Saturday, November 12, 2005

"THE CHICKEN MAN GOT A JOB AT KFC" is an inimitably special fast fiction based on this wonderfully surreal work by Robert Hardgrave, one of the contributors behind artdorks, a great place to check out the most gorgeously fucked up art on the planet.
So take a break from stuffing that chicken inside the duck which will then be stuffed into the turkey and enjoy...


There was no way for Samuel Smallridge, the general manager of the KFC on the corner of 72nd and 180th, to know that he had hired the once briefly famous Chicken Man of Langley. While there had been some jerky quirks in Tom Cunningham's mannerisms, he seemed to be competent enough for the basic tasks needed to work at and manage a fast food restaurant. He had the hand-eye coordination to press in the orders, he was literate enough to read a menu and he could smile a passable smile on queue. How was Samuel supposed to know about his former employee's background which had been buried twenty years ago into the past ? He had never been a criminal. He had just been something akin to a chicken.

But try as he might Samuel just couldn't find the words to defend himself under the scrutiny of his betters.

"We have some serious reservations about your continued future with KFC," one of the managers in the upper echelons of corporate KFC explained in words that come out in ordered precision. He adjusted his two hundred dollar tie which protected vocal chords perfectly suited to delivering bad news in an even handed but firm way.

"I didn't... ahh... couldn't have....ahhh..." Samuel inwardly cursed himself for his ineffectual stammerings. How could he put ten years of devoted service to KFC into language for this moment ? How could he summarize all that KFC meant to him ? He was neither a poet nor an orator, simply a man who loved selling golden chicken to people in his community.

"A great deal of spin doctoring will have to go into neutralizing this incident. A KFC full of chickens while the staff continued to go about their tasks and all of this captured on film ?" he asked in studied astonishment intended to strike shame into Samuel's heart.

"I trusted....ahhhh... he was a model of...." In the remaining silence of his failed stab at articulacy Samuel imagined taking an axe to the neck of the Chicken Man of Langley to watch him run around and around in that stupid suit he had worn that day until he collapsed into a heap of death. How was Samuel supposed to know that the Chicken Man of Langley was part of a radical animal rights group that wanted to humiliate KFC out of business. ? How was Samuel supposed to know about a chicken man spy who couldn't be trusted to be in charge of the restaurant ? He could add and subtract ! Why not promote him and allow him to mind the store ?!

"We're going to have to terminate your employment with KFC." His words filled the tiny white walled room at the back of the KFC and Samuel's love affair with chickens, KFC and crispy golden chicken was over. And at that very moment, his strained connection to reality snapped and Samuel lashed out at the world in a killing spree that took 12 people, 10 chickens, 3 drumsticks and one thigh.

Friday, November 11, 2005

"GOD VERSUS THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS" is an incomparably special fast fiction based on the supernatural talents of Jeremy Pruitt. Seriously, has this guy signed a pack with the devil to get all that brilliance ? We may never know the source of his art smarts but we fortunately have Jeremy's brand new site to appreciate while we ponder imponderables.
jeremy prewitt
So take a break from that portrait you're making of George W. Bush on the inside of your toilet bowl and enjoy...


"So who can tell me what book has the most mosts in the world ?" Mr Wallington asked his class of fifth graders and an army of arms shot up, reaching for the privilege to display their book smarts. Whenever Mr Wallington was hurting from a hangover - which was usually once a week - he imaged taking a chain saw and pruning the tiny hands off of all those upraised arms. In their little school uniforms he saw something fascist in their enthusiasm. Apart from these dark moments, Mr Wallington was a very gentle and kind educator.

On this particular morning, however, there was still booze on his breathe which went unrecognized by a class full of innocence.

"Yes, Martin," he said, suppressing a Budweiser burb.

"The Bible. Not only is it the most translated book in the world but it also contains the most amazing stories and miracles and love in the world." Martin stood by the side of his desk, firing this information off in the direction of the front of the class.

Mr Wallington mustered an apologetic smile and corrected the boy: "No Martin that's a very articulate answer but what I'm talking about is the Guinness Book of Records which is over a hundred pages of information about many different kinds of mosts."

"I think you're incorrect sir." Martin continued to stand at attention by the side of his desk.

"Well I think that you have an interesting answer but really the Guinness Book is full of verified truths that people don't fight about. Nobody would fight over the fact that the fattest man in the world is -" he opened his silvery Guinness book to a full page spread of the fattest man in America sprawled out on a crushed couch. He hoped this would amaze the class over to his way of thinking.

Martin's entire body started to shake and a chill filled the room. Possessed by God, his face morphed into terror with tentacles sprouting out from beneath his white collar. The flesh around his eyes blossomed tiny layers of angel wings while his hair fell out, becoming another site for a fresh growth of angel wings.

"The correct answer is the Bible" Martin said in a deep, booming voice.

"Well you can see for yourself." Their once slightly powerful teacher now stood at the front of the class holding the book out while shaking in his socks and shoes.

And that's when God set out to break every record in the Guinness Book. Pie-eating, words typed, weight gained, marathons run and even time spent in a rocking chair. Nothing was beneath the King of Kings.

Years later, Mr Wallington's mysterious death was attributed by some to a group of previous Guinness Record holders but nobody was convicted.

Martin is still in therapy.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"A BARGAIN BASEMENT JACOB'S LADDER" is a superlatively special fast fiction based on this haunting photo by Alexey Uryevich Frolov whose site documents his photographic forays into abandoned plants, unfinished buildings and industrial sites in Russia.

Enjoy the following slice of linguistic absurdity....


"It's a clunk of junk, a scrap of crap and a haste of waste !!" Martin screams at the top of his lungs.

"No that last one doesn't work," Saul corrects.

Martin stands nude, his manhood shrunk in its toque of flesh, hiding from the cold.

"There is no working or not working in this instance. I'm expressing. At this point I'm expressing," he shouts, walking back and forth for warmth. He is tired of the foot dragging, the corrections and the hasty hesitations. Hasty hesitations, that's good, yes Hasty Hesitations !!
"This is full of hasty hesitations, snappy stammerings and breakneck dawdlings !!" he hollers.

"Once again that last one doesn't fit," Saul sits on one of the few remaining certainties of the dilapidated building: the floor. He is wrapped in three scarves which snake their way down through his army surplus jacket. His lower half has been doubled up with long-johns. He is warm but lacks passion.

"Fits of a coma, bursts of frozen nothing and jerks of an iceberg," Martin screams through the empty floor.


They stand in the wreckage of an abandoned building, preparing for the unknown. Their insanity has seeped into the cracks of each others minds and they are empty of purpose.

And nothing nothings some more.

"It's a clammer of stammerers, a cacophony of phonies and a din of gin drinkers."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"GOOSE PICKS A PECK APART" is an eminently special fast fiction which is based on this hilariously stately work by Braden Danielsson, one of the contributors behind artdorks, a wonderful resource providing all sorts of beautiful bursts of creative insanities and perversions.
So get together with your beloved, put on every article of clothing that you own, take a piece off with every word you read and enjoy...


"I loved my goose. Nobody can take that away from me," Samuel Cronklin wheezes through his nasal cavities. "It was an ugly stupid pet who needed my love. How's that for an epitaph !!" he laughs and phlegm flies up from the depths of his sickly throat.

His pale hand remains held up in a shaking position at the painting of him with his goose. In the painting a fountain of blood squirt-squirts from his forehead. Andy shakes his head in bewildered awe.

"And if I were to move in with you, I would insist upon it being placed right here on this wall because the living room is the place the Bitch loved the most. She would have wanted it that way. Wherever I move, she moves. You can't deny those bonds, as miserable a hold as they may sometimes make on your strangled soul."

Andy shakes his head in disbelief. He is moving out in one month but Mark will be moving back in after he gets back from teaching English in Taiwan. Sight unseen. Mark has no idea how much Andy has grown to hate him; Mark figures his journals - which contain entry after entry of malice directed at the gullibility of Andy - were safely secured away in the basement but after a small flood everything was exposed.

"Great well when can you move in ?" Andy says shaking Samuel Cronklin's cold, moist hand.

Samuel looks at the painting on the wall and replies: "I think I already have. I think I already have."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"ALPHA LOSER" is a remarkably special fast fiction which is based on the many faced spender of this following painting by Clint Lavado whose work can currently be viewed in Toronto at Swoon gallery - 63 ossington av (just north of queen) 'til november 13th.

What I love about this work is that it takes the most basic image in our culture, biology and DNA - some psychologists believe face recognition is hard-wired right into the grey matter don't you know - and just packs multiple versions of a mug within a canvas. Very simple but beautifully effective in evoking something in the viewer.

I mean that's my take on it.

clint lavado
I came across Clint's work in the latest issue of Broken Pencil Magazine, an invaluable survey of independent arts in North America. It is totally double D DIY, which is to say its fully packed with everything you need to know about music, art and the written word. And the latest issue exposes what's underneath and behind the new burlesque.

Broken Pencil also mentioned my little fast fictions in their latest print issue and I'm very excited to announce that a short-short story of mine is slated to appear in issue 30.

So put down the knitting needles which you're using to knit your latest soft 'zine about elephants and anvils and enjoy...


"Blankety, blank, blank, blank !!" he vociferates red-faced and enraged. He slams more money into the two quarter thick slot at the front of the vending machine and waits for his bag of cheetos. Dangerously cheesy, my ass, he mutters into his fist. If the bag of yellowy goodness which is hanging on the tip of a large metal corkscrew does not drop this time, he will become the epicenter of rage.

He wants them.

He hates them.

A rope tightens around his midsection.

He presses "B" "12" and is rewarded with nothing. It doesn't even make the effort of moving.

"Fuckety, fuck, fuck, fuck !!" he screams, shaking the machine back and forth. He sees reflections of faces in the glass facade as he tilts it towards the light but when it crashes back down to its upright position he sees all the bags of chips, chocolate bars and cookies which are out of reach. He shakes it again with renewed vigor and this time on its tilt he witnesses the faces of everyone who's ever denied him what was rightfully his. Stone faced and unsympathetic. An Easter Island of indifference. He can see them all crammed into a portrait of his past.

He screams as the machine lurches over upon his measly 145 pounds. A weight he used to lord over those who were smaller.

A lineup of kindergarten kids clinging to a rope stand in front of the conclusion to the struggle, wondering how the field trip can possibly progress from this moment to a friendlier and happier place.

The boy at the front makes a half-baked attempt at playing tug of war against immobile death.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"BRIDGING THE GULF BETWEEN SATANISM AND CHRISTIANITY" is an immensely special fast fiction which is loosely based on Kevin Potvin's business card. That's right, his business card ! Kevin is running for a seat on city council for the upcoming municipal elections in Vancouver. Usually I don't step into the mucky fray of politics on this site, but in this case I feel strongly that there is a great opportunity for Vancouverites to support an intelligent and creative individual whose ideals are grounded in critical thinking. And if you promise to go to his site, I promise that I will not subject you to future stories based on anything like Jim Green's mayoral election poster or Jack Layton's tie.
So pause for a moment from whatever act of democracy you're currently engaged in and enjoy...


"It was a big, fat, effing waste of time !!" April cries and globs of tears make the slow journey down her large cheeks. "They didn't care at all. They just didn't care at all."

Augustus has yet to tell her about the results from the CAT scan. He has been hiding the seriousness of his pain from her along with his three visits to the clinic. Like his disease is a mistress that will take him from her. For good.

"You know I thought I had something that would pique their interest. I printed up information about all of the candidates for the election and then I added one fake profile. A real nutter who's into bridging the gulf between Satanism and Evangelical Christianity." As she chuckles, the tears on her face fall to the wood floor of their living room.

"Those kids are going to remember that. I mean you've given them something different from video games and top 40 bling-bling. That's important." He loves her passion. He isn't ready to see that crushed under the rock of his bad news. "Wasn't anyone interested ?"

"Well one of the girls, Michelle, she took an interest in one of the independents. Thought he has some cool ideas."

"And she's the one who's gonna be calling the shots someday."

He has no idea how he's going to tell her. How he's going to stand in the stream of life with news of a trip to a desert.

"Bridging the gulf between Satanism and Christianity ?" he chuckles.

"Yeah I named the guy Tim Splatter and I wrote that he used to be a stunt man in Christian movies."

And their laughter sanctifies the moment as precious.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"SKULL SOCKET FEAR" is an enormously special fast fiction based on this wonderful painting by Martin Wittfooth who has a show right now in Ottawa that runs until the 12th where you can see this in the flesh (in the canvass ?)
Untitled-1 copy
So take a five minute break from burning down fire stations and enjoy...


He rolls over onto his sore back and wakes up to the lucid morning light filling his room. His eyes and mouth yawn simultaneously in a stretched expression that his girlfriend hates. "I can just picture your mom telling you as kid, 'Your face is gonna stay like that.' And voila!" Fortunately, she's sound asleep beneath several layers of sheets.

He looks up at the track lighting above the bed; two of the tiny box sockets are empty, starting down at him like the hollow eyes of a skull.

Good morning death, he thinks.

And suddenly he remembers hours upon hours of dreams that flood his stream of consciousness: a big bang that sputters and trips out into billions of years of screwed up evolution, fish with wings, foxes on crane legs, rabbits with turtle shells and women in ponds with fish bowl helmets. The dream ended with the present where he and his girlfriend had anteater noses which they used to rummage about in the earth for sustenance. And in the dream they were going to live forever. Content with their quirks.

Evolution had just suddenly given up on death.

And after he reached the end of this upside down dream story, he was filled with an impossible happiness which ended when his heart stopped. But his eyes remained fixed on the empty sockets above.

Ten minutes later she woke up to find his body.