Monthly Archives: March 2012

300 REJECTIONS

BOOM! 300 REJECTIONS. Didn’t even take two years.

But enough about that. There’s good news in town.

I’m still gathering my thoughts on how best to express how I feel about the end, in some respects, of a long, hard ride. (And the start of another, no doubt.) But the news is no secret. Have yourself a look at the new page up above (the one in ALL CAPS). And of course you already know the news if you  follow me on Twitter (@courtmerrigan), or we’re buddies on Facebook. Why aren’t you following me on Twitter? Why aren’t we buddies on Facebook?

I’m going to post on my upcoming short story collection in intelligible fashion in the very near future. Along with other good news, too.

I’d just like to note here that these 300 logged rejections don’t include the rejections that flowed from my first bout of short story-itis back around 2003-2006-ish. I wasn’t keeping track of things back then. I’d guesstimate the true number is around 500. Give or take.

But whatever. 300 rejections ain’t nothing, man, if it gets you where you want to go. Neither is 500. For the last week I’ve truly, finally felt that I’m on the way.

Head on over to the Failure page to see the damage, though.

This Is Pulp IX – Trouble Down In Texas

The Stone Coyotes doing “Trouble Down In Texas.” Hard to beat an image of a girl named Betty Lou carving notches in her gun.

Why do so many of these good stories take place in Texas, anyway? Anyone know?

He was driving west through Beaumont
Heard a story in a bar
It scared him half to death
And he jumped back in his car

There’s a girl who’s hunting cowboys
Carving notches in her gun
Casualties are mounting
Lost count at twenty-one

Your days are numbered
If she sets her sights on you
There’s trouble down in Texas
And her name is Betty Lou

She was courted by a cowboy
Down on bended knee
He pledged eternal love
But it was not to be

He left her at the altar
A sweet and blushing bride
Now she is a woman scorned
Hell-bent on homicide

He was hiding out in Houston
But he didn’t stay for long
They said he bore a strong resemblance
To the one who done her wrong

In an icehouse up in Conroe
He was taken by surprise
When a girl walked through the swinging doors
Vendetta in her eyes

Her two gold teeth were flashing
He saw her skull tattoo
She said, “Hi – Nice to meet y’all
My name is Betty Lou”

He headed for the alley
Ducking buckshot as he ran
His mind already working
On a relocation plan

There’s a new endangered species
And cowboy is its name
He said, “I’m moving out of state
And I suggest you do the same

If you want to send a postcard
Address it Katmandu
There’s trouble down in Texas
And her name is Betty Lou”

March Maudlin – Rejection tally nearing 300

297 rejections. Count ’em. Redstone Science Fiction says, “This was a well-done post-apocalyptic piece, and while it isn’t quite what we’d like, we definitely hope that you’ll submit other work in the future.  We like what you did here.”

Oh, I’ll submit again, believe you me. Meanwhile I’m stuck in the literary friend zone.

The others in the newly updated Rejection list had nothing to say their auto-reject form couldn’t say better.

Two questions from the Thai high school final exam – can you pass?

First Question:

“Locals have found a bizarre item. It is round and soft. If it is not fed water, it shrinks and becomes a hard object. This hard object, when given water, will return to its soft, bigger condition. What is it?” The alternatives were: a) The egg of the Naga; b) The egg of a giant salamander; c) Quartz; d) Flour balls in milk tea; or e) Hydrogel.

Pictures may help:

A) A naga egg:

(Which comes from a naga, which is this:)

 

B) Giant salamander egg(s): (I think)

C) Quartz

D) Flour balls in milk tea (a really quite delicious dessert which I consumed many a time when I lived in Thailand):

E) Hydrogel (I think this is what they meant):

Second Question: 

“If you have a sexual urge, what should you do?” The available alternatives are: a) Ask friends if you can play football together; b) Consult family members; c) Try to sleep; d) Go out with a friend of the opposite sex; or e) Invite a close friend to watch a movie together.

Well, what should you?

Answer in the comments if you want to take a shot.

H/t Drinkin’ Tokyo & The Stranger.

Two Brothers at All Due Respect

This was a rare one. The first draft came out in all in one sitting. And then when I sent it out into the world, it was accepted before it even had a chance to get rejected.

I got the idea when I was in Thailand last May, cruising around my wife’s village on a motorbike, and I pulled over to watch some fellows training their cocks for fights later. Rough stuff. You can’t write an easygoing story that includes cocks attempting to kill one another with beak and claw.

Have a look here, if you would.

This Is Pulp VII: The Legend of Robert Johnson

Dead at age 27, one of the ancestral fathers of rock ‘n roll, deal-maker with the devil – this is pulp, man.

I can’t embed the video, so go here to watch the legend of Robert Johnson.

And here’s the tune, with lyrics:

I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, have mercy now,
Save poor Bob if you please

Standin’ at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Whee-hee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Standin’ at the crossroads, risin’ sun goin’ down
Standin’ at the crossroads baby, the risin’ sun goin’ down
I believe to my soul now, po’ Bob is sinkin’ down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin’,
Lord, baby I’m sinkin’ down

I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, babe, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn’t have no sweet woman, ooh well,
Babe, in my distress

This Is Pulp VI – Robert Earl Keen & Tom Ames’ Prayer

Robert Earl Keen covering Tom Ames’ Prayer. Contains one my all-time favorite lines: “I ain’t asking for a miracle, Lord / just a little bit of luck will do.” Lyrics below.

In addition to the story itself, I like its faintly blasphemous nature.

Everyone in Nacadoches knew Tom Ames would come to some bad end
Well the sheriff had cought him stealin’ chickens and such
by the time that he was ten
And one day his daddy took a ten dollar bill
and he tucked it in his hand
He said I can tell you’re headed for trouble son
and your momma wouldn’t understand

So he took that money and his brothers old bay
and he left without a word of thanks
Fell in with a crowd in some border town
and took to robbin’ banks

Outside the law your luck will run out fast
and a few years came and went
‘Till he’s trapped in an alley in Abilene
with all but four shells spent

And he realized prayin’ was the only thing
that he hadn’t ever tried
Well he wasn’t sure he knew quite how
but he looked up to the sky

Said you don’t owe me nothin’ and as far as I know
Lord don’t owe nothin’ to you
And I ain’t askin’ for a miracle Lord
just a little bit of luck will do

And you know I ain’t never prayed before
but it always seemed to me
If prayin’ is the same as beggin’ Lord
I don’t take no charity

Yeah but right now Lord with my back to the wall
Can’t help but recall
How they nearly hung me for stealin’ a horse
in Fort Smith Arkansas

Judge Parker said guilty and the gavel came down
just like a cannon shot
And I went away quietly
and I began to file and plot

Well they sent the preacher down to my cell
He said the Lord is your only hope
He’s the only friend that you gonna have
When you hit the end of Parker’s rope

Well I guess he coulda’ kept on preachin’ ’till Christmas
but he turned his back on me
I put a home made blade to that golden throat
and asked the deputy for the key

Well it ain’t the first close call I ever had
I’m sure you already know
I had some help from you Lord and the devil himself
It’s been strictly touch and go

Yeah but who in the hell am I talkin’ to
there ain’t no one here but me
Then he cocked both his pistols and he spit in the dirt
and he walked out in the street

This Is Pulp VI – Robert Earl Keen & Tom Ames' Prayer

Robert Earl Keen covering Tom Ames’ Prayer. Contains one my all-time favorite lines: “I ain’t asking for a miracle, Lord / just a little bit of luck will do.” Lyrics below.

In addition to the story itself, I like its faintly blasphemous nature.

Everyone in Nacadoches knew Tom Ames would come to some bad end
Well the sheriff had cought him stealin’ chickens and such
by the time that he was ten
And one day his daddy took a ten dollar bill
and he tucked it in his hand
He said I can tell you’re headed for trouble son
and your momma wouldn’t understand

So he took that money and his brothers old bay
and he left without a word of thanks
Fell in with a crowd in some border town
and took to robbin’ banks

Outside the law your luck will run out fast
and a few years came and went
‘Till he’s trapped in an alley in Abilene
with all but four shells spent

And he realized prayin’ was the only thing
that he hadn’t ever tried
Well he wasn’t sure he knew quite how
but he looked up to the sky

Said you don’t owe me nothin’ and as far as I know
Lord don’t owe nothin’ to you
And I ain’t askin’ for a miracle Lord
just a little bit of luck will do

And you know I ain’t never prayed before
but it always seemed to me
If prayin’ is the same as beggin’ Lord
I don’t take no charity

Yeah but right now Lord with my back to the wall
Can’t help but recall
How they nearly hung me for stealin’ a horse
in Fort Smith Arkansas

Judge Parker said guilty and the gavel came down
just like a cannon shot
And I went away quietly
and I began to file and plot

Well they sent the preacher down to my cell
He said the Lord is your only hope
He’s the only friend that you gonna have
When you hit the end of Parker’s rope

Well I guess he coulda’ kept on preachin’ ’till Christmas
but he turned his back on me
I put a home made blade to that golden throat
and asked the deputy for the key

Well it ain’t the first close call I ever had
I’m sure you already know
I had some help from you Lord and the devil himself
It’s been strictly touch and go

Yeah but who in the hell am I talkin’ to
there ain’t no one here but me
Then he cocked both his pistols and he spit in the dirt
and he walked out in the street