Howdy again, chums! Today I am glad to present a flash fiction story by my inky cohort Jessica McHugh! The story is called “The First Star I Lose Tonight,” and I think you’re gonna dig it. Give it a read, and then click Jessica’s links at the end. She’s got a ton of wild stuff for readers young and old that you should have on your shelf.
The First Star I Lose Tonight
By Jessica McHugh
The Bellevue home is a monument to victory. Every surface boasts at least one trophy, frequently flanked by certificates of merit in gilded frames. With each burst of air conditioning, the ribbons decorating the wall flutter like tiny blue flags representing a country that refuses to tolerate failure.
As I survey the room, a poster declaring, “Second Place is the First Loser” makes me cringe, but Megan Bellevue beams when she catches me observing it.
“Nice, isn’t it?”
Knowing what I risk to lose by being disagreeable, I force a smile and nod.
“I made it myself,” she says as she dances her fingers over the frame. “Well, my daughter helped with the border.”
Inspecting the poster more closely, I spot a crooked pink border barely visible under the matting.
“It was a little messy, so I had to cover it,” she explains. “You know how it is with kids.”
Today I have something super cool to share. It’s a piece of flash fiction by my pal Mr. Ben Eads, which I predict you will enjoy thoroughly. Be sure to click Ben’s links at the end of the story. I’m just gonna pipe down now and let Ben do his thing:
Fear and Loathing in Orlando… Or How I learned to love Coffee
By Ben Eads
We were somewhere outside of Orlando when the caffeine withdrawals began to take hold. I remember saying something like, “I feel a bit lightheaded. Let’s pull over and check the beans.” And suddenly I began to shake. No sympathy for the devil.
Was it really my fault that my Barista and I ended up like this? Who would have known the antidote for whatever God-forsaken plague hit us was coffee?
“I can only drive with beans, Strangebrew…what do we have left?” My Barista asked. Christ, man…keep calm. I turned the radio on as I began to pull over next to an abandoned warehouse.
Reports are coming in that the terrorist threat is now in total control of the world’s coffee bean surplus. President—
I had to turn it off. Too depressing. Six more hours to Miami. Six tough hours. In search of a dream, and greener pastures. Where the beans could be plucked from trees with your bare hands. In this foul year of our Lord, 2018, it was the only chance we had.
We would arrive twisted, bent, reeling from the beans and other party favors in the trunk. We even had a can of Folgers…and I knew we would get into that nasty shit soon. There is nothing more helpless and depraved than a man in the depths of a Folgers binge. The brain refuses commands, the spine recoils in horror. You start behaving like the town drunkard in some old Irish novel. Again, no sympathy for the devil.
Hello and howdy, chums! October is here at long last, so I thought to myself, “Hey, Brent, what’s your problem? Stop being lame and update your page!” And I agree with that sentiment, so here’s a short update, which will include three items.
Cruce Roosters Giveaway Winners have been notified, and they have received their books. Congratulations to Carlos, Dave, and Marilyn!
I’ve been asked to begin construction of The Doomsday Furnace.
I’ve got awesome friends, and some of them are going to be doing fancy schmancy guest posts here very soon. I’m thinking about making a regular thing out of it. How regular? SUPER regular!
Now here’s an audio commercial I put together for Cruce Roosters:
EDIT: The Cruce Roosters Giveaway is now closed, and winners will be notified soon. Thanks again for entering, everybody!
Yes indeedio! We’re giving away Cruce Roosters! I have 3 copies that I’ll sign and give away to 3 lucky winners (1 each). Rumor has it Omnium Gatherum, the publisher of Cruce Roosters, will ALSO be giving away 3 signed copies to 3 OTHER lucky winners! When? How? I don’t know. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT!
To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is GO TO THIS PAGE and fill out a few boxes in the webform that lives there, and then you’ll be entered. That’s it. The giveaway signup runs through June 15, 2018. Then entries close, and 3 winners will be drawn from the people who have entered.
NOTE: Cruce Roosters is chock full of gore, profanity, drugs, adult situations, and product placement. If the sex, drugs and violence of Cruce Roosters isn’t your thing, I’d consider letting you opt for a copy of Keep Away From Psycho Joe.
You: What’s that? $7.99? Brent, how can Omnium Gatherum sell them that cheap AND with FREE SHIPPING?
Me: The answer is simple. They don’t know I got the password to the printing account and changed the prices. They’re bound to catch on sooner or later, so get in on this sweet deal while the getting’s good!
And super thanks to the good folks who have entered already! You are awesome, as you know!
Click the play button on that and listen while you read the rest of this post. I want to share some art with you good people. See, there’s this fellow named Matt Wajek who happens to be from my home town. Matt’s a badass artist and music maker. (Check out more Nightmare Administration music here.)
I had some ideas for what I wanted the cover of Cruce Roosters to look like, but I didn’t have the skill to pull it off. I kept coming back to Matt Wajek’s stuff, and I knew I had to reach out. The man has some serious skills.
I see some similarities between Matt Wajek’s work and that of Francis Bacon. The reason is, Francis Bacon used to talk about how his work was all about the viewer’s reaction. You look at it, it makes you feel however it makes you feel, and that is the relationship between the artist and the viewer. Here’s some Bacon:
So, like I said, I get a similar vibe from Mr. Wajek’s art. I look at it, chemicals and electrical impulses swirl around in my brain, and my mind reacts to it. It’s jarring. It’s upsetting. It provokes thought and discussion. I like that.
I was at a Packer game when he started sending me art samples, asking if this was going in the right direction for the cover – did I like it this way or that way – is this background texture the way to go, or should it be more like this. That was a great day. I got to see some kickass art evolve, and I got to watch my Green Bay Packers. Here is Matt’s final piece for the cover of Cruce Roosters, with no title or author name getting in the way. I love it.
This cover was everything I hoped it’d be and more. If you’ve got a book and you need some way-out, badass cover art for it, I suggest you get in touch with Mr. Wajek. I know I will.
So my boss, who is awesome, got a new drone for aerial photography. While I get to know the machine and get the settings how I want them, I’ll have to take several test flights to try different things. Here’s a photo I took with the drone yesterday.
Hi, folks! So, if you’ve been to my website before, you may be noticing that it’s a little different right now. And a lot of the content from before is missing. And You wish you had some chips right now. Well, rest assured that everything is going to be fine. The ol’ website was due for an overhaul, and I’m looking forward to creating something awesome. There are some cool projects in the works, and I super can’t wait to tell you all about them. In the meantime, enjoy the nifty photo at the top of this post, and imagine all the sky treasure that’s probably buried up there.