Issue 8: Cowboys, Mutant Cowboys, Vampires, Earthquakes, and some Noir
Genre is a word that gets smacked around a bit; it is the term applied to whatever doesn’t easily fit into any convenient literary tradition. Put a troll in it: brand it genre.
A Modest Inquiry
A MODEST INQUIRY Upon the peculiar Habits, Practices and Tastes of the MISSION QUARTER of the City of SAN FRANCISCO. Together with A full Account of the Scourges of Men’s Reducing Habits, the Anomalies of their Diet, and several Thoughts upon the Blasphemies of the Missionite Religion, upon which the Author proposes several Remedies intended to correct these depraved Customs and restore Commerce and Security to the Land.
The whole being the most authentick and faithful Observations of the Author
Written by a Lady
After the Quake
The sixteenth day after the quake was cold. The morning was gradual: no lights flicked on, no alarms or radios sounded, no trains made their inaugural runs. The day faded in slowly, dimly – people awoke, dressed, and began to wander about the city on their own arbitrary schedules. Save for a barking dog or a shattering window, there was no sound.
Dougie Doodles and the Enchanted Gay Bar
Once upon a time in the foggy, faraway land of San Francisco, there was an enchanted gay bar where none of the patrons ever said anything sensible, wore anything decent, or went home alone.
Chinatown, My Chinatown
“Been a murder in Chinatown, Tom,” Kirby Dorset, a bleeding gum toady who thought he was dying of consumption or some plague from Exodus, said to me too early in the morning. When he smiled, which was a lot like looking at the business end of a whore
during her unclean days, it made an honest man want to puke. But I had to put up with that bleeding mouth of his because he spoke for the Christian men on the hill who wanted to keep the Chinese in their place and away from white civilization.
Who Wants to Kill Stanley Janek
1967. San Francisco. Grumpy old Stanley Janek found crumpled up in a dumpster just off Pierce at Sacramento. Not far from where he lived, on California near Divisadero. One big .44 caliber hole in his chest, lots of blood. Money in his pocket. Drag marks from street to dumpster.
Little Jon paused in the driveway to scrape a stubborn lump of manure off his boot. The sun hung close above the cliff, and Holly’s crooked little ranch house was backlit, the men on the porch thrown into shadow. Little Jon hadn’t expected the boss back yet, but sure as shit, there he was.
Christmas patrons thronged the bank. Outside, rain fell, third day running. You’d think all these bodies would warm things up, Marybeth thought, but no. Still, there were festive touches about—harp and dulcimer carols piping softly in the background, twirled bunting draping the walls, ribboned wreaths the size of tires. She caught a hint of pine, drifted into memory. Sacrament of childhood, she thought, this time of year.
What You’re Waiting for
I was in the shower measuring my pinkies when it happened. After five minutes of deliberation, they were deadlocked, but I wanted my left one to be stronger, thicker, and of better use. The water ran down in a manner all too casual and forgiving, I had just ended a relationship a week prior and whenever the thought of her had entered my mind I said, “To the shower and forever.”
Encounter with Here’s Maker
They are a dirty bunch of bicycle banditos, bandana-masked blue-jeaned warriors atop whirring spinning contraptions of grease, chain and steel, adrift across the flat and mountain lands like horsemen from stories of older epochs and with the same penchant for whiskey and oblivion.
The Shattered Rose
Before the post-midnight murk of Golden Gate Park enveloped them, Alondra’s gaze snagged on the sidewalk. At her feet lay a long-stemmed rose, shattered as if flung down. Most petals mimicked the shape of a rosebud, still curled toward their stem, but a handful sprayed outward like drops of liquid. Beneath the last streetlight, the broken flower shone the bluish red of spilled blood.