Wanz: The "F-ing Awesome" Singer in 'Thrift Shop' Publishes #THEBOOKOFWANZ

Wanz: The "F-ing Awesome" Singer in 'Thrift Shop' Publishes #THEBOOKOFWANZ

Wanz: The “F-ing Awesome’ Singer in ‘Thrift Shop’ Publishes #TheBookOfWanz in Seattle

The longtime Seattle musician caught the tail of a comet in 2012 after being asked to sing the hook on Macklemore’s now iconic song “Thrift Shop” and held on for dear life, riding it to worldwide success, millions of views on YouTube, and even a Grammy! Performing since age 6, he has re-invented himself more than a few times over the course of the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s while waiting for his dream of becoming a star to come true. His performances include appearances on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (2013), and festivals such as South by Southwest and Bonnaroo in the US, the Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK, Hurricane and Southside festivals in Germany, and many others around the world. Now, after that magical ride, ‘Wanz’ shares the thoughts and pseudo-philosophical musings he tweeted while on the road between 2012–2015 in his first literary effort, #TheBookOfWanz.

The Adderall Empire - Little Free Library - Seattle

There is one copy of "The Adderall Empire" in the "Little Free Library!" First one there gets first dibs! Located:

2379 Eastlake Ave E Seattle, WA


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Edmonds Bookshop Book Signing for The Adderall Empire July 12

Author Event - Edmonds Bookshop - Book Signing Saturday July 12, 12 pm (Noon)

The Adderall Empire: A Life With ADHD and the Millennials' Drug of Choice

By Andrew K. Smith





Edmonds Bookshop

111 5th Avenue South

Edmonds, Wa 98020





The Adderall Empire Book Signing at Third Place Books July 10th

Author Event - Third Place Books - Third Commons Stage  Thursday July 10, 7 - 8 pm

The Adderall Empire: A Life With ADHD and the Millennials' Drug of Choice By Andrew K. Smith



third_books_march_2013 Address: Third Place Books 17171 Bothell Way NE Lake Forest Park WA 98115

The Beautiful Talkers

The Beautiful Talkers

By, Andrew K. Smith

Jay and his wife Tara Palmer are happily married. Jay is an upbeat professional auctioneer downtown Seattle, Washington and he specialize in antiques. Tara also works in Seattle as a paralegal at Cohen P.L.L.C., while battling Gastroparesis, an abnormal burping disorder, where she burps upwards to 300 times a day. Anyhow they both constantly wake up and get that coffee buzz and then hop into a cannon infused with coffee and this propels them into the forever. In a lot of ways coffee is a placebo for their confidence that they use to tackle the briskly wet climate of the northwest.

The Palmers were very much in touch with their only child Sandy Palmer. Sandy is about to be a senior at Washington State University where he studies creative writing in the English department. Sandy has himself a girlfriend Hailey Hampshire, who is a junior currently studying business wine management. Summer went by at lighting speed and it was time for the Jay and Tara to drop off Sandy and Hailey at school for the upcoming fall semester. (Jay, Tara, Sandy, and Hailey. Okay, that’s 4 in 2 paragraphs. Let’s keep it simple, yo.)

In the morning the Palmer’s went to go pick up Hailey at the Hampshire residence. When they pulled in the driveway. Jay soared out of the brand new 2013 Land Rover to help Hailey with her bags.

“Hey,” Sandy screeched to Hailey. Then he grabbed her and picked her all the way up off the ground, smothering her with some love.

“Senior year is here. You know what you need, Sandy? You need to meet a nice girl,” said Hailey. But she is a girl. I don’t get it.

“A nice girl? Shit, I wouldn’t even know what to say to a nice girl at this point.”

Jay being the hyper auctioneer that he is, popped his head out of the sunroof, “Well, seeing as you’re about ten seconds away from sitting down in a long car ride with one, you better figure something out.”

Sandy and Hailey shake their heads and start making out in the driveway. Hailey’s mother lets this go on for five seconds and then she says, “Alright enough you two. I think you made your point.” (I’m dense or slow, cuz I don’t get the point.)

After they finish packing the car they head out to Pullman in pursuit of the Palouse. During the car ride, right of the bat, Jay says, “I worry about technology and its affects on people building relationships using it.”

“Dad, come on now, how can you say that?”

“I thought love was all about the process of finding things out about each other? If so? Then wouldn’t finding things out in a quick manner ruin what it is really about?” Jay said to Sandy. Sandy pauses for a moment to regroup his thoughts.

“I think everyone falls in love at a different speed. Sure, maybe in the twentieth century people fall in love at faster speeds, but does that really make it any more dangerous?”

“I’m no Dr. Phil, but it seems to me that the relationships that fail, fail due to the fact that a couple learns about each other in such a quick manner through various portals consisting of the online world, texting, et cetera, and don’t spread out the learning about each other. Then there is eventually nothing else left to learn about their soul mate.”

Haily hears this and butts in, “Your saying the learning curve for learning about your soulmate has a peak?”

Jay says, “To an extent, yes, yes it does.”Jay turns to Tara,“What’re your thoughts on this?”

Tara thinks for a moment and says, “Today we have all different varieties of portals available to learn about somebody. These new portals are going to replace the old ones your dad and I used when we fell in love. Soon the post office will be replaced and the good old-fashioned letter and stamp will become extinct. We are using the postal service to send each other material things instead of communicating.”

“ You make a great point about the structure of communication changing honey,” says Jay. Then he keeps at this discussion, “Still I think the communication structure changing leaves out important things, such as looking someone in the eyes, and body language which are crucial communication techniques.”

Meanwhile Sandy is getting furious.

“Stop the car dad! Now!”

Jay pulls over on the side of the road on Interstate 5 and Sandy gets out of the car and screams! Then he knocks on the window of the driver’s side of the Range Rover.

“Get out dad!”

Jay gets out of the car and tries to get his son to calm down. All while Tara and Hailey are inside the car and Tara turns to Hailey and grabs her hand. Hailey says, “I still like to think what Sandy and I are doing is good and at the end of the day it’s going to be okay.”

Tara nods her head. “Hey. I think you and Sandy together are cute. Always.”

“Thanks,” says Hailey in a silent whisper.

“I’m just hoping you two don’t forget to reflect and savor the moments you two enjoy together,” muffles Tara. (It’s pretty dialogue intensive. Give us some stage direction. What’s going on outside. Wind, cars zooming by, stuff blowing on the road. Give us some texture in addition to the dialogue. Some description. Let the landscape do some thematic work.

Temporarily outside Sandy bangs on the hood, “Escaping anticipation and silence when I look at my phone has nothing to do with this,” he shouts. Then Jay rebuttles,

“Look I don’t think escaping those awkward moments with your partner by looking at your phone is what’s making those feelings so good and real. In fact I think its only making you farther away from an intimate stand point.”

Sandy groans and he starts to cry, but Jay doesn’t stop he keeps on pushing,

“You and Hailey moving from one portal to the next without realizing the possible long-term affects. Short term it may seem that what you’re doing is fine, but its not!”

“Urgggggh,” Sandy grunts.

Jay keeps on pushing it even farther now: “At the same time you’re using these technologies to write your way into Hailey’s heart, and that is what scares me. This kind of shit is what has lead to the high divorce rate situation; and is why using technology to pursue your lover is so dangerous. Sure you’re not married yet, but say you do get married. Then what?”

Do you want white space here?

Back in the Car Tara has moved to the rear seat and Hailey is leaning up against Tara with her head on her shoulder. Tara is comforting Hailey and then she says, “Look I want to say something else. I know I’m not your parents, but I hope you can ad least listen. I’m sure at one point or another you have thought to yourself, ‘time’s going by way too fast’ or ‘school’s going by so quickly.’ Well sweetie, that’s because it is, Sandy and you are moving from one portal to the next without realizing the possible long-term affects.”

Tara pauses for a moment letting the words marinate into Hailey’s skull.

“So, the next time you think to yourself that time’s going by way to fast, that’s because it is, so you should do something about it, so you don’t die as fast. We are sucking the oil out of the ground and burning it as fast as we can to get each other places as quickly as possible. I’m even a victim of doing this, we all do, even Jay. Is this living life to the fullest? I’ll let you decide my dear!”

Hailey unhooks from Tara’s warm body and stares deep into Tara’s eyes, almost as if she is time traveling on a magic carpet through the universe and back.

“We our doomed,” Hailey remarks to Tara.

Need more differentiation in your characters. They are blurring together a bit for me. They need to have different mannerisms (or mannerisms at all), different tonal qualities, and some slight references to what they look like, wear, whatever.

Then Tara begins to have a flashback to when she and Jay were at college together at Washington State University in the late 1970’s and how the first time they met was during a wicked blizzard. She remembered that she was stuck at the bottom of a hill and couldn’t get up to her apartment, so she called Sears for someone to come put some chains on her car. Jay was working that evening at Sears during the snowmaggedon of a blizzard, he headed to go find Tara. Tara remembers him pulling in, and hopping out of his Red Honda Prelude in his blue Sears uniform, beanie on his head, snow boots, and warm gloves. He kindly gave her his gloves to keep her precious little hands warm while he hooked up the chains on her car.

Tara snaps back to reality and looks at Hailey and she is looking down at her iPhone 4s, texting. She hears Jay and Sandy arguing outside and then tears start to droop slowly from her retinas seeping downward melting on the bottom of her cheeks. Tim passes before she opens the door to see what’s going on. Hailey looks up, puts her phone in her pocket and hurries outside too.

“Dad you can be a real jerk face,” Sandy says to his dad in a mad voice. Then he takes off down the side of the road running as fast as he can, as if he is running for his life like Forrest Gump. Hailey chases after Sandy, “wait up,” she yells from behind. Tara then grabs Jay’s hand as both of them face the open road and watch Sandy and Hailey run as if they’re running into the future.

Then Jay flashes to the when Sandy was born. He remembers being inside the hospital, right beside Tara, as she lay on the hospital bed rocking her newborn baby back and forth. Then Sandy come out of his transcendent flashback and turns towards his wife looking her in the eyes and kisses her on the lips while synonymously whispering,

“I love you Tara.” She smiles. They kiss again. She backs down off of his perched lips and looks back at him and smiles again. Then he helps her up onto the hood of the vehicle and then he hops up there and sits with her. They both sit there on the hood of the Ranger Rover and Hailey and Jay are out of their distance. Jay says, “They’ll be back soon enough.”

Jay and Tara are still sitting on the hood of the car when his phone vibrates.

Jay pulls his iPhone 4s out of his right pocket and see’s it’s a text from his mother, which is something his mother rarely does, “Hey, tell Sandy I’ll miss him. Grandma never got the chance to say goodbye to her grandson ;)” Jay looks up, looks to his right at Tara, then looks forward at the open road, then looks back at Tara, then looks down at the text from his mother, then looks up at the sky.

At any rate, Hailey and Sandy are in the woods making love under an evergreen tree near a creek. Birds are perched on the branches of the trees watching them as they coil together as a single unit. When they are done they get dressed and lay down on the uncomfortable bark that lies beneath the tree. Sandy’s arm is hooked around Hailey’s head and their legs are twisted together. Both of them are looking up at the birds, smiling with utter satisfaction. Then Sandy says, “People who aren’t in love can’t make love like we just did, don’t you think?”

“Couldn’t agree more with you. I know how you like it when I bite your ears. You know how I like it when you scratch my back slowly with your nails. We understand each other.”

“You’re right my dad may have a point, but we defy the odds.”

Back at the car Jay pulls out a phone of his left pocket and waves it at Tara.

“I managed to snag Jay’s phone while we were quarreling.”

Tara laughs and pulls a phone out of her back pocket.

“I snagged Hailey’s phone when she passed me to chase after Sandy.”

They both giggled loudly for almost a minute until Jay says,

“How about we hold onto these phones here and take off to Pullman and let Sandy and Hailey find their way there?”

“You think that’s hazing? Actually who cares? Let’s do it to it. Make them lovebirds go on a adventure together with no technology, just like we would’ve had to do in the old days when we got stranded somewhere.”

They both smiled at each other and hopped of the hood of the Rover and got inside. Jay looked at her, she nodded, and then he turned on the ignition and pulled back onto the Interstate for Pullman. (I’m doubting they’d abandon them out here without their phones. How far from the town?)

Back in the woods Hailey and Jay were laughing about how this whole argument even happened. Then Jay helped her up and they set out in search of the Rover. As they were walking he saw a tree and grabbed his keys and wrote on the tree, ‘Sandy and Hailey Forever with a picture of a heart’ and then both of them made out for a little bit. Then they continued on back to find the Rover.

When they finally did arrive back at the car they realized it was gone and Sandy freaked out and ran in circles and was pointing at the ground.

“It was right here? What the fuck? Are they playing games with us?”

“Hold on Jay, I got my phone,” she grabs for her pocket.

“Wait hold on, never mind I don’t,” then she starts freaking out too.

Both of them were scrambling with fear and then decided that there was nothing else to do but hitchhike to the next town and try to borrow someone’s cell phone along the way. Sandy and Hailey eventually found a ride from two frat brothers that were heading up for the fall semester as well, and offered to take them if they wanted a ride. Turns out the frat guy Nick who was the driver was a fast driver. He was driving a brand new, fresh off the lot, 2013 mustang convertible, and he so far averaging 90mph to 100mph on the roads. This allowed Hailey and Sandy to close in on Jay and Tara.

Eventually they saw them up ahead and Sandy pointed, “That’s my parents! Look!” Sandy rolled down the window in the back seat and flicked them off.

Jay and Tara see him flip them off and they giggled.

Anyhow, this age of life is one of the most unreal, profound, exhilarating experiences we can give way to. We begin to spark an upbeat feeling in our blood stream that connects with our heart and creates this oscillation of unattainable bliss. Then we gradually begin to free-fall into a trance that lasts enough to repeat it day after day. Pushing us forward into a transcendental empire of lavish romance that we time and time again suckle on. This is what we the people of the globe pursue and we miss judge the badness of it, because we spill into a pattern of what we think is right. We allow ourselves to peak inside each other’s thoughts and touch the ringing in our loins that creates bonds that last a lifetime. This narration feels sort of tagged on. I think Jay needs to say this, or one of the characters, anyway. But the narrator has heretofore been sort of out of the picture, not commenting much. Now it feels like a moral, or observations that are a bit forced.

Life is on a whole different wavelength in the 20th century, with tons of synthetic romance in the airwaves. We unintentionally seep words outside the skulls of each other forcing each other to mix with our surroundings. This is what makes people jiggle horizontally and diagonally against each other and touch the genius in each and every one of us.

Jay and Tara continued on the sunny pavement on the superhighway into the velvet dusk to a cracker box town where their love originated.

All love is mostly thoughts; during the honeymoon stage there is an abundance of thoughts and less when one’s married for years. Still being married one can draw on older thoughts, which have the same value as a series of young thoughts.

Then Jay says his last words like he always does, “Tara you’re a beautiful talker!”

She burped back.  (The burp should be integrated into her dialogue and not just resurface here. It’s been too long since it was mentioned in the first few paragraphs.)

Good connection to Carver—good initial draft with plenty to work on. You should study format with dialogue—you are doing some creative mid-line breaks/paragraphs.

I’d like more differentiation among your characters. This is one of the harder things to do but it pays great dividends down the road. You also will want to add natural (not overdone, but just enough) stage direction coming from your narrator. Last, and I’ll ask the class about this—I’m wondering if this narrative voice is the most appropriate for the story. See Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants to see what a very limited omniscient narrator looks like (you can find it full text online).

I like what you are doing here thematically, playing with the idea that technology has altered courtship and even levels of love. Like the portal notion.

To differentiate, you could have parents talk more about how they used to correspond (without technology).

Feminist Gangsters

Feminist Gangsters

By, Andrew K. Smith

One cinnamon haired women named Xana railed a couple of lines of cocaine in the back pantry of the coffeehouse through a 5-dollar bill from the tip jar—she heard someone pull up. In her pink-laced bra with matching panties, she rushed to the drive-thru window, and leaned over displaying her cleavage.

“Hey you!”

“Hey X-Rated, I’ll have a tall 12-ounce drip, and an eight ball please,” he smiled.

“Coming right up!” Xana Winked.

Xana grabbed six 20 dollars bills from the gentleman’s twitching fingers. She tucked the money in her panties and grabbed a small coin-sized baggy from under the counter, “labeled 3.5 grams” and tucked it in between the coffee-cup sleeve of the warm cup and handed it out the window to the client.

“Thanks, babe!” Xana wiggled her fingers as a goodbye jester.

He drove off in his car past the sign “Nixon’s Coffeehouse” and back onto the New York boulevards. Cars would come in waves to the corner coffeehouse to see the barista Xana, and everyone called her X-Rated. She was one of the top dope peddlers of the 10 women dealers in town. Her boss was Mercedes Summers, but her alias name was Mercedes meaning butterfly. The 10 Candy Women and their work were never done.

Mercedes was running a huge organized drug trafficking operation in the city of New York through coffeehouses and hair saloons. Every Sunday the sorority of girls would regroup at Mercedes chateau in the Hamptons, which matched the color of her product; pearl white. She counted the week’s yield and re-equipped the ladies with enough cocaine for the week. Mercedes had been very successful, it was no mom and pop enterprise, it was more of a cocaine monopoly, and men loved buying from the Candy Women, because guys thought maybe somehow sex would happen even if there was no way.

Mercedes was currently low on her cocaine innovatory. She annually smuggled her cocaine from the fields of Peru every six months. So she packed only a carry-on the next day, Monday, after the week’s take, and flew 1st class to Peru.

When she arrived in Peru the driver was waiting for her outside the airport in a beaten up, dirt-smeared. She wore a tan floppy sun hat, an orange sundress, and flip-flops. She threw her carry-on in the backseat and climbed abroad and they roared off down the road towards the jungle-covered peaks of the tropical rainforest town of Tingo Maria.

The view was majestic with dark greens that tarnished the landscape. A few million hectares of the land had been destroyed to harvest cocoa plants. The Jeep roared and bumped over potholes down the mildewed path deeper into the jungle. There were small deforested pockets, burned and scarred. Coca growers were sprinkled throughout the fields and the dry valley sun was torching the temples’ of both of them. It was a drug trafficker’s paradise, a wasteland of swelter; the community thrived off of coca. Mercedes reached in the back for her bag and pulled out a freshly rolled cigar, cut it, and plopped it in her mouth. She borrowed a lighter from the driver, bent down and cupped her hands, and lighted up.

They winded down the narrow paths toward the lethargic mundane town to meet the head honcho Mr. Taja Sosa, also known as, Simba. Mercedes loved to sample the product direct from the birthplace. She pulled out a bandanna and dabbed the sweat from the lines of her forehead, and moments later they pulled into Simba’s estate. He was a tall tan fellow, dressed in a tropical Hawaiian-esque t-shirt, with tortoise brown sunglasses, and he was holding a bottle of Pilsen Polar in his left hand. The driver stepped out of the gas-guzzler and opened the door for Mercedes. The smoke from her cigar was bellowing backward into the pours of her tan face. She shook hands with Simba.

“Hello, Mercedes, how you comin’?”

“Good to see you Simba. How was the harvest?”

“Ah’ll tell you in a minute.”

They sauntered together through the wooden brown front door of the property, down the hallway, and into the living room. There were four large hardwood tables with small mounds of cocaine piled on them that looked like miniature white volcanoes. Mercedes smiled and puffed on the cigar as they entered, she handed her hat to the driver who followed behind them, and he hooked it on a peg on the wall. Then he stood up against the wall and crossed his arms across his chest. Then Simba plucked a 100 Peruvian Nuevo Sol banknote from his front shirt pocket and rolled it up into a snug straw and handed it to her.

“Well, all right now?”

She grabbed it from his almost nine-inch fingernails with her left hand, bent down and stuck the tight rolled bill in her right nostril and sniffed with all her might. This triggered her head to hiccup backward. She cracked her neck and said, “Oof!” Paused for a moment.

“Yes sir.” She nodded in agreement and took another puff of the stogie.

Simba rubbed his hands tougher in excitement. “Ah was spectin’ to make a deal if you wood?

She nodded, “I’ll take 100 kilos.”

“Looka heah, ah needs 2.5 million, fur 100 kilos?”

“And the arrangements?”

“Ah’ll be down dis road uh little round dust dark ah reckon. We exchange dah cocoa.”

“Deal. My aircrew will be in touch.”

The driver uncrossed his arms and took the hat from the peg and handed it back to Mercedes and escorted her out of the living room, back down the hallway into the Jeep. They coasted back up the dusty motorways to her hotel and she kept puffing away on the stogie.

When she arrived at her hotel, she ashed the cigar outside, checked in and went straight to her hotel room and flopped onto the bed. She laid on the hard mattress and her mind was doing figure eights, and then her eyelids pressed homely together and she fell into a siesta.

Back in New York, X-Rated was high on cocaine running down side streets in panic with a backpack containing 2 bricks of cocaine. An undercover cop in a brown leather jacket was chasing after her with a 9mm handgun in his right hand. Both of them were running at full speed, moments later she put her right arm on the top of a fence and hoisted herself up and over the fence. She was sailing through the air, Adrenaline was rushing through her loins. Boom! She landed safely on the other side and sprinted as fast she could for the local Church.

Moments later she entered the front doors at the church and went straight to the bathroom into a stall, and opened her backpack and her finger stuck to cocaine like salty chips, and she throbbed it up to her nose and sniffed; it was like she was standing at the North Pole because she turned cold. Then she collapsed like a coke model and fell into the centerfold of death.

Operation Ivy: November 1, 1952

Operation Ivy: November 1, 1952

By, Andrew K. Smith

In the bar an engaged couple were sitting around talking—they talked about what they had done, what they aspired to accomplish in life. There was a large jukebox with two dials on each end and it played Johnny Cash. It sat behind the busy bar tender that was a rugged Marlboro Man-esque fellow.

Shelbi in her wiggly pencil skirt unsaddled the bar stool and stood on her hind legs, pulled her cinnamon-brunette hair back and bent over and kissed her man on his beer coated inner-tubed lips and journeyed towards the ladies room. He spat into the spittoon beneath the long wooden bar that had adhesive beer residue—and gripped his beer like he gripped World War II paranoia. He was surrounded by moneybag Americans on a laugh in the suburbs of the west coast.

His long legged soon to be bride arrived back from the bathroom excited and refreshed. She sat down and smiled at her husband. She looked around the bar watching with her birdy eyes—dangling her wine glass waiting for her fiancé to make her laugh, because he was smoothest when he had some liquid courage in his system.

Johnny wore a white short sleeve dress shirt with a black tie, tucked-in on the upper end of perfect—it could have been his veteran training to blame. The night always had come like a scream though in the pinhole of a town.

Shelbi looked down and adjusted her cleavage and partly listened to a few fragments on the large cabinet-looking radio about the hydrogen bomb. She looked up and gazed around with her now glassy eyes.

“What do you think about atomic energy weapons?” Said Shelbi.

“Well, damn me, I think it’s no good. Fer krissakes, have a drink!”

Johnny was tipsy and warm when he ordered another beer for himself and another for his better half.

“Do you really believe the hydrogen bomb is a good thing?” Johnny said.

“I think its pretty cool we can make one.”

“Still, what do you think we should do with it?”


“I always knew I loved you.”

She smiled at his shaved face. Johnny looked deeper into her gorgeous pupils and wondered about the hydrogen bomb and why Robert Oppenheimer created it—and the pacific war too. Then he looked down into his brew and frowned. Then he reached down and tightened the laces of his boots.

Shelbi clasped her hand on his shoulder and leaned her head atop her palms—and closed her eyes for a moment. Johnny straightened his back and grabbed her hand.

“Want to head home—maybe have some dessert?”

“Sure! That would be very gentlemanly of you.”

They sputter out the door in pursuit of some sweet defiance and a place to make-out. Except they only found one: they found the dampened sand of the Californian beach and plopped their sore butts down. Nobody was around. Johnny unlaced her skirt while she unhooked his pants. They aggressively peeled the rest of their clothes off and it was them two naked in their birth clothes. He had her in the missionary position. His hands were on her shoulders with the sand crunching through the gaps of their feet. Her soft skin made his hands tremble and her long legs were wide open and then he entered inside the moist space of her thighs.

He felt the gooey juices of her bearded clam and started to pump, her mouth opened, and the moans reverbed across the flattened sand. Johnny and Shelbi were glazed with beads of sweat that had stuck to the sand—it made their skin feel like sandpaper. They trembled in a sensitive roar; the bodies crashed against each other like the waves crashed on the beach. Her boobs flopped in front of his eyes as they continued in motion—they created a small spoon-like groove in the powdered sand.

After several minutes of utter penetration, Shelbi dismounted from his heat-seeking moisture missile, and leaned over and projectile vomited. Johnny was still breathing heavy, but managed to laugh—which made it a painful laugh. He held her hair back and she proceeded to puke, and after half a dozen pukes she wiped her lips and sulked at him.

“I feel much better.”

“I hope so…you really put on a show there.”

She playfully pushed him in the chest and then they gathered them selves and slipped their clothes back on. They walked back to the main road in search of a cab for home.


It was mid-afternoon and Johnny woke up on their queen bed. Johnny lay there and his mind was doing figure eights: he thought about the hydrogen bomb and the announcement by Truman to have America start assembling them like they had done for everything in America. Then he thought about the morals of it—and maybe he should deny his assignment for working on a ship at Eniwetok Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands for the first ever nuclear of testing of the United States. He was due out to the Naval Station, San Diego at thirteen hundred hours.

He climbed out of bed and grabbed his bathrobe and walked into the kitchen and hugged the kindhearted digit of his soon to be bride. She made his favorite breakfast ever—French toast with bacon strips.

“The kitchen smells like morning heaven. Are you an angel and didn’t tell me?”

“I am too naughty to be an angel.”

They both laughed and walked in a slow manner over to the kitchen table for breakfast. He flipped through the morning paper and Shelbi took off her apron and sat at the table with him.

“I am going to miss you,” said Shelbi.

Johnny peaked over the newspaper and looked at Shelbi.

“I will miss you too. Let’s hope they know what they’re doing and not blow us all to tiny pieces.”

“Don’t joke like that—you’re scaring me.”

Johnny laughed under his breath and continued reading the paper at the table. He finished up his breakfast and showered and combed his short blond hair. He greased down his cowlicks with glossy pomade, but his hair always was a bit wild regardless. He dressed in his best uniform, a beige buttoned shirt with pants that matched. He’d worried about the fit, but his wife had the talent of a tailor and was a wizard with sewing—so his pants always fitted un the upper end of perfection. After knotting his green chartreuse tie, provided by the government, Johnny walked downstairs and kissed his wife good bye.

“Quit your job,” she said. “And come back to bed!”

“You’re supposed to be supportive.” And reached inside her pajama robe and squeezed her soft ass—then he walked out the front door locking it behind him. Johnny stepped away from his house, carried his duffle bag out to the driveway and tossed it in the back seat of his car and he drove off for base.

Johnny loved and valued his wife, and appreciated her intellectually stimulating remarks, comicalness, and body, but he also loved to watch her beautiful ass when she putzed around the house, and peek at her cleavage when he had the chance. He wanted her to know he still desired her and make up for the lost time he was away. She was his pride and joy.

When he was gone, she often dreamed about him. She dreamed they were dancing while she studied his eyes and he studied hers—and sometimes her dreams were nightmares. Johnny understood her fear while he was away, Johnny always wrote letters and post cards—and kept her informed of his whereabouts and she always wrote back.


On base Johnny met with his supervisor in his office—and he smelled like Lucky Tiger aftershave, Gillette deodorant, and sarcasm.

“Johnny you will be boarding the USS Estes; we are leaving tomorrow morning at zero five-hundred.”

“Yes Sir,” Johnny saluted.

“Johnny, you’re going to have a grand stand seat to watch the blast. You are apart of the joint task force 132.”

“Yes Sir!”

Johnny scurried out of his supervisor’s office and to his bunk for the night. He loved sleeping on the uncomfortable government beds, he felt like he was cocooned—and he felt safe. Most of all, he just wanted to do his job, he wanted to do it well. All he needed to do was put all his fears in an imaginary safety deposit box and lock it away.


Johnny was out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and his shirt was soggy from sweat. His face was tan and he was smoking a tobacco pipe leaning over the railing of the ship. His bunkmate Jermaine Washington was standing next to him and drank water out of a canteen. The wind was blowing against their backs.

“Are you exited to watch the sleeping giant…Ivy Mike?” said Mr. Washington.

“I think it’s just a powerful explosion. That’s all.”

“I know, but we will get to see it come out of the horizon—a birds eye view? We are witnessing history?”

“Still, I can’t think it’s a good thing. I didn’t join the navy to watch full-scale tests and experiments.”

“Oh, excuse me, Mr. Buzzkill.”

Johnny laughed and tapped his friend on the shoulder and starred across the jelly-like sapphire blue ocean. The hydrogen bomb was a contradiction and Johnny felt that Washington thought he was a fragile man. He wanted to tell him about his version of the truth and that he felt he was an accomplice to the experiment—the right side and left side of his heart conducted such a delicate negotiation within him.

“I don’t understand how they can do such a thing?”

“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?” Washington said. “The government wants the divine, the power to explore something new and profound.”

“How can you find this blind acceptance for the hydrogen bomb?”

“I don’t think it’s necessarily bad.”

This was how Johnny rationalized the situation—yet Johnny felt that America had failed him and he had failed himself. He felt guilt for being involved, but knew he needed to provide for himself and his soul mate. The government was not about expanding the minds or preserving the opinions of the public.


Shelbi sat at the bar in the afternoon drinking Bloody Marys and thought about when her and Johnny were high school sweethearts at Palm Springs High in California. They met in physics class freshman year and eventually slept together that inaugural semester, and kept sleeping together for the next 6 years. It was the textbook love story of the century: blond guy with brunette girl on white sheets. Shebi and Johnny were happily in love and young and snuck into each other’s windows at night in high school and made love.

They took the same classes as each other and ate the same foods and read the same exact authors. Johnny and Shelbi were inseparable. Shelbi’s parents died in Pearl Harbor—so they thought about eloping after graduation, but instead he proposed to her one night when she lost her tooth and he exchanged the tooth for a ring under her pillow and she caught him in the act.

They moved to California because Johnny enlisted in the military and that was where basic training was located. They bought a house and paid their taxes. They were a very happy couple and had talked about kids in the immediate future. Though they both loved being wild and getting hammered on weekends—so they took baby steps on added responsibility.


The countdown was about to start for the hydrogen bomb test and everyone was crowded outside the ship with brown goggles strapped around their eyes. Johnny and Washington stood next to each other against the railing. They were fully clothed now and sweated anxiously awaiting the detonation.

Johnny felt that he was committing a small sin and he knew that because his friend Washington had read fewer books then he had didn’t make his opinion any more wrong than his opinion. Johnny had all these unanswered questions that scrambled through the neuron fields of his brain. Then came a long warm uncomfortable silence over everyone. Over the intercom above them was a voice.

“30 seconds to zero time. Tighten your goggles or turn away.”

Everyone’s hands moved to their heads like mimes and waited.

“Minus 15 seconds.”

Everyone was looking out towards the west side of Bikini atoll where Ivy Mike was about to make history for the United States. Everyone was downright alone in his or her own worlds—the hype and curiosity was blooming inside the skulls of everyone on board. Was the explosion going to work? Were they all escaping real life for a few moments? Was the bomb going to be more powerful than anticipated and blow them into products of natural selection? Nobody knew. The salt-water smell lingered through the noses of everyone and the anticipation followed.


The intercom blared, “Minus 10 seconds.”


Shelbi was still at the bar and was drinking herself blind. She was approaching blotto—the bar tender contemplated calling her a cab, but decided against it. She missed her Johnny and worried about his safety and worried about her future as a military wife and the military mans promise. She was not sure if she could handle the time alone and if they were to have kids she would have to take care of them all by herself when he was gone. She wanted an answer to all her questions that were boiling in her head. The spicy tomato tanginess and celery was a good coping devise, but it was not enough.

Shelbi placed her hands on the bar for balance and pushed herself off the stool onto her feet and headed to the bathroom. Inside the bathroom she closed the stall door and sat on the toilet and was bent over with her hands in her face—and cried.


Back on the boat the test was getting very close to zero time. Human history for the United States was approaching at lighting speed. Several pairs of eyes gleamed out across the ocean and waited for science to work its course. Some members of the military closed their eyes because they were scared while the gutsy types smiled and anxiously bit their fingernails.

“Niner, eight, seven, six…” said the voice over the intercom.

Johnny was becoming light headed and thought he was going to throw up because he was so torn and on edge—but he managed to hold it together.

“Fiver, four…”

Seconds away from zero time and Johnny backed off the railing and cried under his goggles. He missed his wife and he wanted no part of these government experiments.

As the fusion bomb went off, both Johnny and Shelbi were miles away from each other but both of them cried for similar reasons. Johnny wanted to be a good father and he knew that it was going to be difficult to complete his fatherly duties while away on assignments.

Johnny decided in his mind that he was going to quit and that his life on the battleship was not for him.







Jay Buhner Buzz Cut Night

Jay Buhner Buzz Cut Night

 By, Andrew K. Smith

I am in the back of the bathroom line at the Mariners game and there are two bald guys in front of me in line talking to each other. My eyes get bigger than the movies and I start to panic. I have peladophobia, which is a fear of bald people, and it totally sucks. Jay Buhner is the topic of their discussion.

“Jay Buhner is a disgrace,” the first bald man said. “I can’t stand Jay Buhner for allowing Jay Buhner Buzz Cut Night.”

“Yeah, his promotions, ‘Take me out to the Bald Game’ or ‘Bald is Buhnerful’ are pretty messed up. He’s actually bald and he’s promoting people to be bald.”

The other bald man laughs. “Thank god it only lasted for one season. Worst all time promotion ever. Fuck Jay Buhner he’s a disgrace to bald people everywhere.”

“My thoughts exactly. Fuck Jay Buhner.”

My heart starts to pump up and down like pistons. I don’t know if I can bear it any longer. Then I think to myself that a bathroom line at halftime of any game is like the mall lines on Black Friday. So I slowly try one of my relaxation strategies my therapist taught me. I take a big breath and then let it out.

I stand here in line, I am squirming, and I am trying to remain calm. This is a regular experience for me at sporting events because I always drink too much and break the seal. I tell myself to keep it together while I am falling apart at the same time.

Then the line starts to decrease. The whole time I hover near the toilet with someone that to the best of my predictions is about to shake off, like when I am in a parking lot with my blinker on, waiting for the next spot—except this time I use no manners and dash closer to the clay piece of earth. At that instant I see a man back step away from the toilet and my eyes lock onto the toilet like fighter pilots do to bad guys. Almost at my destination, my eyes aggressively scramble for the open toilet. I approach the white porcelain gutter and it begins to look somewhat handsome. Finally I make it to the toilet. In my brain fireworks start to go off like the forth of July. The celebration came to soon. I am stuck in between two bald people. It’s a bald sandwich, my worse nightmare coming to life before my eyes.

My mind and body split in two pieces. My mind is in a panic because I am being suffocated by baldness. My bladder feels like a balloon that’s about to pop. Then I stare forward, frozen like an otter pop.

The bald man on my right yells to the other bald guy, “Sir did you shave your head bald?”

The bald man on my right responds, “Yeah my wife loves it. She likes to rub it for good luck in the morning.”

“I can’t stand when people shave their heads bald as a fashion statement. We bald people don’t acknowledge you as apart of the bald community.”

The fake bald man starts to breath heavy. “Fine, whatever.”

Then the bald men exit the urinals and I start to relax again and I pee in peace. Then I shake off and walk to the sink and I ponder to myself, if my fears of bald people apply to bald people who pose as bald people? Or people who actually can’t grow hair?

—Inspired By, LD