VISIONS FROM THE GUTTER . . .
Six edgy stories concerning the
marginalized, the disenfranchised . . .
and the dehumanizing forces of the corporate machine.
In the Table of Discontents we find:
“Resurrection of the Lizard” – A Jim Morrison android living in the redwoods develops a cult following.
“I Am Become Celebrity” – In a world where genetically-engineered pop stars reach their peak before they’re even born, unemployed Serling Young finds himself ready and willing to do anything for fame.
“Age of Indigents” – Homeless conservative Everett Fagle experiences inner growth living in a hollow redwood.
“Rhapsody Grove” – Growing success with Victory Eviction Services rewards Rich Christianson with the coveted chance to attend a prestigious private gathering, but at what cost to his beautiful, dutiful wife?
“Trip Van” – A Hippie wakes up one day to find the world is not at all what it seemed.
“Redwoodstock” – For desperately unemployed George Hicks, a Woodstock-like concert held in Humbaba offers an out-of-this-world opportunity.
From "Rhapsody Grove"...
Women weren’t allowed at Rhapsody Grove. Cops out front screened everyone coming in, and did their damnedest to make sure that the rich white men inside enjoyed a nice safe private time together doing things they had to hide. Here they could do their Hillbilly Heroin unhindered by fear of reproach, for here they all had something on each other. More punitive punishment, greater freedom for government torture, increased weapons contracts, ideas for new invasions, ideas to increase corporate freedom and crack down on the people, these of course were the topics of choice always on everyone’s mind.
This was during daylight hours. Father Hatter introduced Rich to friend after friend after friend. This was a warm and accepting assemblage of open-minded, like-minded, conservative-thinking men who shook hands with well-oiled techniques geared toward economic opportunity and financial advancement, it still being daylight hours. Rich spotted the giant owl, the forty-foot owl carved out of wood that towered on the far side of the secluded lake, and wondered as he followed Father Hatter from friend to friend to friend, what was going to happen there before the owl that night . . . .
From "Age of Indigents"...
Nobody knew about the tree. It wasn’t like he stayed there all the time, squatting in the little cave provided by a redwood hollowed by fire, staring out the hole, staring at Tree Vee, watching his life go by, blaming it on the liberals. There were cans to collect, lots of bottles with deposits waiting. Two months there seemed like two years. He was thirty-seven, and lost twenty pounds already. Most of that was beer belly, but he could see in the loose flesh of his forearms and feel by the sharpness of his cheekbones that the hunger which he now felt all the time was eating away at him, hollowing him, leaving his insides charred like the silvery blackness of the fire-ravaged redwood.
More and more of his days were spent simply sleeping. Partly this was because he was simply so tired. He didn’t have the energy for all the walking required to go anywhere. Also now he was a month into the worst case of athlete’s foot he ever had. He tried washing his feet in a creek running through the forest, but the creek had the yellow foam of some secretly dumped pollution collecting in places where shiny black mushrooms lined the banks, and even though he tried to avoid it, his feet developed a rash all the way up to the ankles at least as bad as the athlete’s foot.
So what he did was he went out at night. There was a drinking fountain at the junior high school that would have been perfect in terms of seclusion, but the junior high was shut down due to lack of money. Everett blamed the liberals for that and took to rinsing his feet in a fountain at the high school, always only late at night, when the relative certainty that no one would see, coupled with painful desperation, temporarily overcame his fear, and he wouldn’t only rinse his feet but load up plastic bottles he had found and take those with him back down to his tree. That wouldn’t be until nearly morning, because the animals were active at night, and the subtle furtive sounds of their activity filled him with terror of being nipped or worse by something with rabies or without . . .