Blog Archive

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lil' Wayne and Birdman Confront Al Sharpton About Working With the Feds


Rev. Al Sharpton sits by himself at a long table in a blank conference room. In front of him on the table is a black leather briefcase. Though it rests on the table, Sharpton clutches tight to the handle. CEO of Cash Money Records (and their book publishing wing, Cash Money Content), Bryan “Baby” Williams walks in. His “son,” rap star and President of Cash Money Records, Lil’ Wayne trails him. Baby leans in to kiss the reverend, but Sharpton jerks back and stares at Baby, quizzically raising one eyebrow. Baby watches Sharpton, a puzzled expression passes over his tattooed face, then he and Lil’ Wayne look at one another in confusion. They shrug and kiss each other’s lips before sitting across from Sharpton.   

BABY: Morning, woadie.

SHARPTON: Morning, gentlemen.

LIL’ WAYNE: Young Moolah, bayyybeee.

BABY: That’s a nice briefcase you got there Rev.

SHARPTON: Um, yeah. Thanks. What can I do for you fellas?

BABY: We called you in here because we got a little bit of a problem.

SHARPTON: Oh?

BABY: Uh, yeah. Me and the young’un—as publishers of your memoir, The Rejected Stone—are troubled by these snitching allegations that’s been leveled against you. For obvious reasons, we can’t have no FBI informants around our business. We always insist that everyone associated with us have the finest moral character, which is why we signed convicted sex offender Mystikal to a record deal. Ain’t that right, Wayne?

WAYNE: Young Moolah, bayyybeee!

BABY: So we have no choice but to void your contract, recall all unsold copies of your book and pulp them in a warehouse right here in New Orleans.

SHARPTON: (clutching tightly to his briefcase) Wait, just a minute, Baby. That’s a drastic step. I was not and am not a rat, because I wasn’t with the rats. I’m a cat. I chase rats. I’m such a cat, the other day I asked myself, I said, “Why must I be like dat, why must I chase the rat?”  And plus those FBI guys are such nice fellas. I rememba a while back I was talking to them about some Black Panthers, friends of mine. Of course, those guys are doing life in prison now…

BIRDMAN: Now look here Rev., I’m the #1 Stunner. The Birdman. I didn’t get rich by being a fool, now. Ever since I read about the COINTELPRO, I been on edge about the feds. I mean, illegal surveillance, harassment, beatings and assassinations of activists. Seems like a community activist like yourself would stay the hell away from the FBI. I don’t like taking unnecessary chances, myself…

WAYNE: Unnecessary chances, bayyybeee!

SHARPTON: He all right?

BABY: You gotta forgive my son, he ain’t had his morning promethazine yet.

WAYNE: Promethazine, bayyybee.

BIRDMAN: (turning to Lil’ Wayne) Hey, lil bruh, you might want to take your own advice and move in silence like the “g” in Lasagna.

WAYNE: Sorrryyy, Daaadddyyyy.

BABY: Say, Rev., do you hear a buzzing sound?

SHARPTON: Buzzing sound? Naw, I don’t hear nothing. Now, Baby, I understand your concern. Yes, I did serve as an FBI informant in the ‘80s. And yes, I did wear a wire when meeting with mafia figures, but it’s not how it sounds. I mispronunciated every word so that the tape was useless. Neither the FBI, nor the mafia had any idea what the hell I was talking about. I use a very similar technique on my television show.

BABY: Well, Rev. that makes a lot of— What is that buzzing sound? It’s getting louder. You hear that son?

WAYNE: It’s the briefcase, Daaadddyyy!

BABY: Briefca— Rev., you taping this conversation, woadie?

SHARPTON: Well, it’s been good talking to you fellas, but I gotta run.

(Sharpton grabs the briefcase and darts from the room.)

*
Cross posted at: forgottentunneltv.tumblr.com

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Little Known Bible Verses (Preceded by a Rather Long Note) or Why You Won't Find This Piece on The Good Men Project

Note: I submitted this satirical piece to The Good Men Project, hoping they'd publish it in their humor pages. They'd accept it, post it, we'd all have a good laugh (or not) and then we'd move on with our lives. Well, they did accept it. So why is it on this blog and not on The Good Men Project? Well, I can't answer that for certain; the best I can do is tell you about the editing process.

First, the editor told me that one of the jokes was more editorializing than joke-making. (It read in its entirety: "Agnosticism is the one true faith.") Secondly, he asked me to cut the "no homo" section (see below) because I would "get killed in the comments section." And lastly, he suggested I cut the last part that poked fun at Chick-fil-A. It made him laugh, he said, but the humor was dated.

Thinking we were going through the normal editing process, I weighed his comments for a day or so. I wondered how removing sections would throw off the rhythm and the sequencing. A piece like this is similar to a game of Jenga, remove too many pieces or put them in the wrong place in the wrong way and the whole thing topples over. I agreed to cut the agnosticism joke; what seemed funny in my head came across as heavy-handed on the page. But to me, the other two parts were integral to the broader perspective and point-of-view of the whole piece. I didn't care too much about getting "killed in the comments section." As long as I'm confident in my POV, I'm fine with people getting offended. Don't expect an apology from me. Bite my tongue for no one. Anyone who would take the "no homo" joke seriously just isn't paying close enough attention anyway. As for the final section of the piece, it seemed a strong way to end; the datedness didn't really faze me. It still had some punch to it. Chick-fil-A and Mike Huckabee and homophobes everywhere deserve the mockery. But perhaps the editor has a bit of a point, I thought, that Chick-fil-A thing was a while ago. Still no reason to cut the whole section. I revised the end of the piece a bit to bring it up to date and sent the whole thing off.

The editor's response: "How about we go with 'No Homo'...but cut Chik-fil-A? They're advertisers, so I'm concerned about that one." 

Um, pause.

I mulled it a bit, which was lame of me, but in the end it didn't make much sense to censor myself and mutilate my piece to make Chick-fil-A happy. I mean, all Chick-fil-A has ever given me is stomach aches and diarrhea. And I'm not pining to get accolades and love from the Chick-fil-A corporate offices. No writer has ever jumped up and said, "They love my work down at Chick-fil-A!" Most of all, even if my work appeared on a website called The Good Men Project, there's no way I could reasonably call myself a Good Man while silencing myself so some people somewhere could sell a few more homophobic chicken sandwiches. 

As Method Man would say, "If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.

Here's the piece, it goes best with the new "No homoburger" from your local Chick-fil-A:



*


LITTLE KNOWN BIBLE VERSES
If thou giveth even a single Skittle to a 6-year-old dressed as Spongebob on the 31st of October, then thou hath sinned against the Lord and worshipped mine enemy.
***

Thou shalt surrender 10 percent of thy salary to a man in alligator-skin boots so that man may purchase a Rolls Royce, for that is the automobile of the Lord.
***

Thou shalt shout out the Lord thy God three to four times an hour in thy Facebook status.
***

Thee can pray all thou wants for a Superbowl victory, but if thou playest for the Buffalo Bills then thou shall always lose for I am a petty and vengeful God and a long time ago a cornerback from the Bills cut in front of Me at Subway and then when the sandwich artist finally got to Me they were out of the kind of bread I like. So I turned to this fool, pointed my finger and was like, Thou shalt regret that.
***

On the Monday after the celebration of the resurrection of thy Lord and Savior, thou shalt return to thy sad and soul crushing labor, for a gigantic meal with people thou don’t really like is worthy of a national holiday, but not the return of a man from the dead. Goeth and figureth.
***

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat—” And before Jesus could finish speaking, the disciple Thomas cut him off and said, “Um, Jesus, you know if this bread is gluten free?”
***

All religions are just different paths to the same destination. Except Scientology. That shit's crazy. So saith the Lord.
***

And forthwith Judas came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, master”; and kissed him. And there did follow a long awkward silence in which both Judas and Jesus looked first out into the sky and then down at their feet. And Judas did chuckle a bit and Jesus did blush. And Judas swept his hair with his hand and said, “Uh, no homo.”
***

On Easter Sunday and on Christmas day as well, if thou doth believeth, then thou shalt log onto thy social network accounts and proclaim thy superiority over those who do not believe. If thou doth not believe then thou shalt log on and spread the good word about thy fealty to reason and how it makes thou intellectually superior to the believer. And it shall all be very insufferable. And for everyone else—those who don’t really care that much—Facebook and Twitter shall be more unpleasant than usual. Best to just log off and go enjoy thy day.
***

After the Sermon, the disciple Tom raised his hand. “Jesus,” he said. “If your message boils down to ‘Just don’t be a dick,’ then why do so many act like dicks in your name?” Jesus nodded, then Jesus shrugged and then Jesus wept.
***

The animals on Noah’s Ark numbered in the millions—some more flavorsome than even goats and chickens and cows, but Noah’s family dined on the really, really delicious ones and after the flood cleared there were no truly tasty animals left.
***

“Dude, are we drinking your blood?”
***

And Jesus did see Mary Magdalene walking down a street in Galillee and she did look fine as frog’s hair. And He called out: "Turn the other cheek this way, baby!"
***

There came a time when the prophet Mike Huckabee appeareth on Fox News and said: “People, I have spoken to the Lord and he still hates the whole gay thing—I don’t know, something about butt sex. And here’s the bad news: he said you’re either with Him or against Him on this one. But the good news is, there’s a special chicken sandwich you can eat to ward off the gay.”
And the righteous did descend upon Chick-fil-a. After eating the greasy chicken patties upon dry bread, the righteous descended upon the bathroom and there followed much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
And the righteous cried out:
“God, what is this nasty shit?”
“This shit taste like some doodooronemy.”
“Lord, why has thou forsaken thee. Couldn’t you order us to eat at Friday’s or something?”
“Good God, is this nasty; I think I’d rather put a penis in my mouth.”

And the Lord did take pity upon His children, showering them in Barilla pasta. The righteous rejoiced and clapped and sang and waved their arms as their blood sugar spiked from the carbohydrate intake.


(cross posted at: forgottentunneltv.tumblr.com)
    

Monday, July 23, 2012


The jury voted 11 to 2 to toss The Veterinarian into the river, hands and feet bound but gag removed so it could be recorded if she admitted her crimes before drowning.

As a further humiliation, the judge ordered she be stripped before her execution and, so she didn’t come bubbling to the surface, a knapsack full of rocks was to be affixed to her back.

Your honour, The Veterinarian’s attorney called. We have no quarrels with the death sentence. We understand that you could have chosen a harsher method of execution. That waterway—she pointed to the river—is our lifeforce and birthright as Riverbabies. However, I respectfully request that you allow my client to die clothed and with dignity for the sake—

Counsel, he replied. Don’t test my patience. You’re lucky I didn’t order her stoned to death. Remember, there are no appeals. No take backs. And all decisions are final as you and your organization have agreed upon. Bailiff, please strip the defendant.

—From my story, “Wolfkin/Wolfkind (Gun Court)” over at Chimurenga: PowerMoneySex Reader read the rest here.

Could it be I stayed away too long?


So I sat down to write this novel, Wolf Tickets--that's where I been, writing this book or as I like to call it selling wolf tickets. At first, it began as a writing exercise. Short bursts of narrative I could draft while my son slept or something. I actually wrote the first one (I think) in the hospital on the day of his birth. I started off very disconnected from it and then it began taking its own shape and I followed where I thought it was going and in the process something really exciting emerged. One day maybe you'll read it and possibly share my excitement?
 
It's about a wolf hunt that gets way out of control.

Up there at the top of this blog, there is a new link titled "Wolf Stories." It features all of my wolf stories that are out in lit journals all together in one place. (Peace to the editors who believed enough in the stories to accept them). Would mean a lot to me if you read them. I'll update the page as more stories become accepted and as more stories go online. 

This is what's on the page above: 

                                       
I wrote a book. It’s called Wolf Tickets: A Novel. I’m really proud of it. I hope you get to read it in full some day. Meanwhile, you can read parts of it at the links below. Thanks to the editors who have accepted these works.

—Rion Amilcar Scott

“Wolf Stories We Told That May Not be True” (Specter Magazine)
“Lil’ Red” (Uptown Mosaic)
“Wolfkin/Wolfkind (Gun Court)” (Chimurenga: PowerMoneySex Reader)

Coming Soon!

“Bitches” (PANK)
“Snitches” (Bluestem Magazine)
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” (Emprise Review)
“Teen Wolf Too” (Used Furniture Review)
“Women Who Run With Wolves” (Fractured West)
“Cochise vs. 32 Large” (Linden Avenue)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Genius of Eddie P. is What's Currently Rockin' Me


One night this week--I think it was Wednesday--I sat down to read a story from Edward P. Jones's Lost in the City. It was very late--past 1 a.m.--and the story was "A New Man." It's about a father who deals rather harshly with his daughter and she splits, just disappears.

The thing about this story is that you can feel the passage of time and the weight of this disappearance as the story goes on. As the pages drew close to the story's end, it became clear that she wasn't coming back. Was she dead? I don't know. And neither did her father and mother and you get a sense that they will never know.

This, for some reason, shook me. Maybe because I'm a father. I don't have the luxury of reading this story as a non-father so I don't know if I would be so moved. Perhaps it's because it was very late at night when I finished reading. Whatever it was I had a a real creeping sense of dread. Was she now a prostitute? In someone's sex dungeon? Trapped in prison? Happily married somewhere?

I couldn't go to sleep like that. All that not knowing. It was very, very late, but I remembered that some of the stories in Jones's next collection, All Aunt Hagar's Children are connected to stories in the first book. A little more research and I learned that just about all the stories are connected and both books are structured the same way: 14 stories in order from the youngest protagonist to the oldest. The first story in Lost is linked to the first in Hagar and the second stories are linked and on and on. I found the sequel, "A Rich Man" and settled myself enough to sleep.

There is something about linked narratives that really drives me crazy. I'm not sure what I love about the idea of discreet fictional worlds colliding. I'm not sure I want to look into it too deeply. I construct my work with such connections. From time to time I pick up Joyce's Dubliners and look for the subtle connections and that's fun. I also do that with August Wilson's 10-play cycle. In an interview, Jones touches on establishing such connections. He even says if he writes a third collection, he will continue this format and says that even his novel may be connected to these narratives.

I really wish I knew about these connections the whole time. It would have opened up a whole new way to read these books--first the opening salvo in Lost and then the continuation of that story in Hagar as if the stories are parts of the same book. That way it feels as if Jones is edging up on a new genre. Something wholly different than the short story. He's not, but his world is so expansive it often feels like a 3D picture is passing all around me. Much more so in Hagar than in Lost. 

When I'm done with these books I plan to go back to the beginning and read them together so I can get lost in the genius of it all because I really love what Eddie P. is doing. I love it a whole lot.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Grind Time: How We Shall Proceed and Continue Here at The Flambe


Strangely, I feel renewed in my day job as well as in this writing thing. This is the end of the first week of classes. Over the winter break I finished a draft of a novella I've been working on. I can honestly say I'm happy with what I turned out with. Now the challenge is to maintain the renewed feeling and the writing output as the semester snaps down on my neck. And you probably notice that I have trouble maintaining the blog when I'm teaching. I also have a hard time maintaining when I'm knee deep in a project as I was with the novella.

That brings me to this blog. I used to post stupid cartoons on Saturday and music on Mondays and I even started a labor-intensive link thing on Sundays. Yeah, I don't do that anymore. I've taken all that kind of ephemera to my Tumblr: Forgotten Tunnel TV (another blog name I'll have to sort of explain later).

Here at the Flambe, I'm going to go further in chronicling my grind. Once a week I'm going to write about the progress of what I'm working on. That's the new focus. No cartoons. No music. Or if I post that stuff it will be to underscore the sentiment I'm expressing.

And below is the contents of the newest page on this blog, the one titled: "What? What in the Hell is a Datsun Flambe."

Peace.

What? What in the Hell is a Datsun Flambe?

Not quite a Datsun, but the picture is Flambe hot.


Ever read that Ralph Ellison's short story, "Cadillac Flambe?" Yeah, I named my blog after that.

Datsun Flambe is my weekly chronicle of my writing grind. Journey with me as I write these novels, short stories, humor pieces and whatever else I'm writing. Whatever part of the struggle that is fascinating and perplexing me during the week is what I'm posting about.

Blog is updated at least once a week.

As always, I maintain a list of published stories and the like on the right-hand side of this site. Consider browsing them. They get lonely. Show them love.

Want pictures and videos and other stuff like that? Check out my Tumblr: Forgotten Tunnel TV and consider following.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Editing Specter Magazine's Hip Hop Issue





Specter Magazine is a force for good in the world. They published my story "A Friendly Game" and my short short, "Wolf Stories we Told That May Not be True" and then they interviewed me.

Now, I'm editing their upcoming hip-hop issue. Submit! Submit! Here are the details from the site:

Special Issue: Hip-Hop



There's no backstory as to why we've decided to focus on Hip-Hop. No narrative to share, no personal enlightenment to explain. I love hip-hop; I love literature: I want to see my two creative joys intersect here at Specter Magazine.


Submissions for Specter's first theme issue, The Hip-Hop Issue, are now open. We're looking for fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and art/photography which embodies a hip-hop aesthetic.


The Hip-Hop issue is scheduled for a June 4th, 2012 release (subject to change).


Submissions will be selected by guest editor Rion Amilcar Scott, who appeared in previous issues of Specter, including his Pushcart Prize nominated story, "A Friendly Game." Rion has contributed to PANK, Fiction International and Confrontation, among others. Raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, he earned an MFA at George Mason University and presently teaches English at Bowie State University.


I'm thrilled to have Rion on board to edit this issue. Hip-Hop has infiltrated almost every part of the globe, from music (obviously) to dance to fashion to--now--literature.


mensah demary
editor-in-chief

The deadline is April 30th. Submit here.