Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bay of Trips

The following excerpt is from Bay of Trips by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Doc Ellis Press in June 2009.


“I was sent here on mission” thought Ethan.

He stood in the hotel room and tried desperately to recall what it was. What was the mission? He needed to complete the mission. Around him the walls began to pulse and throb with each of his heart beats. The room was dark now and the light it’s way in from the hallway and under the door. The light was heavy tangible light and it rolled across the carpet making it ripple like the waves of water across a shallow beach.

What was the mission?

The wall began to pulse to a new rhythm. From out on the street a Cuban band began to play. The carpet began to roll in larger whitecaping waves as the musical storm grew more violent. The music grew into balls of musical light, floating around the room like cinders and sparks from a camp fire.

Ethan open the shutter doors of the window and looked out to see the band. A crowd stood in the courtyard and on stage shouting at all of them was Jesus Christ. He was dressed in green khaki and his face wore a long holy beard. He screamed in some ancient language but Ethan could understand what he was saying. “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and Ethan remember the mission.”

What was the mission? Ethan thought hard and he remembered his mission in the past. Encoding messages from the Japs during the war. Getting that Korean to talk. And then the assignations in Guatemala. The civil war and the piles of bodies.

Just thinking about Guatemala suddenly filled him with a sadness deeper than he ever felt before. It was like being swallowed by a great black dog. The band started playing a salsa funeral march and the musical orbs turned black.

Looking from the window Ethan saw that it was not Jesus in the speaking to crowd, but Judas. He gabbered in his strange language but Ethan understood. “LOV, LOVE, LOVE, also Ethan has done some terrible, evil things but maybe this mission can redeem him.”

Ethan threw himself on the bed. He screamed out “What is the mission?”

“What is the mission?” a voice from the sky said

“Are you God?” asked Ethan

“No, I am your partner Bishop.” Said the voice

“Bishop?” Ethan asked “My partner.”

“We are in the CIA. Our mission is the fire this gun under the bed at the man, Fidel Castro, standing in the courtyard.”

“CASTRO!” Ethan shouted the name “NO!I can’t kill anyone anymore” He pulled the gun from under the bed and was ready to throw it from the window.

“We are not killing anyone. We are to poison Castro with LSD and make him go crazy in public.
We were going to shoot that psychedelic dart at him and we got it all over our hands when we were loading it. If you are feeling bit off that’s why.”

“Is that when you died” asked Ethan

“I never died. I’m in the bathroom”

“Then come out.” Demanded Ethan

“I can’t. Something bad will happen if I do. I can’t explain it. I need to be in here. I will suffocate in any other room. It’s like when someone dive too deep underwater and they get the bends. Thats what will happen when I leave this room.”

“Do you think this is the drugs talking?” asked Ethan

“Don’t judge me. I heard you shouting about Judas and Guatemala. We need you to pull the trigger on that gun and make Fidel go crazy”

Ethan picked up the rifle and moved to the window. Out in the courtyard Santa Claus was dressed in Khaki and giving speech in Spanish.

Ethan lined up the sight.

The carpet began to roll and reel like a swaying ship. Ethan tried to keep the target on site.
He pulled the trigger.

Standing in crowd, clapping for Fidel Castro’s denouncement of capitalist imperialism, Raul Diaz felt an shapr sting in the back of his neck.

Twenty minutes later, his clothes were strangling him and stripped naked to dance to the salsa band.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Wild Man

The following excerpt is from The Wild Man by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Larry Fischer books in June 2009

The human introduced himself as Chemslant, possible Tsemslant, it was hard to tell.

He clearly prided himself in his Centari accent but there were still many sounds that the human mouth was unable to produce. Still, in the humans effort to adapt as effectively as possible to the foreign culture he adopted a Centari (although unpronounceable)name.

“I would like you to take me a far north as you can.” said Ghuantlast. He said it in perfect English.

The human stared at him. He blinked and then said “What the hell are you saying there?” in Centari.

“It was English.” Ghuantlast said in his native Centari.

“I don’t even speak English. My family was from Haiti. They spoke French. I don’t even look English. Anyways, I don’t even know French. We all speak Centari. Do look like some primitive.” He explained.

“I’m sorry.” Said Ghuantlast. ““I would like you to take me a far north as you can?”

“So long as you have the money.”


Chemslant sat at the back of the boat, turning the outboard motor and weaving through the standing roots. They were imported from Centari and with no predators or controls they grew into what looked like huge wooden mazes over the terraformed waterways.

“Do you know what Toronto means?” asked Ghuantslant

“No” said Chemslant “What?”

“I don’t know. I was hoping you would know. It’s a human word.”

“Is it really? I thought it was Centari. Maybe because I don’t speak human.”

“But why wouldn’t you want to speak English?”

“You mean why wouldn’t I want to feed my children. I don’t have time for hobbies like that.”

They stared out over the water. The noise of the cheap motor startled a flock of scaly sky slugs that burst into the air like a cloud of buckshot.

“So why are we going north?” asked Chemslant.

“There were reports of a wild human. I am investigating it.”

“A feral? I thought they were all dead.” Said Chemslant.

“Fortunately, there may be one left.”

“Unfortunately, they are wild animals. We have worked hard to join the Centari’s. This is a modern world that we live in now. Before the Centaris arrived we were primitives living in stone buildings and sputtering about in gaseous cars. This is reality and we have worked hard to get here and make sure our children can live in a Centari world. That more respectful than some lazy animal wallowing in the mud. ”

“But this is your culture?” said Ghuantslant.

“This is not my culture. This is a wild man shitting in the stonecrab trees. These are animals. I am a Centari.”

Ghuanslant was so caught off guard, he made a laughing noise.

They pulled ashore and it was one of the most untamed places that Ghuanslant had experienced.


“I can take you ashore and move further into the wasteland with you if you want to pay extra.”

Ghuanslant was relieved.

They pushed deeper through the invasive Centari growth.

“Have you ever seen a wild human?” asked Ghuanslant.

“No, but once as child my friends said they all saw one. I came running and they said he looked over at them and saw that we were Centerions.” This was a word that humans that gave up
their traditional human lifestyle and tried to live like Centaris called themselves. “The ferals are all scared of us and he ran. There were footprints left but I still don’t know if it was a hoax they pulled on me. They were pretty excited though, so maybe not.”

“I wonder what they think of us.” said Ghuanslant. He stared intently into the blue of the woods looking for the wild man.

“They don’t think. They are animals. They can’t even speak. They gibber like mice”

Ghuanslant stopped speaking and marched forward.

Ghunaslant saw the human’s pale skin against the blue jungle backdrop.

It ran deep into foliage.

Chemslant bolted after it.

“Hello” cried Ghuanslant. “Hello?” he tried different accents.

The human began to scramble up the stone crab tree. Its clothes were hung in tattered rags of cloth. There was none of the exoskeleton that both he and Chemslant wore. No implants near his eyes. He was wild.

He is beautiful thought Ghuanslant.

Suddenly its neck burst open with blood and it feel from the branches.

It lay on the ground.

Ghuanslant would never even find out if it spoke English. If I still worshiped a God. If it still tried to eat other animals.

Now it was just the same as the other dead Centerions he saw lying in the streets of their run down hives.

“I got it” said Chemslant. The gun was still in his hands. “The last wild man. Do you think he would be worth anything?”

“No” said Ghuanslant.

“Well, then I guess we can feed it to my family.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Coming soon ...... sorry had some uploading issues

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Plagerist's Progress

The Following excerpt is from the The Plagerist's Progress by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Speculations Defunct Publishing in June 2009

Philip wrote a few science fiction novels but the handwritten manuscripts of unconfirmed length were not just unpublished by editors, but unacknowledged.

He took the night off from the donut shop and attended a workshop in the drafting room of a community college entitled HOW TO WRITE AND SELL SCIENCE FICTION. A charming man with a beard, a sweater, and a desire to look like Hemmingway taught it. He wrote a young adult novel about an alien roughly twenty years ago along with a novelization of a MAN FROM UNCLE episode and 16 westerns. He taught Philip about self- addressed stamped envelopes and typed double-spaced manuscripts but mostly he taught Philip the meaning behind science fiction.

"Sci Fi," said the writer "is not about the future. It is about the present! 1984 tells what it was like in 1948! Take something from your normal life and project it into the future. If you are worried about the environment, imagine what it will be like in 200 years. If you are worried about nanotechnology, imagine what it will be like when your grandchildren are alive."

"I'm worried about immigrants," said one woman.

The writer ignored her and said, "Anything can become science fiction if you imagine that thing in the future."

Philip left the class trying to imagine everything in the future. He was stirred to use science fiction to see the present but didn't fully understand what that meant.

He imagined the bus he was riding in the future. Maybe it would be better, maybe worse. He still couldn't see any story there. Previously, he thought the genre was about cool weapons and weird aliens. Now it was about slightly improved buses.

He sat on his sofa, ate pizza slices, watched a rerun of Sex in the City, and hoped there might be some nudity. Samatha used her vibrator too much and her friends staged an intervention. "What would this be like in the future?" thought Philip. He pressed record on his remote control.

He typed on his laptop and transcribed the episode one line of dialogue at a time. He changed Samatha to Sam and Carrie to Gary and the vibrator became a Sexbot. He didn't even have to change the description. Undulating and stimulating described a Sexbot as vividly as a vibrator.

The workshop was right. Switching stuff from the present in the future was easy.

Three months later Philip received his first letter of acceptance. He immediately set every T.V episode he could think of in space. He watched MASH and sold a story about a race of aliens that invaded earth. One of their soldiers got hurt and a group of military doctors still treated it despite the objections of an uptight nurse. He watched Frasier and sold a story about telepathic man that could solve the personal problems of most people in the Seattle area (but not in his own family!).

Transcribing each line of dialogue grew tiring so he found books online and with simple search and replace requests Pinocchio was a clone and Sherlock Holmes was a robot programmed for superior reasoning. Within six months, Philip landed an agent and worked at the donut shop two days a week.

"Write full novels," said the agent "Don't waste your time."

Philip submitted three novels. Tarzan became an orphan raised by aliens and unable to return to society. The Scarlet Pimpernel was the foppish owner of a luxury spacecraft liner when he wasn't secretly rescuing aliens from unlawful executions. The Lone Ranger transformed into the only survivor of a group of lawmen massacred on the dark side of the moon.

Philip's agent sold them all and wanted more.

Philip watched a PBS documentary on the Darfur crisis and moved everything 300 years ahead and one planet out from the sun. It sold too. They published it under a pseudonym so he wouldn't compete with himself.

His agent said, "Thick novels sell better. A trilogy of thick books sell even better."

Philip changed the names in Plutrach's Lives and sold it as a cycle on the Rise and Fall of the Planet Romtar. Histories of the Aztecs were appealing as their names favoured Z's and X's and sounded sufficiently alien. The three-volume restructuring of the Aztecs was followed by a three-volume recreation of the Incas.

Soon Philip used the morning paper and his library card to create two or three novels a month. Public domain stories with an edge of the fantastic worked best, as the magic from fairy tales and myths became future technology.

Naturally, since it was in the public domain and contained lots of the miracles, Philip rewrote the Bible next.

With the trade of a few consonants Jesus was Xenus. His energy was implanted in a young virgin that bore his human body. He grew up to spread advanced alien medical procedures and philosophies and was then martyred. He used the latent energy in his molecules to restore his body and then returned to the heavens in his spacecraft after promising to return.

The book sold modestly before a small group of believers formed. They weren't big enough to become a movement or even to get Philip's writing recognized as a tax exempt religion (he inquired) but they bought anything he published. They were the perfect audience.

Xenus was quickly followed by sequels based on the Koran, The Book of Mormon, Khalil Gibrant's The Prophet, and in a moment of desperation Yes, I Can: The Autobiography of Sammy Davis Jr.

Philip was now officially rich, which was why he was startled to walk into his kitchen and see that someone had bypassed the security alarms.

"Philip?" said the tall grey-haired man. His skin looked silver and wet, almost like fish scales.

"Yes." Philip said.

"I love you. You have shown the way. We have searched always, looking for why there is suffering among the good. We found the answer in the words of Xenus. He visited you at a time when your people are unable to follow him. We, however, can take you to his home world."

Philip thought he might urinate. "Uh, no. I made up that stuff. There is no Xenus."

"Blasphemer!" The silver skin took a more metallic rage filled tone. "You will come with us."

Philip felt his body atrophy and tighten. The silver-skinned man picked him up and moved him like a mannequin.

"This will be a long journey. You will be more comfortable this way." It was the last thing Philip heard before his eardrum became too stiff to carry any sound.

For the first time in his writing career, Philip wondered how the story was going to end.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Entertainment Bleakly

The following excerpt is from Entertainment Bleakly by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Alan Smithee books in June 2009

One year ago John Travolta ambled up to the podium of the Ford Theatre to present the award for best screenplay. Then millions of viewers were greeted by a blank television screen.

That blank screen would be the part of a vicious terrorist plot that didn’t go according to plan that day in Hollywood. The terrorists are in the middle of a cultural war and chose to attack American culture directly. Rather than confront what we call freedom and art - and what they call decadence and sin – on the battlefield, they set off several massive bombs under the Ford theatre.

The first attack came a few months earlier when a terrorist assassin gained access to the set of the Jay Leno show and began to regularly expose the guest sofa to a germ warfare agent. Slowly, Jay and other guests began to grow very ill and the rapidly unhealthy Jay Leno was thought to be the carrier and possible patient zero of the strange illness. It wasn’t until several guest hosts and many more guests died that the devious sofa was uncovered. By then hundreds of America’s celebrities were dead, many more terminally ill.

The late talk show host and many guest were meant to be honored that evening but and second attack on American culture came before respects could be made. This year those final condolences can be offered at the Oscars.

Of course it would be impossible to destroy the entire entertainment industry. There are too many dreamers to stop them all but industry analysts estimate that almost 75% of bankable box office draws were lost during the year of what is now called the entertainment war.

Productions continued, changes were made and casting rushed, but this year’s Oscars will really determine if the industry can ever return to its previous heights. The nominees in the Academy Awards will not only have to prove they deserve to win but prove that Hollywood as whole can survive.

Go to any movie now and you might only recognition one person in it, usually someone from a television show that has quickly replaced the deceased star.

In recognition of this confusion, Entertainment Journal is proud to present a guide to the best actor category.

(Note: due to the lack of production and voting academy members this year’s best actor and best actress category has been combined. The remaining time left from the many cut categories will be filled with tributes to lost performers)

Paul Rinaldi – The Mayor of Gangsterville

Paul Rinaldi may be the closest thing to a recognizable face in this year’s list of nominees. That is because he looks just like Robert DeNiro. Previous to his film debut Paul was the owner of Paulie’s Italian Eatery where every weekend he would put on the WiseGuy’s dinner show with a Joe Pesci impersonator.

The night of the attack Robert DeNiro was there to present to award for best editing. His long time editor Thelma Shoemaker won. Afterwards Paul stepped in and rescued the troubled production The Mayor of Gangsterville, of which DeNiro had already filmed two scenes. With the help of some CGI, the transition from DeNiro to Rinaldi was seamless.

Off camera Paul is soft spoken and actually has a rather high pitched voice but he insists that if he wins he will accept the awards as DeNiro. “It’s his award,” he insists “We are all here to honour him”

Doyle Archer – The Mousetrap

If Hollywood were a sports team this would be a rebuilding year. This isn’t a year for wild hot doggers or plans so crazy they might just work. This is time for the fundamentals and the tried and true on which a solid foundation is built.

In entertainment there are fewer more tried and true players than Agatha Christie. Her play The Mousetrap is the longest running play in history and its popularity always swelled in times of war or depression when the predictability of distraction is comforting.

Doyle Archer was playing the lead role in the mousetrap when Oscar attack happened. He was part of a group of Silicon Valley programmers that made huge sums of money in the nineties and spent the past ten years pursuing hobbies while working freelance. Some of the hobbies include Segway polo, LARPing, of course the Silicon Valley Amatuer Theatre society.

“We thought we were pretty good. People liked the play, and when this hit we saw that there was a opening in the market. We decided to put a bunch some money together. We all acted for free and brought bag lunches. The only cost was the crew and film. Even (TV commercial director) Dwayne Guest worked for free because it was his first feature.”

Doyle can’t help but smile when he talks about the nomination. All actors claim they don’t care if they win but Doyle actually seems to mean it. He is more proud of the film than his personal performance.

“ 3 years ago this film would never be noticed, but the whole landscape has changed now. It’s like the early days of internet. It’s the Wild West. It’s democracy.”

Andrew Cohen - The Backpacker's Inn

Andrew Cohen is the closest thing to a celebrity in the year’s pack of nominees. You may recognize him from the first season of the reality show Roomies, in which 5 roommates live together for 6 weeks in a enclosed compound on the back of a flatbed truck that is driven to random part of the United States before they are ejected with no money and must try to find their way home.

Andrew was a popular cast member after entering into a relationship with fellow roommate Crystal Beansmith. They were filming a spin off reality series when the disaster struck the Oscars.

“After the attack this country needed entertainers and I heard that call” Says Andrew, his eyes growing moist. “We wanted to entertain the peoples like mad. We reediting the footage and released it as movie. The theatre needed something. People needed us.”

When asked about the controversy of submitting him min the actor category Andrew is less sentimental. “That’s Bull. I am acting like a mother in the movie. All those fights with Crystal, those weren’t real. We did three or four takes of each one, so people could get the coverage. We made up each of the fights ahead of time. You should see the original footage of this thing. It was a game show like Road Rules or something. We cut it into When Harry Met Sally or something.”

“We knew when that camera was one and we made up great stuff. We should get the screenwriter’s award too.” Of course there is not screenwriter’s award this year as it cut to make time for a longer tribute.

Sunil Sol - Mumbia Gershwin

Sunil Sol wasn’t in America to film a movie. He already had a successful film and music career in India and was performing a sold out musical engagement in San Diego.

“I was devastated when I found out and drove up to Hollywood to survey the site. I was wondering through the streets of L.A. just trying to understand the destruction when I started talking to the man beside me. We talked about our favourite movies for a while and then looked at him. Really looked at him and tried to ignore the baseball hat and the glasses. It was Woody Allen.”

Allen was spared as he rarely attends the awards or promotes his films.

“He asked what I did and it was very hard to explain without sounding defensive or insecure. You know, I’m a big deal in India. You sound like Tom Waits, all big in Japan. But when I explained the concert a few days ago, that I had a huge world wide audience with no interest in these movies. He called me the saviour of filmdom and asked me star in his newest film.”

The film did require some rewrites though. “I told him the only way that this film could get funding is if we made it a musical. My films need to appeal to a wide audience and there has to be comedy and romance and music. He trusted me and we changed to character from a sportswriter to a Bhangra singer.”

Allen seems very protective of vision. How did he take these suggestions? “He wanted to make him a clarinet player but my playing was so bad he relented” says Sunil while laughing.

Sidney Choas - Born Yesterday

Sidney Chaos is familiar with the film industry as well. She is star of 44 adult films and now one mainstream entry.

On O-day or Oscar Day most of the cast of the remake of Born Yesterday was lost. The producer had 48 hours to recast or the insurance company would take control of the operation.

Sidney was dating his neighbour, rock star Danny Cranx. They met in the driveway.

“He said I seemed ditzy enough that I didn’t have to act and the all the tattoo and piercing would make to scenes where I met high society seem funnier. I didn’t like him saying that cause I’m really smart but I wanted the part.”

Now Sidney is more than happy that she didn’t say anything.

“This all that I ever wanted. I am a real movie star now, at the Oscars. I thought I had destroyed all my chances at the age of 22 but look at me. This is great.”

How does she feel about the somber mood hanging over the awards this year?

“Every cloud has a silver linning. I am this one’s. I am so happy. Everything worked out in the end.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Under the Mattress

The following excerpt is from Comic Verse: a collection of poetry about comedians by Ben Shakey. It will be published by John Wing Press in June 2009

Under the Mattress


A touring stand up told me
check under the hotel mattress

“Comics, bar band musicians, traveling salesmen, speakers at tradeshows -
leave stuff for the next guy”

In the very center
where the housekeeping doesn’t look
when tightening the sheets

To date:

a great deal of pornography including a polaroid of a man with a glassy eyed exotic dancer
and a cookie monster puppet

a comedian’s promotional headshot (he may have masturbated to his own image)

a flattened joint in a Ziploc bag,
a pizza flyer with a rave review on a post it note

a paranormal magazine about Bigfoot and UFOs
(these last three may be realted in their way)


He also told me

look in the bedside Gideon placed Bible

To date I have found nothing in these

Except once, written in the inside cover,
with careful penmanship trying to approximate the type print was

“This is a work of fiction,
any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mid-Afterlife Crisis

The following excerpt is from Mid-Afterlife Crisis by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Belly Dreadful Books in June 2009

Archibald enjoyed that the winter sun set early in Northern British Columbia. With nightfall arriving so soon he could rise from his coffin early enough to watch the evening news and revel in any reports of last night activities.

“We have a very strange story to end on tonight. A caller notified police that they were witnessing a break and enter that quickly escalated to a kidnapping in an apartment across the street. In an effort to help the police the witness grabbed their cell phone and recorded the struggle. However this all the footage could reveal:”

The station then displayed the bizarre footage of a young woman seemingly fighting with an invisible opponent. It had the look of a bizarre piece of modern dance or a DVD extra of an actor battling a CGI monster that would be added later.

“Although the film did not pick a second person the police assure that a crime was commit. Damage to the apartment from the struggle was significant as well the young woman is still at large.” The news reader then continued with more details about the missing woman and where to report any information.

Archibald winced he knew that the event could not be traced back to him but the film did provide some proof of the nature of existence. Luckily most people are so in denial they could look at the document and still dismiss it as some sort of Bigfoot film trickery.

“The seemingly invisible assailant in the video is most likely the result of an electromagnetic disturbance.” said the newsreader.

"Well, there you go" thought Archibald.

“However, the eye witness filming the event was able to assist the police in the creation of this police sketch.”

Flashing on the screen was crude cartoon rendering of Archibald. His hair was greasy and shaggy, like a wet dog. There were bags hanging under his eyes and his eyebrows drooped down like an even sadder, wetter dog. He looked like a depressed.

Jesus, thought Archibald. Is that what I look like? He hadn’t seen his self he was turned in Victorian England. By Victorian standards he looked like a very handsome man. By modern standards he looked like Queen Victoria.

Archibald stared at the photo longer. He had a double chin and triple forehead.

"How is this even possible?" he thought " I’m a liquid diet. I haven’t aged, just like they said, but I look like crap. I look like I’ve been out all night for 125 years and living of blood and not one vegetable. I look like crap. "

“Although we have no visible images, the film did record enough audio that we know that the perpetrator refers to himself as Archibald.” The newsreader continue with a number to send any information to but when he finished and turned things over the jovial weather man the humiliation continued.

“I thought that was vampire until I heard the name Archibald. Dracula is a vampire, Vlad is a vampire. Archibald is your uncle. The kind you don’t invite to a open bar!” and he laughed a deep, mocking chuckle.

"Archibald was a very popular name once. It showed an apporiate level of class. Not like now when random nouns can be a name. Now most children are named after colours or brands od motorcycles" he thought.

Archibald slumped in his chair.

He wished he had never learned how looked. Part of the appeal, part of the reason he turned, was to appear God like, not a run down, double chinned Archie that desperately needed some exercise and vitamin C.

“I’m Hungry” Said the young woman, who now rose from the coffin beside him. “I’m hungry” she said and rubbed her belly. “Hungry but I feel great. I feel invisinceable. What happened?”

“What happened” answered Archibald. “ You peaked. It’s all down hill from here,” He tossed over his shoulder with an angry swish, transformed to a bat and fluttered towards the fire escape window.

“Are you going to feed?” cried the desperate woman.

“I’m going to the gym!” it flapped
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