NEW FICTION: Bourbon & Blondes has arrived!

From the bus stations of Rt. 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

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Watch: The 'Bourbon & Blondes' Book Trailer

Get your shot glass ready because you're about to enter a retro world of showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves.

The eternal question for scribes?

In this new social media landscape, the question becomes: Is blogging dead? It just may be...

Watch: The 'Front Page Palooka' Book Trailer

Read the pulp novella that one reviewer called 'A potboiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler...'

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A PUMA IN SEARCH OF HER CUB (flash fiction)

* This is an older piece that I've reworked significantly for a couple of reasons. First, it had so much spammy comments that I figured I'd be better off just re-posting. More importantly, though, a fellow writer (he knows who he is) gave me a stupendous piece of advice earlier. Here's me trying to follow it.

Rebecca was having that kind of day. When one of the stock room boys referred to her as a 'puma,' she didn't know whether to be insulted at assumption of her age or complemented by his attraction.

She rolled her eyes and shot him a quick smile from behind her register. Rebecca couldn't be pissed at him. And plus, she saw this college kid more than her own boyfriend, Scott. The mall was closing and she asked him if he needed a ride home, but he told her that he was meeting friends at Smitty's Roadhouse.

Rebecca was bummed. She could've used the company and dreaded that dark 45-mile drive home. Mile post after mile post, it just gave her that much more to think about. Especially the mall job. She took that shitty night job in town specifically because Scott didn't know what the fuck he was doing and after all, someone had to pay the cable and buy the Puppy Chow. Right about now that cute stock boy was looking better and better -- especially as those shopping mall lights twinkled in her rear view.

Needing to get her life out of her head, Rebecca turned on the radio, which, by the way only tuned into three local stations. One was a Jesus freak station and the others were static-ridden AM country or the equally static-fueled FM pop. Needing to get her Duran Duran on, she chose the latter.

The closer she got into Harlan, the station became clearer and she thought it was odd that the deejay kept rambling on about some messy explosion. Her first thought was, uh-oh...

Sure enough, that night it exploded and the air was filled with that pungent smell of bleach, acid, ammonia and rotten eggs. Meth - the kind of stench you remember a lifetime later after you die - permeated throughout hills.

As as she drove up County Road 51, she saw remnants of their rented cold water shack blasted all over the front yard and oddly, she felt a liberating sense of relief. She didn't have to worry about Scott anymore.

As Rebecca scooped up her suitcase and threw whatever in it, she took a moment to decide if this was enough to make her leave Appalachia once and for all. Once she gave her statement to the sheriff, Rebecca knew it was.

She got into her car and drove to the nearest gas station, filled up and got directions to Smitty's Roadhouse. A weight had been lifted.

I hope he's still there, was all she kept thinking.

TWO GUYS AND A FLASK (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading


Inside a rundown trailer somewhere within
the steel-framed heartland, they drank
in the dark, these two guys and a flask.

Percy was sprawled on the stained couch,
while Hank sat slouched on the floor near
its torn arm. They both basked in the warm
comfort of their friendship and conversation.

In between long and peacefull lulls,
they chatted about their life, recalling
old girlfriends and cars and the
money and effort spent on each.

they sipped ...
and shared ...
and shared ...
and sipped...
these two guys and their flask.

A frigid breeze snuck in from under
the trailer door and Percy felt it.
The space heater, now in the corner,
was busted to shit after he kicked
it the other night after he found out
that she left him for good this time.

It's just as well, Percy told Hank.
She hated the trailer, their life
and just about everything in it.
While Percy missed her, he knew
it was right but it still made him feel
like a loser. He didn't have the guts
to tell Hank that he was scared
of being alone. All alone.
Who would want him now? they sipped
and shared ...
and shared ...
and sipped some more...

The full moon barelled through an
uncovered window and it's gloom
captured Percy's old trophies.
Once majestic, they were now just
dusty figmants, clinging to life on
on the stage of a crickety shelf.
They were mostly old accolades
for fishing and football. Percy asked
Hank about one of those old high
school games and the two chatted
about cheerleaders and coaches and
how both made them feel so inadequate.

They shared and sipped again.

Hank, then, suddenly got quiet and
thought of his wife Nancy.
He told Percy that she was
a bitch. Always was.

He said that they were on the
verge of divorce and explained
how she hijacked his spirit and life
and that their love was really nothing
more than a deeply-infected wound.

When Percy asked what happened,
Hank explained that they each sold
the other a bill of goods that
simply wasn't delivered.

The two friends stared at the muted TV.
sipping and sharing,
sunken and drunken,
they went on all like this
all night...

These two guys and their flask.

"Two Guys and a Flask" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Val Blurock "Bluesy V" and provided by Jemendo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Storytelling can come in a variety of manners and forms and it's amazing what can be done with so little. Hemingway knew that. So did Raymond Carver.

Last Winter, Google produced an ad that aired during the Super Bowl that told a story from the perspective of a man who finds love in Paris through as assortment of a Google tools. It was stupendous. Check it out HERE. It's a must-view.

As a result of how popular it was, Google is now inviting people to make their own search story using a simple tool that takes searches and puts them into a short half minute video.

The searches can be web, maps, images, books, blogs, products or news. You can also order them in seven slots and then pick music to run over the top. Pretty cool stuff. And addicting.

While I didn't exactly construct a story (the Paris one can't be topped, I think), I did manage to construct a pseudo-commercial for the digs here at Bukowski's Basement.

Check that out as well as other fun Google Search Stories after the jump.

Monday, April 26, 2010


OK... Every so often a gift comes along that is so supremely wondeful that I'm compelled to put it on a ridiculous wish list that I know I'll never get fulfilled. Don't tell anyone, but I once put a Breitling on my Amazon Wish List. Shhhh.

The other day, I stumbled across the web site Whisk(e)y Your Way, an innovative program for those who truly love whiskey.

I ask all you enthusiasts who love your hooch: Imagine developing your very own brand of whiskey and selecting each and every component that goes into it? The expert distiller at the site guides you through the process of developing the mash bill, the distillation specifics, the type of oak and level of char for your barrel and every other aspect of whiskey creation.

If customers choose, they may participate in preparing the wash, distilling and finally barreling the spirit. As it ages in the cask, buyers will be able to sample it as frequently as they wish, learning how the oak contributes to the finished whiskey.

When the hooch is sufficiently aged, they proof, bottle and label the contents of the barrel. The end result? You take home about 100 bottles of custom crafted, one-of-a-kind whiskey.

Find out the paltry price of the custom-made hooch after the jump...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

THAT SMUG SMILE (flash fiction)

It was the night before he went back to Korea. Well, maybe two nights before, but Cindy distinctly remembers Jimmy saying,"I'll be right back, hon. Just gonna go see Auggie a bit."

By "a bit" he meant he was going to the corner tavern for a few beers. Being that she wasn't done cooking, Cindy figured the extra time would come in handy and he could say goodbye to his bar buddies.

When he didn't come home until after midnight, she regretted the gamble she she took on loving a gambler and all that went with along with it.


"How much did you lose?" she asked.

He lifted his sleeve. "It's not like that, Cindy. Look..."

She started sobbing.

"I got your name on my arm," he said. "Doesn't that mean anything."

"Not when the meat loaf and mashed potatoes have become as cold as the Löwenbräu in the icebox," she said, whipping the dishrag his way.

"I don't get you," he said, half-laughing. "I figured you'd be over the moon. This is forever."

Cindy reached for the camera and quickly took Jimmy's picture to remind herself of his smug smile. It needed to be captured right there. In the moment.


About three months later on a rainy Saturday night, she read Jimmy's letter and it said that he was safe and dry. For the time being at least. He also wrote that canned beans kept him full and between the smokes and scotch, he was more than warm at night.

"I bet..." she said to herself.

Minutes later, Cindy fetched his photo out of the junk drawer and there it was again, that smug smile -- both infuriating and intoxicating. It was the very Achilles heel of their love. The cute one-liners that once worked on her at the automat weren't going to fly now. And certainly not getting a damn tattoo. Playing soldier boy on furlough just seemed cheap and young. She was his wife, not his port of call pussycat.

She stared at it some more, the smile that left her stranded for a tattoo. The one that left her barefoot, pregnant and cooking for him.

She took a slow drag of her Winston before ripping the picture in half. Just then, her stomach and back began to ache. It was time.

All throughout the painful delivery she hoped just one thing -- that her baby boy wouldn't have his father's smug smile.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Samuel Langhorne Clemens died 100 years ago today.

Perhaps better known by his pen name -- Mark Twain -- he was the prolific American author and humorist noted mostly for his novels "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884) (the very epitome of "The Great American Novel") and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1876).

A friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty, he was also a renowned humorist and beheld a keen wit in his scores of essays. His incisive satire earned praise from countless critics and peers. Upon his death a century ago, he was lauded as the greatest American humorist of his age and fellow author William Faulkner called Twain "The father of American literature."

A multitude of free Twain goodies, multi-media and links are available after the jump.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom (OiF) has published its annual list of the most frequently challenged books.

First, let's explain what they mean by "challenged":
A "challenge" is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness.
During 2009, the Office of Intellectual Freedom received 460 reports, “on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.” OiF receives reports from many sources but most challenges are not reported. They estimate that their statistics reflect only 20-25 percent of challenges that actually take place in a public libraries, school’s and school libraries.

See what the banned books were after the jump...

Monday, April 19, 2010


Jack Kerouac fans may wet themselves here and props to Slashfilm for getting the scoop on this one. Production Weekly had a late-breaking item reporting that "Tron Legacy" star Garret Hedlund (pictured below) is in talks to play Dean Moriarty in a big-screen adaptation of the ground-breaking Jack Kerouac novel "On the Road." It's set to be supposedly directed by Walter Salles.

The site says that filming will start this summer but, truth be told, shooting has been planned multiple times in the past. Casting Hedlund is certainly a step showing momentum.

After Francis Ford Coppola optioned it in the late ’70s, the Kerouac adaptation has been in development for years and in the hands of more than a few directors.

In 2005, "The Motorcycle Diaries" director Salles started eyeballing the project. At the time, though, he was set to continue his collaboration with screenwriter Jose Rivera. The duo have recently been attached to an adaptation of "American Rust."

The book was written in April 1951 and published by Viking Press in 1957. It's a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. Why is it important? It's considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences. While many of the names and details of Kerouac's experiences are changed for the novel, hundreds of references in "On the Road" have real-world counterparts.

When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance" of Kerouac's generation. It was subsequently chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923-2005.

A 2008 interviews suggest that Salles (pictured)may modernize the tale.

"I am not really interested in doing a period piece that wouldn’t have a correlation with what we are living right now. There is a strange modernity to the theme, and maybe “On the Road” is more contemporary today than it ever was."

Can you feel Kerouac rolling over in his grave? Let's hope he doesn't screw with the period. Salles has also recreated the journey undertaken in the novel with the documentary "In Search of On the Road," a portion of which will show soon at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Talk about research...

Expect more casting to see who is cast as Carlo Marx, (the character based on Allen Ginsberg). Reportedly "Control" actor Sam Riley is cast as Sal Paradise, (based on Kerouac himself). The latter casting news, though, according to Slashfilm, is roughly a year old -- an eternity in Hollywood. Take it with a grain of salt.

Here's my twp pennies: I really really wish they'd make a Kerouac biography on the big screen. As for casting? I know my two choices: Daniel Craig and Jon Hamm. Dead ringers.

Click to enlarge

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A RUBBER DUCKY'S LAMENT (flash fiction)

Props to my bud Tim Twelves for posting the sketches you see below on his Facebook page. It bummed me out so much, that I figured I'd spin a yarn about it.

Bert would give anything to go back to the time when their apartment was alive with love and friendship.

It's been all too quiet for three years now and God, how he missed Ernie's verve, his laugh and spirit. He left so suddenly and to this day Bert grieves as much as he did as the day it happened. His friends from 'The Street' -- more like family members, really -- have urged him to open up about it, but Bert's still unwilling to talk. It hurts too much.

Making matters worse, the dreams have started again. It usually hits around 3 a.m. and in them, Bert would see him, illuminated, and exclaim, "Ernie, you're back. I have so much to tell you!"

Ernie would hug his dear friend and then simply vanish. The cold sweat usually stays with Bert until morning as he lies shivering in his darkened room, unable to fall back asleep. The vicious cycle kept him awake nightly during the witching hours of grief and asleep when the sun shined through the apartment windows.

And even after these three long and painful years, Bert still can't bear to get rid of Ernie's bed or belongings. And sure, in an attempt to make it easier, Bert would try to remember the things that Ernie did to infuriate him - and boy, there were many - but it was usually futile. The wretched grip of melancholy was planted firmly on his neck, ensuring that the lump in his throat would go nowhere.

The memories would keep coming. Every time, he entered the bathroom, Bert would remember how much he hated that song Ernie used to sing yet would easily welcome his ghost to sing it just one more time. And yes, even after three years, he can't even seem to get rid of that goddamn rubber ducky who just sits, perched on the tub, waiting for his old fried.

In a way, it looks even sadder than Bert.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Back around 2000 or so, I stumbled across the web site of Ed Walters, a pit boss for the Sands in the '60s, who knew Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack. I thought it would be great to interview him for Casino Player, the publication I wrote extensively for. Originally, late editor Adam Fine wanted to run the piece in two parts because it was too long. Sadly, he never found the room (since it was the beginning of the magazine's dwindling ad space). The story turned out pretty good and and it remains one of my favorite pieces.

If you're interested in Sinatra, Dino, Sammy, vintage Vegas, Bogart or gambling, this is a must read. In our interview, Walters dished alot and told me stories about the gang that I 've never heard before.

Like I said, it's a tad long, feel free to bookmark and peruse at your leisure.

Reflections of a Pit Boss: Sinatra, the Sands and a Thousand Swingin' Nights

Former pit boss Ed Walters remembers it was a bad night for the Sands.

The baccarat pit was down around 80 large to some European high roller.
Walters was nervous because they were on their way to losing more. Way more.

It was the early sixties. 80 thousand clams meant around $300,000 by modern standards. After alerting casino manager Carl Cohen, it was clear that there was only one thing to do.

Get Frank Sinatra.

The young pit boss didn't want to flirt with the Chairman's famous mood swings -- especially at 2 a.m. - and told Cohen, "I don't wanna call Frank. He won't listen to me."

"Look, don't be afraid of Sinatra." Cohen said. "He'll help us out." But why even call Sinatra in the first place?

If there was one thing Cohen knew, it was that the singer understood the casino business. The high roller was in town with his wife, who was a huge Sinatra fan. If they kept her there, the husband would keep playing, hopefully long enough for the house odds to kick in. Simple as that.

After placing a call to his suite, the usually-nocturnal Sinatra showed up in pretty good spirits. Walters immediately informed him that the player was hotter than a two-dollar pistol.

"Relax," Sinatra said.

"But we got a lot of cash out..."

The Sultan of Swagger took one last drag of his cigarette, looked at Walters with those ice-blue peepers, and casually said, "Stop worrying, let me handle it. Just tell the dealers to pick up the speed and let's keep the action going."

Sinatra headed to the table with that trademark gait of confidence, took a seat smack dab next to the wife, asked for two grand, and started playing. She couldn't believe it. With Sinatra at the table, no one moved.

Cohen was right.

Two hours later, the house recouped its losses -- and then some. When the game broke up, a relieved Walters watched the tuxedoed Sinatra walk past the gold ropes of the pit, smiling.

"You owe me one, Kid..." he said with a wink.

Walters just heaved a huge sigh and thought, "Man, I sure as hell do."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Most of us know thesp Michael Madsen from his character work in such films as "Sin City," "Donnie Brasco" and "Reservoir Dogs." How many of you knew that the tough guy actor was also a poet.

Yes... A poet who has already published several poetry collections.

Madsen has been writing poetry for over 10 years and began his writing on match books, napkins and hotel stationery in between his time working on movie sets and traveling around the world.

In 2005, 13 Hands Publications, founded by Michael P. Naughton, compiled all of his poetry and released "The Complete Poetic Works of Michael Madsen, Vol I: 1995-2005." The book has been an international success and is the only authorized compilation of Madsen's poetry. The original books released were "Beer, Blood and Ashes" (1995), "Eat The Worm" (1995), "Burning in Paradise" (1998), and the now out of print "A Blessing of the Hounds" (2002), "46 Down; A Book of Dreams and Other Ramblings" (2004) and "When Pets Kill" (2005).

Madsen's friend and fellow actor Dennis Hopper described his poetry as a throwback to the Beat Generation: "I like him better than Kerouac: raunchier, more poignant, he's got street language, images I can relate to, blows my mind with his drifts of gut-wrenching riffs; this actor is a poet and he is cool, of course, he is Michael Madsen." Madsen notes his influences for his style of poetry as being Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. His latest book of poetry, entitled "American Badass," was released in 2009 and he dedicated the book to the memory of his friend and "Kill Bill" co-star David Carradine.

On April 2, he made an appearance at Triden Booksellers in Boston, MA, to sign copies of "American Badass." Slash film was fortunate enough to sit down with him to chat about his career and offered some interesting tidbits about his poetry as well as his work with director Quentin Tarantino.

Also check out what he has to say about Bukowski...

Monday, April 12, 2010


Let's congratulate this year's winners for The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and Poetry.

For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, the award goes to "Tinkers," by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press). It explores a powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were "Love in Infant Monkeys," by Lydia Millet (Soft Skull Press), an imaginative collection of linked stories, often describing a memorable encounter between a famous person and an animal, underscoring the human folly of longing for significance while chasing trifles; and “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders,” by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W.W. Norton & Company), a collection of beautifully crafted stories that exposes the Western reader to the hopes, dreams and dramas of an array of characters in feudal Pakistan, resulting in both an aesthetic and cultural achievement.

In Poetry, this year's award goes to "Versed,” by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press). The collection is striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading.

Also nominated in the category were “Tryst,” by Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press), a collection of poems remarkable for its variety of subjects, array of genres and nimble use of language; and “Inseminating the Elephant,” by Lucia Perillo (Copper Canyon Press), a collection of poems, often laced with humor, that examine popular culture, the limits of the human body and the tragicomic aspects of everyday experience.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A STRIPPER'S CREED (flash fiction)

She couldn't think with Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" piping into the break room for the 989th time. How she hated those fucking stripper songs. For three years, she'd been at it -- this dancing thing -- and while she realized she was almost a cliche, the money kept her happy. Or at least happy enough.

Her stripper's creed was simple and sparse: Grease monkeys tipped the most; cops tipped the least; and don't ever ever cross the line in the back room because they'll respect you more and in the long run, you'll get more lap dances.

She did fuck up tonight, though. Something didn't feel right about those three older guys. Not the regulars, the ones that wanted wine. But they kept tipping her during her session and she was never one to discard customers. Especially since the downturn.

After an hour, the handsome one with salt and pepper at the temples bought a dance. Walking into the back room, she made small talk with him. That's what you do to gauge where they're at. But the more questions she asked, the more unsure she became.

Halfway through some stupid rump-shaking rap song, her instincts told her to pull back on the intensity and even then he still had what she called a "happy accident." The man was slightly embarrassed but she fluffed it off and reassured him that it was pretty normal. He thanked her, gave her a healthy tip and was on his way.

Recognition reared its ugly head and she shivered. Rubbing her right inner thigh with rubbing alcohol, she replayed their conversation in her head:

Just moved into a new golf development
Had three kids
A developer.
Just built that strip mall near the Pancake Hutt
... bingo

She lit her cigarette and dreaded the call she was about to make. As AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" came to a close, she dialed her new boyfriend's number and said, "I think I just gave your dad a lapdance..."

Needless to say, she didn't officially meet the parents -- and never did.

It wasn't long before she updated her stripper's creed to include "Never give your boyfriend's dad a lap dance..."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SUITCASES (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

I got the suitcases out
of the garage. I just
need the big black one.
Gotta love it.
This is an important
trip. Lots riding on it.
I never quite got used to
the concept of flying.
I mean, I’m an old pro
by this point, but
it still fills me with
dread every time I see
those terminal signs pepper the
highway on my approach.
All sorts of fucked up shit
goes through my brain.
Is the pilot drunk?
How’s the weather?
Any engine troubles?

Five minutes before, we
board I pop open the
valium and - out like a light.

Almost four hours later, I’m
strapped into an excuse
of a seat with
the turbulence
taunting everyone.
Obviously, I’m a wreck.
My secret is to watch the
stewardesses. If
they look worried, I’m
fucked. We’re all fucked.
They’re the fail-safe.
Cutie-pies in the sky serving
coffee and a smile.

But soon, we land. And I
relax. Another notch.
We taxi in.
But then, I have to
find my suitcase.
And it begins
all over again.

"Suitcases" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Distmia, track No. 5 "Cita Fallida" from the disc "Cuando la Ciudad Duerme," and provided by Jamendo. Sound effect "ArrivalAnnounced" provided by "acclivity" at the Freesound Project.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hemingway was a boxing guy...

A man's man who - over a bottle of scotch - could take in a prizefight as he jotted all gory bits in his Moleskine. Then he'd turn it all into a kick-ass short story. In fact, he loved the sport so much that he set up a ring in his yard and paid local fighters to box with him.

It's no shock that boxing showed up in some of his work.

Need proof? In "A Moveable Feast," Papa H’s memoir of 1920’s Paris, he waxes about teaching Ezra Pound (one of many American expatriate writers in Paris at the time) how to throw down.

In "Men Without Women" (great title), he writes of an aging champion fending off his young challenger.

In his short story "In Our Time" Hemingway writes of The Battler. The title character had been a champion until punishment in the ring -- and the heartache of a dissolved marriage outside of it -- led him to dementia and a hobo’s existence.

This brings me to this month's GQ... Writer Andrew Corsello spotlights Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao -- one of the fight's game most enigmatic pugilists. It's a piece that would make former journalist Hemingway proud.

Writer Corsello asks: What do you get when you cross Muhammad Ali, Sly Stallone, Vaclav Havel, Michael Vick, Che Guevara, & Clay Aiken? Manny Pacquiao…

Here's a link to the piece.

When you're finished, you'll almost feel papa H smiling down upon you.

Monday, April 5, 2010


As modern scribes, I think we have it pretty easy. We have the option to move entire chunks of text around, delete asinine sentences, copy entire chunks, cut, paste... You name it.

That said, though, I remember as a kid typing on my mom's electric IBM and I have to admit, it was pretty rad. Sure, I made scores of mistakes, used White-Out like a champ and my tabs were an ungodly mess -- but as young as I was, I knew it was romantic.

Hell... On my college paper, we filed our pieces on electric typewriters and I felt energized doing it. That wouldn't last, however. The Commodore 64, OsCom PC, AT&T personal computer and the countless PCs to follow have changed the way I write. For better or worse.

Every time I take the 'delete' key for granted, I think of Papa H, Kerouac or even Buk, sitting in their lonely room, huddled over their old Remington. Every now and then I try to imagine their face if I showed them what my $99 HP inkjet could do.

Someone once said that Bukowski sent out hundreds of poems without carbons to scores of "little magazines" and then I think, "Jesus... The stuff he wrote that we've never even seen. Man..."

If only he had a PC to save them.

Given the hardware, would "The Masters" easily jump into our modern writing world? or would they stay safe, in their smoke-filled den of creativity... The clickity-clack of the keys solidifying their legacy... I wonder

Celebrating the legacy of these old machines, check out this cool link highlighting gorgeous shots of vintage typewriters. You can almost smell the ink...

Friday, April 2, 2010

GENTLEMAN'S CALL (flash fiction)

The last thing I remember was leaving the pool hall. And that smell.

Like most billiards joints, this one was on the second floor. It sat above a massive fabric emporium boasting in brilliant red neon that they sold 'Over a million feet of fabric.'

We were leaving around 3 or 4 a.m. and I kept looking up at her wondering if I was walking too fast or if she was just too goddamn slow. As fucked up as I was, I remember questioning whether she had let me win. I mean, I'm no Minnesota Fats, but I can certainly hold my own. And while the game was relaxed, she seemed to cave just a little too easy.

As payment, she owed me a lapdance. No one plays for money anymore. I looked up at her again and thought that she was just way too hot for me. Stumbling a bit, I kept reminding myself that I wasn't dreaming, but the more I did, the foggier everything felt. I started to float.

Hazy and stupefied, the fall down the stairs probably should have killed me but the crickety banister helped my pudgy midsection surf its way down the concrete flight.

I woke up in a hospital a few days later. My mouth felt like cotton.

The doc assures me that I can live on one kidney.

The detectives tell me they're looking for her and whatever underground operation outfit she's with and that the papers didn't get wind of the story. But it was just a matter of time.

I clicked my morphine drip. That's the last thing I needed -- explain to my mother that while I played pretty good off the rail that night, her little boy got hustled for his kidney.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Gee, who woulda thunk I'd have two back-to-back Oliver Stone posts, but... Word hits the interwebs today that the famed writer-director of such hits as "Wall Street" and "Platoon" will adapt "The Deep Blue Goodbye," a 1964 novel by pulp author John D. MacDonald with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star.

The book is the first in a long series of novels featuring Florida detective Travis ‘Trav’ McGee. In typical Hollywood fashion, the film will possibly be retitled "Travis McGee" in an aim to create a brand and possible franchise.

The buzz is that "Travis McGee" would still be based on "The Deep Blue Goodbye," the first book in the McGee series, which has the gumshoe protagonist searching for treasure hidden by a soldier after WWII. But the question remains... Would the Stone film be a period picture? Will the script perhaps use a different war as its starting point and retain basic characters and scenarios?

MacDonald said he considers the books to be a full take on the life of detective McGee, who ages and changes over the course of the 21-book run -- whcih kicks off in the ’60s and progresses very specifically into the ’80s.

The shifting tide of American culture is a significant part of the novels, so it would be a shame to see the story updated to the present. Hopefully, Stone being the purist he is, will retain the original '60s setting.