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Jan 26, 2017

"Why is it that I don't feel like a billionaire?" --- This is heaven --- teaser (updated)


We didn't plan this, really we didn't, but this picture, taken during the inaugurational lunch in Washington last Friday (this is roughly one hour after he was sworn in as the new president)...





...this picture is a yuuge pretext to nerve you with yet another fragment from This Is Heaven, a fragment written last month. We're in the final chapters, the whole party of lead characters (Alex, John, Juliette, Ben, Maurice) are on their way to an overcooked happy ending of multiple courses---damn those mixed metaphors---and John & Alex have just learned that, in all likelihood, they'll soon be billionaires, and so Chapter 51 starts (John speaking (and driving)) (hold on, one more thing; if you scroll down, you'll see we're not the only ones to appreciate this picture) (so now:)   


“Why is it that I don’t feel like a billionaire,” I say. 
“You possibly do,” Alex says. “Most billionaires feel like shit.”
“How do you know I feel like shit?”
“The way you look, and the way you dart into the rearview mirror.” 
“Yes,” I say, “I feel like shit.”
“You know why?”
“Yes, Alex.”
“And?”
“Many reasons. Mostly two. Reasons. If I tell, you’ll use them against me.”
“That would be a third reason then.”
“Stop it, Alex.”
“And a fourth reason would be that you think I have schemes on Juliette.”
“Why would I?”
“By dint of the mirror. It’s canted by more than 25 degrees and can no longer serve its purpose of providing traffic awareness, especially on a narrow road like this when somebody from behind flashes the headlights.”

I adjust the mirror, and indeed, a pickup truck in the war paint of the Confederate flag hangs behind us. Now he blows the horn. I slow down, pull to the right, and he rumbles past. We exchange glances—-and stare into the eyes of a slim black youth on the passenger seat.

Romeo.

Romeo is of course the next course of this happy meal.


Are you still there? Then you'll possibly like the GREEN EYES. The first part is out now, available as Kindle book on Amazon, under this link:


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(Hat tip: Michael Brown)



Jan 23, 2017







"He's not just a horrible guy. He's also the caricature of a horrible guy."---Anonymous





Jan 21, 2017

Trump's razor



In yet another vain attempt at self-promotion we have to---we simply HAVE TO react to Urban Dictionary's word of the day, Trump's Razor. 

Because. Yes, because (a) the Urban Dictionary plays an important role in the GREEN EYES, and there are also cameo appearances of (b) Occam's Razor, and even (c) of Trump himself. 

(Ad a) We have Raffael Beeblebrox, a senior editor of the Urban Dictionary showing up in CH. 5 of This Is Heaven and discussing John's neologisms (e.g., "i-Thing," and "adult parts.") Later, in CH. 47, we'll rerun this discussion on John's latest neo-finds (e.g., "out-plussed," and "cloud fart.") But...the best invocation of the Dictionary happens in CH. 23; Alex has returned to his apartment for the first time after his suicide attempt last week: 

The chaos of Thursday’s rescue panic is still in place, Ray and me dragging Alex’s OD’d body through the lack of space of this tiny apartment, low knee walls below the sloped ceilings, all chairs (two) fallen over, a coffee table (yard sale) fallen over, a small couch (yard sale) at an odd angle, a couch table (displaced), a helpless mini-rug (dog-eared), shards of a broken coffee mug spread across the rough-hewn floor. I collect a few pieces and arrange them side by side on the kitchen counter top. It’s merchandise spin off from the Urban Dictionary, saying SUCKING STREAK. There’s also a definition of the term, presumably, still spread across the floor, and perhaps not really needed.


Jan 18, 2017

"Donald Trump is an eclipse baby" --- write a novel, see the world

Michael Ampersant's This is Heaven is set in 2014, but we found a way to smuggle Trump into the plot in a minor way, by dint of the fact that Professor Bienpensant is affiliated with the University of Metaphysics (an outfit that really exists, at least on the internet), and so we can rely on the Department of Astrology of said institution of learning. Here, very short, John and Bienpensant discussing how one can predict the End of the World more than once:  

“You and I talked about this before,” I [John] say. “What do you do if your prediction is wrong? If there is no Armageddon?” Well, there’s so much Armageddon everywhere already. And there’ll be more soon, her Department of Astrology put out a Trump warning. (“A what?”) Trump, you know, the NYC real estate mogul, the stars have aligned apparently, he’ll be the next president. And yet, you know, the end of the world need not be the end of the world, even with Trump in the offing, see, it could be rapture, rapture for just about everybody, an ecumenical ride from this world to the next. One moment we’re here in this vale of sorrows, and the next we are up there in heaven. This is heaven—-like Alex says, that’s what she loves so much about Alex. But people are so edgy these days, they don’t take yes for an answer. And so impatient, the people. They always require distractions...



Write a novel, see the world. So we went on the internet to see what astrologers had to say about Trump, and here are a few fragments from the press about a conference of astrologers taking place in California in early October 2016  (without further comments:)


Instead of Gallup or Ipsos, the astrologers are poring over zodiac charts, which signal, among other things, a “potentially explosive” October surprise that could shape the result.
Imsiragic and eight colleagues gave some teasers at a press conference about the climax and aftermath of the wildest election campaign in memory. Their advice: buckle up.
“The US election occurs when the sun is travelling in the Via Combusta, the fiery way,” said Shelley Ackerman. A period which also includes Halloween and Hillary Clinton’s birthday, she noted. “It could be something that is unexpected, very powerful and upsetting to a lot of people. That patch of the zodiac is literally when the shit hits the fan.”

Jan 16, 2017

The Bzzfrzzakitamot period



Future archaeologists from Titan and other parts of the galaxy will call our epoch the Bzzfrzzakitamot period ("bizarre blond comb-over period") for its excessive depictions of always the same blond comb-overed male embedded in electronic artifacts, mainly in satirical contexts.



Jan 9, 2017

Going back home

Brigg station, waiting for the shuttle to take us through
the Simplon tunnel (pass was closed)
Arriving in the Valle Antrona on the Italian side

(pictures by Chang)

Jan 8, 2017

Reincanation --- This is heaven --- Teaser (20)


The first draft of This Is Heaven is finished now. We have to accelerate a bit, otherwise we're not done posting teasers before the book comes out. So, here, teaser no. 20. Alex is going to change tack John-wise (Alex is amnesic, remember?). Hold your breath:

“I was a paramedic, right?” Alex says as I’m driving us up the ramp behind the condo to get on Route One.
“Yes.”
“Paramedics earn money.”
“Yes.”
“Enough to own a car.”
“Yes.”
“You have an idea where it would be, my car?”
“It was at your place last time I saw it.”
“Which was…?”
“Yes,” I say.
“I mean, would be easier if you don’t have to chauffeur me around all the time.”
“The idea was that you shouldn’t go back to your place for a while. That’s what the psychologist said.”
“What her replacement read from a brochure.”
“Her replacement.”
“Okay. I’ll pick up the car, is all. Where do I live?”




We change directions. His place is two minutes up Landing Road from the Memorial. The neighborhood hasn’t changed much since Thursday night. It is still on the wrong side of the hospital (Georgia Beach lost its railway connection long ago)---semi-detached structures from the 80’s mostly, semi-run down, and a dog that never sleeps; not much greenery, patchy, sun-burnt lawns, few trees.
Alex’s place is a standalone Dutch revival, small. “This is where I live?” he asks.
“The attic.”
“Right. And the car?”
I point at the white Toyota Prius on the driveway. “Cool,” he says, “Saving energy. Good to know.” He taps on the dashboard of my truck, then pats his shorts and produces a key ring without car key. “I got this from Alice. The house keys, I guess. The car key will be inside, somewhere.”

So we climb the stairs. It’s sizzling outside already but inside under the roof it’s getting worse. Alex fumbles with the keys. He turns the key, the door gives way and we’re hit by a wall of dense, putrid air.
“Smell it?” he asks and steps into his apartment. “Q-E-D, this is heaven. My body still lying---where did you find me?”
“In the bathroom.”
“Where’s the bathroom?”

Yes, I really do this, I walk us the fifteen feet to the bathroom. There’s the body of a mouse decomposing in the spot where I found Alex on Thursday night.

Jan 3, 2017

Jan 2, 2017

The power of selfies


(Our friend Hessel Klijnstra sends this from Zwolle, The Netherlands:)