• Visit Indigo

    Sledgehammer is proudly presented by Indigo, which offers editing, design, and more to authors and publishers around the world.

    Visit us at www.indigoediting.com to learn more and to schedule a free sample edit and initial consultation.

    Indigo: editing, design,
    and more

    Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.
  • Join Our Networks

  • Photo Gallery

    To view photos of Sledgehammers past, visit our Facebook photo albums!

    All photos property of Sledgehammer Writing Contest. Most photos copyright Doug Geisler.

“The Federalists, Willing to Duel, Willing to Die” by Kris Lovesey

The Federalists, Willing to Duel, Willing to Die

Kris Lovesey

Maggie-Part 1

Maggie moved to Portland to leave Philly, because she killed Rob, a long time member of another motorcycle club. She felt bad for his family as Rob’s brother died in battle as an active duty Marine, just a year earlier. This sad reason was why Rob was drinking too much the night he himself died.

Rob made two passes at Maggie earlier that night, at Cookies Tavern. His third pass at Maggie involved pushing her up against the wall in the narrow hallway leading back to the bathroom.

“You just lit the wrong end of my fucking fuse, you, fucking shit covered dick.” Maggie pushed and bounced him off the opposite hallway wall. “If you want a piece of this, well then, come and get it!” Maggie yelled loud enough for half the bar to hear.

“I’ll fuck you!” was the reply she got from Rob.

She left Cookies, and came back in brandishing a 100cm braided bull-hide horse whip. And she looked bent on choking Rob with it. Rob was back to his can of Rolling Rock and his couple of friends, when Maggie stomped right up into his personal bubble.

“This is a chase game. You hit my bike and I’ll kill you. Whip me twice, and I am going to fuck your brains out on the side of the road.” Maggie spoke loud enough for Rob’s friends to hear the challenge. The two of them had bumped heads before. Rob was actually a big reason why Maggie joined The Federalists, and not the Pagans.

Poor Rob had been seeing red all night, and now Maggie had the same angry eyes. Rob wasn’t ten paces behind Maggie, when she threw in the key, and kicked her Frankencycle into a grunting smoke-coughing dragon. She was going to have a hard time outrunning Rob’s Triumph. Rob’s bike wasn’t the beautiful piece of machinery which rolled out of the famous English factory doors- as the cylinders had been bored out to make it sound loud like a Harley.

“Feel free to wear that to your grave.” She yelled over the noise of both the bikes, throwing her bra at Rob. Rob yelled some very terrible things. Maggie came back with some terrible predictions of what Satan would do to Rob, in Hell, before sunrise.

ISBN-Part 1

This is a public service announcement, by the ISBN:

We don’t watch you. We read you, All of you. And we answer your prayers.

Maggie-Part 2

Rob caught up with Maggie on the Walt Whitman Bridge. No one asked too many questions. Rob’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He had also taken some pills. Rob’s bike had a chain until he spent too much money converting it to a belt system, and boring out the cylinders. Maggie wasn’t planning on letting Rob live without apologizing for what he did back in Cookies Tavern. Maggie never told anyone she threw her knife into his drive belt. That son-of-a-bitch should never have hit her seven years ago.

The Nepalese Gurkha’s all keep a knife called a khukuri. Every member of Maggie’s motorbike club had such a blade. The blades varied but all were once used in the initiation ceremony- and it is only unsheathed for blood. Hers was a PackLite Skinner, the handiest little American made Buck Knife. They are cheap and sharp. Luckily, she keeps a spare PackLite in her saddle bag because luckily- her knife was never found.

Before going to bed that night, she initiated her new knife by using it to open up the scar on the side of her belly, bleeding on a ten dollar bill.

She threw the bloody bill into the Delaware, wrapped around a rock with a rubber band.

The Federalists have a motto: Willing to duel, Willing to die.

Maggie had a good thing going on in Philly. She had a great boss and a shitty job, the best of a bad combo. She worked security for a shitty department store. She wore aviators all the time. When Maggie explained to her boss she had to quit and move, Ms. Breaker offered to fire her, so she could collect some unemployment, to help her settle into a new life outside of Philly. Ms. Breaker owned and operated Breaker’s Security. Maggie had been working for the company for five years now, slightly longer than she had been in the motorcycle club.

“Good luck.” Ms. Breaker lit a cigarette, something she never did in her office.

“I’ll let you know what happens, but I’m going to take a month off and disappear for a minute.” Maggie turned as she left the office to take another look at Ms. Breaker in front of all those familiar little T.V.s. “And, thanks for firing me. You didn’t have to do that.”

“I’d do a lot for you. Just let me know.” Ms. Breaker shut her door.

Luckily The Federalists never became rivals with The Pagans over Rob’s death. Maggie sold her frankencycle to a fellow club member, bought a pickup camper. She then drove the piece of shit pickup all the way to Portland, and got a job working with special needs adults. The Federalists had a Portland chapter. She fit right in, kind of, and she still wore her aviators to work.

ISBN-Part 2

Powell’s Books, in downtown Portland, is the North American H.Q. for the ISBN mafia.

ISBN assassins come from a lineage of half humans who trace their heritage back to St. Christopher, a half-human/half-dog giant made popular by the tales of early Christians. Besides being assassins for the ISBN mafia, they are still involved in protecting travelers and pilgrims. Not much has changed for this community of assassins and saints in the past five-hundred years, except more recently they have been enjoying illegally-registered muscle cars from the 70’s and 80’s.

Maggie-Part 3

Maggie registered her new 45 Beretta and her new ’67 Firebird Trans AM, in the same week. She had sold the pickup camper, and had been walking to and from work to save up cash.

The car had no previous accidents, only two previous owners, and two black racing stripes down it’s white body. It was quickly named the H.M.S. Alexander Hamilton, and everyone got to spit on it for a day. That’s the way the Federalists initiate new cars and bikes to the club. Some people gave up dipping long ago, but still dig up the dirty habit for a friends new bike- because some people are just assholes. It is also expected that the next time anyone sees the new vehicle, it’s spotless.

Two F.B.I. agents came to visit Maggie at her job, soon after she bought the car. They wanted to talk to her because the gun, the car, and her involvement in a well known [and extremely political] motorcycle club.

“You are aware of what’s been going on with the Republicans. Can you tell us what you know?”

The two F.B.I. agents and Maggie sat awkwardly in the front meeting room at Project Grow, the vocational center for special needs adults, where Maggie had just been working for three months now.

“I know the Republicans piss plenty of people off, so you two must be real busy.” Maggie replied, gazing out the window. “How many meetings like this you got today?”

The meeting went nowhere, and luckily didn’t last very long. Working in a vocational center like Port City gave Maggie a hundred and fifty alibis. She always parked the car out front, right there on Williams Ave, so there were plenty of alibis for the car as well.

As far as the case went, a light colored T-Bird with dark racing stripes, and a couple other crime-scene clues were all the F.B.I. were working with.

The murders all involved; heads of the Republican party, they had all been carried out in the cleanest of executions, and the only clues left have been copies of Steinbeck’s, To A God Unknown with homemade replicas of a Ray Johnson postcard tucked inside. The only writing on the postcards was:

From: the ISBN Mafia


ISBN-Part 3

“You see,” the old man said, “it must not cry. It doesn’t know. The time is nearly here, now.” He took a thick short-bladed knife from his pocket and tried its edge on his palm, and then his left hand stroked the pig’s side and he turned to face the sun. It was rushing downward toward the far-off rim of fog, and it seemed to roll in a sac of lymph. “I was just in time,” the old man said. “I like to be a little early.”

-Steinbeck, To A God Unknown

Jeb’s grip on the balcony railing loosened as he sliped quietly to the cool stone floor. A top ISBN assassin always does the job in less than two minutes. The assassin inserts a custom made oyster shucking knife between the seventh cervical and the first Thoracic vertebrae, severing the spinal chord. A round adhesive patch the size of a beer coaster laced with a neurotoxin gets placed over the incision.

The Prairie Chapel Ranch wasn’t known for it’s sunsets, but tonight it was a postcard from Heaven. Jeb wouldn’t die, but he wasn’t gong to do much living, and he was instantly retired from continuing on the campaign trail.

Maggie-Part 4

Maggie was saving up money to buy her own eighteen wheeler, and studying for a C.D.L. Project Grow wasn’t paying much, but she had a New York client interested in more of her illustrations. She was charging him a little extra, just to pad her bank account, but her illustrations were still worth every penny.

Maggie had a run in with her boss about making spanking paddles in their wood studio. Her boss was a hard case, and people either got along with Hillary, or they didn’t.

On her way home from work she came across a hiring sign in the window of a dispensary. The place was called Dab Star, and it was a newly opening pot shop, just five blocks from her place. A quick Google search only brought up a poorly written help wanted ad, posted on some obscure job board, written in all capital letters, with an exclamation point after every sentence.



This phrase stood out like a thorn, but luckily instead of being assholes, Maggie met the three ladies who run Dab Star; Ms. Bechdel, Jay, and Kristie.


The four sat in the front waiting room, casually grilling each other. Ms. Bechdel asked the most questions. Maggie couldn’t help blushing a bit when Jay asked her stuff. Kristie just didn’t talk much.


“I don’t think I need you for the desk position, but we are getting a chocolate maker from Belgium. We could use you on the chocolate side, starting in three weeks.”


“Are you fucking kidding me? Howd’ you know I like chocolate more than weed.” Maggie replied. “What do I have to do?”


“You already passed the Bechdel Test so just call me B from now on.”


Maggie giggled. The interview was done- the job was in the bag.


Maggie put her two weeks notice in to Project Grow. She shaved her head and got her Oregon food handler card. Her going away party was on a Tuesday at Sloan’s Tavern.   She took a week off, and got her tattoos touched up. All her tattoos reference the artist Ray Johnson, people have always asked her about that.


ISBN-Part 4

The assassin on the Republican Job, his name was Thunder. He only listened to The Go! Team while working. Only ate strawberries while working. Notably, he saved more lost hikers in the past year than the U.S. Parks and Rec. had in the past ten years. He also swam from Japan to San Francisco during the summer of 2007. Thunder was an ideal ISBN assassin.

The Republican Party and the Nation was in crisis. The next day three more Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential Race were reduced to a vegetative state.

Thunder rolled all week long.

Maggie-Part 5


The Unknown God smiled on Maggie. She knew her life would be hard working in the weed-chocolate kitchen. She knew the Belgian chocolatier was a more-racist foreign version of the worst boyfriend Maggie ever had- one of dead Rob’s good buddies. The Unknown God had better plans for Maggie.

Maggie had just finished singing Show & Tell, by Al Wilson. The Unknown God decided it was a great time to pull her out of the realm of people, right in front of half the members of the Portland chapter of The Federalists. They were getting high and drunk, doing some D.I.Y.-Youtube karaoke.

Maggie started to glow. The glow became brighter, and brighter, until no one in the room could even face to see her expanding into a beam of cosmic energy. Maggie shot through the roof terrifying club members with falling timber debris. Ear-drums bled from the sonic boom. The cops came expecting the remains of a meth-lab.

The Republicans never won another Presidential election.

And Maggie started a new existence.

© 2015 Kris Lovesey


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: