Here’s the initial design for the new Double Feature T-shirt! It shall be made publicly available once we have chosen an apropos quote for the back of it:
Looking for something?
Here’s the initial design for the new Double Feature T-shirt! It shall be made publicly available once we have chosen an apropos quote for the back of it:
You asked for it! Okay . . . You didn’t. But you get it nonetheless! Here is the cover for next month’s new g&c release, Double Feather! There is a typo on the cover regarding one author’s name being entirely wrong. However, you can count on the finished version of the novel being error-free!
Yes, we said that every Friday we would thrust upon you a surprise from the upcoming Double Feature on our blog. However, we had not figured Ray Bradbury’s death into this scheme. In honor of this incredible loss, we have been taking a lot of peyote and playing bongos in our sweat lodge for the last 78 hours, losing all track of the artifice known as time. Only this morning did we remember about things like books and days of the week. Yet, it is fitting, is it not? Ray Bradbury is late, and so shall we be.
The sincerest form of apology is overkill. Thus, here is an extra-long excerpt from Albert C. Clapp’s brilliant “The Curse of the Screwnicorn.”
“I can feel it, coming in the air tonight. Hold on.”
“D’you know what this song is about?” Blaine said, his hands gripping the steering wheel of his red Ford F150. His muscular, sinewy arms were catching in the light of the rapidly passing streetlights, illuminating the tattoos on both of them. An assortment of tattoos, some of them characters from his favorite video games, some of them the logos for assorted bands he enjoyed thoroughly. A few pin-ups as well.
“No,” Carrie said. She didn’t give a fuck, and was more concerned with getting this swirling world to stop spinning quite so fast. She’d had a little bit too much to drink at the New Years Eve party they’d just left, and keeping the contents of her stomach down was much more of a priority than knowing the secret message behind a Phil Collins song.
They’d arrived at the party a mere three hours ago. Blaine had immediately begun having fun, the way it was easy for Blaine to do. Arm wrestling and laughing with his friends. Talking about sports. For her, it hadn’t been so fun: being trapped in a house with Bambie, the girl Blaine was madly in love with just three months ago.
“Phil was walking around by a lake this one time, and he saw someone splashing around in the water. There was someone near enough to save the guy, but the dude was just watching. Just watching him as he floundered in the water,” Blaine said. He lifted a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and took a long drink of it.
In Carrie’s less-than-lucid state, she hadn’t realized he’d brought alcohol from the party and was still drinking it as they zoomed down these Kansas back roads.
“Blaine! Get rid of that! You’re already drunk!” She reached for the bottle, but Blaine shrugged away her attempts to grab it.
“Chill it, babe! Nobody’s ever on these back roads anyway! Even if we swerve off the road, what’s the worst that could happen, huh? We find a soft landing in a corn field?”
Blaine was being a dick, and it was annoying Carrie. “If you stop drinking that vodka, I’ll listen to the rest of your Phil Collins story,” she said, grasping at straws to preserve her life on this New Years Eve night.
Blaine cranked his window down and tossed the bottle out. “The next day, Phil discovers the person in the lake actually died. They found a skeleton, picked clean. Not a scrap of meat anywhere on it. And Phil wrote the song about how he felt on that strange night, and about what it would be like to find the person who stood by and allowed such a horrible thing to happen. To allow someone to be eaten by piranhas right before your eyes.”
Lighting another cigarette, Carrie took a deep inhalation, then exhaled. “That was a stupid story,” she said, still remembering how excited Blaine had been to see Bambie. How he’d wanted to dance with her, saying it was because they were “friends now.”
“Did somebody put extra bitch in your drink tonight?” Blaine aggressively questioned.
Carrie stared over at him from the other side of the truck. “Blaine, I saw the way you were staring at Bambie all night. You could barely pry your eyes off of her. And even worse, you didn’t even act like we were there as a couple! You spent the whole night traipsing around like some kind of bachelor!”
Blaine took a small whiskey flask out of his jacket pocket. “So what? Do you think we’re in some kind of serious relationship now, doll-face?”
“You said we were last night!” she exclaimed.
“That was pillow talk, baby,” Blaine said with a shrug. He took out his cellular telephone and began texting.
“What the fuck are you doing? You’re drunk driving while texting?”
“Ding ding ding! We have a winner! That’s exactly what I’m doing!”
The truck was veering all over the one-lane road as Carrie reached over and tried to get her hands around that cell phone. No way she was going to let this asshole end her life over something stupid like drunk texting while drunk driving. “Who are you texting? I’ll type the message for you.”
“No, babe, it’s alright,” Blaine said, his eyes lingering on the screen of the phone as they sped through the black emptiness of an unnamed Kansas back road. “I’m just sending Bambie a quick message.”
Carrie could feel the color rising into her cheeks. Suddenly, everything about this boy she was dating was getting under her skin: his childish tattoos, his military flattop, that splotch of brown hair on his chin he called his soul patch. Everything about him was quickly becoming repellent. “I just want to go home.”
“I’m feeling kind of sick, honey face. I’ll drive you home in the morning. Tonight, we can have some fun!”
Fun. It suddenly seemed like an ironic choice of words when everything about Carrie’s life was spinning out of control.
Just then, the truck veered out of control as they rounded a corner going way too fast, like a metaphor springing to life and becoming reality. The ice patch that sent the truck careening was invisible in the darkness, as was the platoon of small children that were leveled by the bumper. Carrie had a brief moment to see the fear in a woman’s eyes before the woman was also hit by the truck. Then, they smashed into an electrical box.
Blaine smashed through the front windshield and cleared the electrical box, landing somewhere out in the corn. Carrie, who always bragged about remembering to buckle her seat belt, remained upright.
It was then the airbag popped out, pressing firmly against her face. She struggled to break it, to get out of the way of it, because it was making it impossible to breathe. She reached for the buckle of her seat belt, but the impact must have broken it; she couldn’t get it off.
Her arms flailing, Carrie struggled to get out of the car. Blaine, meanwhile, had vomited, and now felt much better. He was curled up out in the corn, falling asleep.
Nobody was there to notice when Carrie’s arms finally stopped flailing, and became still. The soft sound of snowflakes on their spiraling descent was the only sound to be heard.
(An excerpt from chapter 6)
“You expect me to believe a horse did this?” Detective Daniels asked.
MaryMae pulled at her hair in frustration; she’d been over the story a million times, but these policemen were too skeptical to believe her.
“Not just a horse. It was, like, a unicorn. It had a knife or something on its head. It just came barreling through the diner and ate one of my regulars.”
“This man here?” Daniels asked, prodding what was left of Lou’s corpse with his foot. Carrie looked down to see what the detective was gesturing at. It was Lou, her old friend. Well, not really friend, but he tended to give her decent tips. Not good, but decent. a couple bucks.
“Yes,” Carrie said, exasperated. “Do you see any other bodies around here?”
The detective looked around. “No,” he said. “But how do I know you didn’t do this. It’s awful suspicious, you know. Murder like this. Town small as this’n. People are going to talk.”
“Talk about what?” MaryMae asked.
“MaryMae, I’m going to ask you straight,” the detective said, balancing the weight of his bulky frame on one stiff leg while the other one didn’t hold nearly as much. “Were you having an affair with Lou?”
“With him?” MaryMae asked, glancing wildly at Lou’s corpse.
Daniels nodded. “Yes.”
“No!” MaryMae was repulsed by the idea. Just the thought of Lou’s wrinkled old behind made her skin crawl.
“Because here’s what I think, MaryMae. I think you and old Lou had a little thing going. Perhaps it started as a harmless flirtation, but it quickly became something else entirely. Passion will do funny things to a woman. Maybe his old lady found out or your old man did, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you killed Lou in cold blood on the floor of this very diner!”
“Daniels!” Vincent Viceroy, the clever deputy, called out. “You better get a look at this!”
Daniels gave MaryMae a stern look. “We’re not finished here.”
MaryMae gave him a furious look, but said nothing. Her daddy had taught her to respect the law, and she’d do it.
“What is it?” Daniels snapped. “I was this close to a full confession.” Daniels was holding his index finger and thumb very close together.
Viceroy gestured with his head toward the floor; Daniels looked down. On the old, dirty linoleum of the diner floor were several bloody hoof prints. “What the hell are those?”
“Look like bloody horse prints to me,” Viceroy explained. “We can get that crazy old farmer in here to confirm. You want me to call it in?”
“No. They’re horse prints. They match her story perfectly,” Daniels grumbled. His eyes shone with fury. “A little too perfectly.”
He marched over to MaryMae and grabbed her by the lapels, shaking her. Her name tag popped off her shirt and onto the floor, landing in a small puddle of blood that had something like an eyeball at its center. “You think you can just kill a man and stomp some horse shoes around the floor and we’ll believe whatever you say, eh? Tell me the truth, woman! Tell me you killed him!”
“I didn’t do it!” MaryMae cried, tears streaming down her face. “It was that horse thing!”
Daniels slapped her across the face, bringing some sense to her empty mind. He was angry with her and frustrated with her unwillingness to cooperate with the investigation.
“You silly bitch! Tell the goddamned truth!”
“Daniels, you might want to have a look at this,” Viceroy called, his voice now a familiar sound in the diner.
“What is it, Deputy?” Daniels demanded, slapping the useless woman again.
“I just had a look at her security footage. She’s telling the truth.”
“Look at the tape. At first, everything’s normal. Then a horned fuckin’ horse walks in and fucks everything up.”
Daniels let go of the woman and walked over to the deputy, prepared to start slapping him for being a jackass. Just as he was raising his hand, Viceroy pressed play. Daniels gave a passing glance to the screen and saw a horse push its way through the door.
“Does that door have a lock?” Daniels demanded. No one answered. The tape kept playing. The horse walked up and pushed its way through the door. It walked right up to the empty counter and speared Lou right through the back. The horse shook its head back and forth, having a difficult time getting the old man off its horn and killing him more in the process. Finally, he flew off, smashing his face against the counter. The horse then leapt over the counter and helped itself to some fried potatoes. Daniels couldn’t tell what kind they were because of the poor resolution of the video, but he figured they were hashbrowns. The horse then went into the kitchen, likely in search of more tubers. The view was obscured from there, so there were a few painful minutes when the animal was out of view. Eventually, the horse came back out into the diner and started chewing on Lou’s body as if he were a dessert.
“Just what I thought,” Daniels said. “I heard about stuff like this from County. Bovine growth hormone or something. Bad reaction in horses. That one’s clearly messed up. Call animal control and we’ll get this sorted out. Maybe Game and Fish.”
“Righto, Detective,” Viceroy said, excusing himself to radio in the request. He disappeared out the front door, the very door that Carrie had used to enter and exit the establishment.
“I told you!” MaryMae said, her frail voice streaked with emotion. “I told you it was a horse!”
“How do I know you weren’t in cahoots with that horse?” Daniels asked coldly, reaching for his handcuffs. “You’re not on that video at all.”
“I was on the can!” MaryMae exclaimed. “What are you doing?”
“You have the right to remain silent,” Daniels said, grabbing the frightened waitress by the wrist, not knowing why she was afraid. MaryMae screamed.
“Shut your trap!” Daniels commanded, slapping the woman again. It felt good to slap her. Her cheek felt like his ex-wife’s.
Double Feature is set for a release in mid-July. That means, for the next month and change, we’re going to be constantly reminding you of this fact, and encouraging you to buy multiple copies upon its release!
Of course, it also means we’re going to share some of the awesomeness that Double Feature will contain. Every Friday in June, we’ll be sharing something new and awesome about Double Feature. Today, it’s two teaser scenes from the first feature in Double Feature, Vernon D. Burns’s “Furry Piranha.”
…The sky was growing dark and tepid, like the final unfinished swallow of a very strong tea. The mosquitos were out in force, terrorizing the white folks. Vegas and Fidel had retired to the river bank, where they cautiously smoked and caked their brown skin in thick layers of mud.
“Goddamned savages,” Cynthia said, slapping at an errant insect as it lighted on her skin. Her pale flesh, a real treat to behold in a dark room, was turning pink and splotchy, making her look more like a freshly plucked chicken than a hot number.
“They’re the savages?” ejaculated Cliff Parker. “Look at them. They’re the only ones here who are even remotely comfortable! I’d say they are the only ones with their priorities in order.”
“If you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?” Cynthia retorted, drawing to her full height of five feet and four inches.
Cliff threw up his hands in disgust and charged toward the muddy bank. Amanda bit her lip in apprehension, while Cynthia fumed in self-righteous anger; the two women could not be more different.
“I wouldn’t get too much closer, cabron,” Vegas said.
“What?” Cliff asked absent-mindedly as he reached for some mud.
“Closer,” said Vegas. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Cliff’s look of confusion turned to one of terror as what looked like a toothy gray bullet covered in coarse brown hair shot from the water and snapped its impressive jaws just inches from his face before it disappeared into the depths once more. Cliff had never seen such a display, not even when he’d worked at the exotic pet store as a teenager.
“What the hell was that?” Cliff demanded, stumbling onto his backside in fear.
“Piranha,” Vegas and Fidel said in unison before sharing a hearty laugh.
“That was no piranha,” Cliff insisted. “That damned thing was covered in fur!”
“Like I said,” said Vegas. “They mutated. After the U.S. government testing, the deforestation caused the water to get colder. The piranha grew fur so they wouldn’t freeze.”
“What? Really? That can happen?”
Fidel nodded sagely, tendrils of smoke drifting up his face and into the sky.
“Wait. What about the rest of the fish? Are they furry, too? Where are they?”
“Dead, cabron. Stone cold dead.”
Not exciting enough for you? Alright:
Sweat dripped from Cliff’s chin as he struggled with the fishing rod, hoping it didn’t break. It was already bending dangerously as he tried to reel in whatever was on the end of his line. “Come to papa, you dirty little fish!” he said.
Finally, he reeled it in further. Hanging there and struggling against the wire was a four or five-inch fish covered in bushy grey fur.
He stared at it, still finding it hard to believe his eyes. Everything he understood about science was thrown into question by this hateful creature. Its solid white pupil seemed filled with hatred and the need to devour. It looked like a really angry toupee.
Just then, he heard a gun fire further down the river. Dropping the fishing pole into the water, Cliff jumped to his feet and rushed to the very edge of the promontory. Looking further down, he saw one of their guides standing in the water, firing down into the water, as the other guide swam through the water and pushed Amanda Handy’s unconscious body out of the water and onto the shore.
Without reflecting as long as would have been advisable, Cliff dove from the cliff into the water and began furiously swimming toward the crazy shit that was happening. He didn’t care about anything in that moment other than rescuing that mysterious beauty, Amanda.
He felt dozens of little teeth clamp down on his bicep, trying to eat him. Grunting with pain, he forced that pain down with pure determination. His well-muscled arms cut through the water like the blades of a motor boat, his noble form moving rapidly toward Amanda where she lay on the shore, Vegas sliding his pants down as he crouched over her. A bunch of the furry fish, flipping from the water and making their way across land, seemed to be bouncing ever closer to the little brown guide.
Cliff dragged himself from the water, his robe left far behind, his chiseled torso glistening in the sunlight. He really wished he weren’t wearing Batman underwear, and now wished he’d just put on some normal clothes instead of wearing that goddamn robe while he was fishing. It was an entirely impractical article of clothing in the best of times; why had he even cleared up the space to bring it along into the jungle? a little battery-powered fan would’ve been more practical, that’s for sure. Or even a few extra issues of Men’s Health in case he grew bored.
Then, Cliff saw something that really caught him off guard. In one deft movement, Amanda grasped the guide and pitched him completely over her into the jungle. As part of the same fluid movement, she somersaulted further away, coming to her feet and pulling out two knives.
One of the piranhas chose this moment to make its move, flipping right toward her face. With a quick slice, Amanda cut the fish perfectly in half, bisecting it down the middle. Another fish then attacked and got a taste of the same medicine. Moving fiercely forward, her arms faster than a martial artist on cocaine, Amanda was bisecting fish left and right. A few of them made it past her blades and bit the fabric of her shirt, tearing parts of it away. Finally, though, Amanda stood panting, surrounded by blood and furry pieces of fish.
That’s when Cliff knew for certain there was something Amanda wasn’t telling him, and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. She was truly an amazing woman, and he thought that it would just take the right man to break through the wall of ice that surrounded her emotions.
Vegas came running out of the bushes, his pants back on, and he looked at the chaos surrounding Amanda. With his lip quivering, he said, “What are you doing out here? Scalping Indians?”
Amanda walked over to the water, rinsing fish blood from her arms. “If you ever try to rape me again, I’m just going to let the furry piranhas eat you,” she said, anger in her voice. Vegas recognized the seriousness of her tone, and bowed his head in shame.
Just then, Cynthia Bush rushed from the woods, running toward them in impractical designer high heels. “The Paconas! The Paconas! They’re coming for us!”
There you are. A couple small nibbles from the first entree! Keep checking back for a look at the book’s cover art, a couple choice scenes from “The Curse of the Screwnicorn,” and other excitement that we won’t reveal just yet.
If you haven’t read Gods of the Jungle Planet yet, now is the time to do so! Check it out on Amazon!