Chicken Wings by Eddie McNamara

Somebody much better looking would need to play me in the movie version—taller, with only one chin, majestic and square. His hair would be dark, but the eyes would be clear blue so you knew you could trust him, and becoming a cop would have been this guy’s calling since he was a kid. On September 11, 2001, he’d be choking on white dust, just like me. He’d scramble away from the fires on a spiderweb of hot steel beams, rubber soles melting. He’d be the type that gave a fuck, and was out to save the world, not like me.

I took the job because I was sick of sleeping on the couch at my parents’ house and I needed a steady paycheck, but that shit doesn’t play in movies. And anyway, no one’s trying to make a movie about cops doing post-9/11 rescue and recovery, set in May 2002. The fires are out, the press is gone, and it’s just dirty overalls, back-breaking cleanup, and getting in as many hours of overtime as we can. Movie cops never care about paid overtime—they love working around the clock for free. In real life, we’re racking up time-and-a-half.

If you want to know the truth, by now, there aren’t very many remains left to recover. We’re mostly stuck vouchering cars and personal effects. This scene would end up on the cutting room floor, too: I pop open the smashed-in trunk of a Caddy buried in the parking lot, and pulled out a set of brand new Calloway golf clubs. A short, fat fuck with a mustache comes over like he owns the world, and asks me if I minded if he took ’em—Sully at the firehouse would kill for a set. All the firemen had mustaches, but the rest of them weren’t as short and fat. I told him to go fuck himself, and he took it hard.

He got loud, breaking my balls over the pickaxe hanging from the pocket of my remain-stained coveralls. “They give those to you guys, but not us?”

I’ve been down there eight months picking through dead bodies, and this wasn’t even his eighth day. “I’ll give you my pickax,” I said, “right between your fucking eyes.”

Our guys and the FDNY guys broke it up before anything happened, and that was that. Shifts were as boring as ever. At dinner break, we’d send the most junior guy down to Dallas BBQ in the East Village or WoHop in Chinatown to pick up chicken wings or ribs. We all started saving the bones for when we returned to The Pit. When the fire department changed tours, we’d drop the tiny bones in their search area, kick some dirt on top, and watch the show.

It never stopped being funny. Watching those firemen vouchering bright red spare ribs from the Chinese restaurant—they had to know the difference between human remains and appetizers, but they were so desperate for glory. Firemen really bought into the whole hero thing. So did their cult of worshipers, groupies, and tragedy tourists, happy to supply a sloppy blowjob or a free round of drinks at McSorley’s.

The rest of Fat Fuck McMustache’s time at Ground Zero was spent recovering the chicken wing bones I tossed in his direction. Me? I watched him pretend to be part of something. That’s entertainment.

Knacker Born Killer by Eddie McNamara

You never forget the first time you knock a grown man out. It’s a strange kind of thing that sticks with you, like losing your virginity, but somehow more satisfying. I was twelve. My father was getting ready to fight The Guv’nor, the hardest man, and biggest name on the London unlicensed boxing scene.

Dad thought caravan living was too luxurious for his fight preparation. He had to be granite for the 300lb Guv’nor. To Dad that meant sleeping rough and soaking his hands and face in brine like the old timers did. He’d smash a tire with a sledgehammer and grit his silver teeth with every punch that buckled the makeshift heavybag he hung from a tree.

Sleeping rough in the Irish midlands on a pile of straw is a hell worse than Dante himself could have dreamt of. It’s bone cold and soaking wet from the overnight frost. The fear that you’ll die in your sleep keeps you awake. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

You never forget the first time you knock a grown man out. It’s a strange kind of thing that sticks with you, like losing your virginity, but somehow more satisfying. I was twelve. My father was getting ready to fight The Guv’nor, the hardest man, and biggest name on the London unlicensed boxing scene.

Dad thought caravan living was too luxurious for his fight preparation. He had to be granite for the 300lb Guv’nor. To Dad that meant sleeping rough and soaking his hands and face in brine like the old timers did. He’d smash a tire with a sledgehammer and grit his silver teeth with every punch that buckled the makeshift heavybag he hung from a tree.

Sleeping rough in the Irish midlands on a pile of straw is a hell worse than Dante himself could have dreamt of. It’s bone cold and soaking wet from the overnight frost. The fear that you’ll die in your sleep keeps you awake. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Continue reading “Knacker Born Killer by Eddie McNamara”

Blight Digest (Winter 2015) Releases

We are pleased to release our second edition of Blight Digest featuring thirteen tales to tantalize and terrorize the senses.

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2-fullcover

Table of Contents Features:

  • Farewell, Again by Matt Andrew
  • Burrow by Paul J. Garth
  • The Hunger, The Thirst by W.P. Johnson
  • How Little Sleeps by Angel Luis Colón
  • On Dark Wings by Tony Wilson
  • The Door by Joe Powers
  • Regular, Normal People by Grant Jerkins
  • The Hungry Ones by John Leahy
  • Parts by Jacqueline Seewald
  • Running on Dead Leaves by John Steele
  • Dreaming of Honey by J.M. Perkins
  • Cats for Ginger by Mathew Allan Garcia
  • Serving Justine by Eddie McNamara
  • and a farewell foreword by Bracken MacLeod

Blight Digest is a three season magazine featuring 10 or more stories every 4 months that will feed just about any horror lovers tastes with a twist. The magazine welcomes new and established writers, and readers of all walks of life. The first two editions were edited and crafted by Bracken MacLeod, Jan Kozlowski, Ron Earl Phillips, and Frank Larnerd. Cover art by done by Dyer Wilk.

Be sure to pick up your copy today. And if you haven’t read issue 1, Blight Digest Fall 2014, it’s only 99 cents on the Kindle.

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2 Blight-Digest-Cover

Fear is Spreading

 

 

Blight Digest Winter 2015 Reveal

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2BLIGHT DIGEST Winter 2015 is expected to release the last week of February, and includes 13 all new tales to tingle and terrorize.

Our Table of Contents:

  • Grant Jerkins
  • Mathew Andrew
  • Eddie McNamara
  • Angel Luis Colón
  • Paul Garth
  • Mathew Allan Garcia
  • Jacqueline Seewald
  • Tony Wilson
  • John Steele
  • J M Perkins
  • William P Johnson
  • John Leahy
  • Joe Powers

Our editors are Bracken MacLeod, Jan Kozlowski, Frank Larnerd and Ron Earl Phillips. Jan who was an invaluable asset for the Fall 2014 edition lent a notable hand in the selection process. Frank Larnerd steps in for final production and will assist on the summer and fall editions. Bracken MacLeod will provide the foreword.

Our cover, “Praying with the Serpent,” is a masterful digital painting by Dyer Wilk. Wilk provided the art for our inaugural Fall 2014 release.

At this time, stories for the Summer 2015 edition are still under review.

Padre Pio by Eddie McNamara

The girl was bored in the police station playroom—a room meant for smaller children, to provide a distraction, a return to normalcy, to get their minds off of why they were there in the first place.

“It breaks my heart to see her in there. She’s so serious.” Det. Finlay said, looking through the one-way glass at the girl staring with disinterest at the stuffed animals and coloring books. “We should have an iPad in the kids’ room. Something more age appropriate. She’s gotta be ten or eleven—too old for that baby stuff.”

The girl was bored in the police station playroom—a room meant for smaller children, to provide a distraction, a return to normalcy, to get their minds off of why they were there in the first place.

“It breaks my heart to see her in there. She’s so serious.” Det. Finlay said, looking through the one-way glass at the girl staring with disinterest at the stuffed animals and coloring books. “We should have an iPad in the kids’ room. Something more age appropriate. She’s gotta be ten or eleven—too old for that baby stuff.”

 

Sgt. Jimenez rubbed his mustache. “She’s nine. Put in a request to the captain.”

“That’ll go right to the circular file. Poor kid’s father gets shot, now she’s stuck here. The perps in the cells have it better.”

“So, go talk to her. Bronx Social Services won’t be here until the morning. Somebody should make her comfortable.”

“And it should be me—because I’m a woman,” Finlay said. “Female cops are always called in for the assist when you need somebody to talk to traumatized kids.” Her nostrils flared and she spoke to Jimenez with a raised voice, “I don’t have kids, you’ve got three, why don’t you talk to her?”

“You know how it works, kids are more comfortable around female officers. It’s biological. And you actually seem to give a shit. It’s not an order, just a strong suggestion. Reach out to the kid. She’s from Ireland. I don’t know— talk about something Irish with her.”

Finlay observed the girl through the playroom window. Her experience taught her that witnesses to violent crime either express grief through an uncontrollable outpouring of emotion or quiet shock. Something about the kid’s casual demeanor bothered her. There was no shock or emotion, only what appeared to be apathy. Finlay thought, maybe the younger generation is so desensitized to simulated violence that the reality of it doesn’t even bother them, or maybe they’re too self-centered to care.

 

Finlay entered the room and smiled at the girl. “Hi Grainne, I’m Lori. Your name, it’s pronounced Grawn-Ya, not Granny, right?”

The child was humorless, regarding the detective’s attempts to put her at ease with disdain. When asked about her favorite singer, she tugged at the One Direction button pinned to the collar of her denim jacket, and said nothing. Small talk with the nine-year-old was useless.

“Your father is in the hospital right now. He’s going to be okay,” Finlay said, “He was shot in both hands. His wounds are serious, but not life-threatening. Do you understand what that means? You’ll be able to see him soon.”

“Padre Pio,” Grainne said

“Excuse me?”

“It’s called a Padre Pio,” Grainne said, showing the first glimpse of emotion. “It’s a Padre Pio, named after some old Italian saint who had the stigmatas in his hands, like.”

“I’ve never heard of that before.” Finlay switched roles from social worker to detective. “What causes it?”

“Only God or the RA can make it happen,” Grainne said with wide-awake eyes, “and it only happens to saints or traitors.”

“But, sweetie, it happened to your father.”

“Da’s no saint,” Grainne said, looking into the detective’s eyes and cracking a half smile. “He put his hands together like he was saying his prayers, so the bullet could go through both hands and make a proper Pio.”

“Grainne, can I get you a soda? Something from the vending machine?”

“The biggest threat to the cause isn’t the enemy. The biggest threat is internal: traitors—like my father.”

“Sweetie, hold that thought. I’ll be back in a minute. We can talk then.”

 

Finlay left the room abruptly, running to Jimenez’s office. “Sarge, there’s no mother in the picture, right? Fuck! We need someone to serve as a guardian for this kid. I can’t legally question her without one, and you wouldn’t believe what she’s saying.”

“Slow down. There’s a priest talking to the desk sergeant; he’s asking about the girl. He can be in the room with you.”

“Boss, how could he know that’s she’s with us and not at the hospital with her father?”