On the Line

I will tell you this thing: Everything Anthony Bourdain wrote and said about being a line cook is true and if you listened to him closely enough, you know that was where his heart was; on the line. Everything he left out about working on the line is true as well, but unless you’ve worked in the business you probably don’t want to know; trust me on this. I say this as an ex-line and short order cook who loved the job and loved working with food.

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Bangbang Apple Pie

Bangbang Apple Pie

911. What is your emergency?

Bangbang apple pie.
Bangbang they gotta die.
Bangbang America.
Bangbang shoot’em all.

Black skin – brown skin – anything but white man skin and bangbang.

Cops man, you gotta treat’em like a live hand grenade with the pin pulled. Might go off any moment. Kill you – kill everyone around you – kill everything you love – kill the world – and never be held accountable or responsible, because they are infallible – because the blue wall, baby – because they will shoot you dead and say. “He was a threat – She was resisting – I was scared. Fuck, I was bored and they were probably thugs anyway.”

Bangbang

And all the video and outrage and evidence? That shit doesn’t matter. Unarmed? Back turned? On the ground? Handcuffed? Bangbang and juries just shrug and say, “Not guilty,” go home to their American flags – picket fences – SUVs – bring in the dog, put out the cat, dispose of the leftover meatloaf, and have another piece of apple pie, God bless America.

Black? Bangbang .
Brown? Bangbang.
Native? Bangbang.
Asian? Bangbang.
Muslim? Sikh? Probably a terrorist.
Bangbang.

Now white man, white man can hold a gun in his hand, screaming profanities and fifteen cops will force a stand-off – talk him down – maybe taz him if they just gotta but that’s a damned shame and they might have – probably were – treading on that patriot’s rights, because he is obviously a bald-eagle loving son of John Wayne and George Washington who believes in freedom and America and apple pie, boo-ya!

You can tell the white man is a son of liberty by the American – or maybe Confederate – flag flying in the back window of his truck and all the freedom defending semi-automatic rifles he owns. Wave their flags – wave their guns – wave their penis’ of American patriotic breeding. It’s American as apple pie, baby!

Black man – well, black man can have a carry permit, tell the cop he has a gun somewhere in the car, not have the gun anywhere in sight and – Bangbang bangbang bangbang bang. But white man holding a gun? Clearly not a threat.

Well, unless he’s obviously mental ill. Then bangbang. Or disabled. Bangbang. I mean fuck, they’re just useless broken cripples and a drain on society’s resources and sucking up the tax dollars of good hard working Americans, right?

Lesbian? Gay? Bi? Trans? Queer? Asexual? Pansexual? Baby Jesus says Bangbang.

Oh and women. Especially women of color, women who are mental ill, women who dared to walk outside wearing a burka or miniskirt or a pair of jeans and modest blouse – bangbang – because after all, they are just dirty dirty wimmins with their dirty dirty wimmin’s parts. Shoot’em all. Bangbang

Homeless vets, disabled vets, vets with PTSD – fuck they should have come back whole like John Wayne or died like American patriots of freedom on the battlefield, smoking M-16 in their hands, surrounded by a thousand dead bodies of America’s enemies. Bangbang.

Family Pet? Bangbang and double bonus points extra big slice of apple pie ala mode if you gun that pet down in front of the family, boo-ya bangbang!

Black bodies – brown bodies – broken bodies – queer bodies – women’s bodies – Bangbang, the bodies hit the floor, the pavement, the ground, the grave.

And sure, you can gather, protest, carry a sign, sing, chant, link arms, stop traffic, We Shall Overcome Kumbaya!

But the moment one cop decides he’s afraid, the whole riot gear wearing, armored car driving, jack-booted phalanx can just draw weapons and bangbangbang because you are threat to their safety–to the rich man’s safety–to order and justice and the American way of life.

God Bless America. Bangbang. What did you do to get yourself shot today?

Did you fail to instantly comply with four conflicting orders screamed at you while guns were waved in your face? Did you drive while black? Did you go outside your home while mentally ill? Did you take your disabled body out where good God-fearing Americans had to actually see you? Did you love a person with a different skin color from you or the same genitalia as you? Did you not believe in God, Baby Jesus, and the American Way?

Is that why the cops had to shoot you?

Remember, you deserved to be shot you criminal you thug you gimp you druggie you commie Nazi hippie liberal socialist fascist democrat welfare-queen who probably eats bald eagles in a satanic caricature of Thanksgiving.

The cops had to shoot you and the cops are not guilty of any crime. The cops are not even guilty of just poor fucking judgment. They are never guilty. They are never guilty because they are America and America cannot be guilty. America the Beautiful is beautiful – as long as you are white – male – healthy – wealthy – wave your flag – wave your gun – wave your penis ramrod straight copulate – but only in the Baby Jesus approved missionary position and only for the express purpose of breeding more white male able-bodied American patriots to defend truth, justice, and the apple pie.

Black? Brown? Native? Asian? Muslim? Sikh? Jew? Hindu? Pagan? Atheist? Mentally ill? Disabled? Autistic? Lesbian? Gay? Bi? Trans? Queer? Asexual? Pansexual? Woman? Homeless? Poor? Pet? Just a little too slow to react?

Bangbang apple pie.
Bangbang they gotta die.
Bangbang shoot’em all.
Bangbang America.
Bangbang.

911. What is your emergency?

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DreamHaven Reading 2018

My latest reading at DreamHaven Books. We had just been in a motor vehicle accident and I probably should have been at urgent care, but the show must go on, right? I may sound a little addled, because concussion.

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Concussion

Honestly, who needs to remember words –
like that stuff you drink at Christmas. You know,
you put nutmeg on it.
Sometimes bourbon

Numbers are overrated. Sure, I have
a date of birth a zip code a bar code. Somewhere.
Five five blah blah numbers numbers

Staggering around as the world wobbles
And cancelling all your social fun? Fun Fun
Something T-Bird away yeah yeah yeah
you put nutmeg on it

Endlessly sitting and staring at the wall
the blurriness softens the world, turning it fuzzy grey
at the edges, easier to swallow
Swallow. That’s a bird, right?
You put nutmeg on it

The wheels on the bus we all fall down blind mice
Who needs a coat to go out in the the –
The succotash? The sassafras? The sriracha?

You know, you put nutmeg on it.

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PlanetFest Theatre Festival

I will at Planetfest on Saturday the 17th for the 7pm showing. I am very pleased to have collaborated on one of the short plays with the fantastic Fox B. Barrett. Come out and see our radio play within a stage play, “The Cursed Script.”

From the Website:
Have you ever imagined a world whose laws of physics differ from our own? Spend an evening watching six brand-new, never-before-seen plays in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural horror! Spun out of the country’s only recurring open-mic dedicated to speculative fiction, our dozen playwrights feature both established authors and up-and-coming talent. Come on down, and let them tell you about places of which you’ve never dreamt.

Follow the Link for more details and tickets
http://www.wordsprout.org/planetfest-a-short-speculative-play-festival.html

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Michael Merriam Reading at DreamHaven Books

On Wednesday, February 7 MICHAEL MERRIAM reads from his fiction. Michael Merriam is an author, actor, poet, playwright, and professional storyteller. He has published three novels, two short story collections, four novellas, and over 90 pieces of short fiction and poetry. His debut novel, _Last Car to Annwn Station_, was named a Top Book in 2011 by Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction. His scripts have been produced for stage and radio, and he has appeared on stage in the Minnesota Fringe Festival and over the air on KFAI and Minnesota Public Radio. Michael is a co-founder of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers and a member of the Artists with Disabilities Alliance, the Steampunk Artists and Writers Guild, and Story Arts Minnesota. Visit his homepage at www.michaelmerriam.com.

Michael will have copies of his book for purchase and signing, including his newest release, “Not Enough Midnights,” Book 2 in the Sixguns and Sorcery series.

Speculations is a co-production of DreamHaven Books and SF MINNESOTA, a multicultural speculative fiction organization that also hosts a midsummer SF convention, DIVERSICON, the 26th edition of which will be held July 27-29, 2018, at the Best Western Plus—Como Park (by Bandana Square), Saint Paul, with Guests of Honor CHARLIE JANE ANDERS and BRYAN THAO WORRA.

The SPECULATIONS READINGS SERIES continues monthly in its 23rd year, mostly on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:45 p.m., at DREAMHAVEN BOOKS, 2301 38th St E, Minneapolis. Each reading includes a reception with free soda pop and cookies, and a post-reception expedition to a bistro.

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GPS Holiday Emporium

Hey Everyone! I will be selling and signing books this year at the Geek Partnership Society Holiday Emporium!The event is Saturday, December 9th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at The Waterbury Building 1121 Jackson St NE, Ste 106, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413.

I will have my full range of books for sale, including my latest release, “Not Enough Midnights” as well as two other books in the same Steampunk/Weird West setting, “Horror at Cold Springs” and “The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn.”

I will also be selling anthologies from Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers and giving away Carina Press lanyards and perhaps some other small items. Special deals will be announced at the event.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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Thoughts On Twin Cities Book Festival

This year at the Twin Cities Book Festival I shared table space with my friend Catherine Lundoff and her newest endeavor, Queen of Swords Press. Sharing space with Catherine was fun and I think Queen of Swords did pretty well both selling books and getting information into the hands of potential readers.

I had a slow sales day. In fact, I didn’t make back my half of the table fee. I think there are various reason for this, but I still need to pinpoint the major reasons and try to mitigate them should I ever go back.

One reason I think is that people were confused about whether I was an author or publisher or bookseller. That I am an author who sells his own books and runs a small micro-press to keep my works that have gone out-of-print with my various publishers back in print and available  was too much to take in for some people.

At Twin Cities Book Festival, there were moments of customers acting with—distaste might be too strong a word—at my perceived self-publishing. I had more than one book packager leave me their information. These people would act surprised when I told them that while yes, I did do a little self-publishing to keep my older works in print, I also work with various small presses and major publishers.

I think some people also started to get analysis paralysis. I had 11 books for sale and that seemed to make people freeze up, unable to decide what they might want to buy.  Add to that, my work is kind of all over the place (Urban Fantasy, Weird West, Steampunk, Poetry, Short Story Collections, Anthologies) which also seems to confuse people about what I am about as a writer. My covers range from fantastic (I received many compliments on the “Not Enough Midnights” cover and of course my Carina Press covers are both striking) to meh, and I think this inconsistency in quality also hurts me. One of my covers seemed to make people think it was a YA book when it was not. It seemed like I couldn’t establish an identity with them, couldn’t make myself fit in a neat marketing hole they understood.

That said, I would try TCBF again. You never know. Next time I might sell a ton of book.  Next time I might take fewer books and try to narrow my focus a little.

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Twin Cities Book Festival

Hey Everyone! I will be at the Twin Cities book Festival this Saturday. I will be selling and signing copies of my new weird west novella “Not Enough Midnights” and helping out at the Queen of Swords Press table.

https://www.facebook.com/events/350476095404421/

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Not Enough Midnights

When several families vanish under mysterious circumstances and the sheriff investigating is driven insane, disgraced ex-U.S. Marshal Jefferson Stottlemyre is called back into federal service by order the President of the United States.

Now Stottlemyre, aided by his old friends Deputy Marshal William Blenchy and Lady Priscilla Talbot of the British Secret Service Supernatural Division, must unravel the mystery of who – or what – is murdering settlers around Binger, Oklahoma Territory.

Gathering allies and gaining enemies, the group must deal with rogue treasure hunters, a cavalry troop reluctant to fight, a horde of hidden Native American drummers, terrified townsfolk, and a mythical monster turned deadly reality on the prairie.

Not Enough Midnights will be available in September 2017!

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