Forbidden Fruits: “Gluttony” by Cam Hayden

Forbidden Fruit Promo

BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

With the release of Forbidden Fruit, the second (or sixth, depending your reckoning) instalment in our Purgatorio anthology series, we are inviting our fabulous contributors between the flames to get their hot, gluttonous take on their story and the book and life in general, such that it is in these end days.

Today we welcome Cam Hayden, artist and author of “Gluttony”, a graphic tale of a little old woman with some serious and pressing issues. Cam, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Cam: I’m pretty tall, probably like 7 feet or so, and super ripped, like totally shredded, most people when they see me are like, “woah! That dude can’t keep shirts on his body because they get all cut up on contact!”

TST: Alright, forty words but we’ll let that slip – this time! Let’s get right to the oozing meat of it. What does gluttony mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive consumption found in this unwholesome volume?

Cam: Well, right now I’d say gluttony is kind of a survival mechanism. I’m living in this place with 29 other dudes, all competing for the affections of one lady. There’s only so much food to go around so at night I’ve been sneaking into the kitchen and just going to town on everything I can get my hands on. I need to keep my strength up because I never know what I’m going to be doing the next day. Could be wrestling orangutans, could be doing flips, could be seeing who can dig the biggest hole in 15 minutes. Any food I can get in me instead of those other guys, that could be the edge I need. Our task last week was to submit a comic to a prose anthology. Those other chumps were too weak to come up with anything.

TST: That’s one lucky lady, right Lola? And we agree about the other chumps. Tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly…with anything.

Cam: Back in the day, I was in a prog rock band and ate 7 peregrine falcons, including beaks and feet. Normally I’d only eat 2 but we kept getting encores. Man, they loved us in Red Deer! I even had to abstain from the groupies that night because I kept burping up those little hoods. It was embarrassing. I played it off like it was funny but it really upset me.

TST: Red Deer is the cat’s pyjamas – smells like a serious road trip – beaks and feet and donuts. Which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Cam: Maybe the maggots.

TST: Never enough maggots. That makes me want to tell our maggot story. No? Fine, you win this time… So Cam, tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Cam: Sometimes while my chef is mashing my taters I make my butler do improv with me. Does that count?

TST: Yes, definitely. Also, taters, mmm. What would you do if you swallowed a fly? And what’s the largest land mammal you think you could cram down your throat?

Cam: I swallow flies all the time, it sort of comes with the territory where I’m living. I was also having trouble sleeping so I went to one of those sleep clinics where they videotape you tossing and turning all night. As it happens, the reason I kept waking up was because my nose and mouth would fill up with the little buggers. It was like there was an after hours club for flies inside my yap. It turns out the reason was because of all the tubs of honey I’d been chugging while the other dudes were working out or whatever. Largest animal: peregrine falcon. No wait, that’s not a mammal. Let’s see… ok, one time I shotgunned an orange crush but I didn’t realize that due to some mishap at the plant, a skinny pig had gotten into the can.

TST: Sounds like you need to work your way up to a camel or possibly a hippo, but a skinny pig is a good intermediate step.

Thanks Cam! And don’t forget to check out the book – Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks you might find stray books.


About the Artist:

Cam Hayden draws strange comics, cartoons, makes odd prints and things like that. A lot of his inspiration comes from underground comic folks and an early exposure to Mad Magazine and National Lampoon. He also makes goofy trading cards.

Find Cam online on Twitter at @Lancegoiter or at www.patreon.com/lancegoiter.

Forbidden Fruits: “Naked Samantha” by Eddie Generous

Forbidden Fruit Promo

BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

With the release of Forbidden Fruit, the second (or sixth, depending your reckoning) instalment in our Purgatorio anthology series, we are inviting our fabulous contributors between the flames to get their hot, gluttonous take on their story and the book and life in general, such that it is in these end days.

Today we welcome Eddie Generous, author of “Naked Samantha”, a story about uh, hmm, poker? and one I suspect you never thought you’d get published. Eddie, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Eddie: I’m currently a bit sweaty, and bloated from ice cream (non-dairy, I’m suddenly allergic to everything, happened the moment I outlived Jesus Christ). I’m fond of cats.

TST: Alright! With that out of the way let’s get right to the oozing meat of it. What does gluttony mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive consumption found in this unwholesome volume?

Eddie: Gluttony, I guess, is crossing a line from consumption to criminal consumption. Probably it’s usually okay, I mean, the world’s on fire and conservative politicians want everyone miserable before they burn. So, indulge. How gluttony plays in this story…ignore what I just said; don’t indulge in that, you perverts. Some carnal urges need to be ignored…then again, sometimes it’s fun to watch things play out when there’s a secret on the horizon, an ace up the sleeve.

TST: Tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly…with anything.

Eddie: When I was fourteen, I drank thirty-three beers in one night and was sick for a whole week, but I had to go to school. Not like anybody was going to let me stay home for a hangover. Also, I split one of the beers with a donkey not long before I passed out in the field where we were drinking.

TST: Which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Eddie: From this story, I guess the Starbucks employee? Otherwise, I don’t know. Not too many options and Samantha kind of steals the show, so it might be like rewriting this same story all over again if she reappeared.

TST: Tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Eddie: I’m a good cook, if you’re into low-brow offerings. I’m not excited about cooking, but I know what something’s going to taste like if I make it, so I tend to do my share of the suppers around my house.

TST: In your view, how likely is it that the barista who smiles as she takes down the complicated instructions for my mochafrappishitino would murder me in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself? And in your view, would I deserve it? Also, five card stud or Texas hold’em?

Eddie: Baristas seemed unhinged at the best of times. I guess they weed out people who would thrive in other environments and take what’s left over. I guess the real question that would answer your question is: did you tip? Texas hold’em, I guess. I don’t know much about cards or gambling or convening with enough humans to facilitate a game; not these days.

TST: What’s next for you? Any forthcoming releases, hatchings, or germinations we should be on the lookout for? 

Eddie: I have a new novel on the way in September titled HETTY and, and in August or September I have a novella coming titled IT CAME FROM SPACE, and I have a handful of shorts on contract that’ll trickle into the world in the next however long, but mostly, if people want more of me, they should grab a copy of THE WALKING SON. It’s the story of a curse, a road trip, and some very old coins, plus ghosts and body horror. People, so far, really seem to like it.

TST: Thanks Eddie! And don’t forget to check out the book – Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks you might find stray books.


About the Author:

Eddie Generous has fallen off three different roofs and been lit on fire on multiple occasions. He grew up on a farm and later slept with his shoes under his pillows in homeless shelters. He dropped out of high school to afford rent on a room at a crummy boarding house, but eventually graduated from a mediocre college. He is the author of several small press books, has 2.8 rescue cats (one needed a leg amputation), is a podcast host, and lives on the Pacific Coast of Canada.

You can find Eddie online at www.jiffypopandhorror.com

Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez

Queer fiction has long led the charge of stories with big ideas that challenge, terrify, and thrill, and this novel exemplifies those qualities. In near-future Toronto, devastating floods stoke the fear and hatred of the privileged, giving rise to a powerful civilian militia with a mission to eradicate immigrants, queer folks, poor folks, and anyone deemed to be other. This dark wave spreads unchecked across the country, until a black drag queen, transgender refugee, and a former social worker are recruited into a resistance movement that might be their last hope.

This is story driven by indelible characters, complex and non-conforming, without a single archetype to be found among them. With no molds from which to cast, Hernandez has accomplished something remarkable in creating wholly realized unique individuals. There is no saviour, no plucky sidekick, no sage. Evil is an utterly banal presence in the narrative, taking the form of politicians, angry suburbanites, and “concerned citizens”. It’s scary as hell because Crosshairs is our world exaggerated, but only a little, and some days not at all. Prepare to confront your biases in this unflinching novel where humanity shines in all its beautiful, messy, resilient diversity.

4/5

Detonation #19: This is Not Censorship

Navigating Life in a Literary Minefield

On March 2, 2021 six Dr. Seuss titles, published between 1937-1975, were pulled from publication by Dr. Seuss Enterprises due to portrayals of people deemed to be “hurtful and wrong” aka racist as hell. The most recent title being a Cat in the Hat companion piece called The Cat’s Quizzer. I’ll save you the math, that’s 46 years ago, and my point is:

A) These are old-ass books

B) You’ve probably never heard of them

But holy shit! Folks get wind that a few obscure books are going away and suddenly it’s Fahrenheit 45-fucking-1. Even more wild is that there’s virtually no disagreement over whether these depictions are racist or not. They totally are, and some of us just really want to show them to our babies. White nostalgia vs. institutionalized racism isn’t a problem I’m going to solve with a few paragraphs and a bunch of swear words, but fuuuuck me side-saddle…

Instead, let’s take a minute to talk about censorship.

Books go out of print. All. The. Time. That’s right ducklings, most books will eventually be lost to the shifting dunes of the cultural desert, with the lucky ones growing spores in a used bookstore somewhere. Why does this happen? The details may differ but it all funnels down to the same reason: no demand. Modern readers have little appetite for the vast majority of what was written decades ago, even if it’s not explicitly racist. With zillions of books flooding the market every goddamn day, their lifecycle is shorter than ever. A midlist book published just five years ago has even odds of being out of print today.

So, if you were hoping to pick up a copy of the 2015 zipper-ripper Donkey Dick Dan’s Billionaire Bride – brand new, without half the pages stuck together – you’re likely out of luck. It’s not banned. It’s just that no one wanted the thing.

Here’s the straight dope. Declining to publish is not censorship. Declining to be published is not censorship. Those with rights to the work get to decide where it does or does not appear. Libraries get to curate what they do and don’t want in their collections. Bookstores get to decide what they will and won’t sell. This is not political correctness on ‘roids. Equating loss of platform with muzzling, cancelling, and attempting to sanitize history is fallacious. We’re smarter than that. Pulling a few Dr. Seuss titles most people didn’t know existed until a few days ago is NOT censorship.

Censorship is government suppression of free expression, and this is not that.

And I get it, y’all love Dr. Seuss and want his wonderful books available to your children and their children and on and on. I do too. And great news! As long as there’s demand, they will be! What the frothing mob screaming about book burning and other nonsense doesn’t seem to get is that Dr. Seuss Enterprises made this decision to protect Seuss and his legacy of delighting children for generations. Instead of, y’know, risking the cancellation of his life’s work because they continued to publish racist imagery and just, like, hoped that people would tell their kids that shit’s not cool anymore.

Why not read your kids some books that portray different colors, and cultures, and identities, and abilities with nuance and compassion rather than lazy ignorant stereotypes? There’s great stuff out there and this is just a short list. Check it out, then if you’re still hungry, you can have your Green Eggs and Ham.

2020: The Year We All Walked Through Fire


L: NOGGY!!!
N: Jesus, Lola…what?
L: It’s January 11, 2021.
N: Congratulations, you learned to read a calendar. Next, you’re going tell me it’s 6:43 p.m.
L: Shut up, I just meant eleven days is enough time to get some perspective on the most remarkable year in living memory.
N: Hate to break it to you, Silkysocks but I don’t even remember what happened last week.
L: Put the bottle down and let’s do this.
N: Fine, but let the record show I am aggrieved. Are we even allowed to talk about this stuff? People might get mad.
L: For that to happen they’d have to read our blog.
N: Which no one has. Ever.
L: So, let’s warm up with the good. We had two whole months that weren’t a pandemic.

The Good

  • Launched End of the Loop and Starseed by getting drunk on something blue called Sex in (on?) the Driveway and presenting the first and possibly last episode of Between Two Flames over Zoom. Poor Guy…
  • Attended Wordbridge in Little LA and got lost in a blizzard tryin’ to find Arby’s.
  • Celebrated Noggy’s b-day sucking the cream out of a bunch of cannoli.
  • Summer road trip to BC. Noggy, Lola, and Particle Man, running through the mountains, angering the gods, and capping it off riding Sturgeons in Revelstoke for Lola’s Birthday.
  • Bloody Offensive Literary Salon. A real boner of a good time.
  • Neither of us got fired/arrested/strip-searched or investigated for crimes against the living or dead. Or god(s).
  • Crashed a wedding. That sooo needed crashing.
  • Attended 80’s themed book launch in the most disgusting dive in the city on the coldest day in twenty years. Noggy really took a shine to his red metallic leggings. Cash bar. Bathrooms physically residing in Hell. But hey, great band!
  • Noggy & Lola’s alter egos saw their very first co-written story, about Grandpa’s freezer meat, purchased for actual money, and published in an actual book called Chew on This!
  • Road trip to Taber, complete with lunch at the Mexican-Ukrainian fusion restaurant and Lola desecrating Noggy’s grandfather’s grave (details redacted, but there were haunted soul holes and spiders. And owls.).
  • Wrote an epic poem for Particle Man’s birthday “The Many Deaths of Particle Man.”
  • Taylor Swift released two new amazing records!
  • Exotic cocktails with the Secret Saturday Night Quarantine Society.
  • Working from home.
  • First name basis at local liquor stores.
  • Picnics.
  • Full moon runs.
  • Jaja Ding Dong.

The Bad

  • Lola dropped her phone down a mountain trying to take a picture of a goat.
  • Virtual events. They suck. Good Merciful Gary, do they suck. Even ours. Especially ours.
  • Writer podcasts that are 1hr+ of aimless, unedited yammering – but we listened anyways, cause.
  • All races, literary events, festivals, and conventions cancelled. Although this is probably why we didn’t get fired or arrested.
  • Everyone deciding they need to get some fucking fresh air, dawdling about in enormous groups clogging entire paths.
  • Doing the summer scavenger hunt and Lola having to be nice to the path cloggers.
  • Doing the summer scavenger hunt and Noggy forbidding Lola from sticking her hiking pole in some idiot cyclist’s spokes.
  • Noggy forced to listen repeatedly to two new Taylor Swift records.
  • Perturbed skunks on a full moon run.
  • Sunday mornings.
  • Trying to work from home with your entire family up your ass.
  • Lola’s number one Spotify song: Jaja Ding Dong.

The Ugly

  • This is eerily mostly the same list as The Good.
  • Actually missing open mic poetry about rocks and streams and dead parents.
  • Noggy projectile vomiting 65km into our 80km self-directed urban ultra-marathon. That bush is dead now, the city bench melted. They should really replace the memorial plaque.
  • Lola setting her hair on fire doing witchcraft.
  • Running 420km in December + Eggnog + Herring Rollmops.
  • Homeschooling six (6) gremlins.
  • 11 p.m. Particle Man ukulele singalongs (the other hotel guests loved it).
  • The mall. Any malls. All malls.
  • IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH!

Bonus List: The Weird

  • Running at dusk and finding ourselves, no shit, surrounded by beavers.
  • Approached by an elfin teenaged boy after dark and offered a cookie.
  • Along the river finding many, many elaborate dwellings constructed from deadfall.
  • Elementals chasing us off Mount Okanagan.
  • Repeated sex dreams about all our friends.
  • The metallic pants, again. Noggy can’t get enough.
  • Onesies.
  • Lola’s cover girl debut…as a corpse.
  • And, as always, the weird wonderful constant in this topsy turvy world: Arby’s

In closing, there’s a lot more we could have added, but Legal has advised us to quit while we’re not in contravention of any number of municipal bylaws or provincial health orders. Suffice it to say, it’s been a trip. From the looks of it, 2021 is already asking 2020 to hold her beer, and you know what? We can’t wait.

Detonation #18: Living at Ludicrous Speed

Navigating Life in a Literary Minefield

Typically we use this space to yell at idiots, and rarely exclude ourselves from that classification. Today is no exception, except we’re excluding all of you. Feel free to self-include in this public castigation, but today we’ll largely direct our vitriol inward.

Forward thinking is good, mostly. You don’t want to see your best days trailing behind you, winking out like ancient stars. That’s never been my style. I’ve got my eye on the road ahead, on what dreams may come, and mostly it’s served me well. I guess because the alternative makes me sad to the point of illness. People who are like, “Ugh, 2020 is the shittiest year ever!” bother me, because you know they said the same thing about 2019, 2018, 2017, and so on. For that person, no matter what year it is, it’s shit. Every day is the worst day of their fucking life, and I don’t even wanna speculate what that must feel like.

I can be cynical when it comes to human nature, but when it comes to the arc of my own existence I am an incorrigible optimist. Believe me, no one is more surprised than I am. Single days may vary in degree of suckage, but over time I believe each year will be better than the last and you know what? I haven’t been wrong yet. I went through a dark period in my thirties when I had young children and no personal identity outside of Chief Juice Pouring Technician, but even at my lowest point, I never wished to go back to some better time in the past. The future is unwritten, you know? You can fill it with all the good exciting stuff you want and so long as it remains in the future you can’t rule it out. It’s how I’ve learned to thrive in high stress environments, to keep cool in the cut, to be happy when there is objectively little to be happy about — because there is always something to look forward to.

And in this way, by rolling at a breakneck pace towards that brilliant light on the horizon, I cheat myself out of taking pleasure in where I’ve been and where I am.

A case study: Lola and Noggy are not ambitious in the traditional sense. They aren’t type A. They aren’t climbers out to prove how much better they are than anyone else. They’re more like those annoying kids that won’t sit still at carpet time. Most of the time they’re barely aware there IS anyone else. They’re just…busy.

Lola: I see you’ve made a spreadsheet of all our projects and tasks for the next few months.

Noggy: Launch two books, finish our novel drafts, edit forthcoming publishing projects, and make more spreadsheets. Think we can handle it?

Lola: What’s the worst that could happen?

Noggy: We’ve spent the length of a pregnancy working on these two new releases for The Seventh Terrace, it’s so cool to see them birthed out into the world.

Lola: That was yesterday, Nog. We got drunk on zoom, ensured both authors will never work with us again, what’s next?

Noggy: NaNoWriMo!

Lola: Wow, did we really just launch two books and do NaNo?

Noggy: That was yesterday Silkysocks, shouldn’t you be editing our next book for TST?

Lola: And then we have to work on that new Purgatorio book

Noggy: And then we’re going to run every single day in December

Lola: And then I’m going to get back to my novel

Noggy: And we have the winter running scavenger hunt

Lola: And then we should co-write another story, and it’ll be race season again!

Noggy: And then I’ll make more spreadsheets!

And then

And then

And then…

If you ever wanted to see goblins on Adderall, this is it. These two are fucking exhausting, and the problem becomes evident.

There’s nothing wrong with having goals and a plan for the future, but at a certain point I find I’m moving too fast to take any real satisfaction in what I’ve accomplished. Maybe I’m even more afraid of getting stuck in the present than I am in the past.

I don’t do resolutions, but this is more about evolution. I still believe my best days are ahead of me, but I’d like to develop the skill of being still, to lose the fear of losing momentum, to hang out unhurried, look back and be like “Wow, we really did some cool shit, didn’t we?”