In the first installment of this short, a neighborhood woman, Roselyn, made moves to visit a bereft father, and Ana’s grade school class’ teacher left the students alone, all after a massive storm has visited the island on which they live.
“Just let me see the first one,” said Philip. “I know I got it right, I just want to make sure you didn’t get it wrong.”
Ana put her head on the desk. Turtles. Armadillos. Hermit crabs.
“What, you think I’ll tell on you?” He kneaded her shoulders. “So tense.”
She wriggled her shoulders. Philip tightened his grip.
Richard, taking an interest, pulled a soaked, chewy pencil out of his mouth and stuck the eraser end into Philip’s ear.
“This idiot boy bothering you, Ana?” asked gallant Richard.
Ana kept her head on the desk, ready for any and all attempts at a choreographed paper-thieving maneuver.
“Get your own girl,” said Philip, shaking Richard’s spit out of his ear.
“Ana’s already my girl. Haven’t you heard? We’re engaged.”
“Engaged!” Philip flung his arms around Richard. “Well! We should start planning your honeymoon.”
“Anywhere the lady fancies.”
Ana wanted to jam her elbow into Philip’s eye, gouge a prize chunk from Richard’s neck.
“My parents went to Amsterdam for their honeymoon. I found a box of pictures from the trip at the back of their closet.”
“You’re a liar, Richard. Everything you’ve ever said is a lie.”
“Not the first time I’ve seen them naked.”
Clusters of girls formed around magazines and pilfered cosmetics. They took turns primping each other–applying globs of mascara and lip-gloss to their infantile faces. Some students took the opportunity to nap, head resting on the desk, or bent backwards at the neck. A boy stood watch at the window while his cohorts stole chalk from the cabinet. Miss Meade’s manila folder had been compromised.
“We’re not talking to Amy today,” Carol grunted into Ana’s ear. “So don’t try to sit with her or we won’t talk to you either.” Wet, putrid breath.
Like Ana, Carol was of mixed descent, but something had occurred during gestation that made her distinct. It was as though Carol’s mother’s African genes had repelled those of her Irish father’s, and the two ethnicities stood their ground, proudly and individually presenting themselves, stubborn as oil and water. The result was a motley of light and dark skin, of misplaced freckles and coarse coils of hair. The tension between the backgrounds was clearly and most sinisterly manifest in the lower half of her face, where a wide and flat nose sat above thin, bloodless lips.
Not surprisingly then, Carol was acutely aware of her advantage. She had been endowed with the power to manipulate. The innate mischief implemental in her creation had matured to govern the creature glaring into Ana’s eyes. Carol was a bully.
“Look at me when I talk to you.” Carol’s was the voice of a rottweiler.
Carol selected girls daily — girls to be excluded from all social activities. She passed the word on at the beginning of the day, and by lunch, the chosen girl would be sitting alone on the ground drawing designs in the dirt with a stick. The girl would be too distraught to eat and so would forfeit her lunch to Carol.
“What’s that in your pocket?” said Philip, prodding at Richard’s khakis.
Cellophane crinkled inside Richard’s pants. “You bring condoms to school?” Philip snickered, flicking the side of Ana’s face.
“You’re right, they’d just fall off.” He snatched a ruler from a nearby desk and swatted at Richard’s crotch.
“Alright, fine, alright.” Philip leaned in closer to Richard, lowering his voice. “Tell me. You brought sweets?”
“No,” said Richard, covering his pocket.
“Give me one,” Phillip whispered.
“I only have one left.”
“Cut it in half.”
“It’s too small.”
“Fuck off, that’s my favourite! Cut it, quick, before she comes back.” They both glanced at the door. Philip produced a Swiss army knife and knelt at Ana’s desk. “Give it here.” The operation was rushed and clumsy. Richard passed the sweet to Philip who held it down and pressed the blade across its centre, widthwise. The sweet shattered and sprayed purple shrapnel. After salvaging the larger pieces for himself, Philip handed the dregs back to Richard.
“The shit?” Richard stared at the broken mess of candy in his palm.
“There were cracks in it from before, fat ass.”
Roselyn creaked up the stairs, clutching the banister to lessen the strain of her weight on the house.
“In here.” Stewart’s voice came rasping down the corridor, followed by a hard wet clearing of the throat.
He was seated in a wicker chair by the bedroom window. Roselyn exercised the same caution approaching a man’s room as she did entering the stalls of public restrooms. She opened doors with a knee or a foot. If knobs or bolts were involved she would first wrap her hand in a tissue, or if that was not available, the fabric of her shirt. She would stand, or she would squat, but she would never, ever sit.
Stew was large of belly but otherwise insubstantial, the kind of man often seen sitting with his knees wide open and the neck of a beer bottle dangling from between two knuckles. The room was dim, its only window facing away from the sun, and contained the palpable musk of unwashed hair and perpetually damp fabric. “Well, Mrs. Posey, surprise surprise. What can I do you for?” He scanned Roselyn’s body several times over, lingering for a moment or two longer on those areas where skin was exposed — thin shins and a canal of chest between the top few buttons of a cambric blouse.
“I’m so sorry, were you sleeping?” said Roselyn, focusing her eyes on the floor in front of her.
“No, not at all. I’m watching the children,” said Stew, scratching between his thighs.
“Right. Your youngest told me you were up here. I hope I’m not disrupting you, it’s just, I saw a girl sitting on your wall and I hadn’t seen her in the neighbourhood before.”
“Must be from next door. Audrey’s girl.”
“I know Audrey’s girl. This is not Audrey’s girl.”
“What does she look like?”
“It’ll be a friend from school,” said Stew, belching into his shoulder.
Roselyn held onto the doorframe, taking discreet breaths out of the air drifting down the corridor. Amidst the quiet unique to houses without electricity on a small mountain scheme, she could make out the sound of a dog scratching itself behind the ear with a hind leg, digging deep into its flesh for ticks and fleas; birds carrying out lengthy conversations; pipes dripping onto plants and cement; driveways being swept with stiff brooms.
Stew’s bedroom contained only the essentials. The bed sheets were of a cheap, thin cotton, darkened by years of unclean bodies settling in its centre, worn thin where they had been stretched over the corners of the mattress. There was a single pillow, which looked about as soft as a stack of newspapers, and a ratty quilt stuffed between the bed and the wall. At the foot of the bed was a standing fan, rusted and sullen, its blue blades angled like a sunflower at dusk. A chest of drawers stood next to the closet, topped with a single crocheted doily.
“I’m sorry we rushed off after the funeral,” said Roselyn. “Arthur had to get back to work. I had the kids at home. You know how it is.”
“Tell me how it is.”
Roselyn hesitated. “We were all very sorry to hear.”
“It wasn’t terrible.”
“Sue told me. Peaceful. It’s all any of us can hope for.”
“In her sleep, in her chair. Book on her lap. Can’t for the life of me remember which book. I’ve been trying. Seems important, doesn’t it?”
“I’m so sorry.”
“That’s three times now.”
“Three times now you’ve apologized. It’s all I heard at the funeral. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’m starting to think Mother’s death was the result of organized crime.”
“It was her time.”
“It was not her time.”
“Of course it wasn’t.”
“She walked up this hill no problem; got around fine on her own. Everyone in the house could have been sick, but she never even so much as coughed.”
“I really only came to ask about the girl.”
“On the wall.”
“The friend from school.”
“Your nieces didn’t seem to know her.”
“Not surprised. They’re oblivious to everything that goes on around them.”
“Your mother was a remarkable woman.”
Stew laughed. “Do you think I don’t know my mother was a remarkable woman? Saintly woman. Stubborn woman.” He yawned. Another stench. “She’s still here, you know. She hasn’t left us.”
Outside, the girls chased and tormented each other. Rapid heels punched pavement while continuous laughter was punctuated by yelps, piggish squeals, and what could only have been the impact of open palms against unsuspecting bottoms.
“Last time I saw her, she was in the kitchen. The girls talk to her like it’s nothing. We’re lucky. Some people just up and leave. She didn’t have to come back. We came home after the funeral and there she was, waiting for us in her chair. You know the one. It’s funny, in my heart I knew I couldn’t open that door without seeing her.”
“You don’t looked shocked,” said Stew, smiling at Roselyn with half of his face.
He stood and moved past Roselyn toward the stairs. “After you,” he said, sweeping the air with an upturned hand, indicating the path she was to follow.
“I’ve taken up too much of your time,” she said.
They walked down the stairs, Stew following closely behind. There was no denying that there was something of Grandma Smyth still lingering in the house. It was an atmospheric disposition. The light sifting through the drapes belonged to her. Roselyn had seen her embroidering pillowcases and handkerchiefs in this light. Other times, she sat reading the paper, or she drummed her fingers while she waited for an oven-timer to sound. After a death, Roselyn felt that light should change, dampen, amass weight. Here nothing had changed. It would not have been at all out of the ordinary if Grandma Smyth were to walk in from the adjacent room holding a platter piled high with shortbread cookies.
“What can I offer you?” Stew asked. “There’s water in the pitcher but no ice. Or there’s tea, but you would have to make it yourself. I wouldn’t know what to do with a bag of tea.”
Holmes, a past contributor to THE2NDHAND, lives and writes in Kingston, Jamaica. This piece is the first in a two-part feature here (check back Wednesday for the finale). Holmes’ “Strays and Salvage” zine, the first in a series published by Parking Block, was recently released; for more from her, visit her here. Holmes is likewise featured in THE2NDHAND’s 10th-anniversary collection, due in 2011, in a collaboration with T2H editors Todd Dills and C.T. Ballentine. Preorder your copy of the book here.
Roselyn felt no particular remorse over having lost every volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica, or the home and gardening magazines she bought because she was still flipping through them when her turn came in line at the grocery store, but she tore through the stack of Economists, to which she had only recently stopped subscribing, hoping to find a few dry issues with their covers still intact. Finding nothing, she brought these down to the driveway as well, tossing them against a mountain of frilly pages already overcome with patches of growth. Some of the paperbacks had bloomed with the moisture, expanding and rippling around the spine.
From the driveway she had an unobstructed view of the housing scheme. Hers was the house on the uppermost right. Lawns and patios overflowed with ruined furniture and electronics, broken window frames, shingles, and the warped plywood of makeshift shutters. Soggy mattresses stained yellow and brown had been angled to face the sun. Clotheslines and tree branches were crowded with curtains, straw mats, rugs and towels, all worn ragged from having been used to seal windows and doors during the hurricane. Neighborhood boys in oversize basketball shorts picked their way through the mess while girls sat and watched, bouncing their heels against retaining walls.
Roselyn noticed one girl in particular, 12 years at most, wearing a school uniform without an undershirt or a training bra. Her hair looked like it had been used to scrub pots. She had the deceptive stillness of a hummingbird. Roselyn crossed the street and moved closer.
“Evening Mrs. Posey!” shouted the three Smyth girls in unison. Roselyn smiled and waved, not remembering any of their names. The youngest quit her game of stabbing ants as they left their nest in order to dance around Roselyn’s leg.
“Hello,” said Roselyn. She must have known the child’s name at some point. It would have been on the pamphlet from Grandma Smyth’s funeral. The funeral, Roselyn remembered, which had taken place less than a week before the storm.
“Greetings,” said the child.
Her massive hazel eyes were rimmed with thick lashes curling in every direction. Someone — most likely the dead grandmother — had braided her hair too close to the scalp and secured it with plastic, bow-shaped clips. Her fat, dark lips showed no evidence of grief. Roselyn knelt, inverting their relationship in height.
“Can you spell your name?”
“Yes,” the child boasted, leaning into her hip and popping a leg out in the other direction. Sass.
“Spell it for me.”
“Only if you can do the alphabet backwards.”
Roselyn looked up to the girl on the wall, who was staring into whatever view she had from up there: rooftops, trees, the city in a haze of evaporation, an indistinct horizon, a cargo ship or two in the harbour, Roselyn on her knees.
“In class, if we spell the alphabet backwards we get a gold star and then the teacher puts it on the board next to our names and whoever has the most gold stars wins.”
“Oh?” Roselyn’s ears defended themselves against the angry pitch of the child’s voice. This was an ugly stage of child development.
“I have three stars, Lyssa only has one and Katy has none.” This she shouted in the direction of her sisters, who paid her no attention.
Roselyn rolled the names Lyssa and Katy around in her mind hoping to stumble on the third.
“Why aren’t you in school today?”
“Auntie Sue broke the car.” The child reached into Roselyn’s hair and fiddled with her earrings, pulling a little too hard. Roselyn wanted desperately to wash herself. The child had left something sticky in her hair.
“Who’s watching you?”
“Grandma,” she said. Roselyn considered telling her that Grandma Smyth was dead and dead people couldn’t watch children.
“And Uncle Stew,” she sniggered, pointing to an open window on the second floor. Morbidity starts early. All of these houses were built the same; the ones on the left side of the road are mirror images of those on the right. Uncle Stew was in the master bedroom.
“Is that your friend from school?” Roselyn asked, indicating the girl on the wall. The child made a visor with her hands and squinted. The glare from the whitewashed wall hurt her eyes. She shrugged.
“Don’t know,” she said.
“You don’t know, or you can’t see?”
“I’m going to go say hello to your Uncle Stew.”
The child belched in response.
“What do you have on your hands?”
“Tree’s blood,” said the child, offering Roselyn a sniff.
“It’s called sap. Tree’s don’t bleed.”
“S’what you think.”
The child sucked her teeth and scampered onto the lawn to chase Lyssa with her ant-stabbing stick. Lyssa’s legs were longer, putting her at one stride to her younger sister’s two, and so the child quickly gave up, settling instead for beating the bark of a Lignum vitae tree to get at the insects underneath. When she found the insects, she beat them now harder than before, standing back and taking care not to let any of their little bodies or body parts land on her dress.
The front door was thick with layers of deep brown paint, each new coat applied with the intention of hiding the cracks in the previous coat. A shallow gutter leveled off with gravel ran along the perimeter of the house. Roselyn knocked.
When she had waited for what she thought was longer than necessary to wait for a man who was one flight of stairs and a corridor away, she walked around the house, calling Stew’s name and looking up at the windows. Eventually, he peered down at her, eyelids swollen from interrupted sleep. She hoped.
Ana Posey printed her name at the top of the page. Tall, structurally sound capital A, legs spread, arms crossed, protective of the gently curving n tucking into final a. A palindrome. She wrote the date underneath, looking up at the board to remind herself that it was in actuality the 13th of April 1998.
Miss Meade shuffled to the board. Her white button-up blouse was tucked into a black skirt chalked grey, which stopped mid-shin, just above her heel-less loafers. The woman almost never shaved. She nudged her glasses higher onto her nose.
“Good morning, class.”
Chairs scraped against the poured cement floor as the few children present scrambled to their feet, faced forward, then all together in a low, awful drone, said, “Good morning, Miss Meade,” dragging out the vowels for as long as a single breath would allow.
Ana rarely said the words out loud, but always made shapes with her mouth along with the rest of the students. Miss Meade nodded in approval and signaled for the class to take their seats.
For girls, the uniform was a green-checkered dress with matching bloomers and a white collared undershirt. Boys wore khaki trousers and shirts with the school’s emblem sewn onto the left breast pocket. Both wore black shoes, with the exception of a few dark brown pairs approved by the principal. Stud earrings were allowed, all others strictly prohibited.
While Miss Meade scratched words on the board to be copied by each student into her or his notebook, letter for letter, Ana’s hand moved instinctively, deliberately, her eyes on the board more often than the page. She would not go back to dot Is and js or cross ts until every letter had been joined. She felt about this rule the way she felt about removing mattress tags: disobey and stealthy assassins would kill your family. Cursive lettering is a system of bridges. Break one and all will fall.
Miss Meade read a passage aloud for the students to transcribe. A lazy start. Ana had hoped class would be canceled again today. While other students asked for a pause in the reading, or for the repetition of a passage, Ana continued bridging letters in the back of her notebook. Her pen surpassed the speed of the teacher’s dictation.
The classrooms were arranged in a single-story building shaped like an L. The kindergartens sat at the L’s elbow between a caged playground and the bathrooms. From there, grades one through six were arranged in ascending order along a covered walkway. Opposite the walkway was the main playing field — a dusty plot edged with metal fencing and barbed wire marred by wild vines. The assembly hall at the head of the lot was a freestanding open structure on a raised foundation with metal pillars supporting a pointed roof. Only the older students knew what went on underneath the hall.
Ana lay her pen in the desk’s slot and rested her hands on the wood, feeling the carvings against her palms. Decades of students were telling all subsequent students that they had been here first: Robin was here, Desmond was here, Rani, Brian. Swastikas, hearts, an assortment of stick figures shoving stiff pricks into stick chicks.
The fluorescent lights hung in a permanent state of disuse, blackened by a solid coating of dust. At around half past eight every morning, the sun came stabbing through the spaces in the walls, sweeping across the floors and desks so that the students had to rearrange themselves at various points throughout the day to avoid being blinded or scorched. These fingers of light allowed for a basic understanding of the passing of time as they angled across the room. Beams were fattest and longest in the afternoon just before classes let out, long and skinny at the beginning of the day, and short and squat at noon when the sun was highest in the sky. Ana had come to look forward to that frown of light on the centre of her desk, which meant it was time for break.
Before the storm, she had watched her father hammer shutters in place over the glass doors, traipsing back and forth on the patio with a box of nails. There had been determination in his eyes as he eclipsed daylight. The handle gripped, the nail held firmly between index finger and thumb, the space between his eyebrows buckled in concentration. He raised his arm and took aim, and in four strikes or less he buried the nail in the wood. This same action was repeated for hours until the glass was covered and Ana was in complete darkness, unable to discern where she ended and the house began.
“I know we haven’t had class for a few days now, but I’d like to go ahead with the quiz just the same,” said Miss Meade, opening a manila folder. Grunts and moans from the class. “These words were assigned to you last Tuesday, and I expect that you will have had enough time to review.” Her glasses were a prop for intimidation. She pulled them down and peered over them. “Now, this will be for a grade,” she was having to shout over the noise of protests, “so don’t f–,” she stumbled, students widened their eyes, scowls turned into smirks, “so just. Just do your best.” Eruption of laughter. “Fine. No grade. Quiet down and we’ll call it a warm-up. Take out a sheet of paper and a pencil. Everything else under your desks.”
There is no day as pristine as the day after a storm has passed. Skies are bottomless and unblemished by clouds, the air is crisp, a constant breeze smells of someplace cleaner than downtown Kingston.
Miss Meade called out vocabulary words and waited until the majority of the students had written down a definition. Philip, Ana’s desk partner, had his nose an inch away from his paper. Miss Meade turned her back.
“Psst,” Philip hissed. He cocked his head at Ana and clasped his hands. The Jesus plea. She shook her head.
“Aqueduct,” said Miss Meade. Lush rustle of pencils on paper. “Heads down, please. If I see the whites of your eyes, I’ll find a way to torture you after school.”
Philip clucked at Ana.
“Miss, you can’t torture us,” squawked Carol.
“Wrong, Carol. See this yardstick? These notches? One for every student who would claim otherwise. If the tongueless could claim anything,” she said, sniggering.
Carol rolled her eyes so hard they made a sucking sound in their sockets.
There was hardly any damage to the school. The classrooms were just as they had always been and the fields were bone-dry. A mongoose darted in and out of hedges. Diseased cats picked through piles of rubbish.
“Philip, eyes down.”
Principal Jenkins appeared in the doorway as if she had been standing there all along, khaki pantsuit camouflaged against khaki dust. Only in shifting her stance did she betray the illusion. Startled heads swung in her direction. Before the students could recover from the shock to stand and greet her in the appropriate manner, she backed out onto the walkway and beckoned for Miss Meade to follow.
Miss Meade told the class she would only be gone for a few minutes and they should remain quiet and in their seats until she returned and was that understood. They assured her it was.
“G’morning, Sylvia,” said Principal Jenkins, hooking her arm in the crook of Miss Meade’s elbow. Camaraderie among faculty: this was covered in a chapter in the handbook.
“Principal Jenkins,” said Miss Meade, squeezing the former’s wrist. “Good to see you. All’s well?”
Principal Jenkins nodded. Interlocked, the two walked toward the playgrounds.
“Bored as pudding in that damned hutch. How many students do you have today? I’m not sure we should bother with assembly. Most of the choir’s missing and I’ve got a portable TV on loan.”
“About half, I’d say,” said Miss Meade. “Or a little less than half. It’s hard to tell just by looking — some desks are always empty, and I haven’t called roll. I was going to use their quiz papers.”
“A quiz? Today? Honestly, Sylvia, show some compassion. Do you know what I put on my toothbrush this morning? Hemorrhoid cream. It’ll take their brains at least another day to reboot. Hardly any at all down in the kindergartens. Though I can’t complain. Hear that?”
“Wind. Birds. Leaves.”
“But the parents have some nerve. Thinking that just because we canceled school for a few days, suddenly it’s a national blasted holiday.” She stopped to kick a pebble off the walkway. “Do you know how many phone calls I’ve gotten?”
“We never expected all the students to show up today. Phone lines are out all over town.”
“But not one single call.”
“It’s still early.”
“Was there a death count?”
“Beg your pardon?”
“On the radio, or in the papers. There’s usually a death count. Not so much for the city, but for the coast. People build their houses too close to the shore and then they’re surprised to see waves in their living rooms. Entire houses are at the bottom of the sea.”
The groundskeeper pushed a wheelbarrow heaped with debris across the playing field. Seeing Principal Jenkins with Miss Meade, he set the wheelbarrow down and tipped his cap. They in turn acknowledged him, the principal by raising her palm, the teacher by an upward jerk of her chin.
Big thanks to all the folks who’ve contributed to the fund drive for THE2NDHAND’s 10th-anniversary anthology, being conducted via Kickstarter.com here. A third of the way through, we’re more than two-thirds funded at this point, well on track to reach the goal — keep getting the word out there as you can. (Past THE2NDHAND.com contributor Ben Tanzer, proprietor of This Blog Will Change Your Life, take note, posted about ‘All Hands On’ a week or so ago, among other notes around the web — thanks, Ben!)
Today, a couple contributors to THE2NDHAND featured in special sections in the book whose work continues to be some of the most at once challenging and comically adept of all T2H’s writers’ to date.
Today we’ve got up as a little Christmas gift to those not worn out by present-getting the first part in Kingston, Jamaica, writer Dominique Holmes‘ “The Girls Talk to Her Like It’s Nothing,” a fantastic story of a world in post-calamity mode, after a flood. Holmes appears in the Pitchfork Battalion special section in the collection in collaboration with myself and T2H coeditor C.T. Ballentine.
David Gianatasio, Boston-based author of a couple collections of shorts, most recently Mind Games (Word Riot 2008), penned “The World Ends Every Day,” a perfect example of the playful intertextuality of much of Gianatasio’s work. We published it in our online mag just last week. It begins:
The onramp swoops overhead like some giant abstract sculpture. We made a film about the last man on earth, and this long-closed stretch of overgrown highway and its immediate environs provided the perfect set. If this were an apocalyptic novel, by J.G. Ballard perhaps, the central traffic island would be cluttered with rusted household appliances, mangled cars, shriveled-up condoms and empty cigarette packs…
The piece proceeds as part film script, part commentary on the script and the film’s making by the method actor telling the story. His ultimate apocalypse (an experienced unveiling, by definition, when the curtain is drawn back to reveal the heart of the truth), in story, is more affecting than the film, to be sure. Read it here.
The second, Chicago scribe Marc Baez, remains perhaps the most wildly experimental of all THE2NDHAND’s regular writers, and thus to my mind one of the most dynamically appealing. Baez’s triptych of stories — well, a poem (“Elegy”), a piece of disjointed poetic prose (“Bloodlines”), and an hilarious exchange between a mother and son (“The Similes”) — featured two weeks back at THE2NDHAND.com is a quick blast emblematic of the author’s range. From “The Similes: Episode 1 — Eat Your Greenbeans”:
Mother: You better eat your green beans unless you wanna look like an old scratch instead of something the lord made.
Son: But they taste like skin.
Mother: Don’t you dare talk to me like I’m some whitefaced doll sewn in an Alpine meadow that you can just hang out with on the moon because nobody on earth likes you.
Son: Lots of people like me. I’m like euphoria for British rockabilly addicts.
Mother: Actually, you’re like an American rapper sucking the milk out of a fainting goat.
Son: You’re like a person who just sits on a chair and paints meat.
Mother: You’re like a local Nebraska television cameraman eating a macaroni salad on break.
Son: You’re like a middle-aged guy from Arizona who just opened the door of his Honda Civic.
Baez I’ve known since the year 2001, when we published the first of his pieces in our then newly minted online mag. Twas a minidrama involving two men and two women seated on a floor after having played a game of Twister, speaking quite baroquely amongst themselves about the personal, artistic and philosophical gulfs that keep them together–and apart.
Highlights from his later work include “Report From Dr. Fugue,” published in our 10th broadsheet, the story of the title Doc’s reanimation of the corpse of Henry Miller and the ensuing havoc wreaked on Chicago bystanders. Read it here: http://the2ndhand.com/print10/story1.html.
If you haven’t in the recent past, take a moment to page back through the installments of Indianapolis/Bloomington, Ind.-based comix artist and ceramicist Andrew Davis’ “Hideous Bounty” series.
The latest edition, “Sea Snake” (pictured here) is live. Davis cut his artistic teeth in a grad program in Northwest Pennsylvania after a childhood and undergraduate work in South Carolina, where we shared an apartment for a brief time. He inked the original comic to appear in THE2NDHAND‘s first broadsheets — the adventures of one “Billy Clockout,” a young loser bumbling his way through a bizarre existence with a very large rabbit-human for a girlfriend — and the “Hideous Bounty” series was launched way back in 2004, during the arguable height of American messianic tendencies, as the “Antipupose Driven Life.” And I quote:
The Oath of Antipurpose
1) Create your own chemicals or use already existing ones.
2) Have five cats or have none.
3) Watch the sun rise or sleep in.
4) Fight or make love.
5) We must repeat.
Davis’ illustrations also show up in THE2NDHAND no. 35, our latest broadsheet, which showcases new work from All Hands On, where his work will be featured prominently.
Last week, we passed the halfway point in our fund drive at Kickstarter.com for the AHO book, marking THE2NDHAND’s 10th anniversary. Check out the video on our Kickstarter main page for several close-up stills of Davis’ past Billy Clockout comics.
And hey, Harold Ray made Chicago weekly New City and other papers this week, in stories about the So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel? event upcoming Tuesday, Dec. 7, next week, which features among others broadsheet no. 35 writer Michael Zapata, AHO contributors Spencer Dew and event chost Kate Duva and many others. Ray (aka T2H coeditor and ACM fiction editor Jacob Knabb) talked with New City’s Kristine Sherred about the event’s genesis about a year ago in the mind of coeditor C.T. Ballentine as well as, well, the Kickstarter pledge campaign. . . T2H partisans, thanks for all the support in that endeavor thus far. Keep the word moving out there, and a big thanks, again, to all who’ve laid down preorders and contributed thus far. If you haven’t, go for it.