Saturday, August 30, 2014

Haywire (Wranglers' Canyon No. 2)

I decided to stay a spell in Jonestown, partly because I was worried about running into that drive team I ran out on and partly because, well, for such a small town they had more than a few pretty lookin' gals.

After my regular morning shit and shave I grabbed my stuff and left my room at The Jonestown Hotel. The first person I saw when I entered Sailor Jerry's Schooner was my dear friend Mumblin' Pete, who was holding a mug of beer in one hand and helping himself to the free lunch by the bar.

"Morning, Walker!" Sailor Jerry's dark bronze face cheerfully greeted me, looking dapper in his shirtsleeves and bitty string tie. "What'll it be, Hoss?"
"Shot o' Cactus Piss, Skipper!"
"Aye aye!"

"Mnnnbbgdlogfh!" Mumblin' Pete burbled at me, grabbing endless slices of meats, some reaching his little plate and others hitting his hungry maw before he even had a chance to breathe. What a hungry hombre! And who could blame him?

"Grab a plate and eat up, Mr. Walker, the Real Hungry Boys should be arriving at eight strokes of the bell", Sailor Jerry planted a shot glass in front of me.
"Eight bells of what?"
"That's sailor talk for 12 noon, Mister, uh, Walker was it?" A tall, gray-haired man, somewheres scratching about fifty-five years old with a star on his chest walked up to me, extending his hand.
"Crash Walker at your service", I stammered. I always get nervous when the law wanted to know my name, a fear I've faced since childhood.
"I'm Sheriff Frehley, Elroy Frehley". We shook hands and I hope he didn't feel my hands trembling. "Well, don't stand on ceremony! Eat up!"

We both walked over to the little table with all the pickled eggs, potatoes, chili, bread, beans, and dozens and dozens of meats, all red, pink, gray and brown. We both started picking at all the meats and slapped them onto our plates.

"So tell me, Mister Walker, what business brings you to our modest little town?"
"I'm looking for work, Sheriff Frehley".
"Call me Elroy, son".
"That's quite a handle, Sheriff".

"What kind of work exactly are you looking for, if I may ask?"
"Why, I'm a rodeo rider, bulls a specialty!" I bluffed. Always lie to the authorities. A habit I picked up from when I was a little sprout.
"You don't say? How long have you lasted on a bucking bull?"
"Why, about twenty seconds!" May I not be stricken dead for lying. "I was taught the ancient art of bull riding by a New Zealander of Brazilian ancestry".

Sheriff Frehley grabbed as much meat as he could. We occasionally knocked over Mumblin' Pete out of our way, who kept getting in our way near the delicious looking beefs.
"Why is there so much meat here? This is a real spread", I asked nervously.

Sheriff Frehley told me about the town butcher who had a Polish name nobody could pronounce so they renamed him Mister Butcher. Mr. Butcher slaughtered everything in sight, cows, pigs, lambs, goats, possum, venison, chicken, rabbits, squirrel, the occasional snake and anything else he could get his burly bohunk hands on. I swore I smelled some cooked gopher and prairie dog on the table, too. All of the meats on the table were dried, smoked, boiled, fried, pulled, or broiled. We ate and we ate heartily, but I wondered what animal I was chawing on each time.

While old Frehley was telling me all this - by this time we were both kinda drunk and getting on just fine - Sailor Jerry got away from the bar and sat down to an old pipe organ and played it with his good hand while he banged his hook on a broken piano next to it. The broken down piano leaned to one side since the leg was broken and some of the keys sounded out of tune, but it didn't matter. He played a bunch of old sea shanties. He sang songs about gals waiting by the harbor for him, his voice rising higher and higher.

"I left my true love at the altar,
Standing alone by the shore,
Bid her fare thee well on a frigate bound,
To the ocean blue forever more".

Sailor Jerry's big purple lips wailed and howled like crazy and I looked over at Mumblin' Pete and noticed he stopped his chawin' because his lower lip started trembling something awful and his eyes welled up like an overflowing gully.

Mumblin' Pete cried into his beer, makin' me wonder if Pete ever left a girl high and dry at the altar. I kinda believe he did. That old rascal.

While one man was playing and another man was crying I looked into the mirror of the saloon and saw me, Crash Walker, twenty-five years old staring right back at me. He was about six feet tall, head of black hair, dark blue eyes and a lot of faded blue and gray clothes with a heavy brown leather pair of chaps from my cattle driving. No matter how many times I washed up my face always had dirt lines marking the contours of my face.

I became a ranch hand when I was only sixteen years old (I bluffed to get that job, too) but I was always a restless young buck and ran off to do other jobs whenever the spirit possessed me. I always did a little of everything else. Everything but bull riding.

"Well, Walker", Frehley woke me from my spell, "You're just in luck. My cousin runs a rodeo, a traveling one, and they're fixing to come by these parts within the next few weeks, so I guess we're in for a little treat. Get to see your twenty seconds of power on top of a bucking bull!" He slapped me on the back.
I thought I was about to chuck-a-luck all my greasy meat and rotgut all over the saloon floor.

"If you'll excuse me, Sheriff, I gotta tend to my horse for a spell. I'll be right back!" I waved at Pete, who followed me out of the place.

Things settled down some once Mumblin' Pete and I rode out to the plain, away from town, away from the Sheriff, away from Sailor Jerry, away from Miss Willa and all those dance hall gals and everybody else. All there was the vast expanse of the plain with me and Mumblin' Pete.

Pete set up a line of medicine bottles, whiskey bottles, food tin cans, hair tonic bottles, beer glasses, and other fool things on an old wooden fence for us to shoot at. I had first crack at shooting, and stepped out about ten feet away from the line of bottles and cans.

"Alright, now, Pete, don't get too jealous now when I show you what a great shot I am, but anyhoo, here goes", I went into my best pistol stance, got a good bead on the line of targets, reached for my six-shooter and drew my gun. I fired away and only hit three of the ten objects lined up. My faced turned red as a rooster's butt.

"Mgh wtrerdrgdgf?" Mumblin' Pete cocked his head sideways at me questioningly.
"Hell, I'm just gettin' warmed up!" I snarled. "What the heck!"
"Ghbctou!" Mumblin' Pete cussed.

I put my best shooting face on and aimed at the targets lined up, the sun burning down on me and the white heat lighting everything up until I thought I'd go blind and then a big gust of wind hit me from behind with a loud roar. I turned around and saw five horses race right past us from behind.

They rode right by us, just a bunch of regular hombres riding with rifles hanging from their saddles, all except the dude in the middle, an elderly man dressed all in black who turned to stare at me for a second. I'll never forget his face. It was long, thin and scaly. He had the smallest eyes which looked like tiny pools of black holes. The expression on his face was a mean, bitter, pinched face filled with venomous hatred. He had the face of a mean old rattlesnake. They rode towards Jonestown.

As they rode away, Mumblin' Pete said, "Khgl moubf ervdjy!"
"I don't know what the hell that was all about, Pete. Let sleeping hogs lie, boy!"
I reached and drew my gun, blowing four items off the target line.
"Fiddlesticks! Those bastards just blew my aim!"

"Huh!" Mumblin' Pete waved his hand at me and scoffed. I felt like kicking his old fashioned ass clear across the Pecos for handing me that business.
Pete took my place, stared long and hard at the targets and drew his piece. He blew out every can and bottle off the fence.

He turned to me and smiled.
"Well, alright, Buddy Boy, it's my turn to set everything up, don't get such a big head about it. And, by the way, don't lose your head over Miss Willa spending the night with us. Once she saw that horse-dick gambler's roll you were flashing you looked prettier than a gold coin piece to her".
"Kitrf dfvjh erwv hjgsi!"
"I'm just telling you for your own good, don't fall in love with her. It's not your good looks she's after".
"Pogh frew miku cfdes".
"I AM NOT jealous".

We both sat down for a spell and I pulled out my makings, filling the tobacco over the paper and rolling the paper and lighting up. Mumblin' Pete pulled out his chaw of tobacco and started chewing away, then spitting up a storm.

"Jhity frop bhij dekoo festry lwep", he grunted and then spat another dark brown missile of spit, splashing against a big rock, making a spotted lizard run away. The lizard probably thought it was raining shit.
"Listen, Pete, you enjoy your tobacco your way and I'll enjoy it my way!"

We both got real quiet for a second and then Pete buzzed.
"Klop fedts jik ubb greft ilhy sdet mkoij quelo ctroiyu ahjty?"
"I don't know who those hombres were but they sure were ornery looking. That old gent had a face like a mean old horny toad".

I pulled on my cigarette and Mumblin' Pete kept spitting away. I often wondered if it was all that chaw in his mouth that made him talk all funny like that. We had a few more hours to kill and then who knows what we were going to do next?

Be sure to get a copy of the complete novel "Wranglers' Canyon" in eBook form to be released in July 2015 by Book Baby. Don't miss it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Halloween In August

In the early Seventies when I lived in New York I bought a litho of a creepy painting titled "Masks Fighting For The Body of a Hanged Man" by an artist named James Ensor. Pictured above, it's an illustrations of two skeleton women literally fighting it out with brooms and mops over a hanged man with groups of masked freaks and witches looking on from a doorway. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and it was my entryway into the art of James Ensor.

James Ensor, born in Belgium and creative during the turn of the century , may be one of the most under documented artists ever known. His artwork is an endlessly creative line of grotesque images rendered in a naive art style that can truly elude any easy classification. Sometimes impressionistic, other times expressionistic, yet neither, perhaps his inability to be classified explains his regrettable obscurity after all these years, almost 100 years after his death.

All this "regrettable obscurity" came to a close one afternoon this summer when I drove down Pico Boulevard and saw huge banners of Ensor art hanging from street lamps announcing The Getty Center exhibiting a show called "The Scandalous Art of James Ensor" (June 10-September 7). I could hardly believe my bloodshot eyes!

The Getty Center show is truly a feast to the eyes of any Ensor fan, providing an absolutely comprehensive retrospective this side of Brussels of the great artist's works. I also learned a lot about the great man himself, and was surprised by what I learned. Mr. Ensor may have been The Original Goth Kid. A portrait of his maternal grandmother informs us that she was a seller of grotesque masks which excited and influenced his art in the years to come.

He was also a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe's works and his paintings based on several of his stories, i.e. Hop Frog, including the bizarre "King Pest" were on display at the Getty. He also had a cool harmonium (Nico's keyboard of choice) in his studio that he enjoyed playing. This dude was Goth before Goth got cool!

For all the horror business Ensor served up I don't think it was all gloom and doom. I detected notes of humor in many of his works, and his depiction of government and military officials were reminiscent of George Grosz in the cartoonishness (Ensor predated Grosz so it's presumptuous to say he was an influence on the German expressionist). The subject of death breached a cross between humor and horror, and I liked the party and horror mask paintings the most.

Ensor's wild masterpiece "The Entry of Christ Into Brussels" (1888) was not only displayed in its full splendor but also had a little magnifying glass-style display you could peruse all the details of this unique masterwork. Ensor's mixture of colors and even brush strokes were so erratic which left disturbing hints of a runaway psyche on every piece displayed.

I was happy to see so many people analyzing and enjoying Ensor's works - attendance was pretty robust for such an obscure art star. I also chuckled when I saw an endless line of Ensor souvenirs on sale at the sale counter. I wasn't ready for an Ensor coffee mug, but I got a few magnets and punk rock-style buttons. Now maybe Taschen can put their Ensor retrospective back in print!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Every Bitch For Himself - Punk Rock Crime Novel OUT NOW!!!!

It's 1978, and Hollywood Boulevard is burning with punk rock energy and with it the advent of career criminal Big Jason Gulliver, an amoral monster in silver hair, torn t-shirt and army fatigues. Big Jason plans to knock over Rocket USA, the most popular punk club in town, using his friends who all work on the inside of the club.

Standing in his way are three psychopaths who run Rocket USA: Jack Sterling, owner of the club, a has-been television star with severe OCD; Chuck Steakhouse, punk surfer thug with a capacity for rape and torture; and Miggy Sanchez, a thug every inch the equal of Big Jason in amorality.

Every Bitch For Himself captures all the energy of the 1978 Hollywood punk scene with episodes of violent rock & roll, perverse cult rituals, and nightmarish parties. Just as punk rock bands twisted old songs to fit its explosive style, Every Bitch For Himself corrupts old film noir scenes culled from The Killing, The Asphalt Jungle, Born To Kill and The Killers, to name a few, to create a new punk rock crime novel.

Andy Seven’s previous novel Every Good Boy Dies First captured the fervent pace of the Nineties music scene, drawing on experiences from his music career to craft a chilling novel. Once again Andy draws on his memories of the 1977 Hollywood punk scene to create Every Bitch For Himself.

How and why did punk happen? Popular music split into two factions following the demise of glam rock in the late Seventies: disco and punk. There was disco for the club kids who wanted to keep all the glamour, danceability and sexual decadence of glam alive, and on the other side there was punk, which continued all the outrage and drama of glam. Like two unruly siblings both styles of music hated each other.

In addition to playing in numerous punk bands on the '77 Hollywood scene Andy Seven can also be read discussing the history of 1977 Hollywood Punk in books like We’ve Got The Neutron Bomb by Brendan Mullen and Marc Spitz; Improvisation, Identity and Tradition by Charles Michael Sharp, and Lexicon Devil by Brendan Mullen and Adam Parfrey.

Every Bitch For Himself, after all is said and done, is still a crime novel. It follows the tradition of the standard heist gone wrong story, but how it goes wrong and the disaster that follows it is an exercise in severe karmic payback that needs to be read to be believed. Who gets away with crime and who doesn’t is the real kick of the story. Are there double crosses or are there consequences to everyone’s actions? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Ten things you can count on reading in my latest novel:
1. Drunken punks playing Bologna-Toss on loaded chicks.
2. Has-been TV Western cowboy stars.
3. Mods vs. Punks battle it out on the beach.
4. Squeamish Los Angeles police detectives.
5. Discotheque chase scenes.
6. Blood-drenched performance art rituals.
7. Beauty products weaponry.
8. King Kong scales the Capitol Records building.
9. Miracle Mile shopping sprees, and:
10. The world's greatest shithouse fist fight.
Yep, if it hasn't been written yet, you can count on me to write it for you. May God and Ringo Starr forgive me!

Every Bitch For Himself, Andy Seven’s second punk crime novel is available for $4.99 at all popular eBook retailers, including:

Amazon Kindle:
Nook (Barnes & Noble):

Each website provides a short sample of the novel for previewing before purchase so you can see what deviltry is brewing on each page.

Every Bitch For Himself combines two violent art forms, punk rock and film noir to create an exciting new hybrid of crime writing. Check out the new novel and experience it for yourself.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Slap Leather (Wranglers' Canyon No. 1)

Maybe I should've stayed but I did what I did and what's done is done. I rode with a crew leading a bunch of steers on a cattle drive across the plains of Arizona. People think Arizona's nothing but desert land but if you get close to the New Mexico border you'll find some fine plains territory. Anyway, we pushed those damn steers for hours, at least twelve under the hot heat and I was plumb tired, hot and exhausted.

Sure we took a couple of breaks but my hindquarters was aching like a newly branded calf's. It was too much work for one man to endure so I dropped out real slow and quiet like so no one would notice. I just kept falling back until they didn't even miss me or notice much.

Me and the horse hung back and hid behind a skinny rock formation, not quite a mesa but something smaller. The horse looked tired, but not as tired as I was.

"I might not be smart and I might be stupid but as sure as my name is Crash Walker I'll be damned if I herd any more cattle in this damn heat, that's for sure", I muttered to my horse while wiping the sweat from my brow.

I watched the cattle drive drift further and further on down the plain until they all looked like a speck of nothing. For a brief glimmer I actually felt hurt that nobody made a fuss out of my disappearing. Were they fed up with me or were they just too tuckered out to even care? Lord only knows.

Seeing as how the coast was clear I trotted the horse away from the rock formation, but it felt more like he was riding me than I was riding him.
"Where are we goin' Clyde?" Clyde's the name of my horse.

Clyde trotted over to a tiny weeded slope that had a small watering hole at the very bottom.
"Well now, that's what I call one resourceful horse", I said to no one in particular. Why not? There was no one else there.

Clyde dipped his head down and drank deeply from the small pool of water. I jumped off my saddle and partook of the fine water myself. Once I had my fill I took off my hat and dunked my head in to cool down and wetted my bandana and wrung it around my neck. Shitfire!

I sniffed a strong smell and couldn't tell who smelled worse, Clyde or his friend Crash, so I got a great idea. I took off my boots and I pulled off my chaps and I took off my pants, threw of my shirt and slid out of my Union suit and in my man nakedness ride the horse into the water and give us both a bath at the same time.

I climbed the saddle in my bare feet, not so easy and hit the saddle with my balls burning on the hard leather saddle, but not for very long. I kicked my friend Clyde pulled the reins towards the pool, making him jump in as deep as we could get cold and wet.

Clyde didn't seem to mind much for a sweaty spotted Palomino so we both swam around the pool. We were both naked and not ashamed, just like it says in The Bible.

While we were both enjoying our cool and refreshing break I heard a few horses galloping towards the watering hole.
"Horses just don't run around by themselves around these parts", I told Clyde. "There's bound to be a few fellers sitting behind those nags, I'm just willing to bet".

Before I could get a chance to get out of the water and grab my clothes the small gang arrived. There were five fellows siting on their horses at the top of the slope looking down at me. They looked dark and dirty like they should have been bathing in this pool instead of me. The troubling part of it all was that some of them were smiling at me. The way a dude smiles at a pretty little thing at a dance.

"Well, how do you like that, Rance?" the fat smelly one asked the tall dirty one. "I don't reckon I ever seen a boy in the altogether this pretty. He hardly even has any hair on his body, like a pretty girl".

Rance glared at the fat smelly guy and then looked down at me. "What are you doing swimming around in our water? Who gave you permission to sit in my lake?"
I straightened my back. "This ain't no lake, sir, and what ranch are you fellas representing?"

"We're from the Hiss Ranch and we don't take to strangers jumping around in our water, see?"
A guy in a black hat with a real long nose and an even longer chin piped in.
"I don't know, Rance, that's a right pretty looking dude right there. I'd like to ride him hard and put him up wet".

"Yeah, Rance", the fat smelly guy chimed in. "Pretty boy I'd sure like to chaw on that tight round little thing of yours".
"And what would that be?"
"He's talking about your ass, Rubberneck", Rance said. "Yeah, that's not such a bad idea. Before we shoot you I'll let the boys ride you around a little bit".

Well, when I was a tadpole I heard in Sunday school about men who favored other menfolk and ended up dying in a hail of fire and brimstone only I doubted the good Lord was going to rain any brimstone today. I knew it and shivered a little. Even the horse looked a little scared for me. That's not good.

The five smelly outlaws had their guns all drawn on me and damn, I had my rifle lying in the scrub with my clothes.

"Okay, let's get this business over and done with", Rance announced to the other four men. "Who wants to go first?"
"Shucks!" the fat smelly guy jumped off his horse and started undoing his belt buckle. "I reckon he's all sweet and tender after that little bath and ready for me!"
"I'll hold him down", the hombre with the big nose jumped off his horse. "He might kick like a chestnut mare with those strong legs of his".

Well, before either of those two manhood bandits could grab me and take my virtue I heard a loud explosion. The fat smelly guy stopped dead in his tracks and topple over with a big hole in his stomach with blood gushing out.

The big nosed guy got it next, his black hat flipping off his head and his ear spinning in the air from getting blown off clear from his head. He dropped down the hill and rolled towards the water.

The other three hombres all spun around to where the gunfire erupted from, me too. There was this funny looking thing with a thick handlebar mustache and a huge floppy hat firing two six-guns at the gang.

The gang pulled their guns out, but their eyeballs and faces were shot clean off'n their faces! Before I could count to three the men were shot clear off their horses, even the trouble-making hoss of the bunch, Rance. Dead. All dead.

Their horses screamed and freaked out by all the gun play, they all ran off with their owners lying dead in their blood. I held on to Clyde just to make sure he didn't run off with the rest of them.

The funny looking hombre with the gun went into everyone's pockets and pulled out all their money, grabbing it all and stuffing it into his pockets.
"Don't forget the guns and bullets, too, partner", I helpfully advised.

The funny guy in the floppy clothes walked down the hill with his gun pointing at me. He looked real young, too young to be looking so funny but what the hell. He picked up my clothes lying all over the tall weeds and threw them at me. I quickly put them on. The weird guy then did what I told him to do, grabbing all their guns and stripping them of their bullets and belts.

"I want to thank you for saving my life and y'know, everything that goes with it", I said, most of my clothes now on.
"Knnfnryutguijjuhsuihmlk", he buzzed.
"Say what, partner?"
"Uh huh".

I pulled Clyde out of the water and leapt onto my saddle, almost slipping straight off from the wet leather.
"Well! At any rate, my name is Crash Walker and I sure want to thank you for killing those Sodomites. What they were about to do was an abomination in the eyes of The Lord".

I rode up the hill towards him, now on his horse. He pointed at me and then pointed towards the horizon, now reaching sunset and impending darkness.
"Y'know, you've got a different way of talking. I reckon I'll call you Mumblin' Pete".
"Mndfgsfstdxfcfcfrgmvgcsgmftft", he smiled and nodded his head.

We both rode a few miles and I noticed a little town coming nearer and nearer in the darkness.
"Pttrsbhshfjscvgcvvbb", he buzzed.
"Jonestown, huh? Don't recall ever laying down my shoes in any Jonestown", I mused.

We both rode into town and I noticed Clyde was well relaxed from his bath and watching all those sidewinders getting killed.
"I just thought of something, Mumblin' Pete. We didn't bury any of those gents, someone's liable to get suspicious".

"Oh, ghfgfsgfttgcvgb!" he buzzed.
"Well, I guess that's okay, then".

We tied our horses up in front of the nearest saloon with the funniest name: SAILOR JERRY'S DANCEHALL SCHOONER.
We both walked in and sidled up to the bar. The place wasn't very crowded and everything looked like it belonged on a ship somewheres on the Pacific Ocean or at least the Gulf of Mexico.

The bartender could have been colored or might not have been colored, who knows? He was a very dark gent, stocky like a bull but dressed very fancy, brass buttons and a purple velvet vest. I couldn't stop looking at his missing hand. He had a hook instead of a left hand but it didn't bother me none.

"How y'all doing? I'm Sailor Jerry and this is my establishment. What's your pleasure, men?"
"I'll have a shot of Kentucky Shitfire and my colleague here'll have a beer", I clanked some coins on the bar top.
"Aye aye", Jerry trotted off to get our drinks.
"Sailor Jerry's got a hook, did you see that? That must get in the way of his chug-a-luggin'".

Mumblin' Pete pushed my hand away with the coins.
"No! Yttfsdxferv vffsc lmlklm", he protested.
"Well, alright, I guess the drinks are on those Sodomites. Sure was nice of them to donate all that money for our entertainment".
"Bgftsr hjhjbns rtvcgh!"

Jerry came back with the drinks and Mumblin' Pete paid him with a few coins. "Fgrrtddxdd!"
"What did he say?"
"He said keep 'em comin', Skipper!"
"Aye aye!"

Mumblin' Pete and I clinked glasses in a toast to our dearly departed assaulters.
"That was some pretty good shootin', Pete. Where'd you learn to shoot like that?"
"Mg dfstersf".
"Your daddy? Well I'll be dipped in pee".

After a few drinks we bought some for Sailor Jerry, too. I turned to Mumblin' Pete and smiled.
"You know what you are, Mumblin' Pete? You're a spotted zebra, that's what. You're kinda like everybody else only you're a little bit different".
"Vbfgfsdsf uigh?"
"What? What's a zebra? Why, it's like a mule with black prison stripes, and, uh -"
"Bghgd iotyyu srtsfrcf!"
"Yeah! Drink up, partner".

A cute little gal with long blonde hair came right up to us and sat next to me.
"Good evening, boys".
"Hey! Howdy doody. Any place a man can rest around these parts?"
"Why sure, I can show you. And I can show your friend too. My name's Miss Willa".

"Lead on. My name's Crash and my friend's falling asleep".
"Fgvbvbsdutytcs ghghbnbn xnmxnkoiowip".
The three of us walked out of the saloon into the darkness. Sailor Jerry rang the ship's bell.

Be sure to get a copy of the complete novel "Wranglers' Canyon" in eBook form to be released in July 2015 by Book Baby. Don't miss it!