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text 2015-04-10 17:55
Flash Fiction Friday: VEGLAND

Yesterday, I put the call out for ideas. I thought it would be fun to let my friends on BookLikes choose the topic of my first Flash Fiction Friday post. People responded awesomely. You’ll find their ideas at the bottom of this post. If I didn’t use your suggestions, no worries. There’s always next Friday.

 

Oh, and some of your suggestions are sprinkled throughout. I know there was one suggestion with four parts, so I had to chop it up to make it work.

 

Enjoy.

 

VEGLAND

 

by Edward Lorn

 

My name’s Tiger and I find things for people.

 

I’ve lived a strange life. When I was fifteen, a two-hundred-pound ape carcass crashed through the roof of my suburban home. Dad was pissed. Mom was indifferent.

 

The next week, my mother ran off with a robot cult because Christianity didn’t rotate her gears anymore. These cultists are the people who got the amusement park in town closed down because of how the animatronics were being treated.

 

I suppose that’s why I picked the career I did. Meaning, not much shocks me. So when Charlene called up asking me to find her flesh-eating corn cob, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

 

This ain’t some dime-store pulp paperback. I ain’t going to bore you with how this dame walked in and begged me to take her case, because it didn’t happen like that.

 

Charlene called me, told me her story, and asked if I’d find her corn. I agreed.

 

Money’s money unless it’s funny.

 

As with most cases, I wound up at the local library. Librarian’s name is Gregor. He’s a cool cat, if a little weird. He likes to tell how he lost his virginity, you know, if you’re old enough to hear such a thing. It involves a goat, so you gotta have a strong stomach, too.

 

You’ve been to a library before. I ain’t going to tell you what it looks like.

 

I was back in the stacks, researching fleshing-eating starches, when I heard a rather manly scream followed by the low tick and hum of machinery. I tucked my research materials under my arm and made for the checkout desk.

 

Gregor was dead. He had a goat hanging half-in and half-out of his backside. I guess what comes around goes around.

 

I wasn’t shocked.

 

(Remember the ape that fell through my roof?)

 

I called the local PD and let them deal with it.

 

I don’t know why, but death makes me hungry. Seeing Gregor, all half-fulla goat like he was, gave me a hankering for Greek. I headed across town to Athena’s.

 

There ain’t much of shit I can eat these days, allergies being what they are. Athena’s is run by a beefy broad named Paula who knows what I can eat and fixes me up nicely whenever I drop by.

 

I laid my research materials on the bar as Paula slid a plate of lamb and cucumber in front of me.

 

You’ve seen a beefy broad with humungous boobs before. I ain’t gonna tell you what Paula looks like.

 

“Ut’s dat?” she asked, and scratched under one heavy breast.

 

“New case.”

 

“Cannibal veg?”

 

“Technically, no. Flesh eating veg. Cannibal would mean they eat other veg.”

 

“Ah.”

 

I ate in silence while Paula flipped through a scrapbook. She’d acquired amnesia after falling off a ladder the year before. She’d been reaching for a tub of yogurt in the cooler when she slipped, fell, and bashed her head on a shelf. The scrapbook was her way of remembering the past. I didn’t have the heart to tell her all the photos were stock, so, whenever she asked, I lied: “Sure, that looks like you.”

 

I read through my materials. Flesh-eating veg were a product of genetic experiments first conducted by Dr. Ralph King. Dr. King also went on to be leader of a cult. The same cult that owned the closed down amusement park in town. They’d won it in a court battle over animatronics’ rights.

 

VegLand was all the rage in the 1980s. Ride the Cucumber Coaster! Twirl on the Cauliflower Carts! Terrorize yourself on the Tobacco Train, sponsored by Marlboro.

 

Hey, money’s money unless it’s funny.

 

It was full dark by the time I parked in the weedy lot and got out.

 

Flashlight in hand, I squeezed through the rusty gate.

 

You’ve seen pictures of rundown carnivals at night. I ain’t going to tell you what VegLand looked like.

 

I found my mother on the carousel. She was spread-eagle atop one of the horses, pleasuring herself with a corn cob. At least that was what I thought was happening.

Truth of the matter was, Mom was dead. Had been for at least an hour. The corn cob had eaten most of her lady bits. The way her stomach was caved in, I’m guessing it had snacked on half her insides, too.

 

“Lovely, ain’t it?” Dr. King asked from the shadows. “My creation devouring my follower. Poetic, don’t you think.”

 

I’m a private dick, not a cop. The only weapon I own was limp in my shorts.

 

“I suppose this is where I monologue,” said Dr. King. “My robot cult was responsible for shooting down that plane full of apes when you were a kid. Your mother, of course, knew this. Seeing our cause as righteous, she joined.”

 

“Hold on, space cadet. What’s any of this have to do with anamatronics’ rights?”

 

“Those monkeys would have put our fellow animatronics out of jobs. They wanted to turn VegLand into a zoo! Even after we killed a great percentage of the animals on that plane, they still meant to buy more!”

 

“Why’d Gregor have to die?”

 

“I lost my library book. Didn’t want to pay the fine.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Fine. What about the corn? Why are you stealing your own invention?”

 

“Nobody stole anything, Tiger. Charlene works for us.”

 

You’ve seen a twist before. I ain’t going to tell you why this was one.

 

“Tell me, Tiger… are you allergic to corn, too?”

 

I am, but he didn’t need to know that.

 

Dr. King chuckled as he produced a small device and began pressing buttons. The fleshing-eating corn cob stopping eating my mother, flopped down from the horse, and came at me, end-over-end.

 

I punted it. Hard.

 

Dr. King got a mouthful.

 

His head snapped back as the cob first devoured his tongue and then worked its way down his throat.

 

You’ve seen a corny ending before. I ain’t going to tell you why this is one.

 

 

Suggestions used:

 

Brainycat’s Occaisonal Reviews

 

MC has severe food allergies, but has to travel and can’t find anything to eat amidst a huge selection of unknown foods. CHECK

 

Soze Says

 

And then it turns out some of the food might actually be eyeing the MC as something for it to eat!CHECK

 

Musings/Träumereien/Devaneios

 

A library, a lost book, a scream, and a lie. CHECK

 

Paul Read or Dead

 

Lorn writes Porn with a devilish twist in an abandoned theme park. Half-CHECK

 

Grimlock. Stronger, faster, studlier.

 

Robot cult. Because the book I read that had it had all this hardcore Christianity in it so I couldn’t get past that part, and I still want to see what a robot cult looks like. CHECK

 

It’s a Mad Mad World

 

Someone in the book has amnesia… CHECK

 

Gregor Xane

 

An ape carcass falls from the sky and through the roof of a suburban home. CHECK

 

Andreya’s Asylum

 

Gregor’s first time, when baah-ad things happen to good animals. CHECK

 

Char’s Horror Corner

 

My suggestion is Corn porn! CHECK

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text 2015-04-10 06:44
Flash Fiction Friday: Tell Me What To Write

My buddy Linton asked me if I would join him in a bit of flash fiction tomfoolery today (it's after midnight here, so today it is), and I thought it would be fun if I let you guys pick the pertinent details. 

 

For those of you who do not know, flash fiction is a story under 1,000 words, or at least those were the rules last time I checked. Your job is to drop a plot line, twist, setting, character(s), whatever, in the comment section below. Everything goes, friends and neighbors. I will then try my damnedest to write a cogent short story lasting less than a grand worth of words with a beginning, middle, and ending, and the world shall rejoice. Okay, so maybe the latter is a line of horseshit, but it might be fun, and I'm all for fun.

 

I'll let you guys know when I start writing. At that point, I will stop taking suggestions so that I might tackle the suggestions that exist. After the piece is completed and given a cursory edit, I will upload it here and on my website. If this garners enough interest, we might make this a weekly thing. 

 

Whataya say? 

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review 2014-07-31 20:55
READ Molly O'Keefe! The Boys of Bishop are passionate, gritty, moving, and tender must-reads.
Never Been Kissed - Molly O'Keefe

So what happens with Brody and Ash, these two very interesting yet wounded souls? If you guess they make their way to Bishop, Arkansas, you’re right. Their journey, not measured in miles, but trust, faith, love, hope is one I’ll remember - and reread many times. If I hadn’t already added Molly O’Keefe to my must-read, auto-buy list before this, I would after reading Never Been Kissed

Source: www.fabfantasyfiction.com
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review 2014-07-31 20:53
READ Molly O'Keefe! The Boys of Bishop are passionate, gritty, moving, and tender must-reads.
Between the Sheets - Molly O'Keefe

I’ll admit to tears. Again. And yes, this story was emotionally draining AND at the same time uplifting. Between the Sheets did what great books should do and let me live beside these people of Bishop and come to care about them. A Lot. I think tears and Molly O’Keefe books are like weeping eyes when peeling onions, with both layers and layers are revealed and tears are expected … with each turn of the page or stroke of the knife.

 

Source: www.fabfantasyfiction.com
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review 2014-07-29 20:46
Lisa Fain shares happiness with each tantalizing recipe. GLORIOUS, a must-read cookbook
The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours - Lisa Fain

There are certain places that to me are heart homes - Paris, North Wales, the Deep South, and Texas.

 

When I first arrived in Paris, as a rather naive graduate student, I was accompanied by my mother. We began walking the arrondissements and at a certain moment she looked at me and said, “You haven’t looked at the map once. You know where you’re going. How are you doing this?” Well, I couldn’t really answer her as my feet and heart just knew the rues as though they’d always walked them. Yes, Paris is my heart home.

 

I have that same reaction when I read books about the Deep South - Savannah, Charleston, the Blue Ridge Mountain area. And although I’ve never visited there, I know that when I do, my feet and heart will already know their appropriate paths.

Texas is another place that I feel kindred to. I’m not sure whether it’s because of my father’s tales of when he lived in West Texas or the number of books I’ve read since childhood that feature stories about Texas and Texans, but there is something about that state that calls to me.

 

When I was perusing books to review, Lisa Fain’s new cookbook The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours called out to me - and I answered that summons immediately.

 

From the moment I began reading, Lisa Fain’s welcoming introduction connected with my heart. This isn’t just a cookbook to follow, but a love letter to the generations of Texans before her who have passed along their treasured recipes.

 

“There’s this recurring dream that I have. I’m in a field - my great-grandma’s Texas cornfield to be exact. A long table loaded with dishes, bowls, and platters full of good food stretches through the green stalks, and surrounding the table is most everyone I’ve ever known, both family and friends. My great-grandmother is there, and she waves me over. ‘Mighty fine food and mighty fine people to eat it!” she says as I take a seat. I then begin to eat a most memorable meal.” - from Lisa Fain’s preface to The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

By sharing these recipes - and her wisdom - Fain is creating a way for us to create our “most memorable meals” and transmit some Texas generosity and love to our friends and family. With each page I turned and recipe I read, I had to hold myself back from running into the kitchen to create some of this down home love.

 

May I say that this is one of the most beautifully and lyrically illustrated cookbooks I’ve read in quite a while. Personally I’d love some of the photos to frame and hang, not only in my kitchen, but throughout my home. They are that beautiful. It’s not surprising how well they integrate with Fain’s stories and recipes as she’s taken each one.

 

As I continue to read her introductions to each section I fall a bit more in love with this homesick Texan’s way of expressing herself. I’d advise you to pick up your own copy of this cookbook, not just for the recipes, but for Fain’s stories, like the one she that she relates introducing her tweak on Uncle Austin’s Blueberry Granola.

 

“When I was working on my first book, Austin told me the most important thing was to have fun while I was writing it. If you are having fun, he said, then those who cook from it will have fun, too.” - from Lisa Fain’s preface to The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

Her uncle taught her well, as each recipe that Fain has shared bubbles with happiness and, yes, fun. These are dishes that you’ll make time and again, and I relish her kitchen advice about kitchen equipment must-haves. She too uses her heritage cast-iron skillet for “just about everything - from deep-frying to sautéing to even baking.” This is my favorite kitchen item as well and knowing that she creates many of these recipes, using just that, made my day.

 

In fact, Fain takes a lot of the fear and mystery out of food preparation when she shares that her kitchen is so small that:

 

“If I stand in the middle of it, I can spread my arms and reach the outer boundaries on each side. There is one counter, a stove, and a narrow, shallow sink. There is no dishwasher, there is no walk-in pantry, and while there is a refrigerator, it doesn’t fit in the space allotted and instead is halfway in the kitchen and halfway in the living area, straddling the border of both.” - from Lisa Fain’s About the Recipes section in The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

Reading that excerpt, don’t you feel reassured as a breath of relief and inner confidence imbue you? Why if she can cook these recipes in a tiny kitchen, not a restaurant-ready Top Chef kitchen, well, perhaps they can be re-created at home by you and me. And they can.

 

That’s the magic about this cookbook, as it contains recipes that have been around for generations, but are now updated and slightly tweaked by Fain for the way we live today. She seeks out fresh ingredients (I see myself haunting the Farmers' Market on Saturday morning) and even includes a recipe for home made chili powder that I can’t wait to try.

I love the fact that she shares some of the places beyond family and friends that she’s found recipes, like her Creamy Macaroni and Cheese that is based upon a trick she found in a Texas Junior League cookbook. I've found a heart soul sister, as one of the things I most love to do is to haunt library sales and second hand bookstores in search of those quirky fundraising community recipe collections that feature favorites from church ladies, Junior Leagues, granges, and other community organizations.

 

Speaking of which, I have both a digital copy of The Homesick Texan's Family Table as well as a hardcover edition. As you know, I’m all about eBooks here, but I’m going to be absolutely honest. I would advise you to buy the hardcover. It’s just that beautiful. I’ll use my eBook, Kindle version for everyday cooking, while the hardcover will reside on my kitchen’s cookbook shelf to be brought out, time and again, when I seek a bit of inspiration, comfort, or just want a little of that happiness that Fain shares with her readers (and not get smudged with cooking detritus).

 

Were I to pair Fain’s recipe collection with some novels, a few authors spring to mind. Diana Palmer and her Texas biscuit-loving Hart brothers for one. (I love the fact that Lisa Fain cuts her biscuits with the metal closure from a Mason jar. Just brilliant and illustrated so beautifully in a photograph.) Having just read Melissa Cutler’s Catcher Creek series, I immediately thought of chef Amy Sorentino from The Trouble With Cowboys (Catcher Creek Book 1).

 

So if you love not only to cook, but to read about the wonders and joy of sharing food with family and friends, then Lisa Fain’s The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours is a must-read. If you are drawn to Texans, ranchers, and cowboys, add it to your TBR shelf. (Yes, Fain recreates a Cowboy Chili that sounds truly authentic and perfect for a cold winter night - or while out on the range during a roundup.)

 

In addition, I’ll be following Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan blog, http://www.homesicktexan.com, because just like I know when I’ve found a heart home, in Fain I’ve found a cooking heart sister.

 

“And that’s what The Homesick Texan's Family Table is all about-making memories at the table with those whom we love. No matter if they are memories of sitting together for a simple weeknight dinner or jostling for space during a large holiday gathering, some of my fondest moments have occurred a the family table.” - from Lisa Fain’s introduction to The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

Thank you Lisa Fain for sharing your wisdom and recipes so I can create treasured memories here, in my own home!

Source: www.fabfantasyfiction.com
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