- 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
- Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
- Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
- Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
- Nonviolence by Jim Courter
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
- Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
- 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
- The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
- The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
- Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
- Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
- The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
- Someday Man by John Grochalski
- I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
- Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
- Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
- The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
- Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
- 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
- Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
- Invisible by Anjoli Roy
- One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
- Storyteller by Alan McCormick
- 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
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things
Be All You Can Be
By Kurt Mueller
Over there we've killed like ten thousand of them, and the count keeps running. They've gotten maybe a thousand of us, or something, but we count people who die in helicopter crashes even, so you never knew how many got shot.
See, I'm wanting to kill somebody, so my buddy sold me a gun, a little black 9mm deal. It meant no permit, no waiting period, no nothing. You should of seen it.
So it's stuffed in my drawers while I drive the truck up to the recruiter's office, flipping off the Saturday protesters out in the park. They don't know shit, and if I could I'd Fallujah them all to Hell, but I just turn that middle finger bird into an pointer finger pistol and blast it at them, then swat a mosquito dead on my neck.
See, the Army's offering good pay to guys who enlist, like up to $2,000 for a sign up bonus. Someone said they're short on numbers and they're just shipping boys off to shoot them fuckers in Iraq dead. So the stereo's jamming Taps, the horns of it going all fucking crazy, and the gun rubs cold on the skin of my crotch, all smooth cause I shaved my pubes that morning cause Sandra gave me crabs.
I know cause I had my buddy take a look. After I gave him the cash for the gun I showed him my area, all rusty from the crabs and there were a couple eggs right where the hair comes out. They itched all like poison ivy, but my buddy got his face real close, squinted all scientific, and he said he could tell there were eggs. He said the bugs were there and the only way to get rid of them was to shave.
Sandra's my girlfriend, and she's the only one could have given me the bugs, and she shaved her pussy, and I didn't have much other choice than to shave, everything down there. Even my balls. It looked weird, but she was sexy, all smooth. You should have seen it.
But I go to recruiter and he sits me down in his office across the desk from him, and he's like 35 or whatever, and he's skinny and wears glasses. His name is Sergeant Lyle Murdock, and he says to me, "Call me Sarge, son."
And I'm like, "Name's Lunch."
"What do you mean your name's Lunch?"
"That's what I been called since grade school, cause every afternoon I'd let some rip and all the other kids knew what I ate for lunch."
He laughs a little, all raspy, then coughs. "That's funny," he says. "Lots of guys have nicknames. So maybe you want to become Private Lunch?"
"That's why I'm here," I tell him, and I scratch my balls. "Sign me up, Sarge."
Sarge grabs forms off his desk and thumbs them. "You've made up your mind? You're ready to enlist."
"Are you interested in the GI Bill? Funding for education?"
"No, sir," I say. "I'm looking to kill something."
And he looks up from his papers and says to me, "Whoa, now. I know you're excited, but that's not exactly the kind of stuff I normally talk about with recruits."
"Ain't that the point?"
"How old are you, son?" He's got a big scar on his neck, looks like he took a shiv in the throat, but I'll bet he killed the motherfucker dead.
"Twenty years old, sir."
He leans forward across the desk. "For most guys your age the Army is about getting skills so you can join the workforce. Or they're here to get money for college. We're not exactly in the business of killing." He stops and leans back in his chair. "Sure," he says, "It happens. I can't deny that. But what we're here to do is protect our nation and other allied nations."
"Yeah," I say, and this guy's trying to talk me out of joining up or something. "I'm cool with that. I'm just saying I'm psyched to get going. You know? Get my feet wet."
"I certainly admire your excitement," Sarge says. "You're wanting to go active, right?" We stare at each other, and he thinks I know what he means. "Rather than reserve?" he says.
"I don't want to be on reserve," I say.
"Good," he says. "We've got some paperwork to do." He fingers a stack of papers from his desk, and there's a grenade on a plaque on his desk and it says, ‘Complaint Dept. Take a Number' and the pin has a tag on it with a big 1.
He goes through a whole bunch of forms with me, explains stuff to me, and I'm not really listening. I just sign and initial where he tells me to, and I give him the addresses of family and all the other bullshit he says he needs.
"How do you feel about all this?" he asks.
"Feel, sir?" I ask. "I'm not here to talk about my feelings. I ain't a faggot or nothing. I'm an American." I sit up as straight as I can, and the chair hurts my back.
The vein in his neck throbs under the scar, bouncing it up and down with his heartbeat, and he probably got the scar working on a computer or something. He probably wasn't even in combat. He says, "Look at me." He stands up, and he seems bigger now than before. "You're going to learn discipline here, whether you like it or not. Your attitude might fly in this hick town here, but in my office, you will act respectable."
"I was just saying, I didn't think you," and he cuts me off.
"No," he says. "You're not thinking. You will respect every member of the United States Army. They are all on your side, no matter what you think of them. I don't want to be too hard on you, but it's just got to be that way. We're all in it together. Understand?"
"I do," I say, and I didn't think he would be such a dick about it.
Sarge turns around and goes into the closet behind the desk and pulls out a hat and throws it at me, the bill all spinning around, and it says US ARMY and I adjust the back to fit me, and I put it on and I am the shit. You really should see this. "Welcome to the Army, Lunch," he says. "I'll see you next week for the ASVAB," and he's talking about some stupid-ass test I have to take to tell what work I do, and I'm just going to write soldier on it and that's it.
"Right," I say.
"Make sure you get a good sleep," he says. "And show up on time."
He gives me some other instructions and hands me a big packet of papers, but I'm so ramped up I don't know a foxhole from an asshole and the gun in my pants feels just as good as the hard-on next to it. And we both stand, and I'm taller and bigger than him, and we shake and I walk out the door, ready to go all Rambo on the Middle East.
It's hot, like 90 degrees, plus the humidity makes the shirt stick to my back cause the truck's AC is broke, and August in Illinois don't fuck around. It's hot as shit.
And I drive back to the house, my mom's house that she lets me stay in while she's out for the summer in her RV with her boyfriend Marty, so long as I put her government checks in the bank when they come.
Sandra's in the front yard, standing with the lawn chairs and hula hoops, finishing a cigarette, and the whole place smells of hot garbage, like a mix of babies and vomit, like the Taste of Chicago. She's wearing cutoffs and a tube top, the bit of baby growing in her belly poking out under it, and she's got on the stupid neck brace her mom gave her after the accident, and I spray gravel toward her when the truck pulls in.
"What the fuck you trying to do to me, Lunch?" she asks, and flicks the cigarette butt at me. "You trying to kill me?"
"If I wanted to kill you," I say, "I'd use this." And I lift my shirt up a little, showing the dull black handle of my gun. "Stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger."
"You're fucking insane," she tells me, and I don't know if she's right, but she's stupid and pulls another smoke from the red box peeking out of her pocket. "You sign up?"
"Hell yes I did."
"So, you're like, what?" she asks, and drops her lighter on the brown grass and bends over to pick it up, and I can see she's not wearing underwear, and I think of taking her inside and putting the spurs to her, but she comes back up and lights the smoke and takes a drag and crosses her arms. "You're like a soldier now, or what?" She's got marks and shit all up her legs from falling off her bike last week going to the gas station, but she said the baby's fine. She never went to see the doctor cause her mom said it didn't look too bad, but still she got a foam rubber brace from when her stepdad got whiplash. I don't even care what the hell happened, so long as that baby's not all fucked up. I'm not certain it's mine, but if I got to pay for it, I don't want it all retarded and shit. Sandra said she just scraped her self up a little, didn't bang her belly at all.
"That's right," I say. "100 percent United States Army. I'm the motherfucking man."
"So, like, when they send you over to the I-Rack?"
"Like a couple months or something," I say. "I have to go take a test first to like figure out what division they put me in or whatever. Then there's basic training. I think that takes a while."
"What's that mean for us?"
"Shit, Sandra. I don't know what the fuck it means for us." She's got a hand behind her back, pushing her stomach out, blowing smoke straight up into the air. "You're going to have that baby, and I'm going to do my fucking duty. Is that enough for you?"
"We're going to have this baby," she says.
"You know that ain't mine, and you say different I'll make an example of you right here in the yard while the neighbors watch Is that what you want, Sandra?"
"Lunch, baby. I've said I'm sorry."
"I love you Sandra, I do. But I don't love how you act. I just got that feeling that the baby in that belly there is Ronnie's, and he's lucky he got sent back overseas, but if I see him, I'll have to friendly fire his ass for getting up inside you like he did."
"I love you. I slept with him once, and I wish I didn't. Jesus knows I wish I hadn't done it. You know there's a chance the baby could be yours. You know that."
"I don't know shit." She stomps her foot to the ground and she farts a little and adjusts her neck brace. It smells like bacon, and I say, "I need to eat something. Can you get me a bowl of cereal?"
"That's what you want?"
"Fruit Loops," I say. "And a cup of wine from that box in the fridge." I switched from whiskey to wine. Whiskey made me mean, and that wine's the good stuff. Plus, Sandra liked it. We'd take down a whole box sometimes. That stuff's strong enough to make me tell Sandra I love her. You should see that.
She comes back with the stuff and we sit on the porch, the wood all cracking and peeling, and we stare out into the street, but no cars drive by and our feet hanging off over the rock garden, and there's some beer cans down there Sandra should clean up.
"You want me to cut your hair?" she asks.
"What for?" I'm chomping my cereal, sounding funny.
"You know," she says, "To make you more soldiery. They all have the crew cuts."
"Yeah." The picture of me in uniform, head all shaved comes into my head. It looks sweet. "Fuck yeah," I say and slug the wine from the cup, a coffee mug that says I'm the World's Biggest Asshole, getting it all on my chin and neck. "Go get Randall's clippers." She walks back into the house, and the screen door doesn't click shut, and a cat or two's probably going to sneak out and she'll be pissed, but I don't say anything, just sit there and drink the purple wine.
Randall's her little brother. He gives himself and his buddies uneven flattops and shit, so he's got these clippers he got at the Super K a while back. They work all right, but those kids' head's look all fucked about when Randall gets done with them. He's at summer school trying to finish his equivalency so he can join up like me.
"Got ‘em," Sandra says and sits down behind me and starts pulling at the hair under my Army cap while the cereal's still in my mouth.
"Would you wait a good god damn," I say.
"Baby, I ain't even plugged these in yet." She swings the clippers in front of me, the blades all rusty and red in my face, smelling of metal and the cereal don't taste fruity much more.
"Jesus, Sandra," I say and turn around. "Give me a fucking second to finish my cereal."
"Sorry," she says, and squeezes my sides. "I got a couple of Randall's Ritalin."
I drink the pink milk from the bowl and wipe my mouth. "No shit," I say.
"You want me to do your hair first?"
"Let's do a rail, then the hair." So Sandra takes the two Ritalin out of her pocket and I take her magazine off the porch floor, thick with ads for shit she wants but don't need, and she puts the two pills down on it. With her lighter I smash them up good and make two rails, one twice the size of the other. I hold a finger against my right nostril and dip my face down to the magazine and bump the big rail in a long smooth sniff and pull my head up. "Nice," I say, and Sandra does the same on the little one.
We sit there on the porch, Sandra back behind me and she's plugged in the clippers and she pulls off my hat and starts on the hair. She pulls it and the blades must be dull or something cause they don't go through it real smooth. The clippers buzz and shake against my skull and hair falls down on my shoulders along with white crumbs of dandruff or whatever. And the clipper fuckers are real noisy and I can barely hear Sandra mumbling about what a great soldier I'll make and how she bought Lottery tickets earlier up at the gas station and how we'll be rich when I come home and we'll buy a house and the kid and a whole bunch of stuff.
She finishes and I take my shirt off and shake the hair out of it and rub my skull, little fuzz up top catching my fingers, tickling them. It feels good. "How's it look?" I ask.
"You look great," Sandra says. "Go check it out."
I walk inside to the bathroom and see my big fat head in the mirror. My fucking nose looks huge, all flat in the front, smashed a while ago, but bowed out to the sides. God damn, but with my shirt off and no hair, my neck and traps look big and swole, and I flex my chest and veins pop out of my shoulders and neck and I think I look scary and the Ritalin's amped me up good, got the blood flowing, and my nose itches and looks big, but so do my muscles cause I've been lifting. We set up a bench in the backyard, pumping out reps, getting big. You should have seen it.
Sandra comes in and tells me we need to go to the store to get some lotion for my head so it doesn't get razor rash or something. "And we need to get some beer," she says.
"We got wine in the fridge," I say.
"You can't drink wine when you're pregnant," she says. "It'll fuck up the baby. Give it that fetal alcohol disease where there all hooked on it," and her head's all cocked to the side, smushing the brace, but it's just foam. It really can't do shit though, and she gives me those slanted eyes like she knows everything, and I just sigh and kick my foot against the floor.
I look back up to her, and she says, "But I talked to your mom, and she said beer's no big deal."
"You don't know shit," I tell her. "Wine ain't going to do shit to the baby. So long as you don't drink hard liquor you'll be fine," but she insists on the beer, so fuck it. We'll go.
And we're back in the truck, backing out of the driveway and the sun's beating all down on us and Sandra's bitching about the AC being broke and I tell her she can just fucking fix it herself then and that gets her quiet and we blast This Land is Your Land and drive up the road.
We pull into the parking lot at the Super K and I let Sandra out at in front of the motorized doors so she can wait in the AC, and there's this kid in a No War T-shit handing out flyers and I give him the finger and park the truck. He tries to give my one of his flyers when I walk in but I just look away and slap his hand away from my chest and tell him to fuck off before I Tikrit his skinny ass, and he says I should wait and listen, but I just walk in the store. It's downright freezing in there and I shake a little and ask Sandra where the fuck I find lotion.
"It's back by the soap," she says.
"Where the fuck is the soap?"
"Jesus, Lunch. It's like you've never been to the Super K."
"Oh, I've been here," I say. "But I ain't never bought no faggot shit like lotion before. I've bought beer, and I've bought oil, but I ain't never bought no lotion. Or soap for that matter."
"Well," she says. "I'll go get your lotion. You can just go look at beer. And maybe we should get a frozen pizza for supper. Pick one out." And she walks past the registers and magazines and whatever else they sell on that side of the store, and I head to the groceries.
They've got like twenty different kinds of beer, and Sandra doesn't give a shit what kind we get. We usually get the kind that's on sale, whatever's the cheapest, and there's a red tag beneath some kind so we'll probably get that, and some other kid with flyers comes up to me, this dude older than the one out front. This dude's got a stringy beard and some greasy matted hair.
"Excuse me, sir" he says and he's probably like 19 cause he's still got some pimples in his beard and I can tell he don't know what the fuck he's talking about. "Our Army is in the Middle East murdering innocent people." He pushes a flyer into my chest.
"Our Army?" I ask. "If it were your Army, you wouldn't be wasting your time trash talking them." I push his hand away and turn back to the cooler.
"Sir," he says. "Please, at least take a flyer."
I face him. "Fuck you." I say. "I'm minding my own motherfucking business here. I don't give a shit what you have to say. I'm here to buy some beer." And I'm all up in this guy's face, and he's as tall as me, but skinny and weak.
"Really, I'm not looking for a discussion."
I cut him off. "Then leave me alone," I say, and push him. Not hard, but he stumbles back a little bit.
"Jesus Christ," he says. And he says it pretty loud, so I'm sure some people heard it, and I don't really want to start nothing. "What are you trying to do to me?"
"Man," I say. "I'm just trying to get some beer and get out of here. Go home and get a good buzz on. That's what I'm trying to do." I pull a case of beer out of the cooler.
Sandra comes into the aisle, her hands all full with lotion and a bunch of crap she probably shouldn't buy, but I can't tell what all it is, and she says, "Ready to go, baby?"
She walks closer to me and the kid, and the kid starts walking away and says to her, "Your boyfriend's a fucking asshole, lady," and I can tell really he's saying it to me cause it's loud and he's acting pissed off and tough, but I'm the tough guy here.
"Motherfucker," I say, and drop the case of beer, the thud of it making the guy look back at me, and the cardboard busts and a couple cans roll away and one breaks. I run down the aisle and push him in the chest and he stumbles back, blowing air at me.
I take off my shirt, showing off my muscles and his face goes white. You should fucking see this. I reach down for my pistol and slowly draw it from my pants, dragging the nose against my abs and chest all light and slow. I raise it up in the air above my head and Sandra mutters, "Jesus, Lunch."
I drop my arm slowly, flexing my biceps and forearm squeezing the pistol, looking all swole, and I point the deal straight at this dude's face, and he raises his arms above his head and his mouth is open and he starts crying and his pants get all dark in his crotch and the piss drips to the floor and I ask him, "You scared?"
"Yes," he gets out, quivering.
"What're you scared of?" I ask. "You scared I'm going to kill you?"
"Yes." He's totally crying.
"You're not supposed to be scared of me," I say. "Be scared of them fucking sand niggers. There who wants to fuck you up," and I put the gun back in my pants, and Sandra's opened a beer and she loops her arm through mine and takes a slug off the can.
The kid sighs and puts his head down, and I say, "You should thank me for this."
He says, all soft, "Thank you." He walks away, and there's a security guard on a walkie talkie at the end of the aisle calling someone to come down, and he asks the dude something and he points down at me.
Sandra says, "We should go."
I'm standing there with a pistol in my pants and no shirt on and the security guard comes at me, walking slow. "Sir," he says, walking.
"We need to get the fuck out of here before you get arrested," Sandra says.
The guard grabs me by the arm and says for me to stop, but I've got nothing to say, and he jerks at my arm, so I swing my other arm across my body and knuckle a couple of the teeth out of his mouth, and he spits a blood reflex across the shiny floor, wet from piss and beer, and he falls down.
Another guard comes from around the corner and takes Sandra's arm and she drops the beer. He holds her and looks at me and says, "The cops are on their way, so we're all going to stay here and take it easy."
Sandra turns and slaps him and he reaches for her and tears off her neck brace. She kicks him in the shin, and he hobbles back on one foot and punches her in the face, knocking her to the floor, and I take the gun back out and turn the safety off and push the muzzle into his chest and his face gets all blank and scared looking, but I need to do something, I think, and Sandra's hurt I think, and I've got to do something about it, so I shoot.
Sandra screams and gets up slow, and I take her hand and we hurry out of the store to the truck.
We squeal off down the street and sirens blast from police going the other way, and it doesn't seem anyone's following us, and Sandra says, "Jesus. You didn't have to shoot him."
"I had to," I say, and I put my hand on her thigh. "I had to, baby. It was the only way."
And I grip the steering wheel hard and it's so fucking hot in the truck Sandra has her head out the window, and that guard fucked up her face. I can tell already she's going to be nice and bruised. Fuck. You should have seen it. He's probably still got that neck brace in his hand.
Sandra pulls her head back into the cab and turns her face to me. "They're going to fucking catch you," she says. I look out onto the road, the sun making puddles down on the asphalt out in the distance, and I don't say anything to her.
"You know they're going to catch you. You fucking moron," and I look to her and she's got a mosquito on her neck and I reach my hand up from her thigh and slap it dead and put both hands back on the wheel.
And I stare down the road and ask her, "You still want to get some beer?"
© Kurt Mueller 2011