Day: June 8, 2013

Death before deathDeath before death

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:18 pm

“In this part of the world all shrines are built to honor the great spirit of mediocrity.  The celebrations are for mediocre events, and everyone praises a mediocre god.  Heads upon pillows dream mediocre dreams and loins all give birth to mediocre offspring.  At the end of a pointless life awaits a mediocre death.  Love comes wrapped in a bland little package and fulfillment of the biological urge leads to swift decline.  There are no monuments to greatness in this land of stupor.  Down here in the deep, dark South we know and live with the real world.  Candy-Land idealism is quietly suffocated in the relentless humidity.  This is the world where fist meets face.  This is where the calluses on a man’s hand are bigger than his conscience, and dreams get drowned in sweat and tears.  Mutually assured destruction rides the roads on gun racks in the back windows of pickup trucks.  The goodness of human nature gets packed away with childhood toys, and the only third eye I have is the one I use to watch my back.  Everyone puts on their Sunday best and pays tribute to religion’s slaughterhouse and then dines on a cannibal communion.  People put their backs to the stone in the field and push until their entrails rupture, and they drag their meals from the earth with bleeding hands.  Education is foreign to the sunburned beasts of burden, and the painkiller comes in black-labeled Tennessee bottles.  No one here moves quickly, but everyone moves with absolute certainty.” – Damien Echols, Life After Death (emphasis in original)

“The Lock”“The Lock”

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:26 am

Another story of mine that was published three months ago (in addition to “Extinguisher”) was “The Lock.”  It’s posted this morning to the “Previously Published Stories” sidebar.

“The Lock” was published in NOON and was phenomenally edited by Diane Williams, who runs that magazine.  The original version, though it was not long, was about five times longer than the version she published.  She took that original version, stripped most of it away, rearranged what was left, and said, “Why don’t we try it this way?”  I said, “Okay.”  It was as though she ran a body shop, I drove a school bus in for a tune-up, and drove out a week later with a Formula 1 racer.

Cook’s tour of hellCook’s tour of hell

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 4:18 am

“The guards brought another tour in today.  This happens every month or so.  Sometimes they bring in a group of teenagers they want to scare into submission.  The kids stand around shuffling their feet as the guards tell them that if they continue living the way they are now, then sooner or later they’ll wind up here.  They always say that Death Row is the worst.  They tell the tourists that in this barracks are the people who would murder their children and rape their grandmothers.  In truth, the people who commit the most heinous crimes aren’t on Death Row.  They’re out in the general prison population with much lighter sentences.  Most of the people on Death Row are here for no other reason than that their case got more publicity than others.  The difference between a man receiving a prison sentence and a man receiving a death sentence could be decided by nothing more than a slow news day.” – Damien Echols, Life After Death