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American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review

As the Song Goes

by Ryan McBride

The broken pavement in this alley is rough and cold; I'm wearing ballet flats and I jump every time a car's headlights throw our shadows against the brick wall. We're out behind the Ralphs in West Hills, a town which is basically the hemorrhoid of LA. I'm with my friend Stacy, and this girl Natasha, who's leaning against a big metal dumpster like she's done this before, in black tights and a Nausea shirt. We're here to meet Jamie, Nat's dealer, and trying not to feel too ‘sketched out'.

"You sure?" Stacy says.

"Yeah it's chill. The cops never come down here."

"If you say so," Stacy looks up and away, fiddling with an amber friendship bracelet, from who knows who. I stand a little behind them. I've known Stacy since the beginning of ninth grade, which isn't that long I guess but it feels like it.

"Did you do the project for Mr. Caputo's class?" I say, to have said something.

"Huh? I don't know. Maybe."

I hug myself, then fish in my purse and light a cigarette. We can hear the cars passing, each one like a slightly different word in a long, unmanageable sentence.

In the dark a wind upsets bits of paper and old newsprint on the ground. A car pulls into the alley and stops. This car is old and gray, but one of the panels is orange, giving it the look of a jaundiced eye. Nat stands on her tiptoes to look at it and I feel a menacing excitement. The car's doors open and out steps Jamie, who's spookily tall and thin, with matted hair and small, round glasses. From the other side a short, unpretty girl who has a lot of zits that look like they've been picked at. They walk towards us and then Jamie bows like a stage announcer at a magic show. The pock- marked girl (I will call her 'moon face') stands off to the side, with an ornery expression.

"Was' crackin' girls?" Jamie says, in a soft voice not without irony.

"Nothing. Nothing," Nat moves in close as if to whisper. She says slowly, "You have it?" And he nods and she slips him a few twenties. Then moon-face goes up to Nat and presses her hand for a moment. She turns back to Jamie and they both mob it out of here, quicker than they came. The whole scene kind of enchants me, as if suddenly I'm on the other side of the stage curtain — and Jamie with his small eyes, his mannerisms of a bad guy in an after-school special, makes me almost glad that people are this eager to follow fiction.

Natasha holds the dimebag up to the light. Then she turns to us with big, glittering eyes.

"Yes!" she says, with genuine enthusiasm, and smiles largely. "Look how much!" Stacy leans her head close and approves.

"Yeah, that's a lot." And she keeps playing with her friendship bracelet.

"We have to go somewhere, like now," Nat says. I keep imagining, with a shiver, telling this story to grown children 30 years from now. That's right kids, I too bought drugs off a murderous gangster in a dark alley. Even though I'm sure Jamie never murdered anybody and he probably works at Blockbuster.

"Yeah, yeah." Stacy looks around, seeming less sure of herself than when she's with our usual friends. I feel sort of afraid but the fear is a vague and placeless thing, like muddy water for other feelings to swim through, other impressions. The dark garbage can and the pavement's breaking up where the alley joins the street and the tall clear sky, dotted with stars like lonely sequins. We walk out across the parking lot, looking over our shoulders. There's a cop car driving slowly down one of the aisles. The three of us walk close together and my hands shake. When the cop makes a sudden U- turn away from us, puts his lights on and peels out like Yul Brynner I'm thoroughly "sketched."

After the noise of the siren disappears down the boulevard we all get into Nat's car and I get in the back and we drive slowly in the other direction.

We park on a street around the corner from Nat's house. There's a barren, yellow- grassy hill on one side and the parking lot of a Jehovah's Witness hall on the other. Sitting in front, Nat tips a couple of crystals into her pipe and smokes them and after she's had a few hits passes the bag to Stacy, who started doing it now too, for some reason, though she used to say drugs are so gross.

From the backseat I hear my own voice, as if it were an echo off the windshield. The scratch of her lighter illumines the dashboard and makes the seats seem yellow.

"Let me have a hit," I say.

"Of course," Natasha says. "You have your own?"

"No," I say, "let me use yours." I haven't bought a piece yet because that would make me actually a tweaker, as opposed to a dilettante who happened to do it, socially, so to speak, now and then. But I haven't been doing it long. I'm not an addict.

But Stacy hands me her pipe and Natasha the bag and I tap some in. I light the lighter, and twist the pipe, matching the glow to the rocks and waiting for the whitish clear smoke to start turning it and then closing the light and inhaling. I smoke all of what I put in, exhale a cloud as big as the car seat, and get a little sweaty.

And Stacy puts in the Clash and I tap my fingers and, as the song goes, ‘feel a bit free.'

school

© Ryan McBride 2009