Library Scissorbill launches Gumdrops with Goundhog Timberbeast

F’-ing A!

The moment we have been eagerly anticipating has arrived.

No, not the black hole machine-induced apocalypse, rather,

The launch of Jordan Stewart’s first book of short stories: Greetings!  From Gumdrop Mountain (published by Loose Teeth Press).

AND Step Taylor’s first published play: Chapel Arm (Scirocco Drama)

Where: The Grad House in Fredericton (676 Windsor St.)

When: December 4 @ 8 pm, suckas!

Who: J-Stew, Step-O and the mighty Vagabonds reading the insane, whimsical words of their brothers-in-ink

Cost: Bring moula for Beer and Books (both insanely reasonable in price at Alden Nowlan’s former abode.



Bacon Fist: An Origin Story

One of the advantages to not taking myself too seriously as a writer is that I will occasionally produce work that I know isn’t very good, but I will share it without shame.

Bacon Fist is one such piece. It’s ridiculous, but some people will find it fun.

Bacon Fist stems from two sources:
1. My boss used the following sentence:
“If you like bacon, it’s like being punched in the face with a bacon fist.”
He was trying to describe how awesome he could make bacon.

2. The following image, which Warren Ellis posted on his blog some time ago:

Courage Wolf (by Zoetica Ebb?)

Courage Wolf (by Zoetica Ebb?)


He used to be called Warren.

Warren was always one of the biggest kids in school. He had been born without hands, and he had prosthetic hands grafted onto his arms when he was very young. He was known for this. He was also known for his athletics, excelling as a defenseman on his minor league hockey teams. But Warren was smart too. He was the sort of student that teachers would take aside and tell him that he could be doing much better if he would only apply himself. He would agree, knowing that it was true, but Warren would never apply himself to his schoolwork.

This changed in university. Warren was offered several hockey scholarships, and he accepted one to a small liberal arts school. He got a lot of academic advice during the summer training camp. “Take religious studies, it’s easy,” really stuck with him.

And then he liked it. Hockey always came first, but Warren finally took something that he was studying seriously. He wasn’t religious at all, he was just fascinated by religions. He loved diving into ancient texts and uncovering forgotten wisdom.

On the day that he graduated, he announced that he was going to find God.

He didn’t mean God in an Abrahamic sense. He was never taken seriously when he tried to explain what he did mean, so he didn’t bother anymore. He got in his car, and left town.

The highway was flat and boring. Warren stopped only when he had to, for gas or food or to piss. Once he pulled over to sleep. But he drove as long as he could, pushed himself as hard as he could.

When he got to the mountains, he stopped driving. He parked his car at a rest stop. He got out, stepped to the back of the car, and popped the trunk. He took out a backpack full of provisions and hiking gear. Then he took off his shoes, tossed them into the trunk, and put on a pair of hiking boots. He shut the trunk, locked the car, and set off into the mountains.

On the third day, Warren climbed the highest mountain. It was a difficult climb. It took hours. Warren was exhausted at the end of it, and he took a quick nap just below the summit. When he awoke, he climbed a little higher, and with just the right kind of eyes, he saw God.

God saw Warren too. He smiled, and said “hello.”

Warren said “hello” too.

“Your journey has been arduous,” said God.

God stroked his long grey beard, just as Warren imagined he would.

“Journeys often are. At least, the ones that are worthwhile.”

“Indeed. You came looking for me.”

“I did.”

“Then you know.”

“I think I do.”

“I will grant you one wish, and answer one question. You may take all the time that you need to decide what your wish and question should be.”

God’s robes and beard and hair blew in the wind.

“I will think about the question. I don’t want to waste it on something trivial, like the meaning of life, or upcoming lottery numbers. But the wish I know. My hands are prosthetic. I’ve always known this. But I also know that they were experimental prosthetics, designed to grow with my body. The company that created them isn’t around any more, and I’ve never been able to find out what they’re made of. I wish to see the true nature of my hands.”

“It is done,” said God. He gestured dramatically, like a sorceror in a Fantasy B-movie. A pink light sprang from his fingers and surrounded Warren’s hands. Warren squinted to shield his eyes from the light, and when he opened them again, he saw that his hands had been transformed into bacon hands. His right hand was a soggy, greasy bacon hand, and his left was crispy.

“What the fuck is this?” he asked. He stared at his bacon hands.

“A good question,” answered God. “The makers of your prosthetic hands used a lot of pig flesh in their creation. Specifically, they used flesh from the sides, belly and back of a pig. This, combined with some nanotechnology to promote the growth of your own skin, cardiovascular system, muscles, bones, etc., and you’ve got your hands.”

Warren flexed his fingers. He made fists. He clasped his hands together. His hands still worked. But they were still bacon hands.

“Undo this,” he demanded.

“No,” said God. “You have already used your one wish.”

“You mean I’m stuck with these bacon hands forever?”

“You are.”

“Ha!” cried Warren, pointing a bacon finger at God. “You answered another question.”

God did not respond.

“You answered a second question, which you weren’t supposed to do. One question, one wish, that’s it. But you answered two questions. So why can’t you grant me a second wish?”

God did not respond.

“Oh come on. So now you’re not answering extra questions? What was that a minute ago?”

God did not respond.

Warren took a step towards God, and hit him. He punched God in the face with a wicked right hook. He watched the grease drip down God’s beard.

“That was mean,” said God.

Then God slowly vanished.

Warren was nauseated. He hugged himself and dropped to his knees. He started to cry, and he tried to wipe away his tears, only to coat his face in bacon grease. He tried to wipe away the grease with his crispy bacon hand, but it was no use. He just pushed the grease around a bit, and scratched his face.

He threw his hands into the air and screamed.

“I am Bacon Fist!”

Bacon Fist descended the mountain. He walked back to his car, threw his gear into the trunk, and drove back to town. The highway was far less boring this time. He had plenty to think about. He had revenge to plot.

Creative Commons License
Bacon Fist by Mike Romard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

Now we need horses

Another turn cornered, fall revolves and this Vagabond is mourning red and orange leaves. In the West, trees hiccup their greens to yellow and let them drop after a farewell hands up. The sky splits in two: dark grey underlining sky’s eyes side by lonesome with the sparking yellow sunrise.

Everything is dun, and nothing gets me over needing water. There’s a river three blocks from my door, but it isn’t the same, not touchable. Hard to pause on the pedestrian bridge here when everyone is passing through.

Remember jamming in the Corolla on the way to the Wednesday night meets? Four or five prosers crammed in like strays picked up on the road to the Miramichi, cawing on about this or that plot line. Actually excited about telling a good story.

The long rails run the length of this land, and I imagine you could all walk down to the old bottle depot, and hop the chain link fence to the weather beaten broken old train station. Hail a ghost, come on out to me. Bring 5 to 7 pages and we’ll talk about the presence of metaphor in the everyday slog.

Let’s make a call: Hobos and rangers, lovers and strangers, pack your gumption and bear bells. All great stories begin at the end. So tie them up and haul out with a handful in your pocket. There’s a territory out this way called the Badlands. I wonder if something good would come of it’s exploration. Someone needs to haul out a webcam, we need to talk writers vacation.

All you Merries are tearing up the Coast with your good writerly work.

Now we need horses,

The same

How quickly we’ve
got on. By autumn
we’ll be interested
in the same architecture.

Aliens with Feathertales

Hey Dudes,

The Yin and Yang, or Karma, or whatever, of life is so f’-ing weird. When one career seems to be tanking, the other comes along to tow you back to the surface. I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m tooting my tugboat horn here, but I just got word that the humour magazine wants to publish my poem If You Turned Into an Alien… “Giddy” best sums up my mood this weekend in November.


December means Dino Porn!

That’s Right Folks,

The independent publisher Ferno House in Toronto has accepted my story Longest Known Dinosaur for their collection entitled Dinosaur Porn. I’m pretty stoked, and based on this success, I think I’ll devote myself entirely to the erotically strange.


Campeye Comet goes great with Fiddleheads


Katie Brown has scored another publication for herself and our illustrious brood. She has two poems in the Autumn 2009 issue of The Fiddlehead.


Los Vagabondos

More wisdom from traveling with a French Poodle

The last post of this kind went out, primarily, to Eagle Eye. This one is for the Boxcar Breezer:

“[...] I am not shy about admitting that I am an incorrigible Peeping Tom. I have never passed an unshaded window without looking in, have never closed my ears to a conversation that was none of my business. I can justify or even dignify this by protesting that in my trade I must know about people, but I suspect that I am simply curious.” -John Steinbeck (from Travels with Charley)

Ta Da! -JT

Tips on NFLD. dialect

Well, hello there,

Thought I’d share some recent feedback on a new story of mine set in an Newfoundland outport village. The comments are funny and fab and helped me tighten up my regional dialect a bit. They are provided by Dodi Pretty, artist, Chapel Arm Nfld. resident, mother of the Groundhog Timberbeast and all-round wonderful person. Enjoy. And thanks again, Mamma Dodi.


Hi Luv,

Dis story wus pretty darn good if ya ask me. Now den if ya really wants me feedback I don’t mind givin ya some iders. Now to start wit us Newfies has a good reson to talk like we does. We just don’t have time fer all the fancy stuff, like th in a word. Sur we does pretty good wen we leaves it out all togedder.This and that becomes dis and dat, these and those becomes dese and dose, enerything is everyting and thanks is tanks by. Now I knowns ye is from da mainland and ye has a lot of spar time on ya hands but youell get it if ye tries hard enuf. Anudder fancy word ye uses is “my”when referring to belongins. Well on da rock everyting is me belongins; like me car and me dog and me nuts, and me coveralls, and lets not ferget me muddder and me fadder or me brudder or me dauter. Also you wus at the market ferget dat “were” word, I can’t figer dat one out. Try usin wus it’s a nicer word. We sometimes puts an extra s wherever we wants it. Like I gots to go pottie, or we gets stuff from da shop. To sav even more time we drops all da g’s from anythin endin in g likes me weddin dress and jumpin rope. Some long words like fabulous sur we’d take all day to say dat, so we says fablos and visitor is vistor. Now me old trout, I hopes dis helps ye out some. I’ve enjoyed writtin it. God luck bucky and long may yer big jib draw.

Loves ya and wonderin wen youll be headin back dis way.

Momma Dodi

Raison d’etre

For the shiftless:

“[W]e do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” -John Steinbeck (from Travels With Charley)

There you have it,