Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Dearest Charlatan,

I am upping the stakes.

Deal with it.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


It was old and it was falling apart. Rips appeared on just about every corner, the wood was scratched, and stains adorned the cushions, but it was the only place he had ever been able to comfortably sleep. He had a bed, of course, made up with hospital corners and untouched since the last time he brought a girl home three months ago.

He remembers buying the thing at a flea market off of Houston, and how it was the one item that he needed and could afford, but not the one he wanted. He wanted the big Cigar Indian or the big plastic chair shaped like a hand or the myriad of subway signs or the cage holding a plastic Bruce Lee dressed up like he was in Game of Death. He needed the couch. He bought the couch. He longed for space and disposable income.

There are four near-equal length tears along the left arm from a girl far too young for him clawing whatever she could reach in the throes of passion. He got it far worse than the couch. An alternate trashcan, complete with bag, sits to the side of the right arm; placed there after a night of too much bourbon and not enough food and left there as both a reminder and a precaution. It sits equidistant from the television and the bathroom in the perfect setting for putting on a movie or taking a piss.

His girlfriend hated the couch. She sat on it once and sidled up next to him; she put her arm around him like it was home, but it never was. She sat in chairs after that, and he always noticed. When they fucked on the couch she was always on top and complained about the way the upholstery always made those kinds of marks on her legs where it pressed into her and made indentations. He had them all down his back almost every day and always appreciated them. When he slept there for several nights in a row they would make a full pattern on his back that he found more beautiful for words. "Who needs a fucking tattoo?" he would ask his next girlfriend while staring at the patterns in the mirror. This was the girl who always suggested he get some ink, and always looked longingly at the boys who had sleeves. She left him for one of those boys some months later.

When he enters the apartment he doesn't see any of that. He sees a ghost of a time past. He sees a girl he used to know at a time that was anything other than ideal. He uttered the most sincere apology of his life, entered his room, and closed the door. When he comes home drunk and alone he puts on a movie about which he cares nothing, sits, and drifts off into dreams, knowing he is in a place where he has done the right thing at least once in his life, and it comforts him more than any bed he has ever known.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dear Soft-Toothed Braggart

Here's hoping you're not feeling well...

...and that this will make it worse.

The Dusty Emperor of Nothing

Set in Stone

Father knew the story about the statues on the edge of the garden.
He would tell it if my brother and I swept out the shop and repeated our times tables through eight. I was never very good at math, so the process was agonizing. Though, on those lucky nights when the shop was clean and eight times nine actually came to seventy-two we would have the story. We sat on the floor after dinner and wrapped into a blanket at our father’s feet as he smoked his evening pipe. He would never tell any story until he had finished his smoking, so we would invariably have to wait. The smoke would roll out of his mouth in grand and buoyant clouds that filled the air with a sweet and oaken perfume. The thickness of the blanket coupled with our natural heat kept us tightly coated in warmth. The combination of conditions was a seductive invitation to sleep and it was at this moment, just when we were about to nod off, that he would begin.
It always began the same way. “This is a true story,” he would say, “but more importantly it is one from your grandfather. It was told to him as he told to it to me as I now tell it to you. Listen closely.” We would nod solemnly and lean closer, almost touching his knees. “When time was new and the sun was young your grandfather’s grandfather was a stone worker for the emperor of a corrupt land. His job was to carve likenesses of the royal guard out of thick, gray stone which were to be placed at every intersection in the city. The street crossings had become the most corrupt areas in the city and the statues were to serve as a reminder of imperial power. His hours were many and the work was slow, but the statues were unmatched in quality. As the figures were dispersed citizens began to report less and less wrongdoing and the city began to shed its crooked stigma. Word of the statues success spread so far as to even reach the dears of the emperor.”
“One day the stone worker was called to the palace for an audience with the emperor. Acknowledging the stone worker’s skill in his craft, the emperor told him of another problem he was desperate to solve. His two sons were vying for the hand of the same girl, each so enamored that they were attempting to kill each other in order to secure their own future with her. The emperor feared the loss of a son and, more importantly, a viable heir, sure that with the success of either son the survivor would no longer be of a high enough moral capacity to rule. The emperor beseeched the stone worker to stop his sons warring just as he had stopped the crime in the imperial city before.
“’Quickly, set them in stone before they destroy themselves and any future I have built for them,’” hissed my father in the hushed and wheezy voice he used when portraying the aged emperor.
“So your great grandfather set to work on his charge. He chose the stone and had it placed on the edge of his garden. He worked every day, chiseling and buffing and hammering until there was no more sunlight left to guide his hands. He worked this way for many months until he finally completed his task. The statues were of the two young sons, each with his sword unsheathed, one coming towards the other from above, and both frozen before either was able to deal a fatal blow. Happy with the outcome, he invited the emperor to view his commission. The emperor, very rarely venturing out from the palace, came to the garden and was pleased with the product of the work.”
It was at this point in the story that father always shifted in his seat and changed his speech and tempo to a more sobering pitch.
“It was unfortunate then that while the emperor had been gone to view his new statues the older of the two brothers had stabbed the younger in his sleep, only secure in his attack with the knowledge that his father would be out for the afternoon. It was also unfortunate that on the way back to the palace the emperor’s caravan was attacked and the emperor himself struck down by raiders who in their previous lives had been less organized criminals living in the city before being forced out. Though, it is perhaps most unfortunate that the statues of the royal guard were never the true deterrents to crime in the city, but were instead a convenient place for the guards to mill about, thus placing a consistent lawful presence in the center of what was previously an arena for corruption and greed.”
Father would always over enunciate those last three words, nearly spitting them out at my brother and me. His words became sharp and ominous, sending shivers down my spine.
“The emperor learned a lesson that day, and so did your great-grandfather. Nothing is ever set in stone. And that’s why we tell the story.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dear Unwashed Failure,

Check it out you useless bag of bones!

It's us in another age.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess

Monday, May 11, 2009


About the Author:

Francis McFadden is 28 years old and the return address from his manuscript reads "Bumblefuck, Nebraska." While not giving his legitimate address, his 200-page cover-letter/autobiography states that he began living in a cabin in "the sticks" at the age of 19 after being compelled to write by tiny creatures living underneath his fingernails who send suggestions to him via a throbbing in his hand in Morse code.

He did not go to college. He had poor marks in school. He was considered, by all intents and purposes, borderline illiterate. He was a cart pusher at a local supermarket until August 15th, 2000, whereupon he simply walked off the parking lot and never came back. His possessions at the cabin include a fishing pole, a large hunting knife, some assorted cookware, and a very old typewriter which he explains the creatures much prefer to pen and paper. It is easily the most technologically advanced device in a 10-mile radius.

The manuscript, along with the autobiography, were typed on a type of homemade paper akin to papyrus, and Francis explains that after taking the better part of 6 months to construct his home himself with stolen tools and wood from the surrounding forest, that he has lived entirely off the land at the creatures' request.

In his free time, he likes to fish, swim in the pond a mile from his house, and play with Bandit, a fox he trapped outside his home.

Francis' favorite song is "Stand By Me," by Ben E. King, but he hasn't heard it in 10 years. His favorite books include stolen copies of Catch 22, The Proud Highway, Jesus' Son, and Lord of the Flies.

At the time of printing of this second edition, Where the Fuck is Now? has spent a total of 35 weeks on the New York Times' Bestseller List, and has sold fifty million copies worldwide. According to Francis it is his twenty-fifth novel, but it is unknown if he intends to share any others with the world.

Anyone having any information on contacting Francis, or how we can deliver a check for his book is advised to contact Penguin Publishing at the address listed in the copyright information of this book.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dear Gluttonous Half-wit

Who has two legs and is better than you?

Answer: Everyone.

Faithfully Yours,
The Dusty Emperor of Nothing


Jonesy couldn’t see the point. It was a house in the middle of endless wheat fields. Why put a fence around it? Half of the walls were caving in, and, though barely standing, it functioned more like a graveyard than a threat. Why station a perfectly able police officer to guard it for half the night?
Jonesy picked up a rock and threw it over the fence. It sailed through one of the empty window blocks, hitting something that echoed inside with a deep and hollow thud. It was the only sound for miles and the only one he’d heard all night. He turned his back on the house and leaned against the pliant chain-link fence.
He had four more hours. Four more hours of watching nothing, doing nothing. Jonesy had been put on a lot of bullshit details before, but this one irked him in a way that even he couldn’t quite come to grips with. Who the hell even builds a house a half an hour away from anything? Jonesy knew who. Thickheaded assholes. Thickheaded assholes build huge houses in the middle of nowhere and then abandon them. Thickheaded assholes let their property fall to shit. Then other thickheaded assholes kick down their doors and use the place for drugs and sex and all the other kinds of bullshit that puts Jonesy out guarding a ghost house at two o’clock in the morning.
Jonesy turned and threw another rock over the fence. It hit the overhang of the door, chipping off a corner. Jonesy smirked.
He liked hurting the house.
A dry wind whipped over the fields around the lonely domicile.
Jonesy thought about all the places he’d seen this house before. In the middle of "Great Expectations" when that old rich woman was walking around her mansion in her dusty wedding dress. In that Edgar Allen Poe story where the house sinks into the bog after a crazy guy gets scared to death when he sees his undead sister coming at him. And two blocks down from where he grew up in Oxford, Illinois. The Crouse family. They stood out like a sore thumb; a run-down lot right in the middle of a story-book neighborhood. The family was rude and standoff-ish, and their son, Jeremy; he was the nastiest. He was the one who smoked and offered Jonesy’s brother a cigarette. He was the one who broke the church windows. He was the one who landed in jail after getting caught trying to rob the Lutheran school. Another thickheaded asshole and his family made him that way. But maybe there was more to it than that. Maybe it was the house.
Jonesy turned and stared at the empty stone building.
Maybe it was the house that made that rich woman walk around in her wedding dress. Maybe it was the house that scared that guy to death. Maybe it was the house that made the Crouses the nasty people they were. Jonesy’s suspicion was tingling through his senses. If houses had done all that, what had this house done?
Jonesy picked up a rock and threw it. Then another. And another. He threw a rock for the crazy lady and the dead guy. He threw a rock for Jeremy and the Crouses. He threw a rock for how this house made him feel and all the anger boiling inside him. He threw as many as he could find and as the last rock left his fingers he gave a slight sigh of relief. The last rock flew through the same window as the first and made the same hollow sound as it landed. The sound echoed as a terrible voice erupted from inside.
Jonesy froze. Fresh sweat glistened at the nape of his neck and his hair stood on end. His breath drew quick and close as every heart beat jumped farther up his neck. He drew his gun and cocked the trigger. He slowly walked over to the gate and opened the rusty latch. The wind from the fields eased the flimsy door open. Jonesy, with eyes wide open, took one step forward.
He was going to kill whatever made that sound.