Monday, June 6, 2016

Morphosis - a KSHM Project story sample

Here is one of the short stories featured in the fifth volume of the KSHM Project, a joint venture between Australian photographer Karl Strand and myself. Our project was different, in that we combined Karl's stunning visual images with my writing, creating a one of a kind experience where the words and images play on one another creating a stronger experience for the reader.

During our joint tenure, we created five volumes of photostories, most of which is available for free everywhere where ebooks are sold. The exception being volume 4, Elusive Realities; and volume 5 A Stocking Stuffer, which are available for download at a very reasonable price.

Each volume has its own theme, with the fifth being horror / crime theme. The story featured here is the mildest one.  


Six weeks ago, I found two junkies in my basement.

Even before I joined the force, I always hated junkies. But those two really got to me. I
mean, it was my basement, my damn basement in my own damn house. Who the fuck
did they think they were?

The sound of glass shattering against concrete floor yanked me from my sleep. Startled, I
jumped up thinking the cat had knocked one of my wife’s vases over. And that’s when I
heard it, the muffled giggling. I grabbed my shotgun and quietly made my way to the

They had the light on. Two kids, barely old enough to have driver’s licenses, sitting
cross-legged as if they were at home. At first, I was baffled, but then I saw the syringe on
the floor between them. Rage rose inside me.

I stepped out from behind the corner, the barrel aimed at them.
“Get up!”


“Get the fuck up!”

Nothing. And then, I was only a few feet away. They looked right through me as if I was
some apparition. I rocked the pump. The sound of a shell being chambered woke them
right up.

“Hey, man,” said one of them, a blond kid with a peachy fuzz above his upper lip.

“We’re sorry.” The words rolled out of his mouth slowly, almost like a melody.

“Sorry ain’t cutting it.”

“Don’t call the cops . . . We’ll give you some dope if you let us go.”

“I am a cop!”

The other kid’s mouth dropped open, and he just stared at me, motionless.

I nudged him with the barrel. “Up!”

This time they obeyed.

When we left the house, and I pushed them on towards my car, the blond kid’s face
turned as pale as his hair.

“Let us go. Please,” he begged, his speech no longer slow.

I ignored him.

I opened my trunk, shoved them both in, and drove off towards the bad part of town I
knew too well. Abandoned warehouses, hideouts . . . Gang territory. When I got in deep
enough, I pulled over and let the kids out.

I led them on towards an old warehouse, kicked the door open, and nudged them in.

“You broke into my . . .”

“Sir,” the blond kid cut me off.

I pulled the trigger and rocked a new shell in. One smooth rehearsed movement—years
of training will do that. His eyes opened wide as he fell backward.

“Fuck . . .” The other kid finally decided to speak up. Too bad the lead shot swiped the
“you” from his lips before he could finish.

I walked back outside and drove home.

At the bottom of the driveway, I found their car. An old, rusty-looking Civic with a
cracked windshield. I looked inside—the keys were in the ignition. I got in, started the
engine, and contemplated whether to drown it in a lake or leave it in the woods. That’s
when I saw it in the rearview mirror—three neatly wrapped brown bricks. I drove inside
the garage instead.

Heroin—three little bricks sitting on my workbench—I’ve spent enough time chasing it
off the streets to know what it was. What the fuck? It was too much for no one to notice
it missing. Three bricks. I did a quick calculation in my head. Even before it'd hit the
streets, it was enough to pay the house off. The wheels in my head spinning, I tried to
sleep. It was all in vain.

The next day, I went to all the usual places and spread the word that I got a deal to
make. They all knew I was a cop, so no one talked.

I called in sick, went home, and sat in the garage looking at the bricks. All the busts over
the years—nothing but pitiful creatures with little baggies desperately clinging to what
was left of their lives. But this, this was different—it had a certain allure. I always
wondered why people did that shit—was it really so good?

I closed my eyes and the images of the kids I shot flashed behind my eyelids. I was a
murderer, a fucking murderer sitting on a pile of heroin. All the busts over the years, all
the hard work it took to remain straight despite the daily dealings with crooks and filth.
More than anything, I felt disgusted with myself. A tear rolled down my cheek as I
reached for one of the bricks.

Two days later, I was back at work. No one reported two people missing; no one had
seen the Civic in my driveway. I was safe, my life was safe, and everything was as it
should be, except for three tiny prick marks on my left arm. The day passed as if in a
haze . . . All I could think of were the kids’ faces and the dope on my bench.

The next six weeks, I kept sampling my product. My product—what the fuck had I
become? At first, one shot was enough to get me through the day, to black out the
images playing in my mind whenever I shut my eyes, but after a while I started needing
more. Joint pains and sweat in the middle of workday became increasingly hard to hide.
I grew irate.

That’s when I started bringing a little baggie with me to work. I was becoming one of the
pitiful creatures I chased for a living. But I had a badge, and they did not. Shooting up in
the bathroom surrounded by fellow cops made me feel like shit, but it was better than
having the shakes. If only the faces of those two kids stopped appearing whenever I
closed my eyes.

Sitting at my desk today, I was scratching the countless little scabs on my arm when the
phone rang.

“Detective Novak?” a heavily accented male voice came over the wires. A large guy,
judging by the voice.


“You’ve got something that belongs to me,” he said. “I’ll meet you at the blue
warehouse by the old docks in two hours . . . Make sure you are there!” The phone went

I guess the word got out after all.

I told my captain that I was feeling sick and had to go home. He let me. After fifteen
years on the force there isn’t much I can’t do. Had it not been for my own conscience, I
could even get away with a murder.

I stopped by the house, picked up the dope, and drove to the docks. Finding the
warehouse was easy—typical gang signs in a shitty neighborhood overrun by those I
was sworn to fight. I walked in, shut the door behind me, and looked around. Crap and
muck scattered all over the ground, graffiti on the walls, broken windows. Near one
wall stood a filthy sofa—Rape Chair—it said. I shivered.

I’d seen a plenty of places like this one while on duty, but there was always commotion,
adrenaline, and loud noise. This time, it was different. I felt sick to my stomach . . . sick
with the bastards who used this place to violate other human beings, sick with the
pathetic junkies, sick with myself. When did the line between us blur? When did I
become a repulsive fuck? Right then and there I wanted to kill them all, any one of them
who would walk in through the door.

I’m sitting on the sofa, two wrapped bricks and an open one on the armrest. Next to the
pile lays my service weapon, cocked and ready. There are fifteen minutes until the
mysterious man shows up. If only my hands would stop shaking, so I could steady the
lighter under the spoon.


You can check out the rest of the KSHM lineup here:






Friday, April 1, 2016

The Sory of the Eye by Georges Bataille - a review

Story of the EyeStory of the Eye by Georges Bataille

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the most bizarre books I have ever read, The Story of the Eye kept me torn as I kept turning the pages. Torn whether to repulse or whether to admit excitement.

This book was unlike anything I had read, vividly graphic and subtly gross, yet engaging and literary at the same time.

Is it pornography? Undoubtedly yes, but it is also a romance, a dark, twisted, forbidden romance with an ending I could not imagine in my wildest dreams.

Update 04/01/2016

I just completed a second, more thorough reading of this short book. This reading was done over a period of about two weeks, reading slowly one section at a time, trying to look at the book not merely as a reader but from a more philosophical and psychological standpoint, trying both to appreciate and to understand this unusual work.

I must admit this reading has left me more disturbed than the first one. This was due, perhaps, to the the slower, more academical approach I took this time around. While I have developed a better understanding of the literary techniques used in this book and could appreciate the author's approach, the unconditional depictions of sexual acts I cannot understand or relate to made this experience more bothersome.


On one hand, I could relate and appreciate the inner turmoil of adolescents trapped in an environment that does not understand them, and their rebellion against structure, convention, and culture of make-believe customs which, albeit superficially, make the fabric of society at that time.

On the other hand, I could not get past the sexual conduct and utter disregard for personal freedom of choice perpetrated by these adolescents in order to satisfy their own 'perversion', which, in turn, brought about the philosophical question of how they can justify their own conduct imposed upon the unwilling subjects of their vile tastes.

And this is where I struggle the most. Minds and bodies united in the desire to be freed from the impositions society's rules placed upon them forcefully impose their own desires upon a person whose mind is, if anything, simple and innocent. For Marcelle was, in a way, an innocent creature.

The introduction of a perverted British aristocrat only perpetuated this feeling in me, for it played upon the stereotype of a man of means indulging in the debauchery of others out of boredom, and his social status and way of means made this even more pronounced.

Then again, as I could not relate to the imagery used, especially in the sexual exploits, there is a huge part of the story that means nothing to me, and is thus viewed only as a bizarre perversion. I'm certain, however, that those who can relate to the imagery and objects will understand this work on a different level. Not necessarily a more wholesome level, but on a different sexual level.

In a way, this book brings forth the notion that it is a stone in a wall of French literary sensationalism, where the very decency of society is overturned and portrayed as a farcical notion, much in the same way Boris Vian used in his 'I shall Spit on Your Graves' or as Lautreamont used in his Maldoror. To challenge the social norm and trash it as a delusion, rather than finding the place for one's 'unconventional orientation' within the social fabric.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Amazon Kindle Giveaway

Last month, I had tried to offer the new Amazon Kindle Giveaway for Mad Days of Me: Escaping Barcelona.

What initially started as a "why not?" type of a thing out of boredom quickly escalated, and the first 20 copies I had offered were claimed in a matter of 24 hours or so. I was surprised. Apparently, I still have fans out there.

Considering that there were many people who had entered but were not selected, I decided to give them one more chance and offered an extra 50 copies. The winners are selected at random by Amazon, and there is no obligation or purchase necessary to enter the giveaway.

If you would like to give it a try, you can enter here: Amazon Giveaway

Your information is not viewed or accessible by me, or anyone other than Amazon (which already has all of your info when you sign it), so there is not need to worry about any author spam.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Clarence Olgibee by Alan S. Kessler - a review

 The best independent book I've read in a long time.

Behind the unassuming title, Clarence Olgibee, hides a thought-provoking, multifaceted work of literature, which braves to take on a multitude of uncomfortable issues from a dark chapter in the American history. And dare it does, head on.  

Clarence Olgibee, the center figure in this work, is not properly introduced until the second chapter, his entry delayed by a murder taking place thirty years later.

And so the story opens with a murder—a racially inspired murder nonetheless. The sensitive reader who worries about political correctness is likely going to be appalled by the time the murder takes place, but rest assure that the author's intentions are not racially motivated. Like a ball of yarn that has to be untangled, the story follows the twisted paths presented by an omniscient narrator as he observes alternating protagonists from the one strand to the center where the ball becomes whole again as the reader untangles the vermiculated threads to the common story.

Let me be clear that, in this story, there are no heroes. The protagonists have their baggage and their skeletons, and are as diverse as the cultural fabric of history. The story takes place at a time of crossroads — a time when segregation was (in theory) on its way out, a time when the unprivileged had hoped for opportunities, and the privileged held on to the old days. In between were those who could care less, and those who did not fit in either society yet thought themselves better than those of their own race. And yet, there were those of power and status who just could not let change take place without putting up a fight.

The story of Clarence, however, is not a story of a middle class black teen fighting for justice in an unjust world. Far from it. The story of Clarence is a story of ignorance, prominently featured on both sides of the racial divide. It is a story of crushed dreams, but not of dreams of equality. It is a story of vanity, insecurity, desire, and damnation. It is a story of people being used for agendas, and a story of disappointments. It is a story of status quo, and the individual's inability to break it.

But I do not want to make this sound as if Clarence's story is a story of the Civil Rights Movement. For it is not. And while the multiple protagonists I mentioned earlier include middle class black teens, upper class black teen, middle class white teens, and the upper crust of white conservative society, among others, this story does not concern itself with noble causes. Instead, it focuses on the individual choices and agendas at a time of change.

Nevertheless, if you think you would enjoy a story where well developed characters play against a backdrop of abuse of religion, societal hierarchy, racism, bigotry, sexual taboos, spirituality, segregation, the inability to escape one's shadow, and damnation, then Clarence Olgibee just might be the book for you.