Life During Wartime at The Flash Fiction Offensive

This was my brutal bullying story for the Noir at the Bar: Trump edition on 11/6/2016. It’s pretty brutal but nothing different than what I experienced as a student. With Pence in power, it may become a reality. He is pro “gay conversion therapy,” where sometimes half the kids forced into them commit suicide. He wants to roll back protections for LGBTQ citizens. And kids have reported being taunted about “getting deported” whether they are legal or not, once Trump is in power, so this is no fantasy.


Read it at The Flash Fiction Offensive. Thanks to editor Tom Pitts for the quick publication.


Orson Scott Card and Superman

I was going to post about food today, but this is too good not to re-blog and share. From author Ed Kurtz.

Orson Scott Card and Superman.

Christa Faust: Double D Double Cross

How can you not love a title like that? Especially if you dig classic pulp.

We immediately know the character. She’s butch, but she’s a fatale. She is a dyke, and she is a (private) dick. And there will be plot twists with twists who sport hefty hardware. I’m a sucker for alliteration, and it takes a cunning linguist to come up with a title like that. Ms. Faust takes the spirit of that cheeky title along for the full monty, dishing up a great read with lusty shenanigans, sharp humor, and a classic noir sensibility.

Butch is an ex-cop turned shamus, who hangs her shingle in Echo Park. An old flame drops by and she is nearly caught in flagrant delicto (well, she’s licking something, but it’s not her toe) when a client knocks on her door. It’s Mickey, a line cook at a top restaurant, who hires Butch to find her missing girlfriend. From there, the story bounces along through back alley Los Angeles, Armenian gang wars, high priced escort services, and sleazy politicians- everything you’d expect from a classic P.I. story that doesn’t just tease the tropes of the genre but delivers a rogue’s gallery of endearing characters with lives of their own. It’s a thrilling and campy caper that I truly enjoyed. The story plays your heartstrings, funny bone and gets your thumbs flicking pages faster than Butch’s tongue on a Pinkberry… smoothie. Did I mention that it’s also hotter than hell? Butch beds more broads than Bond on a Viagra bender.

I enjoyed Christa Faust‘s excellent novel (CHOKE HOLD), so I jumped on this e-book original like Butch Fatale on a busty femme. If you like your capers campy and your noir down and dirty, this read is for you. available for Nook.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck

Interview and Thank Yous

First off, pulp master, wester-writin’ workhorse and all-around stand-up guy David Cranmer – editor of Beat to a Pulp and author and creator of the Cash Laramie & Gideon Miles franchise- as it is quickly becoming- invited me to answer a few questions down at the U.S. Marshal’s office. I took a shot of Maryland Rye and told him some tales… I’m no rat, but that ornery cuss is generous with his .45 Colt, and I wanted to walk out of there, so here’s the malarkey I spouted:

7 Questions, at The Education of a Pulp Writer

And I have a story up at Pulp Metal Magazine called “Gunplay.” It’s kinky and weird and I have a sick sense of humor…

I’d like to thank a few writers and bloggers for their reviews this week:

Katherine Tomlinson of Kattomic and NohoNoir, used my 100 word story “Faggot” as an example of how to write very short fiction that still tells a powerful story. “if you haven’t read it, you need to. In fewer than 100 words, he’ll take your breath away.” Thank you, Katherine… it was tough to write, and I’m glad my my punch connected!

Chris Rhatigan of Death by Killing and All Due Respect also reviewed “Faggot” on the very cool Short Story 365 project, where you read a short story every day and write a short review of it. “If you’re not reading Thomas Pluck yet, you should change that.” Thanks, Chris!

and Johnny Shaw, author of Dove Season, also chimed in at SS365 about “Little Sister” in the Lost Children Anthology, saying “If you don’t know who Thomas Pluck is, you will soon enough. His short fiction is all over the internet and he combines jabs of clever humor with full-impact gut shots.”

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

A short sharp anti-bullying piece

My story “Faggot” was written for Chuck Wendig’s 100 word anti-bullying challenge a few months back. It’s now up at Shotgun Honey, and if you leave a comment with your thoughts, or experiences with bullying, I will donate $5 for each comment to It Gets Better to support anti-bullying campaigns and gay teen suicide prevention.

You Can Donate Too.

It is not an excerpt from my novel in progress, but involves two characters- Brendan and Joey Bello, and is written from the bully’s perspective.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Captain Purple vs. the Guido Bullies of Nutley

Yesterday people wore purple to support LGBT teens, and fight bullying. I don’t have a lot of purple since when I was really fat it made me look like Grimace, so I wore my LSU rugby shirt- their colors are purple and gold. I look like the purple Michelin Man instead. Let’s go back in time to the ’70s, and let me lay a story on ya. We like to think that things are constantly getting more progressive or morally bankrupt, depending on what TV news you watch. But we’ve gotten consistently more conservative, easily offended, and prudish if you ask me. Sure, we didn’t see “wardrobe malfunctions” on TV back then… it was called streaking, and people laughed about it. We didn’t freak out.

When I was a kid we watched the Osmonds. Things were so permissive back then that we let Mormons on television. The Osmonds are about as boring as you can imagine, and the only thing I liked was when Donny would do wear a ridiculous sparkling superhero costume and pompadour, and declare that he was “Captain Purple.” Somewhere between the period when I wanted to be The Hulk (documented here) and when I wanted to be B.J. and the Bear (mentioned last week) I decided that I wanted to be Captain Purple. Thankfully this was not near Halloween, so I don’t have any photos of my little round-bellied self in sparkly purple tights. If I did, I’d share them. Why? Because I dressed in a lot more embarrassing Halloween costumes as a kid, and I never got bullied over them. The country was simply not as religious, conservative or homophobic back in the ’70s as it is post-Reagan and post-W. We were not innocent. No one in their right mind can look at The Village People and tell me that we did not know they were gayer than a bouquet of dicks.

When I was a kid, it was funny to dress as a girl. One kid went to school with two Nerf footballs for boobs under a t-shirt, with a big white wig, as Dolly Parton. He was later asked to remove the boobs, but slipped them back in when we filed out for the Halloween parade. That year I was dressed as Agatha Crumm, an old grouch from the comic strips that I used to think was funny for some reason. It also helped that I lived with near my grandmother, and could grab a bunch of her old clothes instead of buying a costume. Later costumes included a ghost that looked way too much like a Klansman now that I think about it, and the Grim Reaper. Walking home from the high school Halloween party dressed as the Reaper, and using a payphone, almost caused a car accident as the teens burst into laughter. “Death is calling!!”

I wanted to grow up to be a Hulk.

So yeah, I dressed as an old lady for Halloween. No one called me a fag or beat me up. I remember the first time I heard the word “gay” was probably in 3rd grade, as we waited to file in for home room. An older kid was trying to trick me into saying “I’m gay.” I could tell he was being cruel, so I said “I’m happy, but I’m not gay.” This was when “gay” was still used as a synonym for that. Then I asked my mom what he meant and she probably made up some shit, because I didn’t learn what it meant until middle school, where the real bullying begins. I grew up with a friend or two who were most certainly gay, and I remember one older kid throwing his hat in the creek. But he was never called a faggot, or anything like it, when anyone else was around. I’m sure he was bullied- we all were- by the shit heads of Nutley high school, Guido capital of the eastern seaboard.

Luckily I didn’t grow up to be a prison inmate.

I was mostly safe because by the time high school came around I was wearing shredded Army fatigues, Dead Kennedys t-shirts, sporting a humongous Italian afro and carrying a Nepalese kukri in my bookbag. I slowly lost the punk look as college approached and switched to a trench coat, Pre-Columbine, waiting to happen. There was a little guido midget who kept wanting to fight on “Church Hill” but he never showed. But then, one day I was unarmed and three coked up guido douchebags jumped me outside my house- apparently because I didn’t get their basketball as it bounced past me one day in gym class. It was utterly idiotic, but this is how wars are started. They jumped me outside my house, sucker punched me in the nose and ganged up as I strangled the living shit out the first one who hit me, flying into my patented Hulk rage. I went to the cops, but nothing came of it. Later, one died of a heroin overdose, another one stole his mother’s car to sell for drugs, and the main jerk-off flipped his Monte Carle and cracked his skull, but survived. Later he apologized to me, years later. I can’t even remember his name anymore. Now that I do mixed martial arts, I’d love to tell him that his jab sucked.

If I met High School Me today, I’d probably beat him up too…

What spurred this post was an article about parents freaking out because their sons want to dress as a princess, or their daughters are tomboys. Kids do stupid shit as we try to figure out what we want to be. I wanted to be a garbage man, and sometimes I still yearn for the simplicity of crushing stuff in a garbage truck. I think it is monumentally more important that you worry about raising your kid to be an asshole more than if your kid wants to wear a tutu and pretend to be Princess Headbutt or if Daddy’s little girl wants to wear combat boots and watch monster trucks. Getting bullied doesn’t build character- if you think it does, you have no character- but choosing to be yourself, despite the booger-flings and spitballs of outrageous douchebags, does build character. Don’t be the rock that crushes the spirit of your children. That’s the job of school and the workplace.

The fallen caryatid carrying her stone, by Rodin.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Some clown sent me brownies!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll hear me rave about the hilarious, touching, eye-opening blog of André du Broc, Too Many Cookies. Go read it now. Come back if you aren’t crying, laughing, and ravenous from reading how he’s baking all 175 cookies from Martha Stewart’s cookbook, and regaling us with tales of his life in theater while doing it. It’s one of my favorite blogs, and I follow over a hundred.

I met André through Firecracker’s sister, who is a stage director. André himself has been everything from a clown in Ringling Brothers circus to a short order cook. We met over drinks at Bill’s Gay Nineties, a theater folk bar in NYC when he was in town. He is an ebullient, witty fellow with a dash of sarcasm. There he told us that he was participating in an AIDS charity walk, and if he made over $3,000 he was going to bake all 175 cookie recipes from Martha’s book. Of course, the donations rolled in from friends all over who like cookies. And who doesn’t like cookies? Besides Newt Gingrich. So we donated, and so many others did that he raised $4500 for the cause. And he got to baking.

His friends, co-workers and family got so inundated with decadent treats that he now asks people to mail him cookie containers- and I suggest you slip in a tenspot or double sawbuck to cover shipping and ingredient costs- and he’ll mail you back a gift of delicious, fattening treats. Because Firecracker loves peanut butter and chocolate so much that if the Reese’s had not existed, she would have invented it, he sent us peanut butter swirl brownies. They are amazing. Especially when you heat them and put ice cream on them, but even plain, they are a rich, chocolatey haymaker punch to the palate that makes you want to collapse into a bean bag chair and moan like a pregnant walrus.

So, go read André’s blog. You’ll get to read about naked midget clowns getting electrocuted, among many other things. Here’s the link again if you’re too lazy to scroll up:
Too Many Cookies

© 2010 Tommy Salami