just felt like we were always having such a good time, sharing these experiences together. You just always seemed so happy, and so I went along with it.”

“Do you still love me?” she suddenly demanded to know. “Do you?”

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t quite remember whether I’d ever actually said that I loved her before. Damn, I sure hoped we hadn’t exchanged the dreaded L word already… Everything always seems to deteriorate in a relationship after that.

“Simone,” I said, “you are everything and more than I ever experienced in a lover, and I have never felt the way I do about you with anyone else in my entire life. Often have I wondered if I were under some spell, or the influence of a potion of some kind. But the truth is, what I’m really trying to say, is that I just don’t believe in witchcraft.”

Things were never quite the same between us after that.

A month later, I received a call from my old business partner in Costa Rica, offering me an enormous sum of cash for assisting in a small drug smuggling expedition. It seemed like a bad idea, so naturally I accepted his invitation. Just one last job, I always told myself.

I decided to move from New Orleans to Costa Rica in a week’s time, and told Simone of my plans.

“A week!” she cried with excitement. “I’m not sure I can be ready in that short amount of time… There’s a lot I’ll need to take care of first.”

“It’s okay,” I said somewhat sheepishly. “I wasn’t planning on taking you with me.”

The look on her face told me everything I needed to know about her assumptions to the contrary.

“Santi, you insensitive bastard!”

She stomped out of my apartment, slamming the door behind her before opening and slamming it again.

“Fuck you, Santiago! FUCK YOU SO HARD. I hope you get Dengue or Malaria or some shit!”

Of course, my main reason for not taking her with me was simply the danger involved. If I were to get killed or busted, it would have been a tragic episode for her, after all. And maybe I didn’t love her, perhaps I never had, but I felt a great deal for her just the same.

Five years prior, I’d gotten busted in Colombia and served almost three years in prison as a result. I’d been in a relationship with another wonderful woman at the time, who’d said she would wait for me. But I wouldn’t have burdened anyone with that back then, and I certainly wouldn’t do it now.

I’d tried to explain to Simone why our relationship should be temporarily put on hold, but I was never even given the chance. She’d stopped taking my calls after the night we’d fought. And ever since then, I’ve always regretted my decision to leave my witchy Venus behind. It was clear I had broken her heart.

Anyway, I did wind up contracting Dengue about eight months later, spending a week in the hospital as a result. Now and then, I still feel sharp stabbing pains, especially in my groin area. Even a doctor’s exam couldn’t determine what was causing them, but I had my own suspicions as to their source.

Only trouble was, like I said, I just don’t believe in witchcraft.

Elizabeth Bedlam


Bebe Blood was one of the most unwashed and offensive women anyone had ever met. Yet she was insanely popular, respected, and feared throughout the local underground music scene. Often she was hailed as a genius of performance art by reviewers and journalists of all backgrounds. Her critics knew better than to say anything to the contrary. 

She sang for the hardcore band BackGash! and was as violent as any male in the scene. Maybe that was what she was railing against. No one was really sure what her message was as she never gave a straight answer.

“Are you a feminist?” Asked one music journalist from a cable network. 

“Fuck no. Fuck that! What’s that, really?” Bebe Blood laughed. “Feminists believe in equality among the sexes. If anything women should get more than men for all the shit we’ve had to put up with since the dawn of goddamn time! We’re God and the Devil all wrapped up in a uterus. Men should fucking worship any cunt they come across. They should be fucking grateful we give them time of day!” She’d bark, taking a hit from her cigarette. “We don’t fucking need them. They’re lucky we keep them around. Assholes.” Then Bebe would just get up and walk away leaving Anne, the bass player, struggling to clarify any further questions. 

All this attitude and Bebe was a completely unattractive young woman, by society’s standards anyway. No one outside the scene got it. She had burns and scars from fights in the clubs and self-mutilation. Amateur tattoos scrawled across her body. She was short and weighed maybe ninety-pounds. She had no tits and no ass and was barely female except for her cunt. 

She used to have long unkempt black hair until a journalist made the mistake of calling her sexy. “How sexy am I now, dickface?” She laughed as she forced her drummer, Dawn, to shave her head in the alley behind a club in Detroit. If left to her own devices she’d shave her head with a razor blade and be a bloody mess when it was all over. 

Bebe wrote all the music and lyrics for BackGash! Journalists always wanted to talk to her about it, which she hated. “Figure out the meaning for yourselves, sheep. BAAA! BAAA!” 

“But Bebe what about your fans? They want to know. Don’t you owe it to them?” 

“I don’t owe shit to anyone. I want people to think for themselves, not follow what I have to say. Why are you even talking to me? Who cares? I’m no one!”

“What about the song Shit Day? Is that about having a bad day? Many people can relate to that.” The journalist would wait as Bebe took a drink of whiskey and leaned back in her chair. 

“What did I just fucking say? This interview is over!” She’d rip off the mike and trash the set before storming out. 

This left the journalist with an awkward smile, “and our next video is from…”

Bebe would go for weeks without showering, and the van would smell like sex and violence by the time the tour was over with. The rest of her bandmates would beg her to please change her clothes, to which she’d respond by stripping off everything and running down the street nude. 

Bebe had a long record of arrests and assaults. Everything from lewd public acts, larceny, to straight out manslaughter. Of course, she was so tiny and female, no judge took these charges seriously. She spent a couple of months inside after she stabbed a guy on video. 

Bebe was in front of a crowd ranting about the government, sex slaves, and suicide when a guy screamed, “I love you!” Bebe narrowed her eyes and tossed her notebook aside. 

“Come up here and say that. I dare you, cocksucker.” She growled. The man, if he had known better, would have just left. Instead, he was young and stupid with safety pins in his expensive leather jacket. “Pretender!” Bebe screamed and jumped on his back, bashing his head into a wall. 

He tried to fight back but was taken by surprise. When he finally ripped Bebe off, she pulled out a Stanley knife and jabbed him in the guts. The crowd watched with a mixed reaction of horror and fascination as this tiny woman took on a two-hundred-pound man. The man still writes Bebe fan mail. “Thanks for the scar! Your Follower, a true believer, Mark.”

All this before she was eighteen. By the time Bebe Blood was of age, all men in the hardcore scene were terrified of her. No one would tour with her band because she got into too many fights, and the cops were always called to shut everything down. 

Bebe was arrested one night in a club just outside Tucson for animal mutilation. Someone had brought a turkey to a show. Bebe kicked it back into the audience, who promptly ripped it apart. “You fucking animals!” She screamed holding up the mangled remains that had made it back up on stage. That became their best selling shirt, a silhouette of her strangling a turkey head, screaming, “Fucking animals!” Animal mutation increased in the area tenfold after that. Bebe was added to the blacklist of every animal rights organization. 

“No. I never killed no fucking birds,” Bebe spat when asked about it. 

“But you were arrested.” 

“What the hell does that mean? Pigs will arrest you for anything. Women used to get arrested for wearing a bathing suit. You can get arrested for being the wrong color in the wrong fucking neighborhood. What do you think about that? Arrested don’t mean shit! Fuck America!” 

White nationalists loved her, despite her violent opposition to them.  “Are you a nazi?” One reporter asked. Bebe threatened him and his mother before attempting to light their van on fire. 

Bebe was half Roma and half Native American so she had cause to hate every white man with every fiber of her being. Truthfully she just hated people in general, she didn’t believe in discriminating. 

Bebe had a personal style going on called “trash can” where she wore whatever was handed to her or she found on the street. This included oversized clothing, children’s clothing, rags, homemade attire, antique moth-eaten dresses, used lingerie, plastic wrappers, the list went on. If it had cum or old food on it all the better. If it had been worn by a corpse, better still. 

While there was a very strict straight-edge scene going on, Bebe railed against that too. She drank anything, even if it was laced with drugs. She snorted, smoked, drank, or shot any chemical substance within reach. It was impossible for her to become a junkie addict as she was just too defiant and mean. “Bebe I need a hit,” a concubine follower said to her once. She kicked the shit out of him and sent him packing. 

“Weak!” She screamed at him on his way out the door. Bebe didn’t have time to mess around; she had a message of anarchy and anger to release upon the world. All she cared about was writing and working, upsetting the mainstream, fucking up the system, fighting.

 When it was over she’d kill herself by jumping into a pool of wet cement. Of course, she wouldn’t tell anyone where or when or if this would happen, so she’d be forever entombed in a foundation, unbeknownst to the tenants of the building. It was her ultimate fuck you to the rich elite who bought up her old neighborhood downtown and turned it from businesses and working-class families, into overpriced condos and strangers. 

As the city became expensive and conformist Bebe had to get out of there. Everywhere she turned a coffee shop-bookstore combo was opening.  Record stores and underground shit hole clubs were closing. “Am I in fucking hell?” She shook her head, confused by the human race in general. 

Bebe found a plot of land about two hours outside the city. It was cheap as it was across the river from an old TNT factory and powerplant. The land was toxic, and no one cared if she lived there. 

Soon all of her followers were squatting, setting up shantytowns, tents, or make-shift shelters constructed from branches and trash. Bebe took up residence in an underground crumbling bunker where they used to store explosives. A few of the crates were still there, sweating. As long as no one touched them it was fine. Bebe wasn’t worried about it. If she had to go out like that at least it would be spontaneous and exciting. Not to mention the joy her followers would feel collecting her body parts and downing whiskey at her funeral. 

One thing that really set Bebe Blood apart from all the other women and girls in the scene was the fact that she’d fuck anything. Yet no one considered or even dared mutter the word slut. No, Bebe Blood had concubines, slaves, worthless maggots. She’d kick them in the face and they’d thank her and kiss her boot, begging for more. 

Bebe didn’t give a shit about anyone. She’d fuck some pretty boy metal head and then move on to an old man with one leg and a bright green beard. Whoever and whatever struck her fancy Bebe got. No matter the age, sex, race, religion, or species. That’s how amazing she was. She just had that star quality no man or woman could refuse. 

According to legend both of Bebe’s parents were dead from a murder-suicide pact that went down when Bebe was thirteen. She saw the whole thing and invited her then forty-year-old boyfriend over afterward. It was a week before she even bothered to call the police and report their deaths. This was debunked several times by her older sister, Willow, the guitarist, who confirmed their mother and father were still alive and living in a trailer park thirty minutes outside Ann Arbor. 

“Bebe tell us where did you come up with such a provocative name as BackGash!?” 

Bebe would shrug, popping an angry looking pimple on the crest of her tit, “Is it provocative?” Journalists were always thrown when Bebe answered a question with a question. 

“Some would say yes.”

“Well, they’re all fucking morons. Aren’t they? It’s all bullshit! ” 

“Are you saying your band is bullshit?”

Bebe would sigh, heavy and loud as if she found the world painful, and everyone was too stupid to get it. “I find you bullshit! This interview is bullshit! BackGash! is the only one out there telling the truth, living the life! And you know what? Society is scared!”

The journalist would shift uncomfortably in the chair, nervous about where the interview was headed. “Scared of what?” They’d ask reluctantly, knowing they shouldn’t be provoking her. 

“You’re a fucking woman you should know! They’re scared of females speaking out, doing whatever the hell we want when we want. Flashing our cunts! Fucking whatever we want and liking it! Taking back the power that was stripped from us centuries ago thanks to the fucking false church of organized bullshit! Am I a bad girl because I enjoy sex and snorting drugs on a Saturday morning? Huh? Tell me that!” Bebe would be by this point leaning forward in her chair, inches from the journalist’s face, challenging her, daring her to ask a follow-up question. 

“Well, thank you, Bebe Blood of BackGash! They’ll be playing at The Shelter tomorrow night.” The journalist would break out in a cold sweat just happy it was over with.

 After Bebe was escorted off the premises by security, her sister would usually come in and give the real interview. “So Willow from BackGash! Tell us where does the name come from? Some might find it quite provocative.” 

Willow would look bored, she was too fucking cool for this shit. She just wanted to play her guitar and watch Faces of Death in her living room. She didn’t want to be a rock star, but Bebe kept firing all the other guitarists, screaming they weren’t dedicated to The Life. Plus her parents forced her to go on the road and keep an eye on her little sister. She was going to be a goddam concert pianist and study at Juilliard, and now this was her life. If the band ever actually became famous she’d kill herself. 

“Some people don’t have enough to do. The name is meant to provoke people to thought, why is a woman’s sex or butthole so offensive? They are just anatomy. Every person has sex organs and everyone shits. Some people like having sex where they shit. Deal with it.” Willow drank from her coffee. If Bebe knew she was drinking a five-dollar cup of coffee she’d fire her on the spot. Interviews in locked rooms were pretty much the only time she could get away with it. It was her one request before she would do an interview.

“If you hate doing interviews so much just let me fucking handle it! Turn them down. They don’t need to talk to both of us. They’re just greedy bitches.” Bebe didn’t get why Willow would grant interviews and insist on being questioned alone. 

“If you mention this cup of coffee so help me god you will be a smear on the sidewalk, do you understand?” She’d threaten the journalist, the radio host, whoever she was talking to. 

Backgash! had just finished recording their new album, Whore’s In Culture, a few weeks ago, and were getting ready to head back out on the road. Willow and their manager, Rod, had finally gotten everything arranged. They would be doing ten dates throughout the UK. At least half would probably be canceled they figured, so five dates, respectively. 

Willow had the job of telling Bebe. Bebe hated the UK. The UK crowds hated Americans. Bebe couldn’t get an ice tea for the life of her. “Can’t you put ice in it?” She’d frown. 

“Well, I guess, but it won’t taste very good.” The waitress would laugh. After that Bebe would simply drink warm piss beer for the rest of the tour. All the squats seemed to have holes in the roof and no one knew how to drive. 

“What’s with these fucking narrow roads? Don’t pull over. Just ram them, they’ll move!” Bebe would yell grabbing for the wheel. She was too aggressive and loud for the UK. 

“Bebe?” Willow called into the damp bunker. She walked in and found Bebe pinning dried butterflies to the wall. She was wearing welding goggles and a pair of shorts, nothing else. “Bebe put on some fucking clothes. I need to talk to you about the tour.” 

Bebe eyed her, “Isn’t that why we pay Rod? Why is he making you do his job?” 

“Because he doesn’t like talking to you. Last time you sprayed him in the face with hairspray.” Bebe sighed, pussy. “So we’re going to the UK, we’re playing ten dates.” 

“The UK? Why the fuck are we going there? I want to go to Albania. We never go there.” 

“We found the only band willing to play with us, but they aren’t allowed to leave the country because of some legal shit. We have to go there.” 

Bebe didn’t respond so Willow continued. “The good news is we got that opening band you wanted.” 

Bebe clapped, “Yes!” Bebe had been wanting to tour with Anti-Me/Anti-You for a year. The band consisted of a fifteen-year-old kid in a wheelchair named Robby, and his hippie father who played acoustic guitar. Robbie’s father would wheel him on stage where Robby would scream and rant while his father played acoustic versions of old songs from the ’60s and ’70s. Bebe’s favorite was Robby shouting about rounding up xenophobes and putting them in a camp, while his father strummed These Boots are Made for Walkin’. “Fucking genius.” Bebe really admired him. 

“Who’s the other band?” Bebe asked, knowing she wasn’t going to like the answer. 

“Nipple Rot.” 

“Damn it!” Nipple Rot was a UK band that had never toured outside of the UK due to outstanding legal warrants. They were as loud and angry as BackGash! “I hate their music. They’re such fucking tourists!” 

“Well, they are the only band willing to headline with us. They have a large following, maybe we’ll at least break even this time.” 

“What are you talking about? You’re not charging for these shows are you?” 

Willow sighed, she knew how much Bebe detested money. “We have no choice, the clubs all charge for tickets. They give us a small cut. It’s just how things work. We have to eat.” 

Bebe shook her head, she felt like such a sellout. “That’s bullshit. We’re not going until it’s free and every lowlife can attend.” 

“The tickets are cheap, Bebe. Only between eight and ten dollars. It’s going to be fine. No one will think you’re a sellout. Or that success has gone to your head. Or think you’re a fucking rock star. No one will think that when they see you.” Willow eyed her sister who looked sick. 

“What’s next, huh? Should I put on some make-up and smile pretty for the cameras? I can’t fucking believe you and Rod would go behind my back-” 

“Bebe, chill the fuck out. We’re charging, it’s cheap. We’re barely making anything. When this is over we’ll still be fucking broke. I’ll be living in my trailer and you’ll be in this shit hole. Dawn will be living with her parents and Anne will still be in the shed.” 

Bebe loved her sister so much. She always knew exactly what to say. “Do you mean it, Will?” 

“Yes. Now before we go you need to buy some new shoes. They won’t let you in a building or on an airplane without shoes.” 

“My sandals are fine. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Bebe snapped. Her sister was always nagging her about things like shoes and clothes, showers, and whatever. 

“Those aren’t sandals Bebe, those are cardboard with tape wrapped around them. You need real shoes.” Bebe would fight with anyone, but she knew better than to mess with Willow. She’d never win. Bebe relented and agreed to go to the Good Will to find boots. 

Willow was relieved Bebe was able to find a cracked pair of purple children’s rain boots for their tour in the UK. It was better than nothing. 

June in the UK was expected to be cool and rainy as usual. But when the band got there all they kept hearing about how hot it had been. Bebe was pissed they were landing at Gatwick and weren’t even going to be playing in London. “That’s where it’s all happening. Fuck these villages!” She screamed at the woman checking her passport. 

The band ushered her quickly onto a train. Eddie, the singer from Nipple Rot, picked the girls and Rod up from the train station in his mother’s rusty van. They had a network of places they could crash for free, including Eddie’s mom’s basement. “My mom makes great pancakes.” He told them as they piled in. It was hot and sunny and the van smelled like damp carpeting and cigarettes. Bebe felt at home right away despite being in a country she despised. 

“Give me all your cash and I can score us some drugs,” Eddie told Bebe as he drove through the winding streets. 

“Sure take it.” Bebe emptied her pockets and threw her cash at Eddie. 

“Bebe, what the fuck are you doing? We need that for food.” Willow scolded her, picking up the wadded money, and shoving it in her purse. “We don’t need any drugs, thanks anyway, Eddie.” Willow glared at him. Eddie winked, he planned on getting both the sisters in bed before the end of the tour. Willow was fucking hot, and Bebe was insane, he could only imagine the sex. Though he still couldn’t figure out how they were actually sisters. 

Eddie invited the band out for beers at the pub down the hill. “The guys are just practicing for tomorrow night. Come check us out.” He told them, putting his hand around Bebe. 

“I fucking hate your band. Why would I want to see you twice?” 

“Beers on me.” 

Bebe was there. “Let’s fucking go.” It didn’t matter that everyone was jet-lagged and sweaty from the trip. “Don’t be fucking pussies.” 

“I need a shower, Bebe.” Anne groaned flopping onto a sofa in the corner of the basement. 

“Maybe I need a goddamn new bass player that isn’t a whiny bitch.” Bebe glared at her and Anne got up. She was tired, she obviously forgot who she was talking to.  

“Chill Bebe, we’re friends, okay? I’ll go. Just calm down.” 

Bebe laughed, “Ha! I can count on one hand how many friends I have!” and she held up a fist. Anne got up and followed the rest of the band back up the stairs and out the door. She really had to get a different gig after this, if Bebe didn’t kill her first. 

Eddie lit a cigarette for Bebe and ordered pints for the table. All the guys were eager to meet the infamous Bebe Blood. She was smaller than they expected. Meaner than they could have imagined. And any normal woman in ripped terry cloth shorts, a stained tank top, and children’s rain boots would have been ignored, but Bebe made it look hot. 

“Bebe this is our drummer, Jon X. Bass player Theo Dive. And guitarist and founding member of Nipple Rot, Al Bastard.” 

Bebe knew she was supposed to be impressed but they just looked like a bunch of old men playing dress-up. They had to be at least thirty-five, pushing forty. Their days were numbered. However, that didn’t mean she wasn’t planning on sleeping with one or all of them by the time the tour was finished. 

They looked like the atypical hardcore male, not that much different from a skinhead. Pimpled, combat boots, shaved head, dead stupid expression. Intellectually Bebe knew they had nothing to offer, but she liked Al Bastard’s face. 

Unlike the rest of his pretty band, Al had been in a knife fight at an early age. He had a thick scar on the side of his face and had lost his right eye. Still, Bebe waved them off, she doubted they lived The Life all day every day. She saw how cushy Eddie’s mother’s house was with running water and carpeting in the bathroom. 

Bebe shrugged when Al brought her a pint. “Did you put drugs in it?” She asked him. 

“No, but you’re being such a cunt I could spit in it. How would you like that?” He grunted and sat down. He wasn’t in the mood to practice, he knew all the songs well enough, he wrote the damn things. It wasn’t his fault the guys in his band were all amateurs. 

“Spit in it. I dare you.” Bebe glared at him, pushing the pint across the table.

“Bebe, just drink your damn beer,” Willow told her, getting up to go order some food. She didn’t need a fight before the tour even started. 

Al Bastard spat into the cup and sat back in his chair. He could see what everyone was talking about, for once the rumors were true. He normally had a hard time with women, in that he couldn’t stand them unless he was fucking them. 

Bebe downed the entire pint and smashed the glass against the wall. “Fucking delicious. More!” She ordered. The band never did practice as Bebe and Al spent the rest of the night putting shit in each other’s beer, daring one another to drink. Spit, snot, dirt from the floor, blood, hair. Neither would be outdone by the other. Al was so turned on, but also shocked when he realized he might actually respect this woman. She lived The Life. She wasn’t just some fucking Yankee skank. 

“What else you got?” Bebe fell out of her chair and onto the floor. The rest of the band had gone back to Eddie’s to sleep. It was just Bebe, Jon X, and Al Bastard. When the pub closed, Al carried Bebe out of there and back to his flat above another tavern for some heroin. 

“You do shoot this shit? Or are you too scared little girl?” Al laughed, slapping Bebe on the ass, watching as Jon broke out a spoon and lighter. 

“Give me fucking double. Whatever you do I’ll take twice as much. I barely even fucking feel it! English drugs are shit!” Bebe slurred before passing out face first on the rug. Damn, this woman was driving Al crazy. She was so hardcore. 

Al shot up and took Bebe to bed leaving Jon to watch from the corner. “Hey, Al, what about me?” He asked. 

“She’s fucking mine. Piss off!” Al screamed, dumping Bebe on the mattress. 

Bebe moaned and rolled over, kicking off her rain boots. Her feet were sweaty and smelled. Al could only imagine what the rest of her looked like. “You want this, baby? Or are you too much of a wimp?” Bebe opened her legs and offered her cunt to Al. Was she on heroin? Bebe didn’t know, she was too drunk. 

Al liked what he saw: a filthy hairy woman. Her tattoos were shoddy and misspelled, even worse than his. He admired the burns on her nipples as he peeled her stained top off. “What are you doing?” Bebe asked sitting up. “Take off your own fucking clothes. I got this.” Bebe hated being treated like a child. She pushed down her shorts and threw them in Al’s face. 

He caught them and smelled. Mm-mm she wasn’t wearing underwear either. She was definitely his kind of woman. It was harder than one would think to find a truly unwashed, savage female. Even the one’s who came to the shows weren’t really that hardcore. He tried to rape one once and she just cried and laid there. He was so disappointed she hadn’t even bothered to fight back he just got up and left, bored. He bet if he tried to rape Bebe she’d smash his face in with a brick, then rape him. 

Al was partially right. “Go down or I’ll bite your dick off,” she moaned, half-asleep, arms flung over her head. Al had no idea what he would find down there, but couldn’t wait to find out. 

“Are you Italian, baby? Because you are hairy.”

“You got a problem with that, scar face? Do it! Or come over here so I can rip out your other fucking eye.” 

Al laughed, she was so fucking cool. Of course, he was going to do it. Only for Bebe.  

When it was all over, Bebe immediately flipped over onto her stomach. “Put it in!” She pulled her knees to her chest and stuck her ass in the air. She turned around and glared at him, “I know it’s pretty, but I don’t got all night. I’m fucking tired as shit. Now get on with it!” Al didn’t need to be told twice. 

He spat on his hand and rubbed down his cock. “Do you want me to get a rubber?” He asked, knowing a woman like Bebe should never be in the same vicinity as a child of any age, let alone have one of her own. 

“I can’t get pregnant, my uterus is fucking stone. Do you need my life story or what, asshole?” Al didn’t need anything else. He shrugged and shoved in. He could only imagine what deep inside of her looked like. He half expected teeth or jagged shards of glass. But she was smooth and warm like any other woman. 

Al went to work. Despite the heroin and the beer he was vigorous and attentive to his new lady’s needs. He wanted to be the best lay she ever had because he knew he was going to want more. He already knew no other woman could top Bebe. “How’s that baby, you like that? Mm-mm. You won’t walk for a week!” he grunted. 

Al was shocked when Bebe began to cackle. “Really that’s the best you fucking got? Amateur! What do you think we’re making fucking porn here? Stop fucking talking or I’m out of here!” Al didn’t say another word for five minutes.

Afterward he pulled out and flopped beside her. Bebe pushed herself up and pulled on her shorts. “Why don’t you stay? I’ve got some more drugs if you want. It’s late.” 

“You talk too fucking much. I didn’t even know who you were fucking, me or that loser in the corner.” Both stopped and stared and Jon X who had finished jerking off long ago and was passed out in his own filth. 

Al had had enough. He’d given her everything he had — beer, drugs, filthy sex, and still, she seemed to want more. “Go to fucking sleep, Bebe. I’m not taking you all the way back to Eddie’s. And I might want to fuck in the morning. Get your fucking ass over here. I’m not putting up with this shit for the whole tour.” He climbed across the bed and grabbed her around the waist. 

Bebe threw an elbow and landed it right in his white filmy eye. “Fucking, ouch! Bebe! Shit!” 

“Fine, I’ll stay.” Bebe laid back down and passed out. Her head was killing her. Al never felt so lucky. This was going to be the best tour, ever. 

The next night Bebe was backstage pulling on a pair of fishnet pantyhose and nothing else. Her unkempt pubic hair exposed for all to see. “Bebe you can’t go on stage like that, they’ll arrest you again,” Willow said, putting an X of black tape over each of her sister’s mangled nipples. 

“Let them try!” Bebe barked. “I’m a fucking American!”  

“Yeah, yeah. You need to cover your cooch or we’ll get deported. The tour will be over.” Willow told her and went out back to smoke. This job was killing her. 

“Here baby take these, I don’t need ‘em,” Al Bastard stripped off a leopard print thong from under his Kilt and tossed them at her. 

“Perfect.” Bebe pulled on the underwear over her fishnets. 

It was hard to say if the show was a success or a complete disaster. It probably depended on who you asked. Robby and his dad were a huge hit and probably made more money than BackGash! and Nipple Rot combined. They left and went back to their hotel before the rioting broke out. 

Skinheads showed up halfway through Bebe’s set and began shouting fascist propaganda over the music. She jumped onto the back of one trying to strangle him with the mic cord. “Why don’t you shut the fuck up?” She screamed as he twisted around and rammed her into a wall. His friends tried to help him but the other audience members jumped them. When Al Bastard saw someone was trying to mess with his woman, he went and smashed a beer bottle into the skinhead’s face. 

Everyone piled out into the street after that. Small fires were lit, blood was spilled, and the police were brought in to break everything up. “Let’s get the fuck out here,” Al pulled on Bebe’s arm. He couldn’t afford another arrest on top of the six he had already acquired that month. 

“Fuck the pigs! I’ll fight ‘em! If they want to arrest me for fighting fascists? Do it!” Bebe screamed into the night. Al threw her over his shoulder and both bands took off down the alleyway laughing at the chaos that was going down behind them. Al was right, best tour ever, and they hadn’t even left town yet. 

“What the hell is that sound?” Bebe groaned, when she was woken up in the early morning hours by screaming seagulls out by the beach. 

“Just birds, baby,” Al mumbled into the back of her head. 

“Fucking shoot them! Jesus Christ, how do you live here?” Al sighed and got up, pulling his kilt on and nothing else. He had a revolver around there somewhere. 

“Where are you going? I might want a screw after my coffee.” 

“You wanted me to go shoot at those gulls. Want to come?” Bebe was never one to pass on an opportunity to play with firearms. She was American after all. Turns out having one eye can give a person terrible depth perception, so Bebe ended up doing most of the shooting. She landed two birds that nosedived into the channel’s murky waters. 

“Yeah! That’s my girl! Fuck, Bebe, awesome!” 

“I’m not your fucking girl. Say that again and I’ll stick this gun up your ass. Got it?” 

Al laughed. Everyone talked about how ragged, scary, and hardcore Bebe Blood was. How amazing her music was. What a visionary she was. However, they had failed to mention how hilarious she was as well. He never laughed so hard with a woman before. He wrestled the gun from her hand. She nearly pushed him off the jagged shore into the water. 

“Come here, woman.” He shoved his tongue down her mouth.

“Not now, I want coffee.” Bebe shoved him aside. He took her hand and guided her off the slippery rocks back onto the beach. For once Bebe let someone help her.  

From then on Bebe and Al were inseparable. They did all their interviews for the tour together. This was a relief to Willow, who just let them have at it. She was preoccupied with writing depressing journal entries and crying into her pillow every night. 

Bebe had carved the word Bastard across her chest with a razor blade at their last show. Not one to be topped, Al, having never been more in love, tattooed Blood across his forehead. When they weren’t screaming and ranting at the press they were running around shooting guns, throwing firecrackers at each other, and fighting. “Bebe, pull it together!” Willow told her while putting balm on her burn marks. 

“I’m in love, Will. Like really in love.” Bebe sighed. Willow was scared if this was Bebe’s idea of love. Bebe was covered in bruises from violent fighting that often led to very loud violent sex in the back of the van. Neither cared if anyone was listening or if there were others in the van. Bebe would lift up her tattered skirt and just start riding Al. He would slap her and tell her to stop being such a bitch. 

“Jesus, both of you guys, I’m right here!” Anne would wail turning her face away from them and trying hard to focus out the window. 

Willow and Rod were about right in their predictions, four of the ten shows were canceled before the band had even arrived in town. The tour left riots and flames in their wake, much to the delight of Bebe and Al who were usually the ones to start them. 

By the time the tour was winding down, funds were low, and the only one pulling in any cash was Anti-Me/Anti-You. Robby and his dad had been offered a handful of spoken word gigs across Europe. 

As Bebe and Al’s love and intensity for each other grew so did their drug usage. No one wanted to give them money, but everyone wanted to do drugs with Al Bastard and Bebe Blood. If they weren’t drunk or high they were about to be. Bebe’s songwriting began to slack off. “Bebe we need to talk. We’re going home next week and you need to stop all this nonsense. No more heroin! No more coke!” Willow punched her in the tit. 

“Jesus, fuck me, Will. Why’d you do that?” Bebe grabbed her tit and glared at her sister. 

“This shit with Al is over. He can’t leave the country and you’re not staying here. I’m taking you home. Look at yourself! Christ! You’re covered in cum and you smell like an opium den! This isn’t love, Bebe!” 

Bebe shoved her sister across the room, “What do you know about it? Al loves me! He’s a real fucking person! You’re not taking me anywhere!” Bebe shoved Anne aside and bolted from the dressing room. She had to get out of there. Her sister was talking madness. 

Bebe burst on stage and unplugged Al’s guitar. “Fuck this! We have to go!” She screamed, throwing his guitar into the audience. The crowd went wild and began tearing the place up. 

“What the hell is going on?” Eddie cursed, watching the scene unfold. It was the coolest thing he’d ever witnessed. The smash dance club was trashed, windows were broken, the building burnt to the ground by morning.

Al put his arm around Bebe’s shoulders and the two walked out of the chaos together, police bashing skulls in behind them. “Where will we go?” She asked, knowing Al couldn’t leave the UK. 

“We can stay with my mum, she’s cool.” Bebe loved Al. He had a plan for everything. 

After a month at Al’s mother’s flat, Bebe was ready to get out of there. She wanted to go live in Budapest, but Al couldn’t leave the country. “They’re all communists over there. Trust me we’re better off at my mum’s.” He’d slur before passing out. This twisted Bebe up inside. She hated junkies but loved Al. She hated living in this shit hole with Al’s perky mother who kept knitting sweaters for her. 

Willow kept writing Bebe letters urging her to come home. Bebe tore them up and wouldn’t consider it. Al needed her here. He was high more often than not. Of course, so was Bebe, but she was stronger and continued to write and work while Al fucked around in the kitchen. Bebe felt torn, Al Bastard, the only person who truly understood her. But he was fucking up her message of anarchy and disorder by sleeping all day every day. 

Bebe was feeling she wanted to go back on the road. She needed to get back to America. “What did you fucking say?” Al yelled when she told him she planned on leaving. “I fucking love you. Crazy bitch! Why? I gave everything to you!” He collapsed onto the sofa and began to weep. 

Bebe never felt more turned off. She hated it when people cried. “I can’t live like this. Your mother is driving me fucking crazy! She washed all my clothes! She’s constantly making the bed and flushing the toilet. This isn’t The Life! It’s a lie! A fucking lie, damn you!” If Bebe had hair she’d be ripping it out. 

Al had drifted off in a heroin daze and Bebe fled from the flat before his mother got home. She’d been making microwave lasagna for a month and Bebe was going to be sick if she had to smell that processed food again. Bebe Blood was used to eating things right out of the ground — roots, bugs, whatever she could steal from a field. 

Bebe loved Al, but Al was a junkie. Bebe was fucking out of there. She had shit to do. Bebe fled down the street in a neon green and pink flowered house dress she’d stolen from the trash next door. She couldn’t look back, it hurt too much. She’d always love the Scot, but he was weak. Bebe wouldn’t put up with it from anyone else. Why should she bring herself down just for him? It wasn’t her fault he became addicted after trying to outdo her. 

“I told you, you have to take charge. Tell your fucking body what to do. Fuck these drugs they’re nothing!” Bebe yelled in triumph as Al fell off asleep, high on whatever was in that bag they’d scored in the alley. 

Bebe took the first flight out of the UK. It landed in New York, which she hated. Bebe couldn’t wait to get back to Detroit where everyone was interesting. Willow informed her they’d just closed all the insane asylums in the area so the people were just wandering the streets. 

Right away Bebe hired an accordion player and a man named Justin who claimed to be a reincarnation of a famous Russian composer. “We need them!” Bebe insisted. Willow shrugged, she was just happy to have Bebe home. 

A month later Bebe heard Al Bastard had overdosed on heroin after a show. He was found in his underwear. BEBE was scrawled across the wall in his blood. She was heartbroken. “Al, why? Why did you have to be so goddamn weak?” She wept for the first and last time in her life. 

Bebe moved back to her parent’s trailer and never wrote another song again. “What happened to Bebe?” People asked, as rumors amidst the underground crowd circled. 

“Bebe, people are really worried. They want to know what happened to you.” Willow told her at Christmas. 

“Tell them to fuck off!” She screamed. Since moving back home Bebe had begun teaching vocal lessons to young children. She painted pictures of Al, never married or fucked again. In her free time she wrote angry letters to the editor of local newspapers under the name Marta Rutt.

 The scene as a result died. Remnants of bands morphing into pop-punk trios, of which Bebe never forgave herself for. She never should have fallen in love.

Matthew Borczon

He Read Hemingway in Reform School

He was forced to read Hemingway back when he was in reform school. It was a short story about a waiter who dreamed of being a bull fighter and when one of his co workers tied two knives onto the legs of a chair he tried to fight it like it was a bull. He is eventually stabbed deep by the knives and the story ends with this waiter, a kid really trying to die bravely like a real bull fighter. Duane is thinking about this story now instead of thinking about the two shots he had left. There were at least three cops out behind the two police cars that had forced him off the road and on to the ground behind his car.

He is thinking about this story instead of thinking about the dish washer he shot through the head back at the diner he robbed. He hadn’t intended to shoot anyone, just snatch and grab some wallets and watches. Why the dish washer decided to be a hero is the answer to a question he took to his grave.

He is thinking about this story instead of questioning himself harder. Two years ago after his first ride down state he had decided that he was never going back to prison. Being small, young and white he was vulnerable and as easy mark. He doesn’t want to wonder if being a punk again is really a fate worse than death.

He is thinking about this story instead of thinking about Elizabeth, she would be waiting for him back at the motel outside of Waco Texas. She is nineteen and a red head. The day he met her he thought the universe had finally thrown him a bone.

Duane hears the sirens in the distance as he ducks farther behind his car. Gunshots are tearing into metal and flattening his tires. He is thinking about this story instead of listening to the cops as they shout for him to throw his gun down. He is thinking about how much it doesn’t matter that he didn’t plan to shoot the waiter, or didn’t plan to shoot at cops. He knows he can’t go back to jail. He hopes Elizabeth will be alright. He is thinking about that story, how sometimes a bad end is a part of the job. You know it when you take it even though you never think it will be you it ends badly for. He is thinking about this now, and he hopes he will die bravely, like a real bull fighter.

Dan Cuddy

Myth of Venus

Romance comes like Venus
Riding a seashell
The zephyrs
Pushing the vey naked
Naturally curvaceous
Botticelli babe
Onto a 21st century beach
A nudist beach
And I
Am wrapped in a towel
Too much fat to fry in the sun
And a little old
None of my bathing suits fit
I just want to be incognito
Catch a peak at the women au naturelle

Venus has a dimple on two cheeks
One on the face
One in another place
And she is so tan
She wasn’t born yesterday
But her skin is so smooth
A mole here and there
Like an exclamation point
The woman is real
Just out of Penthouse’s pool
Dripping wet
Brown eyes wonderfully smiling
And I would jump up
And say
With a cock-a-doodle-doo

If I knew her
And the lifeguard
With big muscles
Wasn’t guarding her life
Her telephone number
Her email address
I turn seaweed green with envy
Watch them
Kiss furiously
As violins come from somewhere
And a voice
A smoker’s voice
With intermittent coughs
Chokes out
“that is my daughter
Watch it”

I watched her
The goddess
Of Black’s Beach, California
And I said almost out loud
“gawd, what a woman”
A disembodied voice said
“That’s right, fatso…
Only in your dreams”

El Bastardo

The Donkey Show Family Fun Hour

I remember the days when I was young.

The days seemed to last forever and I was a young Bastardo and the world was run by real men like El Presidente Bill Clinton. A man who can blow his own horn is a man who stands apart from many.

The economy was good and the senoritas truly understood how to appreciate good sexual harassment, unlike these closet lesbians of today.

My nipples tingle at the thought of wrestling Harvey Weinstein into submission; what a sexy woman he truly is. If I was in the cinema you wouldn’t hear me complain over sitting on the casting couch.

Now the world is run by spoiled orange hair grandpas who compliment their own daughters’ tits. Of course, even Satan himself has some good qualities.

It is a strange world, much like the pussy fart; it is a humorous mystery that can often make you lose your hardito.

But enough with the foreplay, gringos.

I remember the good old days when the donkeys ran free and the senoritas were nervous. The party was fueled by good cocaine and men were celebrated for being the natural bastards we truly are.

Before the new era of the reincarnated Hitler minus the fabulous fashion sense and before shitty bands like Nickelback were allowed to make the same shitty album over and over again.

They could truly ruin the best and most beautiful scene ever.

Two lesbianos kissing in the wild.

How I wish I was like Hemingway back on safari in the savage lands of Canada.

Oh well, it seems the good times have truly left us for good.

But Hope is always there.

She works mainly on Saturdays at the Hot Seat gentleman’s club.

You have not lived till you have had a lap dance to a Celine Dion song; it is a little slice of heaven that makes me want to cry every time.

Once is a little awkward but does not worry me, for everyone knows that strippers are only half human anyway, silly boys.

And if upon reading this you are insulted in any way…

Just remember this is a joke.

Much like politics and the evening news, it all went to hell a very long time ago.



Joseph Fulkerson


The experts are convinced
it’s a bull market
or maybe a bear market,
either way 
they’re certain it’s a mammal
with four legs, possibly hooves 
but just to be safe 
they’re not ruling out claws.

They are convinced
trickle-down economics does work
but only if you have a white collar
if you’ve ever attended a
three martini lunch meeting, 

even more so if you can
write it off as a business expense.

Choosing to buy into this 
provides a guarantee of residual income 
and a lifetime of resentment
and complacency.

The fix is in;
I’d be remiss if I didn’t state the obvious.

A metric shit-ton of regret is in store for you, mister.

You can’t deny
the devil has the best deal
when it comes to plea deals.

He’ll get you prime real-estate
on the 9th green of the
9th circle.

You’ll be a scapegoat,
the fall guy
caught red-handed 
holding a red herring.

You’ll be first in line for an ass-whooping
and last in line for your parole hearing.

If the road to hell is paved with 
good intentions, then the road to heaven 
is littered with anal fissures.

The saying goes “if you mess with the bull 
you get the horns.”

They failed to mention the bull cock.

You’re prime ass, prime meat
in prime time 

delicate sensibilities are a delicacy
in the prison yard. 

You’ll be sewing golden parachutes
into white collars 
in your sleep
in no time.

It’s a bull market after all.

Or was it bear?