Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Lackluster Performer in all Aspects by Michael Allen Rose


 

Dull, inescapably dull.

Boring. Dusty. Mundane.

Not an instant where we found ourselves pulled in.

Not a heartbeat of captured time.

No, this was nothing worth writing home about.

Nothing worth phoning, telegraphing, nothing at all.

And yet…

No, it was a sad spectacle in every way.

Cliched. Hackneyed. Overdone.

Not one moment in which to suspend our disbelief.

Not a twinkle in the eyes of the watching children.

No, hardly worth mentioning.

Not worth remembering, hardly even there.

And yet…

There was…

No, the price of admission was too high at any price.

Garish. Horrid.

A clownish smear of color across the eyes.

Sickly hues scribbled over their features.

We were aghast, we covered our eyes in horror.

They looked like demons, finger-painted in the air.

And yet…

There was…

Something…

No. Nothing. The music was noise and chaos.

Gasping. Screeching. Violent.

The broken strings lamented against a wall of rumbles.

The musicians were out of tune.

The conductor had stabbed himself through the eye with his baton.

These were the sounds of agony, of factories and pollution.

And yet…

There was…

Something…

What was it?

Dull, inescapably dull.

Boring. Dusty. Mundane.

Not an instant where we found ourselves pulled in.

Not a heartbeat of captured time.

No, this was nothing worth writing home about.

Nothing worth phoning, telegraphing, nothing at all.

And yet…

No, it was a sad spectacle in every way.

Cliched. Hackneyed. Overdone.

Not one moment in which to suspend our disbelief.

Not a twinkle in the eyes of the watching children.

No, hardly worth mentioning.

Not worth remembering, hardly even there.

And yet…

There was…

No, the price of admission was too high at any price.

Garish. Horrid.

A clownish smear of color across the eyes.

Sickly hues scribbled over their features.

We were aghast, we covered our eyes in horror.

They looked like demons, finger-painted in the air.

And yet…

There was…

Something…

No. Nothing. The music was noise and chaos.

Gasping. Screeching. Violent.

The broken strings lamented against a wall of rumbles.

The musicians were out of tune.

The conductor had stabbed himself through the eye with his baton.

These were the sounds of agony, of factories and pollution.

And yet…

There was…

Something…

What was it?

______________________________________________

Michael Allen Rose is a writer, performance artist, producer and musician living in Chicago, IL with a cat named Dandelion. Originally from the frozen wastes of North Dakota, Michael’s plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, Portland, Denver and several other major cities. He is founder and artistic director of RoShamBo Theatre, and releases industrial and experimental music under the pseudonym Flood Damage. His shorter pieces have been published in Kizuna: Fiction for Japan and seen on stage at Chicago’s famed Second City where he spent a year studying at the conservatory.

His first book, Party Wolves in My Skull, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and via your favorite indie bookshop.

Interview with Michael Allen Rose


This is the final interview in my New Bizarro Author Series 2011-2012 interview series. For the past two months, I’ve posted interview outtakes on Bizarro Central from each of the interviews I’ve conducted with the seven other New Bizarro Authors, and then posted the rest of the interviews here on my blog.

I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know my fellow NBAers, and sharing these interviews with you. Each of them is a fascinating person who has written an awesome book. Now, for this last interview, I have a little something extra special.

In the past, I’ve conducted my New Bizarro Author Series interviews via email. This time I was lucky enough to sit down with the immensely creative and multi-talented Michael Allen Rose, author of Party Wolves in Your Skull. During the interview, Michael had several very interesting guests arrive.

Believe me, I’ve learned my lesson about interviewing Bizarro authors in person – you never know if the “characters” from their book might show up.

The first half of this interview was posted yesterday at Bizarro Central

At the end of yesterday’s portion of the interview, the party wolves were asking where their cut of the book’s royalties were and if authors were fast runners…

Spike: So, party wolves. Do you still live with Norman, or have you moved on?

Sophie: We still consider Norman our home base, but we’ve been travelling a lot.

Cooter: We’re roaming, seeing the world. You know how it is, Spike. You saw us a few weeks ago on the coast at that bar where Smitty offered to let your placenta hang out on his face.

Spike: I thought you looked familiar. It’s hard to recognize you without all the pot smoke. You know, Jiji the cat from Placenta of Love won’t stop talking about you.

Smitty: That offer never expires, just so you know.

Spike: Er, thanks.

Smitty: Also, I’m a big fan of ‘spankies’ myself.

Spike: Hey, who’s not?

Sophie: We keep coming back over to Michael’s house for our weekly book club meetings, when we’re not on the road.

Spike: Right. I’ve read some of those awesome reviews on Michael’s blog. I just didn’t realize they were… for real. For those interested in having their own party wolf infestation, how do you attract a pack?

Michael: I would highly recommend you avoid it at all costs.

Spike: And I’m beginning to understand why.

Rex: Meat.

Michael: But… if you really want to attract a pack. Lay out a trail of munchies. Salty snacks and the like. Or video games. Pretty much anything that attracts your average drunken college boy will bring a group of party wolves.

Sophie: I resent that.

Michael: Put out a post-feminist book of poetry or something too.

Sophie: Thank you.

Michael: Just make sure you have a vacancy. You don’t want them drilling their own.

Spike: Michael, the one that looks like the Fonz is giving your threatening looks. Maybe we should wrap things up. Any last words?

Michael: Sure! The book was enormously fun to write, and people seem to be enjoying it a lot. Reviews  their imprints… reads at break-neck speed and refuses to quit… a joy ride into the absurd that is grounded in great relationships and fantastic writing… a ton of heart and tight, well-crafted storytelling… all of which made me blush. I really appreciate each and every reader, and I appreciate you taking the time for this interview!

Smitty: Is Jiji single?

Cooter: Did you bring any snack-cakes?

Rex: Or jerky?

Spike: Well, you’re welcome to check out the kitchen while I confirm a few things with Mich–

Upon this invitation, the party wolves raided my kitchen, leaving what looked like a Japanese disaster movie in their wake.

My apartment and apartment building still smells like weed. I see tracers everywhere I look.  I’m going to be thinking about the party wolves for a long time to come.

 

 

Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose


Norman Spooter has a problem: his eye balls have popped out of his head and are escaping to North Dakota to elope. And now five party wolves have moved into his cranium, left vacant by Norman’s eyes.

Zoe also has a problem: she’s engaged to an abusive, crazy boyfriend, who is also a walrus, and now she’s on the run. Oh, yeah, there’s also something seriously wrong with her feet.

Luckily, Norman and Zoe (and, of course, the party wolves) come together and go searching for Norman’s eyeballs, having an insane adventure along the way, complete with a strange hotel like something out of the Twilight Zone, if TZ were written by a Dadaist; a crazy town where anything can marry anything; and a psychotic, dangerous cult. Oh, and the walrus – you haven’t seen the last of him.

Will Norman and Zoe make it out alive? Of course they will – they’ve got the party wolves.

Michael Allen Rose’s debut novel is a sweet adventure, road trip novel with a heavy dollop of the hero’s journey thrown in. But this sweetness is balanced out by the party wolves – a wild pack of partying, frisky, crazy anthropomorphic wolves who love a good time, and a good joint. Don’t assume, however, that the party wolves have no depth. They have plenty of depth and plenty of heart.

Party Wolves in My Skull is a fun, entertaining adventure that will make you wish you had your own party wolves renting out your skull. They make great company, they’ll get you out of trouble, and they’re very responsible about paying their rent.

I hope Michael Allen Rose has a long, long writing career. I can’t wait to read what he writes next.

Party Wolves in My Skull is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and through your favorite independent bookstore.

 

 

Placenta & Prejudice by Katherine Flynn


“Placenta & Prejudice” is one of my favorite submissions for the Love the Placenta! fan fic contest. It’s funny, clever, and mixes the placenta up with some unlikely source material: Jane Austen. AND the Brontës totally win in the end.

And I totally agree: Oh, MISTER ROCHESTER!

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a monstrous placenta in possession of an A.I. must be in want of a baby.

“My dear Mr. Darcy,” said his lady to him, “have you heard that Venus Park is beset upon by a giant placenta that is destroying the amusements and turning the guests into haystacks of baby placentas?”

Mr. Darcy replied that he had not.

“But it is,” returned she; “for it has just destroyed the Tilt ‘N Hurl, and is now rolling toward us like a liquored-up dandy in pursuit of an unwed virgin.”

Mr. Darcy made no answer. He was occupied with unfastening the seat-belts of the ramshackle pirate attraction and pushing past the absurd pirate that yelled “Yaaar!”

“Come Elizabeth,” he said as he drew his lady toward him, “We must escape to the shuttles.” They raced together through the park, the sounds of carnage growing behind them.  But before the could pass the Carousel of Children, the great pink placenta rose up, a crushed refreshment stand hanging from its maw.

“Why must you pursue us, you vexom beast?” cried Mr. Darcy.

“Do you not want to know why she is destroying the planet?”

“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it – once we are safely away,” he said, kicking aside a fallen street lamp.

“For love,” cried Elizabeth,  fainting dead away.

“Badly Done, Emma!  Badly done!” cried Mr. Darcy as he caught her in his arms.

“OH… MISTER ROCHESTER!” shouted the giant placenta as it swallowed them down, proving that this placenta truly loved the the Brontës.

What if the Placenta Took Over the Galaxy? by Justin Grimbol


Fellow New Bizarro Author Justin Grimbol submitted a fantastically hilarious story for the Love the Placenta! fan fic contest. In his story, the infamous Pussy Bear from Grimbol’s New Bizarro Author Series book The Crud Masters meets the placenta!

The bridge of the star ship was filthy. Dirty laundry and empty beer cans covered the floor. The only furniture was a broken down couch. It was the only thing they had salvaged before the planet was devoured by a massive placenta.
Earl was watching the placenta on the view screen. It was heading towards the sun. He figured it was trying to commit suicide.

Tyler walked onto the bridge. He was tall and gangly and danced as he walked. He was holding a joint. He liked the bridge when he was stoned. He liked all the computer and blinking gizmos.

“WHATS UP!” he yelled.

Earl looked at him and smiled.

Tyler jumped on the couch. He saw the placenta on the view screen.

“That thing looks kinda sexy in a weird way,” Tyler said.

“I guess.”

“It’s kinda sad that the thing’s going to kill itself.”

“Why? It destroyed earth. It killed everyone we know.”

“It didn’t kill you, or the rest of the Crud Masters.”

That was the name of their gang. And the placenta actually had killed most of them. About ten of them were able to escape along with a group of monks.

“What have you been up to?” Earl asked.

“Dude so I was checking up on the monks,” Tyler said.

“How are those nerds?”

“Dude, they were all fucking.”

“No way. I thought they were celibate.”

“Pussy Bear got to them?”

Pussy bear was the oldest member of the Crud Masters. She was a hundred year old Grizzly Bear with eighteen year old boobs.

“Fuck, even monks couldn’t resist the giant bear ass,” Earl said.

“I know man. It was chaos. I got scared a little but then I joined in.”

“Fuck off.”

“Yeah man, me and this monk dude made out. It was bi-curious as hell. I didn’t like it, but didn’t not like it either. I live in outer space now. Shit’s crazy.”

Earl laughed. Tyler passed him the joint. They smoked.

“Seriously though,” Tyler went on. “You shouldn’t go in there.”

“Why not? I want to have an orgy.”

“You are in a relationship bro. You’re going to get married.”

“I don’t want to be monogamous though. The Earth has been destroyed. I should be able to fuck around with what few people still exist.”

“Does that mean I can hook up with Lisa?”

“Fuck you man. You want to hook up with my girlfriend? That’s messed up as hell.”

“You said you didn’t like monogamy.”

“What makes you think she would want to fuck you anyway?”

“Why do you have to make me feel insecure about my body?”

Earl looked at the view screen.

“Holy shit,” he said. “Look.”

“What?”

“Look at the screen.”

The placenta had reached the sun. Tyler dashed the intercom and called everyone to the bridge. The rest of the Crud Masters and the monks joined them. Lisa was there too. She sat on Earl’s lap.

They all watched the placenta consume the sun.

“Holy shit,” Pussy Bear said. “It’s eating the sun just like it ate all the planets and moons in the solar system.”

“Should I be scared?” Lisa asked.

“No, it’s fine. We are at a safe distance,” Earl assured his girlfriend.

Angry pink light came through the screen and filled the bridge. The light flickered rapidly. It was like a skid knee colored strobe light.

For a moment it looked like the sun had run out of electricity. It was dark.

When it lit back up, it was the shape of a lady. It was a massive pink lady.

“That’s one big ass bitch,” Pussy Bear said.

The ginormous pink lady bent over and spread its ass cheeks. All the power of the sun shot of its anus. It propelled the placenta woman into the distance at a speed that was impossible to understand.

“Where do you think it went?” Tyler asked.

“Where no man has gone before,” Earl said.

He smiled and stared at the dark screen and felt stoned and happy to live in such an unfathomably large universe.

__________________________________________________________

Justin Grimbol grew up in Sag Harbor New York. His parents were both Presbyterian ministers. He attended Green Mountain College, and majored in partying. He is the author of Drinking Until Morning and The Crud Masters.

The Crud Masters is currently available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and through your favorite indie bookstore.

Plaception by S.T. Cartledge, Part 3


S.T. Cartledge is the winner of the Love the Placenta! fan fic contest! The first part of his riveting tale, “Plaception,” is available at Bizarro Central, while Part 2 can be found here.

And now, for the rest of the love story between Captain Carl and his beloved Juliet.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Three minutes passed in silence, and then Robo-Cobb and Juliet woke up.

“What happened? Is everything alright? Can we go back to the top?” Captain Carl asked.

Robo-Cobb motioned a finger for silence and nodded. He pulled a little pill jar and handed it to Captain Carl. “Take one of these and it’ll send you back to the next level.”

Captain Carl took it and passed it on to Zampanó and the next thing he knew they were back in the nightclub. Another pill and they were brushing dirt and ash from their clothes by the side of the road. One last pill brought them back to Venus, back to the Inception ride.

“Juliet, my love, how are yeh?” Captain Carl said, as he walked over to her to give her a hug.

She flinched and pulled away. She shivered and pulled her clothes tight around her body. Her eyes stared at Carl and her nose flared. Her hair frizzed out and her spine seemed to be coiled unusually tight. Like a music box dancer whose spring is about to snap.

She stared at Carl with dark eyes and said, “y-y-you d-don’t lo-love me.”

“Juliet! What are yeh sayin’? I love yeh with all my heart.”

“Y-you don’t l-love me,” she said. “Y-you n-ne-never loved m-me.” Juliet ran away sobbing.

Captain Carl drew his cutlass and pointed it at Robo-Cobb. “You!” He bellowed. “What have yeh done t’ my sweet Juliet?! I’ll gut yeh and send yeh t’ the bottom of the ocean fer this!”

Robo-Cobb laughed. His face lit up and made thunder sound effects.

“You’re not from around here, are yeh?” Captain Carl asked. “Who built you?!”

“No. While I’ve been here for many years now, this is just a dream. This is simply a situation from which I can not wake up. Believe me, I am the architect of this world, as you are all my puppets. One day I will wake up and you will all disappear and I will return to my true body.”

“You’re a blasted loony! You’ve lost your mind!”

“Do you want to know what happened in the fourth level?” Robo-Cobb laughed again.

Captain Carl just stared at him.

“The first thing I did was I made myself look like you.” He bit his knuckle, giggling. “And I was here, with Juliet, and we were real people, in the flesh and blood, and we had hundreds of little children. She loved every one of them. She picked them up and kissed and cuddled them and put them to sleep. And then I took one off her and smothered it. She tried to stop me but I punched her in the face with my hook hand. She was crying and bleeding. And I took my cutlass and I slashed at the little infants in their cots and every time Juliet got up to stop me I smacked her down.”

“Yeh bastard! I’ll kill yeh for that!”

“And then I took her soft, gentle hand in mine, and I pulled her close and I spat in her face and I said: ‘I never want to see you again’.”

“I’ll kill yeh! I’ll kill yeh!”

“I don’t know why you’re so upset. She clearly doesn’t want to have your kids any more.”

Captain Carl charged at Robo-Cobb, cutlass raised, and a piercing scream rang through the night.

From the top of the Gigantic Death Worm statue, Juliet fell to her death.

Captain Carl crumbled to his knees, a wounded man, he ran his cutlass through his internal power source.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

S.T. Cartledge is a bizarro writer from Perth, Western Australia. As of March 2012, he almost has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, and Literary and Cultural studies (give it another 4 months). His short fiction and poetry tends to focus on the speculative, the surreal, irreal, the absurd, and the uncanny, and it can be found on Bizarro Central, the New Flesh, The Mustache Factor, and on his blog, the Manifold

Plaception by S.T. Cartledge, Part 2


We have a Love the Placenta! contest winner!

S.T. Cartledge has won with a fantastic mashup of Placenta of Love and Inception, with nods to Constance Ann Fitzgerald’s Trashland a Go-Go and Vince Kramer’s Gigantic Death Worm.

Part 1 of S.T. Cartledge’s”Plaception”appeared at Bizarro Central.

Continue the mesmerizing saga of Captain Carl and his love, Juliet, below.

____________________________________________________________

The Dream Sequence

Juliet held tight on to Captain Carl’s arm as he brought her to the Inception ride.

“This is so exciting!” she said. “How come we’ve never been on this ride before?”

Captain Carl shrugged and brushed Juliet’s hair over her ear. “I didn’t know about it until t’day,” he said.

“A ride full of dreams. Oh… Carl, it sounds amazing.” She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. “I love you,” she said, with a giggle.

Captain Carl wrapped his arms around her waist. “Aye,  and I love yeh too. Yeh mean the world t’ me.”

“Hey Carl,” she said.

“Aye?”

“Do you think we can go to a dream world populated with our children?”

“Aye, maybe we can, love. Maybe we can.”

Robo-Cobb stood outside the entrance waiting for the lovers, walking down Hollywood Avenue, hand in hand, poor Juliet looking so happy and oblivious to Captain Carl’s plans.

“Alright Carl, step this way. Welcome, Juliet, so lovely to meet you. I am Robo-Cobb, the ride’s operator and master dreamweaver. The others are plugged in and ready to begin.”

Level One:

The one named Slappy had blue skin and no hair and no eyes. He was sitting next to Zampanó 2.0 and Bubsy, an orange furry robo that looked like a mutant cat with too many big green eyes and razor sharp teeth. Captain Carl took a seat next to Zampanó 2.0, and Juliet sat next to him. Robo-Cobb sat on the end beside Juliet. At the flick of a switch, the dream machine started humming and the six of them entered Slappy’s dream in level one.

In the dark and the cold of night, the six creatures stepped out onto the road and they came to a collective understanding that this land was a dead land. Up ahead there was a man and a boy pushing a shopping cart down the road. The man was old and tired and the boy was thin and young and tired and each footstep dragged a little heavier than the last.

Robo-Cobb turned to Slappy with a menace in his eyes and pulled him aside and said, “this is the wrong dream. You were supposed to do the happy, no children dream. This is sad, and that” he pointed at the haggard boy, “is a child. You have ruined everything!”

“Get away from me,” Slappy said, and pushed Robo-Cobb away.

They turned around and the father and son were gone.

Juliet ran up the road. “Where did they go?” She asked Carl. “Come, help me find them.”

Captain Carl followed her to the place they saw the man and boy last, and they followed the tracks from the shopping cart off the road through the snow into the forest of tangled branches.

Captain Carl felt the cold metal barrel of a gun pressing into the back of his head.

“What do you want with us?” The man asked, taking deep, painful breaths.

“Nothin’,” Captain Carl said. “We’re travellers, and we mean yeh no harm.”

“I’ve heard that before,” the man said. “Were you going to steal our supplies? Kill us and eat us? Rape the boy? Tell me or I’ll blow your fucking brains out!”

“We don’t want nothin’ t’ do with yeh. We just saw yeh there, and then yeh were gone. If yeh don’t mind we’ll best be gettin’ out of here. Things t’ do. People t’ see.”

“Wait,” Juliet said. “I know you. You’re that guy… Viggo, ah… what was it? Viggo Mortensen. That’s it!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, lady. If you’re not following us, then you’d best be on your way.”

Captain Carl and Juliet regrouped with the others, who had pulled over to the side of the road and started plugging in to their portable dream machine. Everyone except Slappy was plugged in, as he would control this dream while they entered level two.

Level Two:

Robo-Cobb grabbed Bubsy by the back of her neck and said, “don’t fuck this one up.”

“Mrow,” she said, and blinked her nine green eyes back at him.

Robo-Cobb checked everyone was plugged in and he flipped the switch.

Everything was flashing lights and throbbing music and yarn. The group of five were lined up outside a nightclub called “the Birdcage.” Everyone in the line were cats, and they scratched against the furry wall of the side of the club. A cat in front of them made sick on the sidewalk and the bouncer came down to kick him out of the line.

“You five,” he said. “Come through.” The bouncer was a big black thing with tusks and big orange nipples.

The inside of the club smelled of cat piss and week-old fermented milk. Inside cages, bird-women danced for the cat-men who leapt and tried to stick their paws through the cage, and licked themselves and drank fermented milk from saucers on the furry floor. The music was a happy hardcore nyan-cat endless loop. Lasers flashed all about the club and the cats leapt up on the walls, trying to catch them. Robo-Cobb glared at Bubsy before she disappeared onto the crowded dance floor, and he brought Captain Carl, Juliet, and Zampanó 2.0 to the bar for drinks. The barmaid was a skimpy Sphinx-kitten with dark eye-liner and golden tassels. She served up four saucers of milk, which they tried to lap up politely, before they saw that everyone else was either shoving their face into it or pouring it down their furry throats. They drank the saucers before commandeering a stall in the bathroom to set up level three. The lights were dim and blue, and the floor and walls and toilets were all covered in fur and cat piss, and there were four of them in the one stall, plugging in, and Robo-Cobb nodded at Zampanó 2.0 and flicked the switch.

Level Three:

They were back on Venus and Zampanó 2.0 was human. He was in his workshop surrounded by automatons and the bits and pieces of robos he was working on. From the other room, a baby cried. It whined a sonic plea for attention, and Juliet answered its call. She came back with the robo-baby in her arms, face gushing as much as a robo can gush, and her eyes stared into the baby’s big blue glowing, humming robo eyes, and she stared up at Captain Carl and smiled. Then she hiccuped, then staggered and fell over. On the way down, the baby smacked its head on the workshop bench and its whine turned into a mutated growl. Juliet had a massive scrape down her face and her cheek was busted up pretty bad. She took one look at the crumpled heap that was the baby and she started sobbing.

“Shh, honey,” Captain Carl said. “It’ll be okay. It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream.” He stroked her arm and kissed her cheek then walked over to Robo-Cobb. “We’re gonna stop this now. Pull us out.”

“No,” Robo-Cobb said. “She’s too emotionally unstable. If we wake her up now, there’s no telling what might happen.”

“Shit,” Captain Carl said. “We’ve got t’ do something. I don’t give a shit what happens so long as yeh get us out of this mess. Yeh’ll do it now or I’ll dismantle yer hard drive when we get back!”

“Alright, alright!” Robo-Cobb said. “I can probably fix everything if I take her one more level deep.”

“Great. What are we waiting for? Do it.” Captain Carl threw his arms into the air and paced around the workshop.

“The only thing is, ah, how to put this,” Robo-Cobb rubbed his palms. “You’ll need to stay here with Zampanó. Otherwise it’ll get too unstable. If it’s just me and Juliet I can fix her up just right.” He winked and patted Captain Carl on the shoulder.

 

Level Four:

Captain Carl watched Robo-Cobb plug himself and Juliet into the dream machine, flip the switch, and sink into a deep sleep.
“Do yeh think he can help her?” Captain Carl asked Zampanó.

“I don’t know, maybe.” Zampanó worked on piecing together his robos and automatons.

“We never should have done this,” Captain Carl said.

“It’ll be fine, Carl. It’ll be fine.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

The adventure isn’t over! Read the rest of S.T. Cartledge’s fantastic “Plaception” in Part 3.