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American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review

Red's Dead

By Eli Richardson

The Females Get Fucked Up for Free

I see a roadhouse and pull in among the pickup trucks. I adjust Missy's wig and get out of the Suzuki.

Great clouds of bugs swarm the floodlights overhead. The lights don't penetrate far into the black of the night. The parking lot is paved in beer bottle caps. The trucks have Confederate flags and gun racks in the back windows. I get out. I grab at my belly. I steady myself and go up to the roadhouse door.

Something's not right. There's no music or laughter. It's ominous. I open the door. It's dark in here, too. There's only a string of Christmas lights over the bar for illumination. The bartender leans against his side of the bar. He picks at his teeth and looks at me like I'm expected. He pulls his toothpick out of his mouth and points it at me. "Close the door," he says.

I step in and let the screen door slap shut behind me. I squint into the sides of the dark room. Something clears its throat. I hear a spit. A full two seconds later I hear something wet hit the cement floor. I start to turn back to the door.

"What's your rush pretty lady?" the bartender asks. "You want a beer?" I stop with my hand pushing on the screen. "It's ladies night. The females drink free." I bring my hand back and turn to the bar. I cross over.

"Bud in a bottle?" I ask, mounting a stool.

"Can do," the bartender says. He reaches into a cooler behind the bar and comes up with a beer. It's a can of Milwaukee's Best. He puts it down in front of me and pops the top. "Would you like a glass ma'am?"

"Yes, please," I say. The bartender laughs. A chair makes a squawk as it scoots over the floor. I hear heavy boots shuffling over the concrete.

"You done yet, Clem?" I hear a voice ask. "We gots some woman company done showed up."

I hear a muffled groan and something clatters in another room. I hear a thud and then some water running. A door opens and the room has light. I see about six shadowy figures sitting at separate tables. They all look at the bathroom like they're waiting in line somehow. In the door frame is a huge man buttoning up his pants. Behind him is a delicate young guy on his knees. The kid's got super pale skin and red hair. Besides the fact that he's bleeding from the mouth he looks adorable. Clem cranes his neck back into the bathroom. "Thanks for nothing, you little pussy. Now I gots the real deal," he says. I take a drink from my beer as Clem walks over to the bar. He leans sideways into the bar so he's facing me.

"Hey baby," he says. Clem reaches over and heavily pets my head. I follow his hand with my head so the wig stays on. Clem grabs my face in one hand. "Ain't you a sight for sore eyes," he says. "You gotta name?"

"Stacy," I say. "I'm Stacy. Pleased to meet you." My bowels flutter and the corners of my mouth turn down. I put on a smile really fast. I pull back and put my hand in Clem's.

"O honey. Men shake hands," Clem says. "Not us. Give me a hug. You got a room full of fellas like to meet you sugar. Best start with me." Clem reaches under my arms and pulls me off the barstool and into his body. I get smashed into his salty, smelly shirt at about navel level.

"Mmm," I say. "You're a big one. I like the big ones." Clem lets me go. "I mean, I like the little ones too," I say, looking first at Clem then around the room. "I guess I like them all. The more the better." I see the young guy in the bathroom has gotten up. He's coughing into the sink.

"That's the spirit doll," the bartender says.

"Come here," Clem says. He snatches me by a wrist and pulls me to him as he sits down on the stool. "Come sit on my lap. I want you close."

"O.k.," I say. "O wait, hang on. I need to go get my cigarettes out of the car."

"George!" Clem bellows. "Roll our lady friend here a cigarette."

"O that's sweet, but really, I'd rather smoke my own. They're real firecrackers, mine are. Maybe you'd like one. Hang on now, you big lug, I'll be right back." I pull away from Clem. He finally lets me go and I stumble to the door.

"You hurry honey. I got something I want to show you," Clem says. There's a laugh in the corner.

"O, shit boys," the bartender says. "We gonna get us some smile time."

Heaven's for Hillbillies

I push on the screen door and step outside. I grab at my guts and take a quick look behind me as I stride into the parking lot. In the muggy bayou night I carry food poisoning and walk in Barbara's dress and pumps across the dark lot with bottle caps crunching under my feet. I try the door handle on the first truck I come to. I walk away and try the handle on the next truck. It opens. I climb inside and grab the pump shotgun from the rack and slide back to the ground. I work the pump, putting a shell in the chamber as I cross back to the bar. I yank the screen door open and step inside. I hold the shotgun out in front of me with the barrel pointing at the ceiling and pull the trigger. The blast is deafening and the gun almost jumps out of my hands as it recoils. I think my voice sounds really far away as I shout, "Any of you mother fucking pigs move and I'll execute every last one of you." It's silent. Then, it sounds like it's raining as the shotgun pellets fall from the sky and scatter on the tin roof. "You," I say, pointing the gun at the bartender. "I ain't smiling. Bring me all the cash you got." The bartender shakes his head and starts to mutter. I pump another round into the chamber. The bartender reaches under the counter. "Slow!" I yell. The bartender catches himself and then brings up his hands holding a shoe box. "Good boy," I say. "Bring that over here. Drag me that cooler too." The bartender sets the shoe box in the cooler of beer and picks it all up. He starts around the bar toward me. "Hey dude," I say to the bathroom. The young guy is still staring into the sink. He looks up. "We're leaving." He pushes himself up and slowly comes into the bar. "Hey, don't dawdle," I say. He starts to move into the shadows. "Come on!" I yell. "Leave your shit."

"I'm not leaving Mary Jane for these hill billy animals to abuse," he says. He comes into the light carrying a guitar case. Clem gets up off his barstool. I drop the barrel of the gun and fire blind.

"Fuck!" Clem squeals as he collapses to the floor. "You bitch!" he yells. "You shot my fucking foot! You miserable cunt! I'm going to kill you!" Clem starts to get up. I pump another shell and fire. Clem screams and goes down. I slide the pump again and point the gun at the bartender who's stopped to look at Clem. "Bring it," I say. The bartender comes over to me. "Put the cooler down. Right here." The bartender sets the cooler down at my feet. "Now get back," I say. The bartender starts to shuffle backwards and stooped over. He's trying to move so his head stays away from the gun muzzle. Clem's balled up in a fetal position moaning and cursing, trying to reach his feet. The young guy from the bathroom comes up to me.

"Good shooting," he says. "I would've aimed somewhere else, though."

"I will if I have to," I say to the room. "Get this cooler out of here." I kick at the screen door with my foot. The guy props it open with his guitar case and drags the cooler through the door. "Take it out to the blue Suzuki by the road," I say. "Hey, barkeep," I say to the bartender bent over Clem. "You got a phone?"

"It's right there on the bar," he says, pointing.

"That the only one?"

"How many you want?"

I bring the gun up to my shoulder and try to aim in the gloom. I fire and the phone disappears with the sound of a bell. "Alright then. Goodnight you slimy fucks," I say as I back through the door. "Don't do nothing dumb now or Hell's going to have to make room for more rednecks." I turn and head across the lot working another shell into the gun. I stop at the first truck I come to and blow out a front tire. I pump the gun and move to the next truck and then the next, flattening one tire apiece until the gun is empty. I drop the shotgun and slip into another truck that has a twenty-two semiautomatic rifle in the rack. I finish off the lot. I see a figure standing at the screen door. I fire a bullet that kicks up a little cloud of dust and whines as it ricochets off a bottle cap. The figure disappears. I let out a whoop and go to Stacy's truck. The young guy's already loaded the beer into the backseat and is belted in up front. I sprint around and open my door. I lean in and hand him the rifle. "Here, take this," I say. I sit in the car and turn it over. I jam the Sidekick back onto the highway without looking for traffic. The tires squeal when they hit the asphalt. The road's empty. I let out another whoop and look at the guy next to me. He looks at me and then whoops himself. We take off.

"What's that smell?" he asks. "It's like sex." I don't say anything but lean down to flip on the headlights. A big mosquito splatters on the windshield and leaves a red smear.

Don't Mess with Texas

"What's your name?" I ask as the car scoots along through a wooded area.

"I'm going to be sick."

"I don't feel good neither. Look here, look at my hands shake." I take a hand off the wheel to show the guy and the Suzuki starts stuttering back and forth as my other hand tries to pick up the slack. "Shit. Get me a beer, will you?" The guy stretches back and I can hear him swishing around in the ice water. "Really, what's your name?"

"I'm Clarence. My friends call me Red, though. I guess because of my hair. Listen, I really am going to get sick."

"Red is it? Mind if I call you Blue?"

"I don't give a fuck what you call me as long as you pull over and let me puke."

"I'd like to call you Angel," Red says.

"Which way you headed, Blue?" I ask. Red points forward into the black. "Where you coming from?" Red jerks his thumb over his shoulder.

"In Texas they kill people for parking violations," Red says. "Tough bunch."

"Nobody in this car is hardly cherry the way I see it, Blue. Take it slow on me, though. I'm tender too."

"O I gots me a woman and she mine for true," Red warbles. He leans over and kisses me on the cheek. It tingles. "What'll we name the children, lover?"

"I said slow, Blue. Besides that, you're drunk."

"And I aim to get drunker. I'm celebrating my new love and I done earned these spoils. You want a fresh one?"

"I'm more than dizzy already."

"You're holding the road, Angel. Just keep on these two-laners. We'll sneak our way to Austin. Looks like the Sun's going to eat us alive."

"Radio's gone you know. Why don't you play me one of your songs."

"In do time," Red says. "Here." Red hands me a beer. "Now give us a kiss." He leans in. I look away from the road for a second and our lips meet. My face blushes and I let out a little giggle. When I look back to the road I've crossed over the center line. An oncoming Toyota pickup bucks along the opposite shoulder. Its horn whines into the distance.

"Woo-wee, that's fine!" Red yelps. "Angel, you give me wings and turn the world topsy-turvy."

"Shit," I say and bite my lip. "I got to watch what I'm up to. I'm real fond of you Blue, but no more of that while I'm driving."

"Then yank this buggy over so I can put on the loving. I could see a man about a horse while we're at it."

I pull Stacy's car onto the next dirt road I cross.

"What are you doing?" Red asks. "Why didn't you go in that graveyard right there?"

"We'll all be in a graveyard soon enough."

I bump along the dirt road for about a mile until I come to a little bridge. I jerk the truck into some shade along the road.

"Much obliged, little lady," Red says and skips out of the SUV. He stands right next to the car whizzing into the bushes.

"I maybe have a bit more modesty," I say as I exit the truck. "I'm going to be up here in the trees. You stay where you are." I head off the road and duck behind a tree to squat. In a moment I hear Red swishing through the underbrush. I crane my head around the tree. "You stay right there," I shout.

"Come on baby. I've had my macho manhandled and ain't no better salve than the love of a good woman."

"Not now Blue. I want to wait till we have us a room and I'm all cleaned up and we can have a little talk. I don't want to get it from you bent over on the bare ground with tinkle running down my leg."

Red puts his hands up. "Sorry darling. I won't push, but I got a mean old itch I can't wait for you to scratch and I ain't just talking about my curiosity."

"In do time honey," I say, standing up behind the tree and pulling Barbara's dress back into place. "In do time," I say, coming back from behind the tree. In the early morning light Red looks up at me from where he's standing in the ditch. He looks cute. I feel fine. "Me love you long time, sailor," I say. "Just let me wait for the right time. I want it special." I skip down into the ditch and put my arms on Red's shoulders. I lean in and kiss him. Red puts his arms around me. One hand slides down to my ass. I flinch a little. Red brings his other hand to the front and pushes it up my side. It starts to move to my chest. "Damn it Blue," I say, pushing him away. "I said to wait."

"Come on honey," Red says. "I heard you say yourself you likes men big and small. I'm the same way. With women that is. In fact, I'm kind of partial to them squared-off yet dainty like you. Ain't nothing to be ashamed of."

"You just get back in that car and mind your p's and q's. I have every intention of giving you everything you want. I just need some time. All my life I've had people rushing me and taking things from me. You just hold on and let me give it to you. Now you get." I swat Red's hiney on the way back to the truck.

We load up and get beers. I light a cigarette. Red waves the pack away. "Here we go, Blue. We'll get us a room come Austin. It'll be real nice to snuggle up close to you."

"Whatever," Red says.

"Don't pout sweetie. Listen, a girl's got desires too, but I haven't had a bath or even underpants for a lifetime. I just want it to be nice with you."

"Alright then, drive," Red says. I take off. "I just wanted to have a look," Red says. He puts his hand on my knee. I hold the cigarette in my mouth and swat at his hand. "You little scamp," I say through my teeth. Red puts his hand right back on my knee and starts to run it up my leg. The Sidekick crests a hill. I see the highway below me. I have to spit the cigarette out. "Damn it, you rascal. Don't make me fight you, Blue," I say. I raise my knee to fend Red off and take my foot off the pedals. Red turns in his seat and starts pawing at Barbara's neckline, trying to see down my dress while simultaneously working his other hand up my leg. "Don't!" I yell. "You're going to ruin everything!" Red leans over and tries to pin my arms. The cigarette cherry starts to burn my left butt cheek.

"Come on Angel, spread your wings," Red says.

I feel the Suzuki picking up speed. I look back to the road to see I'm just yards from the highway. "O God, Blue!" I shout. I kick at the brake pedal but Red's got his arm wedged under my ass trying to fold my legs back. I take a hand and reach for the wheel but Red intercepts me and the car careens out of control. I see the front end clip the stop sign at the end of the dirt road. There's a smash and then there's sky, a flash of the horizon, more sky and then a solid wall of green as the car noses into the ditch on the other side of the highway. The truck dies. Everything is quiet. Red looks at me then drops his hand below him. He brings it back. It's covered in blood. We both adjust to see that the stop sign has come through the windshield. We look at each other again. Red's face goes pale and he looks at me funny.

"You wear a wig?" he asks.

The Heart Sucks Too

"O God! What do I do? What do I do?" I bring my hands up to Red's face and try to move around to see his body. The stop sign has come through the windshield and disappeared in Red's lap. "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! O God! Blue!" I shout. "What do I do?" I try to turn the vehicle over. I pump at the gas like mad. Stacy's SUV starts but makes a lot of funny, clanky noises. I jam it in reverse and spin the tires in the grass. The truck slowly inches up the embankment of the ditch then hits the pavement and jerks out into the highway. Red makes a grunt.

"You wear a fucking wig?"

"Not now," I say. "You dumb bastard. O you sweet stupid boy. I told you to keep your hands to yourself." I straighten out Stacy's Suzuki and pull into the old, parched graveyard. Tiny tombstones lie scattered in the dirt. "O Blue. Does it hurt? You're bleeding, sweetie. O Blue."

Red's worked his way back properly into his seat. He's holding on to the sign post coming out of his groin. "This ain't good, Angel. You better get this thing off me." Red's eyes flutter.

"You hang on, Blue!" I yell. I get out of the truck and run around to the passenger side. I lean in. The stop sign is buried in Red's pelvis. "O God, Blue. O God," I say. "Hang on honey." Red starts to kind of pant. I take hold of the sign and try to pull it out of him. Red screams. "O God, Blue. You hang on babe," I say and pull. The sign comes out with a wet sliding sound and the crackling of the safety glass. It stops when the actual stop part of the sign meets the window. Red grabs his crotch.

"This ain't good," he whispers. I pull his hands away. Blood pours out of him. I reach in and try to staunch the flow. There's nothing but warm and wet between Red's legs. I look over. The stop sign has blood, blue jeans and little wads of tissue hanging from the metal and the wooden post. I take my hands away with a bit of Red's scrotum stuck to my fingers. "I guess I'm the one ended up with the unwanted hole," Red says.

"You shut up, Blue. We're going to fix you. We're going to a hospital." I start around the car to the driver's side.

"No doing," Red says as I open my door. He coughs a little. Some blood comes up and hangs on his lip. Red sucks it in, grins, then barfs a thick, dark red bubble down his front. "O Angel," he says. His teeth are red up next to the gums and in the spaces between. Red's head starts to sway around the car. "O Angel, this ain't good. I'm not going to make it out of here."

"I told you to shut up Blue. O Blue," I say. I dive in and put my arms around his neck. I kiss Red on the cheek and then the mouth. "You stupid little heartbreaker," I say. Red starts to go cold. He starts shaking. There's blood everywhere. It's pooling in the seat and on the floorboard.

"Only hope is if you suck the venom out of my wound," Red says. He chuckles and more blood shakes out of his mouth. "O honey, I'm done for. You pull me out of here and lay me down, o.k? I want to get buried in this here Texas graveyard like some gunfighter."

"O Blue, Blue, Blue," I say.

"You do this Angel. Just lay me out and let me look up to Heaven with you at my side." I let go of Red and pull back to look him in the face. I run my hand through his hair.

"You darling, darling man. I so love you." I get back out of the Suzuki and go around to Red's side. He looks like he's sleeping. "You stay with me, Blue," I say. I bend into the car and shake him. He moves too easily. It's like he's not all there.

Red struggles to open his eyes. "I ain't never leaving, Angel, but I ain't going to be here long neither. Just go ahead and drag me out of the car. My legs don't seem to be working." I start to pull Red out. His head and torso come out easy enough but his legs are reluctant.

"You poor, sweet boy," I say. I start to cry. I sag down on my haunches then collapse with most of Red on top of me. His legs kind of slither out after him and clump to the ground. I wiggle free of Red and lie next to him propped on one elbow. I arrange his hands on his chest and caress his blood smeared face. Red's breathing really shallow. I'm frantic. I roll on him and start to do some mouth to mouth. Red laughs and pushes me away.

"I'm not in the mood for foreplay no more," he says.

I watch as Red's blood flows from between his legs and down into the cracked dirt.

"You should have told me about the wig, Angel. All I wanted was a look at what you got underneath." He lifts a finger. "Look there. Up in the sky. Look at that cloud. What's that look like?" Red asks.

I look up. "That could be anything," I say. I look back at Red. Red's dead.

Excerpted from Eli Richardson's Make Me, to be published by The Drill Press later this year.

To download a recording of the author reading from this work, go to Eli Richardson at Hollow Earth Radio

© Eli Richardson 2011