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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
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DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders!

By Thor Garcia

The phone rang. It was my father.

"I just called your mother and apologized for everything, son… I asked her to forgive me."

"Oh, wow."

"She gave me your number, I hope you don't mind…Son, I'm calling to tell you that I've checked into the treatment center…I apologize to you, son. Please forgive me."

"For what?"

His voice sounded thick and crispy. Slow, tired, draped over with a rehearsed, attempted humility.

My father was a big smart man, several years of college at several colleges. Married five times, a real master of the personal three-ring circus. Stuff so funny you could laugh until your guts broke…but my father had never quite seemed to understand the joke.

I had been seventeen the last time I had allowed him to whack me upside the head. I had laughed inappropriately at something his wife had said, or failed to react quickly enough to a demand to toss the kitchen trash, I'm still not sure.

At one point, my father had been heavily into golfing. At one point, he had been heavily into poker. At one point, he had been heavily into cars, owning a red Corvette Stingray, steel blue Trans Am and a mid-size truck. At one point, he had been heavily into motor-boating. At one point, he had been heavily into fishing. At one point, he had been heavily into baking with all-natural ingredients. At one point, he had been very much into marrying teenaged girls. At one point, he had been very heavily into fast-pitch softball. At one point, he had been heavily into painting ceramics. At one point, he had been heavily into plants, soil and greenhouses. At one point, he had been heavily into collecting the records of Bob Dylan.

At one point, he had very heavily been into owning restaurants. He had owned and lost, owned and lost, many restaurants. He had made and lost, made and lost, many restaurant fortunes. It was never because of what he himself had done. It was just that people were always "screwing" him over—"business partners," mainly, as well as cooks and waitresses who shot drugs, stole and got high off cans of whipped cream.

At one point, he told the court that he could not pay more than $150 per month to my mother in child support. He was "barely making it" as it was. My mother cried to the judge, as instructed by her lawyer, said there was no money for new shoes. But it hadn't helped. The judge looked over my father's paperwork, nodded. My father walked out, drove off in his rental car, flew back to Idaho or wherever.

At one point, my father had telephoned our old house, only to be told by Webster that my mother had left him and moved us to my grandmother's—nine or ten months before. Webster was very sad. My father was very sad. Webster gave my father my grandmother's phone number. Webster and my father had held a "good heart-to-heart," according to my father.

After I turned 13, I saw him about once or twice a year. He'd roar up outside our house in his Trans Am, slide out and put a white boot on the front tire. His hair would be freshly permed, a big silver watch on his wrist.

"You playin' baseball?" he'd crack in a whisky-soaked voice.

"Um…no."

"Why the fuck not?"

"Uh, nobody signed us up?"

"Your mom didn't sign you up? Shit. That's why I fucking send her all that money every month."

"I guess she forgot."

"Is your aunt still in jail?"

"No, I think she got out."

"What about Tonto?'

"Still in, I think…"

"Is your aunt living here now?"

"No," I would say, beginning to cry.

"Is your mom dating again?"

"I don't know…Maybe."

He'd laugh. "Shit, must take time to find a rich one…"

I got up and walked around the room, carrying the phone in my hand. A clump of worms slid down the wall, fell to the carpet. I went over and stepped on them. My father went on with his speech.

"As you know, son, I have had many problems…"

Out the window, across the street, I saw a little guy wearing long shorts and a white baseball cap. He came up to an apartment building, pulled the door handle. Locked, apparently. The guy went down the stairs, turned, went to the next place on the block. He went up and pulled. Locked. He went down the stairs…

I heard my father flick a lighter, inhale and exhale from a cigarette.

"I wasn't, uh, I wasn't a good father to you or your brother. I have to tell you that. It's all connected with why I'm here today in the treatment center, son. My parents never taught me how to behave properly… They had many problems, they never dealt with them, and so they transferred them to me. It's the basis of my problems… But it's not their fault, it's mine. I alone am completely responsible. No one else. I have to accept that… We all have problems, son… So here I am. This is what I must do, tell you these things. It's an important part of the healing and treatment process."

The guy went to the next door. Locked. He went down the stairs, up the next set. He pulled. It opened. He went in.

"Gayle had to go to the hospital, son… She stayed the night… She told them I hit her."

"Did you?"

I found a pack of smokes, lit one.

Gayle was wife number five. The few times I had met her, she seemed to have a wine glass permanently attached to her hand. Her background was in Utah or somewhere like that, and she had worked for many years officially selling alcohol for the state of Idaho. One of her daughters was a stripper whose six-month-old son, Chase, had been taken away by the child-welfare people after she passed out and collapsed on to the floor of a bus. The police found meth and crack in her pockets and took her to jail. My father and Gayle had failed in an attempt to get custody of the kid—it was apparently living with the parents of the father, who was in jail for a number of criminal offenses.

Gayle's other daughter was a stripper who had gone on to receive a mail-order pharmacology degree. She allegedly now worked filling prescriptions at Rite-Mart. One of her former boyfriends had been arrested on suspicion of murdering a prostitute. He had denied any involvement. She had denied any involvement. She had never been indicted. This daughter was the "good one"—never caught for anything except "stealing" from my father and his wife and crashing their car.

"I remember being angry with Gayle, son, very angry, but I do not recall everything that she told the police. I apparently broke the window and cut my hand… I do understand that I have a problem with my anger, especially if I have been drinking."

"O.K…"

"I was drinking too much, and she made me angry by not bringing the right food I had asked for at Taco Town. I spent two days in jail, son."

"That's not so bad."

"She hasn't dropped the charges yet. She has said she might if I complete the treatment program… We are trying to work it out. We love each other. I don't know if we will. It's slow and hard, but we are trying."

"That's good."

My father's wife number four had been the "intellectual"—Bonnie, with the twin masters from the University of Minnetonka and Oxford. She had read texts in the original Greek and knew all about X-ray telescopes, and despite my dad having a restaurant, she never seemed to eat food. From what I could gather, she had been fond of sunsets and twisting pine needles into Christmas ornaments, as well as booze and flip-outs. It was another perfect match, my father had claimed, and Bonnie had run off with a bricklayer after two and a half years.

Wife number three, Tammy, had married my father a year or two after she graduated from high school, where she had been head cheerleader. "My teen bride," my father had enjoyed telling anybody who would listen. They had met at a car rally in Idaho. Tammy like to drink and dance on tables, and her mother had accused my father of various crimes and sued for control of the two restaurants he'd had at the time (he had apparently borrowed money from her). She ended up getting one of them.

Wife number two, Annie, was a blond who'd had two daughters by two different men. One of the men had died from an "overdose," the other was in prison. My father had adopted both daughters, and after the divorce (Annie had run off with a drummer), he hadn't seen them for 15 years.

Number one had been my mother – they'd met at a dance at my father's Catholic high school.

"Son, what's going on—where are you working? Are you still at the phone company?"

"No. I told you the last time—I work for Cities News Services."

"Oh, that's right. It's the news? Son, you should, for your own future's sake—"

"My future?"

My father's lighter flicked.

"I know. I'm sorry, son, I, I'm sorry… My back has been hurting me. They don't let me have anything for it right now. It's painful, but I can make it…"

"O.K."

"I'd like to help you, son, but I'm $85,000 in debt…"

"I don't need any help."

"Every month the creditors keep asking for more&hellip I don't have it&hellip" He tried to laugh. "I can't even buy a used car right now. As soon as I get out of here, I'll have to declare bankruptcy. That's a good law, son. Those a-holes will have to stop. Bankruptcy gives you a chance to rest up and make a fresh start."

I kept watching the door. The little guy never came out.

I saw what looked like a woman's bra laying in the gutter. It was tan in color, dark where it had gotten wet from the gutter scum.

I lit another smoke.

Out the window to the right, something was hunched over, man or woman, it wasn't clear, digging through a trash bin. It threw plastic wrap and cans, milk cartons, on to the cement. An old man walked by slowly, limping on a crutch.

A worm fell from the ceiling on to my wrist. I flicked him on to the coffee table, picked up the lighter and smashed the greasy sucker with the flat end.

"Son, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. You and me and your brother, your mother… I really do believe that."

"What's the reason?"

"I'm sorry?"

"What's the reason?"

"Well…God's will, I guess you could call it…"

"God's will?"

"Yes, I think so. Otherwise, it…it…it wouldn't be. Do you see? Maybe you'll understand in time, son. We all need time… Well, that's all for now. I've got to get back, there's a meeting almost every hour here… I'm proud of you, son… I'll try to call again. Goodbye."

STUDY: AMERICANS MORE MENTALLY ILL
By Nelson M. Nabytek
BOSTON (AIP) – A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Foundation has found there is more mental illness and insanity in the United States than in other developed societies.
The study, led by Dr. Harold Maucher of the Harvard-A.L. Sloney Medical School, found evidence showing that 32.8 percent of people in the United States suffer from medically-diagnoseable mental problems and personality disorders, including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar mania.
This is contrasted against 6.3 percent in Denmark, 8.2 percent in Italy, 10.9 percent in France, 13.7 percent in Canada, 21.6 percent in Germany and 28.9 percent in Britain.
In published comments accompanying the study, Maucher said "concerns for the future well-being of the world are understandable considering that nearly one-third of the people in the most powerful nation have genuine mental problems."
The study cites statistics showing that:
—One percent of the American population holds nearly 50 percent of the country's wealth, while one in every five American adults lives in poverty. This is contrasted to Italy, one of the world's biggest and wealthiest economies, where just one adult in 15 lives in poverty.
—The United States spent $581 billion in known military expenditures last year (not counting the costs of the nation's numerous wars themselves) – more than the combined total military spending of the next 32 most powerful nations. Wars and the military-industrial establishment have become a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, with their influence affecting the structure of society and the activity of people and businesses in every state of the nation, according to the study.
— The United States accounts for less than five percent of the world's population, yet is responsible for 25 percent of the world's prison inmates.
— There are an average of 2.4 murder-suicides each day in the United States—by far the highest rate of any developed country. This, according to the study, is a "clear indication of a society that is increasingly dysfunctional and brutal."
— American workers are given, on average, just 12 days of vacation per year, compared to 39 days in France, 27 in Germany, and 21 in Canada.
The study said evidence indicates American insanity is due in part to a gene pool "fouled" by the heavy early migration of criminals and Puritans, the latter of whom were described as "mentally-disturbed religious fanatics whose influence is still felt in myriad ways."
"Americans live in a society dominated by giant multinational corporations, in a system that subordinates all human needs to the accumulation of personal wealth," the report said.
"An almost unrestrained admiration for greed infuses American culture. At the same time, the average American works more but is paid less than his cohorts in other developed nations. Despite the average American's high rate of labor productivity, wage growth has remained depressed for decades. The majority of ordinary Americans thus find themselves continually grasping for a level of material success that is beyond their rational means. The result is an ever-more unstable society, with growing numbers of Americans being diagnosed with mental illness or resorting to alcohol and drug abuse, which have their own associated pathologies and negative societal impacts."
The study added: "In tune with an increasingly mentally-ill society, America's leaders are demonstrably the most war-mongering on the planet. They appear bent on a course of foreign policy blundering and fiscal mismanagement that is almost certain to lead to bankruptcy and the irreversible decline, if not total impoverishment, of the nation and its people. The U.S. population, crippled by its mental illness and made impotent by conglomerate control of the mass media, appears incapable of offering any meaningful resistance when their politicans nonsensically announce the start of another overseas war in the 'interests of peace and free markets,' but which only serves to further endanger the future livelihood of the average American citizen."

This is an excerpt from the novel News Clown published by Equus Press

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© Thor Garcia 2012