Authors: Patti Abbott,Sam Wiebe,Eric Beetner,Albert Tucher,Roger Hobbs,Christopher Irvin,Anton Sim,Garrett Crowe
These are works of fiction. Names, characters, corporations, institutions, organizations, events, or locales in the works are either the product of the author’s imagination or, if real, used fictitiously. The resemblance of any character to actual persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.
THUGLIT: Issue Four
Stories by the authors: ©Roger Hobbs, ©Sam Wiebe, ©Anton Sim, ©Albert Tucher, ©Christopher Irvin, ©Eric Beetner, ©Garrett Crowe, ©Patti Abbott
Published by THUGLIT Publishing
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the Author(s).
Table of Contents
he Perilous Night
by Anton Sim
Going In Style
by Eric Beetner
Bet It All On Black
by Christopher Irvin
by Roger Hobbs
Under The Bus
by Albert Tucher
by Sam Wiebe
by Patti Abbott
Of Being Darker Than Light
by Garrett Crowe
Welcome back, Thugketeers.
Big Daddy here, welcoming you back to the only literary magazine that you probably have to hide from your mom.
Been a busy time here at Casa de Thug, what with the launch of my novel THE HARD BOUNCE and such…
Actually, that's about it.
Feels like I should have more to say…
WELL, I don't. It's 3:30am, I'm about to eat some four-day-old roast beef stuffed into a stale everything bagel, and I'm trying to get this thing together for your beady little eyes to feast on.
Why, you ask? Why Big Daddy, do you risk both sanity and sleep for us, the faithful Thugketeers?
Because we love, THAT'S why. (
—love is that thing that makes you pee blood and have sleep-deprived hallucinations about spider-bagels with my third-grade teacher's face, right?)
LOVE, I SEZ!!!!
IN THIS ISSUE OF THUGLIT
Ain't no party like a bankrupt party, cuz bankrupt
parties don't…well, they do have to stop. There's no money left.
No school like the really, really, old school.
Don't gamble with this girl.
Brass knuckles and brass balls. I wouldn't like either one to the face.
Whores and politicians. One's at least honest, and it ain't the one that rhymes with moliticians.
Old maaaan take a look at my life, killed a lot like youuuu. (apologies to Neil Young…)
That fur isn't the only thing getting sold.
A Harley and an open road can only get you so far.
See you in 60, fuckos!!!
Todd Robinson (Big Daddy Thug)
by Anton Sim
She found him in the small bedroom in the attic. He was lying in bed wearing his sneakers and watching
My Name is Earl
“I didn’t think anybody watched that,” she said. “Except me.”
“Nobody did. That’s why they canceled it.”
“It was pretty funny sometimes.” Behind her, the sound of the party rumbled up from below, loud music and raucous laughter competing for supremacy. Colored lights reflected in the hallway, silhouetting her in a disco kaleidoscope.
“Let me guess,” he said. “You like
Harold and Kumar
“As a matter of fact I do. What does that tell you about me?”
“That you’ve got my sense of humor.”
She polished off her drink and leaned on the antique dresser to watch the TV. “I’m going to ruin it for you,” she said. “The season ends with a cliffhanger and they never come back.”
“I know. Life stinks.” He hit a button on the remote and the TV went blank.
“It’s hot up here,” she said, fanning herself. “Don’t you think?”
“It’s the top floor. Heat rises.”
“You should open a window.”
“I’m comfortable like this,” he said.
“Nobody downstairs knows where you disappeared to. They said they hadn’t seen you all night.”
“Here I am.”
“Here you are. You know, most hosts don’t hide from their guests.”
“Doesn’t seem to be stopping them from enjoying the hospitality.”
“Can I ask why you’re holed up here instead of partying with your friends?”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes I can. Why aren’t you downstairs?”
“I’m not feeling sociable. That’s a hint.”
“Well I figure it’s only polite to introduce my
self to the host,” she said, extending her hand in greeting. “I’m Crystal.”
“I know. You’re kind of…
“Really? What gave it away?” Crystal di
dn’t have an hourglass figure. Hers was a wineglass: thin at the stem and abundant up top.
“I’ve seen your work.”
“What’s that you’re drinking?” She gestured.
“Booker’s,” he said, indicating the bottle cradled in the crook of his arm. “I keep hiding, booze keeps finding me.”
“I’ll take a hit of that,” she said, holding out her empty glass.
“Harold, Kumar, Earl and bourbon. If I weren’t feeling so misanthropic I’d call you a woman after my own heart.” The bottle remained where it was.
“I’ve been called worse,” she said, the glass still extended toward him. After a moment he relented and poured her a short slug.
“I’ll bet you have. I don’t want to be impol—”
“You know, you’re kind of a legend around here, Jeremy,” Crystal said, squirming onto the bed and making herself comfortable beside him.
He had to shift to make room for her. He didn’t look happy about it. But he didn’t look entirely unhappy either. “I’m not sure what that means.”
“I got an condo in the Vandemark, up on Boulevard East. You know it?”
“Nice place, I like it, although you could fit my whole apartment in your garage. A couple of my friends up there told me about your parties. Your legendary parties, they called them.”
“Is that right?” he said.
“Cheers,” she said, clinking her glass against his. “And since this is supposed to be your last one, I figured it was now or never.”
“My last one. You heard that, huh?”
“Word gets around.”
“What else you hear?”
“Just what was on the news.”
Smiling, she sipped her bourbon. “Why you asking me?”
“Just curious. I don’t watch the news.”
She laughed. “Yeah, right. Well, I saw some of the interviews with Kyle Richmond. He puts all the blame on you as the segment producer. Says you cooked up the whole story, including the fake interviews and doctored tape, and you lied to him about it. He says he was just doing his job, reading off the teleprompter, and the only thing he did wrong was to trust you.”
“Is that what he said?
“He’s obviously an airhead, so it’s not entirely implausible he got conned, but he’s also a conniving little bitch with the morals of a viper, and I think the viper part outweighs the airhead, so I don’t buy his version.”
“Meaning you think I’m innocent.”
“Nobody’s innocent, Jeremy. More bourbon, please.”
He looked at her. She pouted, then slowly smiled, and he poured another finger of Booker’s into her glass. “What else did you hear?”
“You are a masochist, aren’t you? Well, I heard you found yourself in debt and wound up bankrupt.”
“Bankrupt. Nice word. I was ‘rupted by the bank,” he said. “Have you ever been ‘rupted, Crystal?”
“That sounds dirty.”
“As a matter of fact, it is.”
“Shit happens,” she said. “Chapters end. New ones begin.”
“Spoken like someone who’s been down one or two bad roads in life.”
“One or two,” she agreed. “But I dusted myself off and started over and reinvented myself.”
“With the aid of silicone?”
“As a matter of fact, yeah. With the aid of a lot of silicone.”
“Since we’re sharing a nice bottle of Booker’s and a bed, can I ask you something, Crystal? Something I’ve always wondered about. Not about you specifically, but in general. How does it feel to fuck strangers for a living?”
“Bless my heart, you’re trying to be rude. You know, if Kyle’s telling even a teensy weensy bit of the truth, I could ask you that same question, Jeremy.”
For the first time he laughed. Swigging directly from the bottle, he said, “Point goes to the lady.”
“For some reason I pictured you older,” she said. “The way you were described
, it sounded like you’d been around the block.”
“I’ve been around more block
s that you think. I’m just well-preserved.”
, a loud cheer rose from the houseguests.
“Sounds like the fireworks have started,” Crystal said.
“Why don’t you head downstairs to check it out?” he suggested.
“I’ve seen fireworks before.”
“Not like this. You could sell this view for Broadway prices.” From the balcony of the condo—one of a series of ritzy faux colonials perched on the lower banks of the Hudson River facing Manhattan—the Macy’s Fourth of July display was practically overhead.
“This is fine,” she said, sliding off the bed and wandering over to the dormer window. Sliding it open, she stuck her head out and said, “Omigod, this breeze is awesome. You should feel this.”
“I’m comfortable,” he said.
“Funny, you look sweaty.”
The driving beat of the music was louder with the window open, as were the rowdy noises of the drunken revelers below. Leaning further out, Crystal could see onlookers crowded on the third-floor balcony below her, and the DJ with his huge speakers on the second-floor balcony below that, pounding out dance rhythms to drown out the patriotic music playing on neighbors’ televisions and radios.
More of Jeremy’s friends clustered together in small groups under strings of white lights in the backyard beside burning torches on wooden stands, refilling drinks at the bar, eating burgers and dogs from the grill manned by waiters in white shirts and bow ties. Beyond that, River Walk alongside the Hudson was crowded with partygoers leaning on the iron fence overlooking the river below, its black waves splashing against the rocky shoreline.
“Since we’re getting all comfy and familiar, Jeremy, I want to ask you something too. I ask this whenever I meet anyone successful in their field. How did you get to be the person you are today?”
He took a sip and smacked his lips. “You know, I came up here tonight to b
e alone and I really don’t want—“
“Fucking strangers for money can be easy-breezy like a paid vacation or it can be the most difficult job in the world,” she said in answer to his earlier question. “It’s all down to circumstances, meaning your partner, the crew, the location, the atmosphere, the weather, how much I partied the night before and if my allergies are acting up. Your turn.”
He smiled. “I don’t have a good answer for you, Crystal.”
“Try. Tit for tat.” She was staring at him coyly, her head tilted slightly to one side.
“You’re a very persistent big-boobed person,” he said.
“I am nothing if not that,” she agreed.
“If I answer, will you go away?”
“I’m not used t
o be shooed away. It’s kind of…beguiling. But yeah. If you want.”
“Visualization,” he said. “When I was young I made up my mind what I wanted to be and I focused all my energy on it and imagined myself rich. And I kept on imagining with all my heart—me with fancy cars, me with a Rolex for every day of the week, me with loads of dough and a wardrobe to die for, me with a killer condo like this one. And what do you know, here I am.”
“All the material things,” she said. “All the trappings. That’s success in your book?”
“Of course. What else? Comfort, luxury, living the good life. That’s what it’s all about.”
“Boring. Everybody craves the same stuff. The more stuff the better. Never enough stuff. Never fancy enough, never expensive enough. The ones with the best stuff walk around thinking they’re better than everybody, with big, swelled heads.”
“I’m going to assume that ‘big, swelled heads’ is a sexual innuendo,” he said.
As if in punctuation, a loud crash came from downstairs. It sounded like some large, glass object had been broken. Several voices drifted upstairs, laughing.
“That can’t be good,” she said.
“Doesn’t matter. It’s the bank’s now. I’ve been ‘rupted, remember? Tell you what, on your way out, if you see anything you like, just take it with you. I’ll report it stolen. Makes no difference anymore.”
“Don’t you think that’s sad? Measuring yourself by what you own?”
“Time to go, Crystal. I answered your question.”
“All that beautiful furniture downstairs, the antiques, those gorgeous Oriental rugs, the paintings, even that expensive booze I saw in the glass cabinet in the living room. I don’t blame you for being proud of it. But doesn’t it feel awful knowing it’s all going away?”
“Nice talking to you. Bye.”
“I’m not trying to put you down, Jeremy. Really, I’m not. Exactly the opposite. I think success is a matter of attitude. Don’t focus on things, focus on yourself, who you are, who you want to be. Positive mental attitude; PMA. Happiness is what’s important, not ownership.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Take me, for example. I’m moving into legitimate acting, did you know that?”
“One of my first reviews said I had the
‘freakshow appeal of two Jayne Mansfields stuffed in a single unitard.’ Can you beat that?”
Despite himself, he laughed.
“But I didn’t let it bring me down. I know who I am, I know what I’m capable of. I’m better than that. I just kept working, and you know what Richard Corliss said about me in
Dues and Don’ts
? He said I had the comedic chops of a young Carol Burnett. I’m going to take these out one day soon, you know.” She hefted her breasts in her hands. “Once I’m established and people know me for my acting I won’t need them anymore.”
From outside came a series of booms loud enough to be heard over the music. The crowd cheered.
“Sounds like the climax,” Jeremy said.
“Who’s making with the sexual innuendo now?”
“It’s been nice talking to you, Crystal. I wish you all the best in your boobless career, but you’ve really got to leave now. The fireworks are over, the party’s going to wind down, everybody’ll be going home. You’ve got to split.”
“I get the hint; I’m going. Did I cheer you up any?”
“I’m so cheery I could shit. Have a good life, Crystal.”
“I’m just going to tinkle and then I’ll be on my way,” she said, making for the bathroom.
“Downstairs, there’s…” he began.
“I’ll just be a sec
, don’t get your panties in a—
She had pushed open the bathroom door and taken a step inside, then recoiled, her hand covering her mouth.
,” she said.
“What is it?” he said, sliding off the bed to peer around her.
“Back off,” she warned, moving fast, sliding against the wall. At the same time she snatched a small canister from a holster on her belt and held it up, pointed directly at him. “Don’t come near me. This is mace.”