It’s A Motherfucking Poem

The prompt this week was “Nicolas Cage,” so I wrote a goddamn poem with his name in it.

Conceited Crusade

Prompt: “Nicolas Cage”

Writer on the trash talk; I’m ripping the page,

Your blog’s faded from glory like Nicolas Cage,

So I drop something hot and it triples your rage,

Subliminal word criminal on a minimal stage,

Out with the old blood; I’ll cripple the sage,

And you new fucks are frazzled, can’t dribble or play,

I’d still do this for pay of mere nickels a day,

I do it for the love, fuck minimal wage,

I taunt you, lock onto you, my missile’s engaged,

Can’t hold a reader; “they’re too fickle,” you say,

While my bookworm groupies all giggle and say:

Fred does it for the love, he tickles our (CENSORED) brains.

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Snapshot: Two Beers at Midnight

This post paid for by Heineken, but then I used the money to buy a better beer instead.

Wednesday, late. So what’s the score. Could have gotten tacos and beer at this expat bar tonight. Ran an old script on some low-hanging fruit, laid groundwork so I can get some local action without riding the train 20 minutes into Seoul aka Fuck City. Guys, for real, just come over here. Stop getting blue-balled on Tinder. You don’t need Tinder. Instead I spent two hours on a thing that I will spend four more hours on tomorrow that I will give to a blog on Friday morning where it will be read by eighty people before it evaporates. One reader will be my father. The other seventy-nine will be bitter cunts who moonlight as comment trolls. Somehow that still makes me happy.

First graders this afternoon. They learned tactics from velociraptors. Distract you with something flashy from the front while another one attacks from the side. So while one kid uncaps markers and spears them at the white wall an accomplice rushes you from the blind spot and ball-taps you. They must have a playbook. Diagram their strategy with rice grains at lunch.

Later I scrub the ink off the walls. You can never get it all. Pearls of sweat ride down my chest and leave itchy trails. My co-teacher could have prevented all of this but she bails on class. She always tells me how busy she is, so sorry, cannot help with the students. Then in the office she’s always shopping online for blouses. She’s like 38, has reproduced three times. Shaped like Mr. Potato Head now and she needs to hide it. She doesn’t even quickly toggle to a fake spreadsheet when I walk in. Legendary. The balls it takes to execute such transparent deception.

What else.  Gonna read “Galapagos” and sleep. Get paid tomorrow. Life is good and I am currently a cocky shit in a position of relative power. So as I drift off I think I’ll fire up Tinder and match with some foxes and then never message them. That must bother at least one of them, for ten seconds, and the fact that it does brightens my day considerably.

Charles Koch: Unplugged

A tour de force from our very own Gordon Flanders over at the Crusade.

Conceited Crusade

Photo by Jackie Rossi

We’re switching it up this week here at the Crusade – we’re posting pieces based on a one-word prompt: “interview.” Check back every day to see where the next writer takes it.

The first time I met Charles Koch, I was drinking gin in a bar near Tijuana. It was a little town I forget the name of, and which no longer exists in any case. It was the day after Rolling Stone had published their scathing piece about the Koch family empire, and, being a kind of politics junkie, I would know that old white guy anywhere anyway. Seeing him there, drinking a frozen cocktail with half a tree’s worth of cherries on top, I laughed out loud. Of course, I knew it wasn’t the billionaire and de facto ruler of the free world, Charles mother fucking Koch, here in a bar, by himself…

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So This Morning I

Women

woke up three minutes early, used the time to jack it to that woman at the café who looks like Marissa Tomei, but Korean. What a find. What a hybrid. Just, just…goddamn. Any rake worth his salt needs to go abroad. The leering’s good in the wild. Every girl you have ever spanked it to is out there, cross-multiplied by every other girl you have ever spanked it to. The permutations coming out of God’s workshop will make your tongue loll out.

Stumbled to work. Sat, fired up the thing, checked my Chrome history for the subway schedule I was looking at yesterday. Realized I can see Liane’s search history. She had my job, my desk, my computer before she went back to South Africa a year ago. Somehow she was still logged into Chrome and her devices were still synced up. Whatever she Googles, I could see. This is what it felt like to find the wreck of the Titanic. I now know this girl better than God.

She is pricing a trip to Bali, she’s looking for cafes in Johannesburg, she bought tickets to see that movie SPY. In South Africa they call movie showtimes “performances.” I don’t know why but I find that adorable. She watches hardly any porn.

Because she likely has zero need for it. I met her once; she was a fox, mulatto with the Afrikaans accent. Just, just…goddamn. So hot you go insane for five seconds and wish you were a Wall Street demon. I’ll pick you up at 8 and we’ll eat at the Paris Grill, I have a table there. I did a drive-by on her Facebook right after she left. Looking at her history, she has never done the same for me. That hurts, Liane. But I get it. When I met her I was at work and I looked like I always do at work, like I just got divorced. Bedhead and a baggy windsail for a shirt. When I met her it was already over. It was over before I knew she was even in the room. A girl sees you for the first time and before she has blinked she has already decided if she’s going to fuck you. If you’re slightly hunched or if your mouth is hanging open, just call it. Go home and get out the lotion.

Who the fuck are you seeing Spy with, Liane. Is he going to Bali with you. Some rugby captain whose father owns a mine or some shit.

Whatever, you know. Things are going well for old Fred. Maybe too well. Over here and you can’t trip without falling into a foreign woman’s tits.  How am I ever going to go back home and make a run at something. I’ve been eating straight dessert for a year. American girls could have a woodpecker drilling at the side of their heads and they wouldn’t know it.

But still. Goddammit, Liane. Not even one cursory Facebook search. What am I supposed to do about this. Motherfuck.

an interview with one of the world’s last great bloggers

I interviewed The Babe, and here’s her interview with me. A fun time, though it was hard to hear her talk through her stormtrooper helmet.

listentothebabe

20141008_092309Fred Colton and I arrange to meet for drinks. I come fifteen minutes early so I see him before he sees me. He spots me with ease. The only stormtrooper in the pub. He is the perfect gentleman and never once asks if he can try on my helmet. Still it must be a disconcerting experience so I talk more than necessary, throw my arms in the air with almost every other sentence, and touch him, his hand, his arm, to reassure him that he is with a person, a woman, and not a brainless idiot with poor aim who thought the Empire would crush the rebellion.

Fred, originally from New Hampshire, came to South Korea over a year ago on what he calls an “indefinite sabbatical from the West” to do one thing: to type. If you follow his blog, you see what he wants you to see– a…

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(Very) Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

My new new one over at the Crusade, based on a one-word prompt: “Interview.” Click on over. Don’t be shy.

Conceited Crusade

We’re switching it up this week here at the Crusade–we’re all posting pieces based on a one-word prompt: “Interview.” Check back every day to see where the next writer takes it.

After all the apocalyptic hype, Hell disappointed. I got there on a Tuesday, via Nigeria.

We had just rolled out of an Abuja airfield when the government forces hit it. We were noncombatants but we shouldn’t have been there and so we got lit up. A burst perforated the Jeep window at the same time that we took a heavy round through the hood. The driver and my camera operator were dead before we flipped. I died upside down. Fuel spewed onto my hands and chest, and then came the burn, and then I was gone.

And then I was here, desperate to rewind ten minutes.

“It was destined to happen.” I was telling a man my story. “That…

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Verging on Notoriety: An Interview with The Babe

Babe

The Babe is a Crusader who I am pretty sure is a woman, and not a man pretending to be a woman online, but since she’s anonymous there are really no guarantees.

Anyway, she has a raw, wish-I’d-thought-of-that blog here (listentothebabe.com) that betrays endless practice and is packed with flashes of beauty. I’ve been following it for a little while, so I asked her to tell me some secrets. Some from her life, some about her craft. Let’s do this. She’s underlined.

*Begin Transcript

First drink is here; cheers. Banter is king so let’s start with that.

Babe, you hold a passport from somewhere yet currently you reside in Thailand.

You are an expat mostly because: I can’t stand living in familiar territory. I intend to live in as many countries as possible before Death comes knocking with her skull ring. I think Neil Gaiman portrayed her with a silver ankh on a chain around her neck, but my Death is more literal. 

The most transcendental, soul-searing sexual experience you ever had was after a really violent argument with a man I was deeply in love with and I realised how vulnerable that love made me feel. Woah, I think that was too revealing. I really need to stay anonymous.

Upon your death, you decide to come back and decide to haunt for the rest of his/her life. I wouldn’t haunt. I would probably linger around artists and watch them work.

The world would be better if everyone in it immediately stopped using the word “I”.

The last thing you Googled was: the spelling of succinctly

The last book you finished reading was: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. My third time. But it’s so bloody brilliant that I had to imbibe it again. I’m almost done with Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. 

OK. Now that we’re riding on something close to a buzz and are in a forthcoming and agreeable mood, let’s talk art.

Babe, you are most inspired when: I’ve finished reading a good book, or watched an art film. Or when I’m sitting at a coffee shop that’s nearly empty.

Something you’re currently writing, besides your blog, is: a novel about a young woman and a transvestite.

You started writing on and off since I was 7I did stop for a very long time when I worked as an environmental activist and later as a consultant. Then recently I quit working full-time so I could write. Because it was always there in the back of my head. The lure of the words kept returning like a tumor. 

You can never write another word for the rest of your life. Your substitute creative outlet is: training for an ultramarathon, which would kill me, so it’s suicidal if I stopped writing.

A lifelong, still-unfulfilled desire has been to publish a book. 

Going to let you be a snob now, we all need to be sometimes—as a practiced writer the most irritating rookie writing habit to you is this: the use of adverbs.

A song that is so beautiful to you it almost hurts to hear it is: Fuck that’s hard. Maybe some songs of The Police: Roxanne, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, So Lonely, Can’t Stand Losing You (laughing now), I could go on and on. I love them. Sting is the first Englishman I fell in love with. 

One sentence you have written that says it all is: I don’t think I’ve written those words yet. 

The three words you want said at your funeral are: She’s fucking nuts.

Now a little logical reasoning and we’ll end it. Kill-Fuck-Marry: Bukowski, David Cameron, and Quasimodo.

Kill Cameron, Fuck Bukowski and Marry Quasimodo.

*End Transcript

Fred’s Other Blog

Friday, Sundown

image

and I’m on a train cutting over the Han. That all-gold building twists as we float over that island right there, and I’ve got a Joe Strummer joint with a slinky baseline going and the bridge pylons slash by in rhythm with it. You occasionally pass through a moment where happiness really can be simple. Just for one song to click into tempo with the motions where you are. There is no God because someone intelligent would have given us a soundtrack to get through this thing. Help modulate the misery.

Now the song changes to LMFAO, because I’m an eclectic motherfucker and I also never really left summer 2011. Been stretching that moment out and it’s about to snap.

I’m en route to Gangnam. In a suit as is standard operating procedure. Looking like I rail strippers with Jordan Belfort. Beer cracked on the train because it’s legal. People see me on my phone and must think I’m greenlighting stock trades and drunk-driving some South American economy into a brick wall.

It’s June and it’s hot. Me and the girl next to me have got our thighs mashed together. Also hot.

I’m here. Train doors open to Runaway by Kanye and I hit the stairs two at a time. I’ve lived this beat about thirty times before and it’s been legendary every time. Another moment stretched out taut. Don’t snap. Not now. I just need it for a little longer.

A Jackoff Writer Thinks:

20150610_233704

so what is this McKinney thing; no idea, I’m fully unplugged, have no TV. Also: I want to see Mad Max again but there is no time. I want to see Spy and Jurassic World but my self-importance does not allow me to simply go do things, to absorb things, be part of an audience. Too selfish, instead it’s just this: produce create produce create. If you’re a self-important writer you can’t just hold a thought in your head, you have to be aware of it and weigh its merits, see if you can flip it around and come at it from an oblique angle so you can put it on a page.

Man, this week. Busy. Got to keep the blogs fresh, keep pushing the first draft of this new book down the field, and then a book cover has to be picked out for the old book and, how the fuck am I supposed to do this intelligently, I’m not artistically attuned, so what’s going to happen is I’m going to pick light turquoise instead of eggshell blue for the background and eggshell blue is going to turn out to be what pops to the masses and so nobody will click on my Amazon thumbnail, because rods and cones. Pick eggshell blue and then you wake up the next day in an alternate universe where suddenly Spanish blue is THE blue.

So there is that to worry about. Also I’ve been busier than the President this week, so I’m worried about going gray by Friday. And: I’m worried that my five daily cups of tar-black coffee are going to blot out my smile and I’ll never get laid again. Something else I’m worried about is MERS not spreading. It stopped right at the border of my district. Every school in Korea has been cancelled, except for mine. People who have nothing in the world to do but stream shows on the couch when they get off work, they all have a day off, but I am still at work, running through six-class gauntlets in a hot room that sucks out a little more of your lifeforce every second you’re in there. The apocalypse is everywhere except my block, because Fuck Fred Colton, that’s why. Anyway, hope your week is going well.

Fred’s Other Blog

Bachelor Origin Story

Boys and girls, here’s my piece for this week over at Conceited Crusade. I used to be married, kind of. Here’s the divorce story. Probably wrote this because I listened to too much Drake today.

Conceited Crusade

So, young man: will you ever get married.

Well I already was, when I was 25. Kind of. We had a yellow house in a clean neighborhood for white people. With a little Maltese Yorkie. Identical sexual encounters every eight days or so. Married except for the rings, but those don’t mean anything. Marriage is just rings and a party. If you look at the full scope of human history then marriage as we know it was invented last week, almost. No rings, but we were married.

She was southern. Kind of tall and had played volleyball, made good seasoned chicken and bought me books. I was her first time. I didn’t love her. I liked her a lot for the first two weeks and then all of sudden I didn’t, but I lacked the testicular fortitude to say that, and so I just kept doing the wrong thing for…

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We’re All Gonna Die Here

The Koreans in my hood have been extra cunty this week. I smile and bow to every person I pass and four out of five of them ignore me. It’s possible I’m a ghost who doesn’t know he’s dead yet.

Just what the fuck is going on with you people. I’m out here being nice, and this uncut, high-octane cuntery I am being repaid with is baffling. I am not being racist. This whole world is full of sour-pussed twats and Korea is no exception. The mood is probably due to MERS. It’s got stress levels cranked. MERS, this virus that twenty people in Korea have. There are fifty million people in Korea. I like my chances.

Still, I’m in Seoul right now and everyone’s out here wearing masks, looking all insectoid. Thinking they’re special enough to be The One and beat these steep odds. How very human of you. Don’t flatter yourself.

Snapshot: Dinner With Koreans

Orange soju is smooth and potent and so I was hammered by 5:00. I was having beef barbecue with a Korean couple who invited me. We got to the place at 4:45.

The guy was in the bathroom and I told his wife I thought he was very nice, just to be saying something. She laughed cautiously and replied: no, he’s not.

Which was the read I’d gotten. He runs a sales division. Pharmaceuticals, I think. Corporate curbstomper, businessman in need of business English. He’d asked me to tutor him for $40 for an hour. That’s standard.

I said no but a smart man would have said yes. I said no to the money he was offering because money is a thing that I already have. Even a slight amount of money makes me drunk. I look at my four figures and see a golden parachute and think: no one could ever spend their way through all of this. Also, and no offense to you, good sir, but my money comes from drill-sergeanting small Koreans for eight hours and eight hours is far more than enough slow-talking for one day. A man sets boundaries. From 4:30 on my life is my own. They’d better be pressure-washing you out of the grill of a city bus if you want me to come see you after that. So: no, I can’t tutor you.

Then how about dinner with my wife and I, he asked, seeking a substitute victory.

Well sure. I need to get off my block more, see more. Because observations and insights are what I traffic in. After we killed the call I realized he’d won. Because dinner will be the same fucking thing as tutoring, because he’ll be practicing English. Only instead of earning $40 an hour I will be earning $0 an hour. Sales. Persuasion is what he traffics in.

The guy came back to the table. He had a calfskin belt of which Patrick Bateman would approve.

Why aren’t you married, he asked.

Because I’m ugly, I cracked. An easy joke to sling over the language gap.

He was working, this was business. He’d ask questions and I’d watch his mind pulling apart my answers as he analyzed my grammar and syntax. This is why they let you live in Asia, because they want what’s in your head. Intimate knowledge of this bastard tongue where every rule has seven exceptions. If they could decapitate you and download all your memories then they would. People keep coming up to you and you begin to feel like the Chosen One.

My turn. So, how long have you two been married.

Eight months.

And they knew each other for six beforehand. That’s standard. Being single past 30 is a felony here. Koreans just marry whoever they’re standing next to when the clock stops. And then they turn into this couple, two people who just sort of occupy the space next to each other. They don’t need to worry about running out of things to say someday because they already have. Seems kind of nice. You don’t suffer from the pressure of keeping the initial spark lit for fifty years. What a relief. I can’t imagine marrying a woman I actually care about. I mean, when my balls have sagged to my kneecaps I know I won’t be able to demand that she continue to love me like I’m still the young buck.

We drove back at 6:00. Five minutes from my villa and I didn’t know where I was. Korea will just put up a new city district in about five days. Pump concrete into the marshlands and stack something fifty stories tall on top of it. Gleaming CGI skylines just materialize. I was still riding a buzz and looking at the new bridges and canal with my mouth open.

They dropped me and said they wanted to meet again. The wife seems to think I’m interesting, in the same way the first alien to walk among us will be interesting. A man who turns down $40 an hour; who is this creature. I mean, I’ll be fine. I don’t have a good job lined up for the next half-century like you do but that’s a good thing, because if I did I’d probably kill myself. I’ll be fine, my life is good now and will continue to be that way if I can get a bit smarter.

I mean, unless I marry someone I actually care about, or unless you guys cut my head off.

Another Korean Snapshot piece is here.

And Fred’s other blog is here.