Thursday, December 19, 2013

HEP - 67 - There and [Spoilers Omitted] Again

Al and Tony surf the yule tide with a the greatest Christmas action movie of all time, Die Hard. Albert is foiled in his attempt to spoil The Hobbit for people who have managed to ignore it for over eighty years but now suddenly care for some reason and he is absolutely not still worked up about this at all. Also we answer a bunch of fan questions.
Download it Now!

Die Hard Game Sega Saturn / NES

Friday, December 13, 2013

HEP - 66 - Alcoholics Apocalypse

This week Al and Tony get their drink on with Grabbers, the best people-getting-drunk-to-avoid-being-eaten-by-aliens movie you'll ever see. Albert is excited for Christmas and Godzilla. Tony mocks Florida's "cold" weather. Also, new original fiction!

Download it now!

Deadpool movie on track (at least so says Ryan Reynolds. I am not holding my breath. I can only hold my breath for like, maybe a minute so...)
Krampus: the Yule Lord by Brom (What kind of pretentious weirdo goes around just calling himself Brom? And then the guy has the audacity to write a dark and moving reinterpretation of classic Christmas demigods populated with characters so real you feel like you know them better than you know yourself? Geez, what a poser.)

Disclaimer: While recording this episode Albert opened his big fat mouth about how you couldn't get classic Christmas specials online anywhere. In between then and the time of this episode's release Hulu posted A Charlie Brown Christmas for the sole purpose of making him look stupid. We are onto your shenanigans, Hulu; our vengance will be swift.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flash Fiction Contest - Aliens Invade History

Aliens. What's up with these guys anyway? They're always flying across the unimaginable interstellar void to conquer earth, and somehow, despite being vastly outgunned, those plucky earthlings always manage to blow them out of the sky. It's like, guys, if you have the technology to travel the great gulf of darkness, how do you not have the ability to terraform Mars? Or one of the other planets in your own system for that matter?

What? Oh, right the prompt. See, Aliens are sort of a recent idea. You can probably trace alien invasion genre back to H. G. Wells and the War of the Worlds, and you could argue the whole flying saucer sighting thing got kicked off with the Great Airship Scare in 1896, both pretty recent on the scale of human civilization. But what if the flying saucers had shown up earlier? How would the fictional aliens of today fare against the Roman Empire or the Genghis Khan's Mongol army? That's the idea we want to explore in this month's flash fiction challenge.

You get a thousand words. Your deadline: Christmas Day. Send your entries in to with "Aliens Invade History" in the subject-line of your email. We prefer ".doc" attachments.

The winner of the contest will receive ten dollars and have their story produced in audio form to air on the podcast. Good luck and happy writing!

The deadline for this contest is December 27th, 2013.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

HEP - 61 - Everyone is a Hipster in the Future

This week, the guys review and discuss the incredible podcast audio book by Eric Luke, Interference. Then Albert gets amped up on caffeine and Tony talks about boring meetings.

Denver Zombie Crawl
The Walking DeadRope on YouTube
Interference by Eric Luke
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Ender's Game
E-cigarette safety studies: No link here, because after some searching it appears that there are a number of conflicting studies about the safety of e-cigarettes. One oft-cited test found that e-cigarettes contained some amounts of carcinogens and other dangerous substances including a "chemical found in antifreeze". It should be noted that the main "chemical found in antifreeze" is alcohol which is a poison in the right formulation and dosage. As we mentioned in the show itself caffeine and nicotine are also technically-poisonous substances that many people partake of every day without apparent injury.
We're not qualified to make a judgement call on whether e-cigs are "safe" but we would caution against reading too much into statements which essentially boil down to "This product contains chemicals." (I'm glaring at you anti-vaccine activists).

Friday, November 1, 2013

HEP - 60 - Don't Go Stakin' My Heart

This week Al and Tony trek through the vampire-ravaged world of Stakeland. Tony talked about stuff. Albert said something stupid. As he was writing this blog post Albert clumsily tried to cover up the fact that he had forgotten most of what was actually said when the podcast was recorded, but that failed, so he turned it into one of those pretentious self-referential jokes instead. Shenanigans.

Download the awesome NOW!


Friday, October 25, 2013

HEP - 59 - Bodybuilding Ninjas for Jesus

This week the guys discuss the crime comedy Pain and Gain and wonder whether Michael Bay may yet have hidden depths. Later the guys discuss the surprising benefits of flatworms, and Tony has never heard of Dave Barry.

Download it now!

Creationism debate Reddit thread (Al thinks this is fake, but has no proof.)
Salvador Dali's Ocelot

Thursday, October 17, 2013

HEP - 58 - Don't Touch the Red Button

In this episode Tony and Al uncover the truth the Norwegian Tourism Ministry doesn't want you to know as they review the groundbreaking documentary Troll Hunter. Later, they discuss the freaky future of 3d printing, and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of crass commercialism.


Probapumpkins Pumpkins by Joseph Devon

*I know right? Can you imagine how the conversation with the investors went? I can't. "You want to make a musical about Spiderman called Turn Off the Dark? Sure, here's 65 million dollars," is not something I can imagine anyone saying ever. Yet another piece of evidence that you're living in an illusion. We've tried to tell you. Frankly I don't know how we can make it any clearer. Wake up.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge - On the Frontiers of Madness

In 1845 Sir John Franklin left the ice-bound hulls his ships, the Terror and the Erebus, and led his men into the arctic wilderness carrying a sled-load of button polish, handkerchiefs, curtain rods and a writing desk. Why?

One theory posits that the men of the expedition were poisoned by the lead solder used on their canned food, and became completely delusional.

Imagine it. You're cut off from the world you know, pushing forward into a hostile and alien landscape, exploring territory never before mapped...and then you start seeing things. Without the grounding of familiarity how would you know what was real and was was illusion?

That's the essence of this challenge. Write a story in less than a thousand words about someone losing their grip on reality in a place where they can't be sure what reality is.

Send submissions to hepodcast @ with "On the Frontiers of Madness" in the subject line with the story attached (we prefer .doc files if possible). We also prefer double spaced and with a clean font. Comic sans will get you an instant rejection.

The contest winner will be awarded ten dollars and have their story featured produced in audio form on the Human Echoes Podcast. Check out some of our other audio stories to get a feel for what we like.

The contest will end on November 15th, 2013.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

HEP - 57 - The Night that the Lights Went Out in Moscow

This week the guys dig into the manic cinematic world of Night Watch, a Russian film that mashes up...well pretty much everything, honestly. Then, Tony talks about his recent experiences with hypnotherapy, and freaks Albert out in the process.

Download it now!

The Road

Thursday, October 3, 2013

HEP - 56 - No Fate But What We Retcon

In this episode of the Human Echoes Podcast, Tony and Al wrap up Time Travel Month with a look back at arguably the greatest action movie of all time, Terminator 2. Later, the guys talk about how various types of media are dealing with the shift to the world of digital content distribution, and Tony convinces Albert that Michael Bay might have finally made a good movie.



Friday, September 27, 2013

HEP - 55 - Gunning for Time Travelers

On this episode Al and Tony ruminate on the film adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife. Tony envisions an entirely disproportionate revenge for the man who smashed up his car; the guys geek out about guns.

[NOTE/Spoilers for the book version of The Time Travler's Wife: In their discussion of the movie, the guys suggested a number of ways in which the story did not go far enough in exploring the specifics of time travel element. Upon further research, it appears that nearly EVERYTHING they discussed, including the teleporting fetus, were covered in the book.]


Samuel L. Jackson on Talking Bad

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

HEP - Short Echoes 7 - Zombies Have No Respect For Plumbing by Tony Southcotte

Zombies Have No Respect for Plumbing 
by Tony Southcotte

Zombies have no respect for plumbing. They don’t
teach you that when you fill out the paperwork for your
apprentice license.

Since the plague slowed down, people didn’t see the
need to finish off their family members. You just pay a
wrangler to tie them up, slap a rubber ball in the mouth,
and send them home. They may want to tussle with you every
once in a while, but for the most part they just sit there.

People hold on to some hope for a cure, but I know better.
Christ could raise Lazarus, but Lord knows he wouldn’t try
to bring a pork chop back to life.

I used to just pull hair out of drains. Use a snake or
some other such tool to drag natted balls of bath grime and
shaving leave-ins out of bathtubs.

This brings me to my current predicament. Standing in
the shower of some blue haired granny who just couldn’t say
goodbye to her oaf of a husband. I saw him walkin’ in, that
festering pile of meat. The red ball in his mouth would
have made him look like a pig on a spit, that is, if he
still had any natural color left in him.

She called to tell me her drain was backing up; that
a horrible smell and rusty colored substance was coming
through. I figured it was a sewage back up. Not my favorite
call, but you can gouge these people and they have to pay

Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t sewage.

When I start pullin’ the snake back, the white chunks
start dropping off the cable, little flaps of raw skin.
At this stage, it starts to fall off like a bad sunburn, 
only meatier. The smell hits me and I want to double over.
At least if the worst happens I am in a bathroom and can
easily find the can.

“Ma’am, do you know anything about this?” I ask,
pointing at the muck, retching under the stench. I’m pretty
sure more than a couple teeth are in the mess now.

“Oh dear. Why don’t you plumbers make these drains
good enough?”

“Well, we don’t expect you to push the cherished
remains of your dead husband down the drain.”

“But he needs his shower, his hygiene was never in
order, even before his accident. I just pushed it down with
my toes.”

Now, I normally don’t take kindly to this sort of
viscera, or the type of person who puts up with it, but
something struck me in that moment. Its brilliance was so
simple, but the idea that would revolutionize the in home
zombie phenomenon and plumbing as we know it. “Miss, would
you like me to install a garbage disposal in here?”

“Can you do that?”

Yes. Yes I can.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

HEP - Short Echoes 6 - Suspension by Caleb Newell and Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson

by Caleb Newell and Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson


Sometimes it looked like we were dancing.

There was nothing for us to hear, we could not verbally communicate anything. And so we watched each other. We watched each other dance. The slow motion twirls and spins. We found we couldn't speed up to reach anyone else, our only means of communication being found in glimpses when we managed to catch eye contact when our spinning matched up just right. 

The planet below became the center of my vision. I closed my eyes for this. I always do. It lasts for about an hour, until the blackness of space comes into view again. I sometimes imagine that the planet below is one I've never seen before. That it's inhabitants did not send me and my kind into the depths of space.

Suspended in the shadow of the planet. Freezing. But even the burning of the veins of ice creeping beneath my skin was relief compared to the hell that met us under the hateful glare of the sun.

Leo was nearest to me, perhaps twenty feet away. He was still in his suit from the job he had on the planet below. Possibly the least violent of any of us, Leo had created an extraordinarily stable life with the mortals. He had even convinced one of them that he had feelings for her. Finishing off the picture. 

Past him were the others. Veronica, Leland and Tobias. The mortals had sent out a larger group of us before, much larger. Perhaps ten thousand. We had managed, using pure luck, to avoid their advanced detection methods. The world had calmed until groups of citizens, conspiracy theorists, convinced that their neighbors and co-workers and mothers-in-law were our kind, started using homemade versions of the methods used by each government. 

It was the mist that did it.

The garlic mist.

Some of them flew little remote controlled planes around town, spewing the stuff into the air. This was effective enough to get one of us when it went out of range of the owner’s controller and began dropping low near a crosswalk. It was close enough for her skin and eyes to react - enough for the people around her to know.

As for the others, they caught us by leaving the stuff everywhere. The entrance of every grocery store and coffeehouse. Doorknobs of houses and clothing hangers in department stores. No one was happy about the stench that eventually built, but after they got Veronica, the complaints fell silent out of fear and curiosity.

The mortals couldn't kill us, they couldn't trust us, they couldn't throw us in a cage somewhere; we'd be meat taking up space many places couldn't afford. 

And so they sent us into space.

The first group was sent in a few pod-like things. Just stuffed in, really to the brim. One of them was kept on earth, to supposedly be sliced and diced. Good luck to them - they’ll never break his skin.

Later on, they decided that even the pods were too merciful, since they protected us from the harsh vacuum of space. They designed small ships that were designed to disintegrate in the later stages of its flight through the atmosphere, leaving us exposed as we are now. To the void outside that made the pressure of every pulse agonizing. That made it impossible to breathe. That left us with no insulation from the biting cold. And no protection from the sun.

That horrible burning star. And so our immortality becomes our greatest curse.

I would give anything to breathe again. To feel air in my lungs. Wind. Solid ground under my feet. Anything. Anything but this freezing void.

I feel a heat at my back as my dead eyes are still fixed on the planet. This isn’t normal; the sun won’t find us for another hour. An impact. Solid, excruciating, but not enough to break me. It sends me spinning out of control, but I catch a glimpse of the culprit: a small meteor. I watch it falling, a fiery tail growing behind it, the rock slowly grinding away as the atmosphere tears it apart. Eventually it disintegrates completely. Only then to I realize that I was not watching it descend below me.

I had been falling next to it. It had sent me on a path back to the planet’s surface.

I start to feel warm. The ice in my veins is thawing as the friction of the atmosphere tries to break me apart as it did the meteor. Tries, and fails. I will not die. I will survive the fall. There is so much to do on the surface. They will be made to regret what they did to us.

Finally, I will have my revenge. I will bleed them dry.


About the authors:

Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson is an escapee of Clovis, CA. She is the creative mind behind numerous internet radio shows and podcasts, most recently including A Poetry Show and the WIP Apples Over Oranges. She has a keen fascination with the human brain, and plans on pursuing a career in neurology. She can be found on twitter as @SherlockMadame.

Caleb Newell is a blogger living in West Virginia who loves peanut butter on his toast and his doctors Whovian. Talking to him is like talking to a dictionary, history book, newspaper and comic book all at once. He's a very tall fellow with an interest in...well, kind of everything. Currently he's pursuing a degree in computer science. He can be found on twitter as @PriorityDefault.

Friday, September 6, 2013

HEP - 52 - On Vengeance and Vampires

In this, the fifty-second episode of the Human  Echoes Podcast, Tony and Al pay off a long-running joke and review Man on Fire (Albert felt cheated by this title as Denzel Washington is not immolated by the end of the film). Also featured in this title is the wonderful story "Suspension" that won the Vampires in Space flash fiction contest.


[Retraction: Tony stated during the discussion of Tony Scott's suicide but, according to the coroners official report Tony Scott had no such illness at the time of his death.]

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Eaters of Earth

geophagy  [jee-of-uh-jee]:
the practice of eating earthy matter, especially clay or chalk.

Some people eat dirt. Yes, really. It is weird, it is widespread, and it is not well-understood. Which for our money makes it perfect fodder for this month's flash fiction contest. We're looking for a story of no more than 1,000 words that explores this strange custom. The story does not necessarily need to focus on real examples of geophagy, though it is worth remembering that the best lies stories contain some kernel of truth.

The deadline for entry is October 4th of 2013. Send entries to and include "Eaters of Earth" in the subject line. Word documents are very much preferred.

The winner of the contest will receive ten dollars and the story will produced in audio form and published on the Human Echoes Podcast. Good luck, and happy writing! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

HEP - 50 - Brown Water, Blue Balls

This week, the guys follow the river on down Arkansas way and see if this Mud movie is all its cracked up to be. They discuss the importance of a complete breakfast; Albert thinks about moving to Colorado.


[Albert lost his link notes this week, because he is a moron and sometimes doesn't save them as soon as the podcast is done recording. No, he doesn't use a program that autosaves. He uses Notepad. I know right? Anyway, there's probably nothing in there you can't find with Google anyway. Sorry for the inconvenience.]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

HEP - 49 - This Podcast is Waterproof

In this week's episode, Al and Tony go fishing with Bait, a surprisingly good movie about a shark loose in a supermarket (yes, you did just read that correctly.) They also dig into tales of the great men of history and the great women who made their conquests possible; Tony catches Albert doing his sexy lady voice.


Links to Things:
Clarkesworld Podcast (with Kate Baker!)
The Story of Oriental Philosophy
Hernando Cortez
In Brightest Africa: the autobiography of Carl Ethan Akely (this file contains some tpyos and formatting issues due to being a scanned work, but it's still totally worth your trouble.)
For Delia (Carl's first wife) Akeley's perspective you might also enjoy a book she wrote about her exploits in Africa called Jungle Portraits.
Beyond Dinocalypse by Chuck Wendig

(Correction: Albert was wrong about Cortez dying on some conquest or other. He died in Spain of pleurisy. Albert's version of it is better though.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

HEP - 48 - The Ozymandias Connection

In this episode Al and Tony geek out about the first English-language film from Korean director Chan-wook Park, Stoker. Later they talk about the wonder of old graveyards, and get hyped up for the final season of Breaking Bad.


Ozymandias Breaking Bad trailer
500 Days of Summer
Oldboy remake
I Saw the Devil
Old Bald Mountain Cemetery
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Letters for Zachary Dear Zachary
Failed author AMA

Thursday, August 1, 2013

HEP - 47 - Frankenstein's Apocalypse

This week its a gore-fest as the guys discuss the Evil Dead remake, chainsaw deaths, and the proper handling of ancient books of forbidden knowledge. Tony checks out the SCP Foundation; Albert screams a lot; dinosaurs continue to be awesome.


SCP Foundation
I Am a Toaster
Hard Core History
Frankenstein's Army
I, Frankenstein
T-Rex found with soft tissue
The Spellman Files: The Last Word
WWI who stopped sleeping after being shot in the head.

Retraction: Albert got his facts wrong when talking about Eragon in this episode. It was Carl Hiassen who "discovered" Christopher Paolini, not Orson Scott Card.

Friday, July 26, 2013

HEP - 46 - On Revengence

On this week's show Al and Tony break down the bizarre South Korean revenge movie Oldboy. They also break down the new 3D printing boom, and seek out the connections between Napoleon Dynamite and The Prestige. Stay tuned after the sponsors for a nerd out on the film Pacific Rim.


Live octopus eating video from Oldboy.
Star Trek (2009) teaser with welding
3D printed space stations
Robotic hand that can feel
Napoleon Dynamite tether ball incident
Oldboy hallway scene
The Duck of Doom

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

TDS Thoughts - 1 - Alone

I want you to imagine that we are alone.

That on the biological spaceship we call earth, we drift through the void as a ship would upon quiet seas. On all horizons, there are no shores to be seen. In the deepest night, only the stars shine to share the lonely burden.

In our own sea, the solar system, we have found isles, but no refuge. Some planets seem suitable at a distance, but are toxic underfoot. Others, volcanic and turbulent, devoid of life. Some are even devoid of surface.

So we look outward, out to that currently insurmountable ocean. Centauri beckons. A mere 4.27 light years. An instant to the cosmic scale, or 165,000 years in our most advanced space vehicle. There is a chance of an exoplanet here. A planet that humans could call home. A place where the skies are blue and the soil rich. Where the only major difference is that the familiar night sky gives way to new stars and constellations. Where our own home star is just a glinting mote in a crystalline sky.

But only a chance.

What if we reach this world and still find ourselves as the only intelligent being in the universe? Do we look outward to our galaxy? There are an estimated 10 billion earth like planets in The Milky Way. Are we so lucky that only Earth had the chemical composition to spawn life? That we are 1 in 10 billion? Do we push this further and consider the quintillions of star systems in the known universe?

Is it empty?

Are we alone?

Are we the only instance of the biological epoch? Are we the only sets of atoms that are even aware of atoms?

Our vessel drifts through infinite black, embraced only by the mass of a finite thrashing from the basest elements in our star.

Yet we are one of billions in our own cosmic neighborhood. One of billions of trillions on far off shores in galaxies further than comprehension. Less than a single grain of sand in a great desert, or a piece of spittle falling into an ocean.

Does this make us more important? Or less? Are we simply a temporary anomaly so far beset in the depths of the void that it will never matter, or are we the only matter that matters because we understand ourselves to be matter? Or is our consciousness just the conduit for our delusions of grandeur?

Is it blind arrogance to think that with all that is, only we exist to understand it? That our one rock is somehow the center of all. That we do not share this common cosmos with a single other microbe or form of life, except for what is on our little blue ball. That an entire universe is dead except for us, who are to this planet little more than bacteria.

It cannot yet be said for certain, but smart money disagrees. Life thrives in every nook and cranny on this world, often in places said to be near impossible. If we can go 1 for 8 plus a Plutoid on our own block, then what’s to say that the same vitality doesn’t grip the rest of the universe? Even if the odds are 1 in 100, 1 in 10,000, hell, one in 10 billion for a heavenly body to contain life, that still makes for a staggering amount over the course of an entire universe.

Do I believe we are alone? Not a chance.

Friday, July 19, 2013

HEP - 45 - Dude, it's Like, Medical

In this episode, Al and Tony dig into the documentary Dark Days, and discuss the manifold problems of homelessness, and tenacity of the human spirit. They also discuss medical nonsense and Albert is outed as a Sharknado hipster.

Subscribe to the RSS

Texas legislature bans tampons
Pacific Rim
"The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Albert vs. Movies - 1 - House Hunting

Albert flies it solo suffering his way through the real-estate themed horror film House Hunting with a full-length commentary. Check out the movie on Netflix and watch along he encounters monsters with goofy hats, annoying antagonists, and a twist ending that makes not the slightest bit of sense.

In Space No One Can See You Sparkle

In this month's flash fiction challenge we're taking mythological creatures from mankind's dark past, and asking what would happen if they inhabited the darkness between the stars. It's vampires...IN SPACE.

What we're looking for is a story of a thousand words or fewer that puts everyone's favourite bloodsuckers in a place you'd never expect to find them: outer space. As always we're looking for something that takes us by surprise, something that makes us think, something that makes our blood run cold. So grab your wooden stakes and take a stab at it.

The deadline for submission is August 16, 2013. Send your entries to Happy writing!

The winner will get $10 through paypal.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HEP - Short Echoes 5 - Hard Time by B.T. Joy

Hard Time 

by B.T. Joy

He closes his eyes. The light flashes. 

Somewhere west. Wyoming. Montana. Little Hallmark across the street. Hanging lilacs. Next door along. A picture house showing the matinees. His eyes, getting old, can’t see the listings. 

May as well cross. Look what’s on. Halfway over. An Asian guy in an immaculate suit passes. He feels the familiar repulsive burn of electric between them. The Asian guy thinks they’ve brushed bodies and makes something of it. 

“Hey fella! Watch where you’re going, huh!?”

He doesn’t respond. 

You’re wondering how he can be so calm? It wasn’t always that way. Not always that way at all. 
His shuddering feet reach the other curb like tiny boats coming into shore and he shuffles to the doors of the picture house. He doesn’t have time to watch the movies. He’ll never have time to watch a full movie again. But sometimes he likes to read the advertisements. 

Schindler’s List. Jurassic Park. Sleepless in Seattle.

Must be the early 90s now. Christ the world was getting old. 

He closes his eyes. The light flashes. 

Sidewalk bench. Sitting. Early morning and no folk around. The Deep South by the look of the trees all shining in the muggy wind and the French Colonial facades, blue and peach, that line the good-sides of the streets like Hollywood sets of pinewood and plaster. 1970, by the cars.  

But what were you asking? Oh, yes, so calm. 

He wasn’t always so calm. It wasn’t always that way. For the first ten years he’d run around from place to place- from time to time- like a devil on speed. Trying to grab at people. Shouting. Screaming his name. 

Saying he was lost and he wanted to go home now. 

Nothing ever changed. He couldn’t make anything change at any rate.   

Nothing ever stayed the same long enough for anyone to understand. 

He looks down at his hands. Resting on his legs that rest on that little sky-blue bench in Louisiana or Mississippi; or wherever the fuck he is. Old hands. With delves deep as canyons and the little lilac rivers of veins rushing everywhere; eroding the skin. 

So old. Getting so... so... old. 

He closes his eyes. The light flashes.

Chase Field. On the grass. Fuck. Chase Field again. On the grass. Strewn with shirtless bodies, old and young. Brown porpoises lolling in the Phoenix summer. Pittsburgh Pirates win. Arizona Diamondbacks lose. Ten runs to three. 

He sits on the wall. The lawn is emptying. Gingham. Striped. Checker. Tartan. Calico. White. The blankets are being skinned from the lawn. Folded between semi-naked bodies glossed with sweat. The grass is littered with cartons and discarded chili-dogs. The march is being played. 

Not again. Not again with the fucking march. Must times be recycled. Isn’t it bad enough. Isn’t it torture enough. Isn’t it hell enough. 

The march. The march. The triumphant peppy march. Pittsburgh Pirates win. Arizona Diamondbacks lose. Ten runs to three.

The people are swarming like a chain of coffee-coloured ants. They bear insufferably close. The repulsive electric stabs at him. A thousand stinging tentacles. 

He falls off the wall and wails when he hits the earth. Mothers pull their children into shawls of towels and blankets. 

“Just a drunk.” They whisper to each other. 

From the flat of his back he stares up at the painful Arizona sun. 

He closes his eyes. The light flashes.

Dark place. Perhaps by the sea. Because he can hear it lolling on the shore. Cooler night. Still on his back. Faint wisps of air up there. In all that blackness. Faint green. Radiation green. Perhaps it’s thicker than it looks because there are no stars. 

But the sea. The sea out there. In the dark. Still lolling on the shore. 

What were you asking? 



Calm now. Calm now. Like the sea. Like the sea. Out there. In the dark. Still lolling on the shore. 
Not always like this. Not at all always like this. Ran frantic once. Devil on speed. Grab people. Shout. Scream name. 

Lost. Lost. Lost.  

Want to go home!  

Want to go home!

Sea now. Dark. Lolling on shore. 

What were you asking? 


Does he remember? 

Of course he remembers. 

Who could forget? Done with her. Blood on privates. Hers. His. Jimmy’s. Jimmy’s knife. Pulled it out. No. Put it back. Pulled it out. More blood. Throat this time. Not from below. Not from where they’d forced themselves inside. 

Throat this time. Welling up. Red. Like the sea. In the dark. Lolling on the shore. Tongue lolling. On the grass. Sea on the shore. Tongue on the grass. Lolling. Lolling. 

He closes his eyes. The light flashes.

Chase Field. On the grass. Fuck. Chase Field again. On the grass. Old and young. Brown porpoises. Lolling. Lolling. Lolling. Pittsburgh Pirates win. Arizona Diamondbacks lose. Ten runs to three. 

He sits on the wall. Gingham. Striped. Checker. Tartan. Calico. White. Red. Like the sea. Welling up. Lolling. Lolling. Blankets. Skinned from the lawn. Not again. Not again. Fucking march. Recycled. Bad enough. Torture enough. Hell enough. 

The march. The march. Pittsburgh Pirates. Arizona Diamondbacks. Ten runs to three.

Swarming ants. Insufferably close. The repulsive electric.

He falls. 

Mothers pull children. 

“Just a drunk.”

“Just a drunk.”  

  Painful Arizona sun.

He closes his eyes. The light flashes. 

No. No. 

Interstate 44. Lebanon. Missouri. June 14th. Cover of cypress trees. Old Harley store closed for business. Almost transparent moon. Dark clouds and gold-dust of dawn. 

No. No. No.  

He looks to the trees. To the murmuring sounds not leaves but men are making under the anonymity of shade. No. Old now. Weak now. No. 

In the dark a hand. His hand. Her mouth. His jeans. Her blood. Jimmy puts back his cock. Pulls out his knife. 

She dies. And here, they didn’t know, they knew too well, folk are placed in pods of iron; and fed to eternity. 

He closes is eyes. The light flashes. 


B.T. Joy is a Glaswegian poet who currently lives in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, where he teaches High School English. Between 2006 and 2009 he lived in London where he studied and mentored at London Metropolitan University; gaining a First Class Honours degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies. Since then he has had poetry and fiction published in American, Australian, Irish, Japanese, Hongkongese and British magazines, journals and anthologies. In 2012 he was nominated for The Ravenglass Poetry Press Competition; judged by the Dundonian poet Don Paterson. B.T. Joy's website can be accessed via the following link: