My short story “Wake Up, Little Susie” is in the latest issue of the almighty THUGLIT. Since I started writing crime fiction, I’ve been chasing this mean little monthly anthology. I’m beyond stoked to finally make the ranks.
Fictional heroes typically embody a series of human ideals such as doing the right thing, protecting the innocent, seeing that justice is properly served – all that crap. Fictional anti-heroes are more realistic as they tend to be flawed in very truthful ways. In crime fiction, the majority of the heroes are divorced alcoholics and if they’re not, they’re in a loveless marriage crumbling under their obsessive work habits.
The protagonists during the golden age of hardboiled fiction usually drank their way through cases. In Dashiell Hammett’s final novel The Thin Man, Nick and Nora mix themselves a martini pretty much every other page but a possible liquid dependency is never explored. Although Philip Marlowe liked to drink when he pondered over cases and chess problems, he never checked into AA. It’s not until contemporary times that we see heroes of crime fiction crippled by their vices. Nordic author Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole character, for example, is a chronic boozehound whose addiction leads him to some severely dark edges of morality.
Stuck in between the classic noir hero and the damaged detectives of modern times resides Hoke Moseley. First introduced by author Charles Willeford in his groundbreaking novel Miami Blues (1984), Hoke is simply one of the most believable creations in crime fiction history. Not just because he drinks and possesses other flaws we can see in our ourselves, but also because he’s just a working stiff going through the same issues as you and me. He’s not a drunk, but he drinks. He’s a good cop, but doesn’t really take his work home with him. Too put it bluntly, he’s utterly relatable.
This Saturday, Feb. 8, I’m pretty damn exciting to be hosting a screening of Philip Kaufman’s The Wanderers. It’s going down at Truthful Acting Studios in Orlando, on S. Orange Ave. (before the sketchy, desolate part). It’s part of the Orange Sinema series that I started back in Nov. 2013, made possible by my friend Carol of the studio.
Admission is free and there’s free beer, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer. The Wanderers is a coming of age tale set against the volatile backdrop of the South Bronx in 1963. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Richard Price, who wrote the damn thing when he was about 20 years old. That’s no joke.
So if you’re in Orlando, come check out a fantastic movie for free with good company. All the information is available on the Facebook event page.
• “They’re gonna move me again,” Joey Gladstone thought. “Becky’s moving in and I’m gonna be tossed around again.” He counted off on his fingers, “Under the stairs, the garage, the basement, now where? The doghouse?” Lifting the bowl of post-Fruity Pebbles sugar milk to his lips, Joey sighed his silent maxim, “I hate this place.”
My eyes are too large. That’s what my dad told me. He said my eyes are too large and that makes me look like a pussy. Like a cartoon deer. My eyes…he thinks I’m gay too. He hasn’t said it to my face, but I know he thinks I’m gay.
“A damn queer,” he would probably say.
I only joined karate so he wouldn’t think I’m gay. I mean, I’m not, but just telling him that won’t change his mind. I could get Farrah Fawcett pregnant six ways to Sunday and he’d still think I was a fancy gay boy. But karate…that the old man respects.
I hate it though. All the katas, obsessing over fights…Christ. It’s toxic.
The man was standing in line at Ace Hardware when he spotted the “Assorted Fish Sticker Pack.” What sold him was the sticker of a great white shark. “Oh man…that’s going on the truck.” He stuck it on the back of his Dodge Ram, right beneath the logo. The rest of the stickers were shoved in the glovebox and forgotten about. Three weeks later the man exited the bar – four Jack and Cokes deep and feeling like the breeze. He reached in the glove box for his mints and pulled out the rest of the sticker pack. A rainbow trout. A catfish. A bass. Several more. A smile slowly formed on the man’s face. “Heh, why not.” — — The next morning, the man throws his toolbox in the truck and sees the collage of fish stickers sloppily placed all across the rear. “Goddammit.”
I was inspired to write this by a pickup truck I was driving behind that had fish stickers all over it. I tried to take a photo of it, but my cellphone was manufactured sometime around the signing of the Magna Carta, so unless I’m two inches from my target it looks like miserable.
(I hate to start this piece in the most boring way possible, but) I grew up in Andover, New Jersey. Nestled in the farmlands and forests of Sussex County, Andover is an old mining town and the polar opposite of the general population’s image of “Dirty Jersey.” Expansive corn fields, forests criss-crossed with streams, and a local hot-spot called Lake Illiff make up most of the geography of my homeland. The neighborhood was a giant nipple feeding my imagination. I lived there until I was 19 when I thought it would be a good idea to go to college.