Sunday, March 29, 2015

Charles Bronson


It sounded as though a person was saying or an old hinge was squeaking, “Ananders.”  But when I looked out across the snow and around the back yard, I could not see a person or a hinge or anything at all that might have been making such a sound. Just snow.

I went back to committing my felony.


I set down the rusty green toolbox. “Okay, Harry,” I said. “Am I hearing things? I keep hearing like a voice from somewhere, or…”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Other Other Other Cheek

There are some bad people in the world, that is for sure. Rotten cheneyficent bastards like Shu Zheng, like Nathalie Paravicini and like Rae Moses.

And absolutely, these are people we would all like to see set on fire. I am no different. Like in some kind of holy rite, we’d douse ‘em with gasoline, strike a match and dance naked around the flames celebrating the advent of the new golden age we’ve ushered in where the sky is always blue and these people are not under it.

But we cannot set them on fire, we are told, because setting people on fire is wrong and anyway, it violates fire ordinances in most major metropolitan areas. It would make us as bad as the people we’re speaking of (although, between you and me, it would result in a significant net gain for mankind).

So what do we do?

Karma’s unreliable, the judicial system’s a sham, and God’s too busy handing out leukemia to kids to even notice. Never forget: Stalin died in his sleep at age 75 in the comfort of his own bed.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Murder Mystery

It wasn’t until late Friday evening that we became aware of the outbreak, and by then it was too late. The window for containment – the containment of whatever it was that we were dealing with – was closed, but still we went through the motions of containing it.

Zero Zero was the first to go. He was a gorgeous arboreal avicularia versicolor we’d had for four years and oh, he was my pride and joy, so much so I’d had his name tattooed across my back.

We found him Friday just after the evening news, with his legs curled up beneath him and largely unresponsive, looking like the new Goliath looked when she’d arrived.

Madame Guillotine was next, and then Soma Bath, and then Astrid and Poppy Day. And Lucifer Landed, well, she was still twitching as I laid her out on copy paper to poke and to prod for mites or fleas – for anything that might explain what was killing all the spiders.

Friday, March 13, 2015

All Sizes Vaguely Disinterested

I was talking to my friend, the Jesuit, when he asked me, “What do you believe?”  Then he took back his flask and he took a long drink.

I said, “Father, some days I believe in nothing; some days I believe in everything.”

My friend, the Jesuit, said, “Me too.”

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Enemies List

Omaha. January. Under a gray gauze winter sky. Antony Anders steps out of a gas station near 42nd and Harrison.

He is wearing blue jeans, leather boots, a hooded sweat shirt much too thin for the weather, and a Catcher in the Rye winter hat – the kind with those ear flaps, you know? In his left hand is a 12-pack of Coors. In his right hand is a plastic grocery bag with some potato chips, a roll of paper towels, and a frozen burrito inside.

He walks through the slush of the parking lot. Unlocks the door of a black 1991 Ford Ranger. Tosses in the things he bought and then climbs in after them.

He gets the truck started on his fourth try.