Jay Wilburn Kidnaps His Protagonist (Whose Name Is Satchelmouth Murderman, Holy Shit, Are You Kidding Me)

I recently wrote a novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. Some people have used it as a guide, others have used it to balance wobbly dinner tables. It’s about a writer who one day impulsively kidnaps a book reviewer outside of a coffee shop, in front of dozens of witnesses. This is obviously not how one would successfully go about kidnapping a stranger. My novel is more of an anti-guide. Do the opposite of what my characters do, and you might actually have a successful abduction.

But now that I’ve gotten a few kidnappings under my belt, I’ve decided to hold some auditions for those who might be interested in being my partner. Today’s audition features Jay Wilburn. We will be discussing the possibility of kidnapping the protagonist from his novel, The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 1: January).

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MB: All right, Jay, before I agree to be your partner, you’re gonna have to answer a few questions. I don’t kidnap strangers with just anybody. Well, not usually. I have a long list of potential partners awaiting my consideration, so let’s make this fast. Who the hell are you, and why should I trust you?

JW: There was a man named Jay Wilburn. He was a good man, active in his church. He was a teacher and idealistic. One day that man had to be destroyed so that his dreams might live. I hid his body in the swamps of South Carolina, assumed his identity, quit teaching, and started writing zombie stories.

MB: That’s really rather creepy. Good. Provide examples of your criminal past. Any jail time served? Ever jaywalk or swallow your gum even though you knew it would stay in your stomach for years until eventually hatching into a horrifying monster? I need to know this kind of stuff ahead of time.

JW: Jay walking is the only way I know how to do it. I’ve been behind on my rent before. I ghost write stories. I wrote a few term papers for rich kids.

MB: Do you have any special talents? What can you bring to the table?

JW: I have practiced a little with a bow and arrow. If you need me to miss somebody, I’m your man.

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MB: I recollect a story you once wrote about shooting a teenage girl in the ass with an arrow, so this checks out. All right, so if you’re wanting to work with me, you must already have a target in mind. Who are we kidnapping?

JW: Satchelmouth Murderman.

MB: That…that sure is a name. I was going to ask you what’s so special about him, but after hearing his name I’m not sure I want to know.

JW: He’s a former minor league baseball player that starts recording music after the zombie apocalypse. The post apocalyptic travel teams are willing to pay in can goods, if we can deliver him.

MB: Wait a minute. The zombie apocalypse has happened already? Holy shit. I need to get out more. So what kind of ransom are we looking at? Are we walking away with a few hundred thousand, a million, what? Or something besides cash? What’s in it for me?

JW: We can probably get some gasoline and toothpaste, if you are being greedy—pre-apocalyptic toothpaste, so…pretty awesome.

MB: Be honest. How dangerous is a person named Satchelmouth Murderman? Probably super murderous if I had to guess.

JW: He is pretty deadly with a knife and has a special bat designed for cracking skulls without splintering. It was mainly for zombies, but it will work on living people too. His friends are willing to chase after whoever has him, so it could get dicey.

MB: What location were you thinking? The best place to abduct this Murderman with as few witnesses as possible. Is there somewhere we can get him alone?

JW: He is burying his sister back in their hometown. He’ll be off his guard, I think.

MB: Okay, we have a target and a location. Now we need to discuss method. There’s many ways to kidnap a person. We could sneak up on him and throw a potato sack over his head. We could shoot him with a tranquilizer. We could order him a pizza and lace it with sleeping pills. The possibilities are endless.

JW: I recommend going in fast. People have tried before and most of them are dead. I think maybe I should stay with the car and be sure it stays running and the air stays cold while you grab him.

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MB: That sounds awfully convenient for you, but okay. So now that we have him, how long until someone notices he’s gone? Who’s going to be coming after him? Should I be worried?

JW: Tiny Jones will know right away. Kidd Banjo will follow after that. They have been particularly murdery in the past. When you kidnap a man named Murderman, you have to expect a little trouble, right?

MB: All of those names sound absolutely insane. How could we convince them we mean business? They’re not getting Murderman back until the ransom has been delivered. Should we cut off some limbs or what? Shave a scalp, maybe? You know, once I filmed a hostage being forced to walk on a floor of legos, then sent the video to the guy’s wife. She paid up, like, immediately. What would work best for Satchelmouth? Try to be creative.

JW: He is really creeped out by zombies that are in pieces. If we put a bunch of those around him, he’ll be pretty freaked out. Tiny Jones is not cool with zombie children.

MB: How do you predict this hypothetical kidnapping ending? Will it all be smooth sailing, or is there a massive gunfight in our future? I don’t mind spilling a little blood here and there, I just need to be prepared.

JW: Almost definitely a gunfight. It will be an epic ending for anyone not in charge of keeping the car running, so you should be careful.

MB: I may need some time to come to terms with the fact that the zombie apocalypse happened without anyone telling me, and I’ll definitely need time to build up enough courage to take on someone named Murderman, but yeah, sure, what the hell, count me in. Let’s kidnap!

David James Keaton Kidnaps His Protagonist

I recently wrote a novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. Some people have used it as a guide, others have used it to balance wobbly dinner tables. It’s about a writer who one day impulsively kidnaps a book reviewer outside of a coffee shop, in front of dozens of witnesses. This is obviously not how one would successfully go about kidnapping a stranger. My novel is more of an anti-guide. Do the opposite of what my characters do, and you might actually have a successful abduction.

But now that I’ve gotten a few kidnappings under my belt, I’ve decided to hold some auditions for those who might be interested in being my partner. Today’s audition features David James Keaton. We will be discussing the possibility of kidnapping the protagonist from his novel, The Last Projector.

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MB: All right, David, before I agree to be your partner, you’re gonna have to answer a few questions. I don’t kidnap strangers with just anybody. Well, not usually. I have a long list of potential partners awaiting my consideration, so let’s make this fast. Who the hell are you, and why should I trust you?

DJK: My name is David James Keaton, and you can definitely trust me as long as we have the same objective. I’ll probably have no interest in your success or well-being once we go our separate ways, however, so after this is over you should probably cut off all contact. Maybe change your name to Max Booth the Second. Or would that be just Junior? That won’t work. Haven’t you seen the Kiss of Death remake with Nicolas Cage? Because of that movie, I’ve never worked with a Junior, and I won’t start now.

MB: Provide examples of your criminal past. Any jail time served? Ever jaywalk or swallow your gum even though you knew it would stay in your stomach for years until eventually hatching into a horrifying monster? I need to know this kind of stuff ahead of time.

DJK: I was locked up for a couple hours for unpaid speeding tickets once, but my friends bailed me out pretty quick. Well, not too quick. That night, I’d just convinced them all to go see Star Trek V, and we’d been pulled over on the way home. Everyone was in such a bad mood from that movie that they insisted the police officer handcuff me, which he did, all while saying, “some friends ya got there!” And then they did some joy-riding in my car until they finally got 500 bucks out of the ATM to come bail me out.

I also had a vandalism streak back in the ‘90s and would read the police blotter in the local Bowling Green paper to see which smashed payphones were reported. Come to think of it, that police blotter column may have technically been my first publications.

But I don’t have too many urges to vandalize these days. However, if I’m left in our getaway car too long, I’ll probably compulsively start picking at the upholstery. And if I’m left there with ‘80s pop rock music playing, I might even tear up the entire dashboard Francis Dolarhyde-style.

MB: Do you have any special talents? What can you bring to the table?

DJK: I learned how to correctly punch people in the face by watching Magnum Force. In that movie, Clint Eastwood hit everyone with the side of his fist, rather than his knuckles. Try it! Instead of punching straight down all awkward with the front of your knuckles, bring your arm down like you’re hammering invisible nails. You can do this all day long with no pain at all. This is a game-changer. Other things Clint Eastwood taught me that could help us – while watching Heartbreak Ridge I learned how to give our gang new nicknames within seconds of meeting them. Your new name will be Max “Phone Home” Booth. The Third.

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MB: All right, so if you’re wanting to work with me, you must already have a target in mind. Who are we kidnapping?

DJK: Lawrence Bridge Kensington III. Friends call him Larry. He directs pornographic films, but more important than all that, he spit mouthwash in my face when I was idling my dirt bike next to him at a four-way stop. He never even apologized. Holy shit, I just realized he has the same last name as you! Is this going to be an issue ?

MB: What’s so special about him?

DJK: I’ve recently discovered that his real name is Jack Grinstead, and I want to find out what he’s hiding. I’m pretty sure you should never trust anyone with a two names.

MB: What kind of ransom are we looking at? Are we walking away with a few hundred thousand, a million, what? Or something besides cash? What’s in it for me?

DJK: Whether he’s calling himself Larry or Jack, I don’t think he’s ever had much money to his name. Our caper is more to protect the rest of the world from his inevitable apocalyptic meltdown. What’s in it for you? You live in this world, too, right?

MB: Be honest. How dangerous is this person? What kind of weapons should I arm myself with, and how likely are we to utilize them? Will he be packing? Will he be alone?

DJK: He’s a pussy. One of his neighbors regularly beats the shit out of him. Basically, his only real weapon is anachronistic meta-narrative confusion. Which means we might find ourselves kidnapping each other and then making a soundtrack of the hypothetical movie of our situation that already existed before we were born.

MB: What location were you thinking? The best place to abduct this Larry or Jack or whoever with as few witnesses as possible. Is there somewhere we can get him alone?

DJK: The drive-in. I know this seems like a terrible place to snatch someone, but, ironically, the more witnesses the better when it comes to this guy. He’s the kind of asshole who won’t believe he’s being kidnapped unless a hundred strangers are honking their horns. Or applauding. And is he doesn’t believe it, we won’t believe it. Filmmgoers call this a “suspension of disbelief .” Larry, however, calls this a suspension of his balls. I don’t know what that means either. I told you he was dangerous.

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MB: Okay, we have a target and a location. Now we need to discuss method. There’s many ways to kidnap a person. We could sneak up on him and throw a potato sack over his head. We could shoot him with a tranquilizer. We could order him a pizza and lace it with sleeping pills. The possibilities are endless. You know this person better than anybody.

DJK: Although Larry fancies himself a serious filmmaker, he makes most of his money shooting porn, and he indulges in every movie-making shortcut known to man. Including this fake phone book he keeps in his trunk for whenever he needs a character to pretend to make a phone call and spout off some obvious exposition to advance his paper-thin plots. So what we should do is swap that fake phone booth with a real phone booth, and then when that phone rings, we could… fuck it, let’s just hit him on the head.

MB: Now that we have Jack, or Larry, how long until someone notices he’s gone? Who’s going to be coming after him? Should I be worried?

DJK: The only person who might notice he’s gone is Damon Gold, the owner of the adult film company Larry works for. Damon, however, might throw a party if he thinks Larry is dead. Or at least keep his current party going an extra week.

MB: How could we convince them we mean business? They’re not getting Larry back until the ransom has been delivered. Should we cut off some limbs or what? Shave a scalp, maybe? You know, once I filmed a hostage being forced to walk on a floor of legos, then sent the video to the guy’s wife. She paid up, like, immediately. What would work best for Larry? Try to be creative.

DJK: Like I said, we’re not going to get any money out of this, just the satisfaction that we’ve kept the world safe from post-modern paradoxes. And if Larry doesn’t show up on a porn set, because of the nature of low-budget, clandestine shoots, everything will probably happen exactly the same, only the two strangers who would still be having sex on the plastic-covered furniture won’t be recorded on film. Who are we kidding, I mean recorded on videotape. So Larry is unessential to his own existence in a lot of ways. And the only person who gives a shit about Larry is Larry, and by that I mean only the previous incarnation of Larry before he became so jaded and worked a profession that actually made a difference in people’s lives, when he went by “Jack Grinstead,” the paramedic. And if Jack knows that his future self, Larry, has been abducted, I have no doubt that he’ll try to change the course of his life to stop this from ever happening. This may mean… yes, masturbating into more Venus Fly Traps. I know, I know, don’t ask. So what we’d need to do is to convince Larry’s future filmmaking staff that this is some crazy gonzo botanist porn we’re working on, but that it’s set in the ‘80s when Larry was still calling himself Jack, and then we’d somehow record Jack masturbating into Venus Fly Traps without his knowledge, then mail the VHS tape to his future self, who would be confused by the old technology and stack it unwatched next to his old two-tape version of Heat. Wait, I mean mail the Venus Fly Traps to Larry, who would probably be ashamed to see them in the daylight and staple their little green mouths shut.

MB: Jesus Christ, you’re crazy. How do you predict this hypothetical kidnapping ending? Will it all be smooth sailing, or is there a massive gunfight in our future? I don’t mind spilling a little blood here and there, I just need to be prepared.

DJK: I think if we follow Larry’s lead, and we can keep these plants from talking to the cops, we’re gonna be okay. Did you know that a Venus Fly Trap will only close and re-open ten times before it no longer responds at all? That’s not a lot, but if you think of it like a cat, that still sounds better than nine lives. My point is, let’s not get carried away with the stapler. A tiny strip of duct tape over their mouths, and we’ll be fine. No one has to know we even considered doing any of this. Wait, what are we doing again?

MB: This all sounds very confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. But fuck it, count me in.

How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers is Now Available to Burn

The paperback of my third novel, How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers, is now available on Amazon from Journalstone’s weird fiction imprint, Bizarro Pulp Press. It’s a very short book about a small press dealing with the unwanted kidnapping of one of their worst reviewers. I am told the kindle version should be available in the next week or two, but fuck that noise, you need the paperback version of this book. For one thing, the interior formatting by Lori Michelle is goddamn beautiful, and another, the jacket design by Matthew Revert is sexy enough to make Jesus Christ himself ejaculate in his holy slacks.

You can buy the paperback here.

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Or if you want a signed copy, email me at maxboothiii@gmail.com.

Listen to your brain.

Your brain is telling you, hey buddy, let’s take a nap, and you’re responding with a I don’t have time for this shit right now, brain. You’re telling it you have too much work to get done. You can nap when you’re dead. Your brain says you’re gonna be dead soon enough if you don’t chill out for a moment. The world won’t end if you nod off for a few, but your body might if you don’t give it an hour or two to recharge. You continue ignoring your brain and attempt to continue revising your latest piece of shit novel, but you’re having trouble staying in your chair, so you drag your laptop over to the bed and lie down on your stomach. You prop up a pillow underneath your chin and return to your manuscript. Your brain tells you this isn’t going to end well and you tell your brain to go fuck itself. Then you blink, and forty minutes later you open your eyes to find your face smashed into your keyboard and two thousand random new words have appeared in your book. Just complete nonsense. Meanwhile, your brain is laughing and trying not to say it told you so. So you crack your neck and delete all the nonsense face-typed words and attempt to work again, only to pass right back out. An hour later, your brain is smoking a cigarette and sighing contently next to you, saying now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Cover Reveal: How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers

My next book will be a short novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. It’s about a bizarro small press reacting badly to a blogger who constantly targets their books with negative reviews. It’s being released this April by Bizarro Pulp Press, the weird fiction imprint of Journalstone.

Mark it as “to-read” on Goodreads here.

Now take a look at Matthew Revert’s cover design:

strangers cover

1. Do not respond to bad reviews.

2. If you must respond to bad reviews, please do not kidnap the reviewer.

3. If you must kidnap the reviewer, do not kidnap him in a public area.

4. If there are witnesses, do not also kidnap them.

5. If you also kidnap the witnesses, consider quitting crystal meth.

6. If you find yourself surrounded by hostages, purchase extra duct tape.

7. Do not let the hostages take their own hostages.

8. Invest in better coffee.

9. Don’t forget: dildo crucifixes have more than one use.

10. And, most importantly: do not engage the severed heads in conversation.

The Mind is a Razorblade Awarded “Best Pulp Fiction Novel in the Universe”

Okay, well maybe not the entire universe. I’m sure there’s some crazy shit going down in the Cigar Galaxy. But hey, this is still pretty cool. Dark Corners, a quarterly magazine specializing in “hardboiled, noir, sci-fi, fantasy, and western fiction” recently launched their own awards called the “Golden Goodis”.

“David Goodis, as I’m sure you know, was a great pulp writer working from the late 30s to the 60s and releasing a slew of crime novels. Before that, he worked for the pulps, writing up to 10,000 words a day at times. He was one of us, one of the best of us.” — DC’s Facebook

Dark Corners announced many different categories, such as Best Noir Novel, Best Western, etc. But there’s one category I’d like to talk about in this blog post, for reasons that should be clear in the article title. And that would be Best Pulp Fiction, an award that goes to a novel and novella released this year capturing that pulp spirit: adventurous, fun, brave and unexpected.

The Mind is a Razorblade won Best Novel, and Phil Beloin Jr’s Revenge is a Redhead won Best Novella.

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I’m thrilled to hear this. I know this magazine is still pretty new, so most people might sigh and roll their eyes at the idea of them creating their own end-of-the-year awards, but if you’ve read their magazine, then you already know these people know their shit when it comes to crime fiction. So yeah. Hearing this was pretty fucking cool. I look forward to next year’s Golden Goodis Awards.

So thanks, Dark Corners. I’m glad you dug my little book.

Upcoming Appearance at the New Braunfels Public Library (January 4th)

I’ll be doing a presentation at the New Braunfels Public Library on January 4, 2015, with other local artists, Lori Michelle, Joe McKinney, Karen Kinna, and Robin Hinnen. The event is targeted at authors who have recently finished a manuscript. I’m sure the majority of those attending will be NaNoWriMo authors.

Got a manuscript sitting around? Not sure what the next step is? Writers of all ages are welcome to attend this special event to learn more about editing and publishing a manuscript.

I believe we will each talk for about ten minutes, and then do a Q&A together. It will last from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. I have no idea what I am going to say, as I loathe public speaking, but hey, it comes with the job, so I’m just going to have to get used to it.

Now What Flyer Large-page-001See ya there!

The James Bond Conspiracy

One of my earliest memories is shitting my pants inside a Blockbuster Video. I don’t know how old I was. Maybe four or five. I was sick and my father dragged me inside the store while him and my brother searched for GoldenEye on VHS. I was standing in the middle of the store, knowing I was about to shit my pants, yet desperately hoping it wasn’t true, clinging on to denial, pretending I could hold it in until we got home. Then something warm started sliding down my leg, more liquid than solid.

This is one of the most horrifying memories of my childhood. It’s also the first thing I think of whenever someone mentions James Bond.

So thanks for that, Internet.

Many things were leaked from the Sony hacks. One of those leaks happened to be emails from Sony execs considering Idris Elba for the role of James Bond. Even if you don’t recognize Idris’s name, you’d definitely recognize his face.

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He played Stringer from The Wire and some character in Luther, I forget which one. If you’ve seen either of these shows (or the many movies he’s been in), then it’s kind of easy to see him as the next James Bond. The dude is suave as fuck and he’s a complete badass. He is everything I want in my James Bond.

He very well may play the next Bond, but there’s really no way to tell, now is there? But maybe now that everyone already knows about the idea, and the majority of fans are making their approval loud and enthusiastic, Hollywood may decide it wouldn’t be such a risk, making James Bond black. In fact, it might be very profitable.

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Of course, not everybody’s on board. You have your share of racists and bigots. You have Rush Limbaugh, who basically gets paid to be a piece of shit. He’s recently made some comments about Idris Elba possibly playing James Bond. Unsurprisingly, he’s not a fan of the idea. Also unsurprisingly, people still continue to care about what Limbaugh says. The man is a buffoon. It’s his job to be a racist asshole, so obviously that’s what he’s going to be, because we continue to let that kind of attitude rile us up. It’s profitable and he knows that.

The main argument that the racists-disguising-themselves-as-diehard-fans are making is James Bond has always been a white man; therefore, to suddenly change the color of his skin (and also not make him Scottish) would somehow damage the canon of the films and books. Under this logic, all actors who have ever played Bond should have been a) white and b) Scottish. This logic falls apart when you examine the very first person to ever portray Bond, Barry Nelson, an American actor who starred in the 1954 version of Casino Royale. White, yes, but Scottish? And shit, what about Daniel Craig? Is he Scottish? No? It’s weird, then, that Limbaugh never threw a fit about Craig. It’s almost as if he hates black people. But that would be insane, right?

James Bond is a fictional character. These books and films are fiction. The color of a character’s skin does not limit the enjoyment of its viewer unless the viewer already has issues caused from being a terrible human being. I don’t even want Idris to be the new James Bond because of his skin color. Yes, that would be a great step forward for Hollywood, that’s very true. But personally? I just think he would kick ass at the role. And if a bunch of assholes want to prevent this from happening because they can’t get over their own racism, then that’s just depressing.

“Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.” — Idris Elba

And if he is hired for the role, this will further support the James Bond fan theory I’ve always wanted to be true. I first heard about the theory a couple years ago, and I’ve always found it to be pretty brilliant. And, say, if it is true, then it adds a whole new layer of radness that already encompasses the world of James Bond.

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The theory goes like this:

What if “James Bond” wasn’t a person, but a codename? What if every actor who portrayed Bond was actually a different secret agent? A different human being altogether? The codename, “James Bond”, is passed on to each new agent as the previous one retires. This explains the significant personality differences between each actor and the obvious continuity errors throughout the series. It also explains why he never ages. You can read a more in-depth write-up of the theory over at House of Geekery. They do a good, thorough job of arguing for and against the idea.

I know it’s just a fan theory, and when you hold it up and really examine the details, it doesn’t work. But dammit, I can pretend it does, and it’s this pretending that lets me enjoy Bond films even more. So fuck it. The fan theory is true, Rush Limbaugh is garbage, and Idris Elba would be a great fucking James Bond.

I am not Mr. Doug

It’s 2:30 A.M., Christmas morning. I’m at the hotel, watching a movie. I hear someone walking around in the lobby, so I pause my laptop and go investigate.

There’s a man standing in the middle of the lobby, staring at the ceiling. He’s a big man, at least 250 pounds, but most likely much more. He’s wearing a black T-shirt and black underwear and nothing else. His hair goes down to the middle of his back and his beard sags to his massive gut.

I clear my throat and ask if I can help him with anything. He jumps, startled at my sudden presence, then mumbles something I can’t hear. I ask him to repeat what he said, and he stumbles toward me, saying, “Are you Mr. Doug?”

“Am I Mr. Doug?”

He nods. “Yes, are you Mr. Doug? You know, the Mr. Doug?”

“No. I…I am not Mr. Doug.”

“Oh, okay.” He pauses for a moment, then raises his hand and salutes me. “Thank you for your service, Mr. Doug.”

I return the salute and say, “You’re welcome, sir.”

He smiles and gets on the elevator.

Merry Christmas.