Coffee Break: Andrew Jackson Jihad’s “Big Bird”

I’m afraid of the way that I live my life
I’m afraid of the way I don’t
I’m afraid of the things I wanna do but I won’t

I’m afraid of God
I’m afraid to believe
And I’m afraid of all the loved ones that I’ve made leave
I’m afraid that my dog doesn’t love me anymore

I’m afraid of the social laziness that let Kitty Genovese die
And I’m afraid of the mob mentality that makes otherwise normal people go blind
I’m afraid of the way the world works
And I’m afraid of the words in my notebooks
I’m afraid that you all know that I am a pervert

But the big red bird that lives under the city
Doesn’t give a damn about me
And it dies every night
By burning alive

I’m afraid of my grandfather’s cancer
And I’m afraid of my mom’s dying arm
I’m afraid that I’ve somehow caused my family harm
I’m afraid that the ones I love won’t have enough
I’m afraid that the ones I love won’t have enough

It’s harder to be yourself
Than it is to be anybody else
I wish I were a little less of a coward
But the big red bird that lives under the city
Doesn’t give a damn about me
And it dies every night
So I bought a knife
I am a knife

Jelly Donuts and Killer Logs: Twin Peaks Season One

I’ve been watching Twin Peaks on Netflix during my night shifts at the hotel. I tried to watch the show a few years ago, but I was spacing each episode out too widely, and ended up becoming lost every time I returned to it. This time I went through the first season in one week. I wrote down some thoughts. They contain spoilers. And…other things. Here:

  • That ended sooner than I expected. Netflix lists the series as 30 episodes long. Season one was only 8 episodes apparently, so the next season is going to be long as fuck.
  • I’ve been told by numerous “fans” that season two is awful. I hope these people are insane.
  • James looks like a kid I went to school with. He was an asshole.

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  • The surrealism in this show is brilliant. The majority of the time it is so subtle it’s difficult to even catch on unless you’re holding it under a microscope. Other times, it’s blowing a hole in your face. But it’s not enough. I want more weird.
  • Speaking of weird, the soap drama that Lucy is always watching, Invitation to Love, is madness. Every time we’re given the gift of a new scene from this fictional show within a show, it feels like a perpetual motion machine of lunacy. This is the show I imagine that plays after the 11 minute title scene of Too Many Cooks.
  • I can’t watch this show while hungry. Every time Cooper eats a slice of pie or a donut, I die inside. Luckily, I’m nearly always drowning in coffee, so his constant coffee orgasms are tolerable.

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  • I like Cooper. He’s undeniably my favorite character of the show besides the Log Lady. Whoever shot him better pay with agonizing torture. Because seriously. Who the fuck shot Cooper?
  • If the Log Lady shot Cooper, I’ll shit myself.
  • If the Log Lady’s log shot Cooper, my shit will shit itself.
  • I want to hear more about these owls. Why am I not hearing more about these owls?
  • Can I pet these owls?
  • where are the owls

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  • I hope we never find out who killed Laura Palmer. I have my suspicions. I don’t want to find out if I’m right or wrong. I want the mystery to live forever. If we find out who killed Laura, the show will lose its soul. Maybe that’s why it was cancelled. Please don’t tell me.
  • Okay, it was the log, wasn’t it?

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The Girl with the Owl Backpack

It’s 5:00 A.M. and I’m outside throwing trash bags in the dumpster at work. It’s slightly raining. I’ve been sweating my ass off tonight so the drops feel like heaven on my face. I finish up with the trash and wheel the can around the building, to the front of the hotel. I notice a little girl no older than four or five standing next to the entrance. As I get closer, I realize she’s staring at her opened palm, studying the lines in her hand. Her eyes are so wide I think maybe she’s afraid about something, but I don’t know what. She doesn’t acknowledge my presence as I approach her, so I clear my throat and ask if she’s all right. She looks at me, slowly turning her head, then returns her gaze to her palm, not saying a word. It’s then that I notice the backpack strapped to her shoulders. It’s not a typical backpack. It’s one of those novelty bags that are designed in the shape of an animal. This certain bag is in the shape of an owl. A blue owl. I’ve been thinking about owls all night. I’ve been thinking about owls all my life. They are my life. Owls are the new flesh. Long live the new flesh. And now here is this little girl, at five in the morning, by herself, wearing an owl backpack. A part of me wants to cry. A part of me wants to die. But then I notice her family waiting in the lobby to check-out. I determine she just wandered outside without them realizing it. Or maybe they told her to go out and play. They look like horrible parents. They bought their daughter an owl backpack, after all.

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A few days ago, after five years of silence, Modest Mouse announced a new album available for pre-order called Strangers to Ourselves.

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This follow-up to 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank has been in the works for a long time now. Other Modest fans will know of the various rumors and announcements that have sporadically popped up since the release of their last EP, No One’s First, and You’re Next, back in 2009.

Various live tracks from concerts have been recorded over the years, and it was even rumored that Big Boi and Krist Novoselic both offered some services on the album. However, nothing concrete was ever really announced until this month when Modest Mouse mailed out their newest single, “Lampshades on Fire”, to a few members of a fan club message board. After the fans posted about their new packages, Modest Mouse suddenly became active on social media. Cryptic images were posted to their Instagram profile, and on Tuesday, “Lampshades on Fire” became available to purchase as a single track, along with pre-order options for the complete album, due to be released March 3, 2015.

I had heard live versions of “Lampshades on Fire” in the past, but it was a completely new experience listening to a cleaned-up produced version. I’ll be honest: the song is just all right, it didn’t blow me away or anything. My expectations are probably too high. The song has a catchy rhythm to it (ba-bup bup bup ba-da-da da-dup dup dup da-da-da) and some mildly clever lyrics, although again, it left me underwhelmed. That didn’t stop me from listening to it on repeat for several hours, though. I think the only Modest Mouse song I actually dislike is “Dance Hall”.

The announcement of Strangers to Ourselves was huge news for me, as I am the kind of deranged fan who has basically Googled for album news every day of my life for the past two years, always hoping for an update and always ending up disappointed. It got to the point that I was convinced the new album would never arrive. So yeah, I am pretty fucking stoked right now about this. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. I chose the $60 CD/Hoodie combination, because I need a new jacket anyway, and that Modest Mouse hoodie is all kinds of rad. The album cover is decent, too. The image is a satellite aerial shot of Venture Out RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona.

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Kind of reminds me a bit of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.

Music is a very important aspect of my life, which makes me sound like a pretentious asshole, I know, but hear me out. I am not saying this is untrue for anybody else on the planet. I am merely stating that I can’t live in silence. I need music playing almost constantly. And Modest Mouse? Fuck, they’ve been my go-to band since my friend ‘Anna DeVine introduced me to their song, “Satellite Skin”. I’ve yet to discover a lyricist more talented than Isaac Brock. Plus, I’ve learned that Modest Mouse is damn near perfect music to listen to while writing. Especially their The Moon & Antarctica album, which is pure euphoria.

Of course, my true obsession with the band didn’t really begin until 2011. I had been an idiot and OD’d, and as my brother rushed me to the hospital, “Float On” was playing in my headphones, which were still sticking into my ears. Fading in and out of consciousness, the song first served as background noise and then evolved into the main character of one of the most surreal fucking experiences of my life. I still get chills listening to that song, yet I keep coming back to it.

Strangers to Ourselves will be the first time Modest Mouse has released an album since I started listening to them. I couldn’t be more pumped for it. Oh, and also, it can’t be a coincidence that Modest Mouse’s first feature length album in eight years and my upcoming novel, How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers, both have the word “strangers” in the titles, plus they’re both being released around the same time. Nope. ‘Tis fate, darlings, ’tis fate.

Free Christmas Story on Acidic Fiction

Last Friday, Acidic Fiction published a flash piece of mine titled “‘Tis the Season”, which is about as close to Christmas-themed writing as I’ll probably ever get. It’s actually based off my own holiday traditions from childhood, so I guess you could almost call this story non-fiction. Anyway, you can read it for free over on Acidic Fiction.

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Here’s the first paragraph:

The cat’s heart had been placed on the kitchen table a few hours before the Man in Red arrived. Flies hovered above it, amazed at their tasty discovery. The Man in Red was not annoyed by the bugs. He preferred their presence and their taste.

Ahh, brings back memories already.

Check it out, yo.

An Open Letter to the Dude Whose Head I Exploded

Dear headless drugstore clerk,

Let me just start off by saying that I’m sorry. I had no intention of making your head explode. Sometimes, these things happen.

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You’re probably wondering why I did this to you. Well, so am I. You see, this head explosion business, it’s way beyond my control. Think of me as a fucked up superhero who hasn’t yet mastered his powers. Shit’s bound to get a bit wonky. Heads are gonna explode.

Plus, come on, let’s be honest here. You were kind of a dick. You weren’t being very cooperative, were you? I’d asked you a simple question, and you chose to be as unhelpful as possible.

Listen, I don’t know if you’ve caught on yet, but I’m not myself tonight. Shit, I don’t even know my name, so you can understand why I’d freak out when you suddenly hand me a human heart to deliver across the city. Whose heart is this? Why am I in charge of delivering it? That’s some bona fide crazy shit, dude. I don’t want to be involved in something like that.

I don’t want to have these telekinetic powers, either, but hell, as you already witnessed, I don’t have much choice in that.

I guess I don’t have much choice in anything tonight.

So yeah, it sucks your head exploded. Nobody’s denying that. But all I am saying is, maybe in the future, try not to be such an asshole, and maybe you won’t experience a full telekinetic assault from a very confused, half-naked man.

Of course, you don’t really have much of a future now, but you know what I mean. Or maybe you don’t know what I mean, considering you don’t have a head and all. Anyway, shit, that was crazy. But at least I scored some killer funny bunny slippers after everything was finished and the drugstore was burned to the ground.

Once again, I am truly sorry. I never meant to blow up your head. I will be more careful in the future.

Sincerely,

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Improve Your Life with a Razorblade to the Mind

I believe Kraken Press will soon be ordering the pre-ordered paperbacks of my new horror neo-noir novel, THE MIND IS A RAZORBLADE. This way I can receive them in time to autograph and mail out by the book’s September 18th release date. If you liked my last novel, TOXICITY, then you should dig this new book, too. And if you’ve never read anything I’ve written, RAZORBLADE is a good opportunity to take a chance on me.

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As I’ve mentioned in the past, each pre-ordered paperback will not only receive a signed copy, but they will also receive a free paperback of my horror western novella, BLACK, published last year through Hazardous Press. They will also receive a special RAZORBLADE poker chip, along with some other cool surprises. Oh, yeah, if you pre-order the paperback, Kraken Press will immediately email you the eBook, so you don’t even have to wait to read it.

However, if you aren’t interest in the paperback, you can still pre-order the kindle version directly from Amazon. Which you should definitely do.

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THE MIND IS A RAZORBLADE is a supernatural neo-noir horror novel of a man born into death. Drowning, he wakes beside two corpses. His memory has been wiped clean. He doesn’t know his name, what he’s doing here, who these people are, or even why one of them is a cop. Nor can he explain his strange telekinetic abilities. Questions plague his mind like hellfire, questions that begin a journey leading into the rot of downtown America, a journey that will not end until every one of his questions have been answered, despite who has to die in the process. Even if those who have all the answers aren’t human.

A story of identity and redemption, satanic cults and funny bunny slippers, THE MIND IS A RAZORBLADE is the deformed lovechild of a lunatic raised on cheesy ‘80’s science fiction movies.

“Sharp and deadly—the mind is definitely a razor blade. Max Booth has created a dark, violent, and oddly touching novel. This powerful story is hard to put down and full of emotion—laughing one minute, cringing the next, and constantly glancing over your shoulder, wondering if those shadows moved again.”
–Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration

“The Mind is a Razorblade assaults you from the very first word and never lets go. Chaotic, abrasive, and just a little bit psychotic, Max Booth III pulls you into the maelstrom. Unlike Dorothy, though, you won’t be asking to go home. You’ll be begging.”
–Tim Marquitz, author of the Demon Squad books.

“Max Booth III takes you on a journey built with the stuff of your nightmares and injected with a triple dose of noir, sci-fi and the deepest, darkest comedy. From the first page — hell, the first sentence — Booth assaults your senses with paranoia, action, and terror and he never lets up. The Mind is a Razorblade is a novel about love, identity, spiders and demons — and it will kick your ass.”
Craig T. McNeely, The Pulp Chronicler

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Available Now: QUALIA NOUS

Michael Bailey’s newest anthology, Qualia Nous, is now available on Amazon. Along with stories by Stephen King, William F. Nolan, Gary A. Braunbeck, and many others, it also includes my own short story, “The Neighborhood Has a Barbecue”. Qualia Nous is an anthology blending both science fiction and horror. It’s a 120,000 word tome consisting of 25 short stories, 2 poems, and 4 novelettes.

Buy your copy HERE.

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00. The Jaunt – Stephen King [ novelette ]
01. The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family – Usman T. Malik
02. The Shaking Man – Gene O’Neill
03. Dyscrasia – Ashlee Scheuerman
04. The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles – Emily B. Cataneo
05. The Angel Chaser – Erik T. Johnson
06. Psychic Shock – Ian Shoebridge
07. Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo – D.J. Cockburn
08. Second Chance – John R. Little
09. The Effigies of Tamber Square – Jon Michael Kelley
10. Shades of Naught – Lori Michelle
11. The Price of Faces – James Chambers
12. Simulacrum – Jason V Brock [ novelette ]
13. Shutdown – Marge Simon  [ poem ]
14. Lead Me To Multiplicity – Peter Hagelslag [ novelette ]

15. Cataldo’s Copy – Christian A. Larsen
16. The Neighborhood Has a Barbecue – Max Booth III
17. Tomorrow’s Femme – Marge Simon [ poem ]
18. The Jenny Store – Richard Thomas
19. Night Guard – Erinn L. Kemper
20. A New Man – William F. Nolan
21. Voyeur – John Everson
22. Kilroy Wasn’t There – Pat R. Steiner
23. In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me – Paul Anderson
24. Dura Mater – Lucy A. Snyder
25. Ruminations – Rena Mason
26. Good and Faithful Servant – Thomas F. Monteleone
27. Twelve Kilos – Patrick Freivald
28. Breathe You In Me – Mason Ian Bundschuh
29. 18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested – Elizabeth Massie
30. No fixed Address – Gary A. Braunbeck  [ novelette ]

Also, my new novel, The Mind is a Razorblade, is now available to pre-order. So click HERE to check that out, too.

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Schedule for Imaginarium

 

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On September 19-21 I’ll be in Louisville, KY, attending the Imaginarium convention. For the majority of the convention, I’ll be at the vendor table for my company, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. However, I will also be a panelist for three panels, so if you’re interested in witnessing me act like a complete jackass, here’s my panel schedule for Imaginarium:

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Saturday 10:00 AM Writing Horror Without the Blood
Saturday 12:30 PM What Makes a Good Blog
Sunday 9:00 AM Crafting a Hero(ine)

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Until then, go pre-order my new novel. If you pre-order the paperback, you will be sent the eBook IMMEDIATELY. Yes, you can start reading this book TODAY. So, maybe go do that?

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The Rebirth of Christ in a High School Football Stadium

Yesterday we attended my stepdaughter’s pep rally at her new high school. She’s in the marching band and will be cheering on the football games with her magical tuba.

Sitting in the stadium, watching the high school introduce each team (football, tennis, swimming, etc), I couldn’t help but feel increasingly uneasy at the amount of enthusiasm spilling from the crowd. Especially when the varsity football team came out on the field.

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Everybody stood and basically bowed to the team as they gathered. Maybe it’s because I never actually attended high school, but this kind of attitude weirded me the hell out. I had suddenly found myself in an episode of Friday Night Lights.

This town fucking worships high school football. They don’t just like it, they need it. High school football is their true religion. The field is their church. They believe in winners, baby. To lose or talk ill of the sport is a goddamn sin. I’m sure it doesn’t help that we live in Texas. Who are we kidding? Of course it doesn’t help that we live in Texas.

And then, after everybody had taken the field, they decided to play the school song. They also encouraged us all to stand and wave the school symbol. I managed to take a photo of people presenting this symbol, which I’ll show you below:

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What the fuck?


I’m not sure how to process that, so I’m just going to selfishly link you to my new novel, which is now available to pre-order. Which you should do, because of reasons. Also, beware of brainspiders.

Pre-order HERE.