Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #25: Calvin Praying

You know those bootleg car-window stickers in which Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes, prays before the cross?  Well, my cousin, Milo the Millennial (his beard extends past his clavicles), owns a pickup whose back-window sticker shows Calvin praying before Cthulhu.  Amazingly, no one in this heavily-red (and heavily-redneck) area has threatened to whup Milo’s ass.  Either Cthulhu has lots of followers, or a well-developed sense of irony can win over even the most rabid reactionary, or (my choice) people don’t consider Milo’s ass worth whupping.  He does look homeless, and the homeless can get away with demonic worship, I guess.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews



Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #24: I’m the Goddamn Batman

In 2006, my twin brother Shawn and I would constantly say “I’m the goddamn Batman” to each other in goofy voices.  As sixteen-year-old boys, we needed something to do, now that our parents had blocked the porn sites at home.  The catchphrase came from a comic book published that January: All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, issue two, in which the Dork Knight’s even more psychotic than usual.  All the Net reviewers had slammed it, so we thought Why not?  We love crap.  And it was crap, and we did love it, though we still missed MILF videos.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

A Literary Salvo, Huh?

Out of curiosity and/or masochism, I’ve skimmed through two James Patterson novels over the past two days at the Salvation Army.  (The Salvo featured almost an entire shelf of his hardbacks on sale, either a sign of popularity or of wised-up readers.)

Yesterday (November 8), I entered the world of London Bridges, one of four books he or more likely his assistants churned out in 2004.  The book features not one but two recurring  Patterson villains: British mercenary-slash-serial killer Geoffrey “the Weasel” Shafer and the Bond-esque (more like Bullwinkle-esque) Russian megalomaniac known only as the Wolf!  Hooray.  I knew I’d stumbled into a cesspool when, in the opening chapters, the latter baddie kidnaps the former baddie, hangs him upside-down, and tortures him for an hour by shaking him vigorously, with zero permanent damage.  The two work together, blowing up lots of buildings and bridges as part of a convoluted extortion scheme that Dr. Evil would find ridiculous.  Also, the Wolf employs countless impersonators; by the novel’s clichéd end, when one of them, to conceal his identity for some pointless reason (no one knows what the real Wolf looks like), undergoes plastic surgery sans anesthesia, bleeding profusely, yet has enough stamina afterwards to shoot everyone in the operating room (including the be-awtch doctor) to death, I despaired for humanity.

Just as I continued despairing for humanity today, when I read Roses Are Red, from 2000, a year in which his production-line workers slacked off, manufacturing only one new thriller-style product that unfortunately mentions nothing about Pittsburgh’s own Bobby Vinton.  Instead, the novel introduces the ultra-psychotic, ultra-anal-retentive Mastermind (yet another generic name for, uh, a criminal mastermind), who seemingly kills more people than World War Two did, and who has explicit sex with a female flunky he’s just killed with poisoned pizza of the takeout variety (no restaurant specified, an unusual occurrence for the brand-obsessed Patterson).  Obviously, if a villain doesn’t commit every crime and perversion imaginable, readers might mistake him for a choirboy, a lesson Stephen King (a writer only slightly less successful than Patterson) has taken to heart.

Does asking for more than one dimension in characterization make me a snob?  Does sometimes wishing I could prolifically, Pattersonally, Kingly write best-seller after best-seller, so I could meet my expenses, make me a literary hypocrite and/or a normal person?

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

November 9, 2017 (revised November 10, 2017)

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #23: Maggie and Hopey

L-R: Maggie, Hopey. Art by Jaime Hernandez.

During my exotic phase my sophomore year of college, I dated Isabel, this Latina classmate who resembled Maggie, a Latina character in a comic I read called Love and Rockets.  (Two brothers named Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez wrote and drew it.)  Four months into the relationship, I boinked June—Isabel’s Latina roommate—several times.  June didn’t look like Hopey, Maggie’s part-time (and part-Latina) girlfriend, but I didn’t care.  Anyway, Isabel somehow found out what I’d done, and—game over, man.  Three decades later, I voted for Trump, despite his views on brown people; he understood the cheatin’ urge, unlike Hillary.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

(revised December 13, 2017)

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #22: Humor as a Coping Mechanism

As she strolled by herself through the gentrifying urban center, 19.737 seconds before the incident with the white police officer would commence, an incident 6 witnesses would—to no avail—capture on their smart phones and post onto social media (a grand jury comprised entirely of white suburbanites would decline to recommend charges against the officer involved), Shandra, an African-American, would attribute that late September day’s unseasonably-high temperature (102°F) to climate change.  “That Chinese hoax,” she would say aloud, sarcastically referring to a similar comment her current least-favorite person, Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, had made.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews