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Mini Sledgehammer August 2015

We’re excited to announce that Kris Lovesey, frequent Mini Sledgehammerer, won this month!

Prompts:
Character: A journalist
Action: Popping a bottle of champagne
Setting: Stairs
Phrase: “I’ve seen weirder fish than that.”

***

Bretta & Gretta

by Kris Lovesey

Bretta arrived the morning earlier, at six thirty. She came on the first train from Berlin. Gretta hadn’t seen Bretta since she left for school eight years ago.

Two days ago, a spring storm blew over the towns spire. It had been standing for three-hundred seventeen years without any repairs, until it crashed to the ground- killing a known vagrant. No one in the town cared much for the vagrant and it was an annoyance for the clergy involved, to plan a burial they knew they were obligated to do- but wouldn’t receive a penny for.

Bretta came because she was a field journalist for a Berlin archeological publication, specializing in early Christianity.

The fallen spire cracked wide open revealing carvings in a rare early Germanic script. The whole spire would end up in Berlin, to be picked over ad nauseum. Bretta took the photos and wrote the story which would spark great interest in this spire- from this tiny town.

But we shall digress. And digressions end up in taverns, with the vagrants who didn’t get squashed by the tower. They were figuring out who Thomas (the squashed one) owed what, and if there was a way to settle his debts without him.

Bretta and Gretta were also in the tavern catching up. Of the vagrants Gregor was the most drunk. He just sold Thomas a cart, which he had burnt to a cinder pile before receiving the second half of the money for it. And, he noisily demanded the rest of the bunch to at least pay his tab for the night, as he had obviously lost much more than the rest of them at the hands of God squashing Thomas.

Gretta showed disdain for the men but Bretta assured her the down-and-out men of Berlin were much worse.

“I’ve seen weirder fish than that.” Were her exact words.
“Well, I don’t put up with their shit.” Gretta tensed up.

The bar lady popped the ladies a bottle of champagne. The cork hit Gregor square in the temple. Causing him to drop his beer. His foot slipped off the glass, sending him through a small cloth curtain door. Everyone in the in the tavern turned- hearing Gregor fall down into the cellar. Where a fifty farthing piece actually lodged itself under his shoulder blade.

Gregor awoke the next morning a beetle, and the rest is Kafka’s Metamorphisis.

Gretta did it. Killed them both. They definitely deserved it. They had done many terrible things. And it was time the world learnt the secrets in the spire.

© 2015 Kris Lovesey

***

Kris Lovesey is bloody sick of the status quo. Threatens to walk to Canada. Snores. Is trying to get Box Truck Press off theIMG_20150512_160208 ground. Cant quite get around to making the most amazing cat coloring book known to mankind- seriously, aliens will come down to steal it, y’all just wait and see. Kris is fifteen feet tall, 2000 pounds of furry and kindness. Works for kisses on the cheek, chocolate, marijuana, and little pieces of paper with dead people on it. If you’re bored, he doesn’t care about you, but instead will recommend you read one of the many awesome books in the universe (or one by Box Truck Press). Box Truck Press doesn’t have a Box Truck yet, but watch out cause we are saving up those pieces of paper with dead people on them. #boxtruckpress on twitter. Kris demands you have awesome days, awesome sex, and if you miss an awesome sunset- just try and catch the next one. They happen at almost the same time each day, just to keep us all on our toes. Kris cares about you deeply.

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“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

To: FUCK YOU

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.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR A WOMAN!

 

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

Mini Sledgehammer October 2014: “Uncles and Buicks”

Thank you to Daniel and John, who continue to host the Portland Mini Sledgehammers at Blackbird Wine. This month’s winner was Kris Lovesey–congratulations!

Prompts:
Character: The recently departed
Action: Riding Bikes
Setting: By the train tracks
Prop: Pillow case

***

Uncles and Buicks

By Kris Lovesey Kris Lovesey smile shot

Biking across Jacksonville is a great excuse to look like shit.  Shirt starched with sweat.  I look like shit- I smell like a rainbow of balls feet, farts and pits—And I feel great.

If I rode in the beautifully temp. regulated car with my parents I would smell like coffee and stress but I would much rather smell like shit- and acrid eye burning garlic asparagus piss.

It suits me.  It’s my cologne.  My toilet water.  Drier sheets- moth balls.

My uncle was a weird one.  I remember snippets of him laced through my childhood.  He was/is much older than my dad.  He joined the Airforce- got out and flew for Arab families who bought him Rolexes.  He had scattered divorces and kids who don’t speak with the rest of the family.

I remember the gun in his bedside table drawer in Sarasota.  In St. Augustine we visited him in a house trailer.  My brother and I were coaxed outside to collect pine cones.  We were promised a quarter each.

My aunt told me, she was drunk on vodka, he would drown cat babies instead of spaying them.
We were on our way to Sam’s Club.  She pointed to a railway bridge and said he would take the whole litter stuffed in a Goodwill Pillow case- a couple of zip ties, a brick and- out the Buick window.

Our family moved around and these sporadic encounters with family formed all my impressions of the South.

I arrive at church late.  The preacher is going on and on about:  Our Recently Departed.

My uncle Bobby.  They guy lived more in my dreams than in my life… but he’s family and that’s how  my family functions.

-seperate
-Christmas Cards
-Birthday Phone Calls
-The Thanks Giving tradition of fruit cake making- that only lasted for three years.

I was so proud of myself for knowing pine cones were not in fact alligator eggs.  But Hey-
What the fuck did a California boy know about alligators.
They live in Florida- it takes a 45 shot in a quarter sized spot behind their skull to kill one.
You have to pick up their eggs and burn them before they hatch.
You have to kill the kittens.

We are in the dirty South.
This is where I’m from.

This is what I keep on leaving behind me like a dead uncle Bobby.

© 2014 Kris Lovesey

***

Born to a father from South Carolina and a mother from a dairy farm in England.  Growing up around the nicest people and being spoiled on the world’s best chocolates and sweets did as much for Kris’s deep optimism as growing up in divided Germany helped to form a quirky outlook on life.  Kris’s story begins as an American Air force brat surrounded by giant military trucks and transporters, fleets of F-16s and other jets, and the calm German village.

After moving around a lot and finishing an arts degree at Bowling Green State University Kris continued moving with stays in: New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, as well as Southern California, Florida, and the Pacific North West.  Portland is where this author currently resides  while writing fiction and non-fiction.  Kris floats between cultures, countries, and scattered friends and family- seemingly sucking nectar to feed and indulge the curiosity driving this boheme-cosmopolitan.

Lightheartedness is seen in everything Kris.  The fictional stories weave our world with colorful threads- beautiful and crass.  Narratives drag us all the places one never knows to look for on a map or in our imaginations.  The characters will remind you of fantastic qualities of man which surround us.  Non-fiction works by Kris are brash “how to” get what you want out of life guides.  These deal with traveling and living abroad and the advantages and hurdles.  The life experiences salt and pepper and offer a new pair of glasses to view the world.

Kris draws literary inspiration from the wonderful worlds of Roald Dahl and Haruki Murakami, and peacefulness/spiritual tones of Hermann Hesse and Patrick Suskind.  This makes a down to earth and honest author who is a pleasure to read.  Pick up Kris’s books right now and meet the characters and real life people to lighten up your day.