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So this here's a piece of fiction that I wrote for one of those anthology calls. Yeah, it didn't get accepted. You're as shocked as I am.

It's a shorter bit of a much longer work called CINDY SAYS, but that title can still stick here. Yes, it's part of HAZELAND/QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS. No, the photo above is not of the theatre marquee mentioned, but it's as close as I could get.

Hope you enjoy it.

Yes, there's a couple inaccuracies. You got me.



Walter Tsang ran a bunch of three-car jam insurance scams out of an office on Seventh Street in downtown. Two confederate cars box in a third and both agree that the third one caused it. Worked a charm when you chose the right targets. The money was good, too. While it lasted. Kept me in rent and drinks and spending money between gigs after school, not that school did me a lick of good. Kept me somewhere between squalor and splendor and that was just fine for the time.

I just wish it had lasted. And I really wish that Terry hadn't coughed up everybody's name to the driver of that sweet Mercury. But from what I heard, he was hanging upside down at the time, eight stories over Broadway, looking up but seeing asphalt like it was the inevitable sky. Anyone who tells you they'd have done different is lying or stupid. The drivers even let him walk away from it, change his pants and leave town. Serves him right. I told him that going after old beauties was never worth it. Folks who drive those take the bent fenders very personally. Go with the new, I said. Pick someone who's used to paying their way out of an inconvenience. Pick someone who's going to forget you once they drive off the shoulder of the 101 on their way to Santa Barbara for the weekend. For the love of god, pick someone who's just leasing and doesn't give half a fuck.

But no. They grazed the Merc and pretty soon after that, Walter remembered that he had a very sick mother in Baltimore, probably on her deathbed even. Terry, Phil, even Ramon who was dumb-luck tougher than Job. He got the worst of it. I mean, he'll be able to eat solid food again, but never ribs. Not a tooth of his own in his head, or so I heard. Pretty soon, it was just me out of the crew left in town. But I'll never leave. No spooky crew was going to chase me out of the place where I was born and where I'd die, probably alone in a fleatrap, but on my own feet in my own town. And I was going to go out for a drink in my own town. Still had money, even if it was too big to spend anywhere but Fort Knox.


The rest may come back one day.

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