It was midnight when Tyler first heard the knocking on his bedroom door. Still groggy from the haze of his dreams, he rolled over. He chose to believe his imagination was getting the best of him. Besides, no one else was home. His father was working the night shift like always, but even if he were at home, he would certainly never knock on any doors in his own house.
The overgrown ruins loom in the distance. Peeking out above low lying fog, pyres burn atop ancient, vegetation strangled skyscrapers. There are still people who live in the forbidden zone, as is evident by the acrid smoke of their cook fires. “Are you ready for this?” The boy with the binoculars asks his companion as he carefully adjusts the windage and elevation dial on the ankle pad of a boot. “Ready or not,” the boy replies, grinning fiercely. Thomas takes another look through the eye piece. In predawn stillness he can make out the subtle movement of figures on six of the ten towers lancing through a cloud-like membrane.
I will always find amusement in the sight of breath, in the pale smoke that escapes as I purse my lips and blow into the cold, still breeze. As a child, I would try to pull the breath back into my body. I would inhale, focusing as best as I could, but the breath never returned. Instead, I’d watch as it drifted away from me. Here, two years into undergrad, I find myself retreating into that boy. I exhale and watch as the vapor becomes life in the winter air. All the while, Mary holds my hand, the two of us trying to transfer a warmth we know is absent.
The call came shortly before 10 p.m. after a slow evening alone at Baker Street Bar over in the Medical District of San Antonio where Jack doubles were only $2.50 all night, Dos XX the same, and the Lone Stars were always a buck half. My old flip cell lit up and he says, “I got two women over here looking to party big time,” but I had my suspicions because by here he didn’t mean his apartment over by the community college but some obscure address far out on the west side of town, out beyond loop 1604, where there are more jackrabbits than driveways or red lights.
It was the smell that got me.
We drove along the harsh edged cliffs – the same I ran along as a kid – with the windows rolled down. The same salt that stained the shoreline rock faces stung the inside of my nose, and memories tumbled through my brain.
"Boy," I said to Linda, "you can really smell the sea."
"What?!" Linda, who was driving, yelled over the whipping wind.
I rolled up my window. Linda did the same.
"The sea," I said. "You can really smell it."
"Oh, yes," she replied.
This summer, while watching the hit science fiction series, Stranger Things, I was reminded of my UFO experience, except that my encounter really happened. I had a spaceship in my Malibu backyard. It’s something I only tell friends late at night after a lot of drinking.
For the record, there was no alcohol that night.
If I were a suicide I wouldn’t have become a punchline. Budd Dwyer kept his dignity. “Don’t, don’t, don’t” were his last words. “This will hurt someone.” The way he says “Don’t, don’t, don’t” is careful and controlled. A man who knows exactly what he is doing. He’s incanting, summoning up the language to finish the act he knows he has to carry out.
When the doorbell rang, J.B. peeked out his bedroom window to see who was at the door, and as soon as his eyes hit the fuzzy red ball atop Mr. Lawson's tam o'shanter, he ducked, and crawled under his bed to hide.
J.B. knew why Mr. Lawson was looking for him, so he closed his eyes and prayed he would go away. But it was the Fourth of July and his father was home for the holiday. So after a few more rings from the doorbell, Tom Baxter answered the door, and Phil Lawson marched inside.
Miss Etta handed me the tiny coffin, no bigger than a shoebox. It was made of pine and painted blue. She had bought it to hold her recipe cards in the kitchen.
What happens when we only see the stereotype. In "The Aliens," a flash fiction piece by Lynn Mundell, maybe aliens are among us bathed in stereotypes.
The army sergeant was disgusted by the breastfeeding mother at Target, who thought that all people in camo were scary, as were the two nearby Goths with the black makeup, who were freaked out by the staring missionaries, who were most shocked by the tattooed cashier...
- FILM REVIEWS -
I’m so selfish, I sometimes use other people’s birthdays to measure certain spans of time in my own life. In terms of Drunk Monkeys, the last four years can disguise themselves as forty quite well. I’m amazed at the time, place, and state of my life in mid-2012, when the endlessly amazing Matthew Guerruckey asked me if I “had anything else I thought Drunk Monkeys would like.”
I gave them the first issue of this column. And that was it. I’ve written sixty-two editions of Captain Canada’s Movie Rodeo for DM.
Even if I think you’re hot, vile garbage, if you wrote about politics this year, I have to applaud your courage. That might not be the right word. Whatever it is, I don’t have it this time around. I’ve never been fully comfortable in writing about political matters. I’ve scratched together a few loose thoughts over the years. I always wind up wishing I hadn’t. Keeping depression and terminal cynicism out of my heart is hard enough these days. Researching and writing an article on the 2016 Presidential Election, or on just about anything else happening right now, feels like spiritual suicide.
Matthew Guerruckey reviews Sully, the latest from director Clint Eastwood, starring Tom Hanks as Captain "Sully" Sullenberger.
Donald McCarthy reviews the gripping crime thriller Hell or High Water.
A 100 Word Review of the Nick Cave movie One More Time with Feeling, by our Managing Editor, Dani Neiley!
Kolleen Carney with a 100 Word Film Review of The Little Prince, the animated adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic novel.
Scott Waldyn reviews the surprising new thriller, Don't Breathe.
Our 100 Word Movie Review of Kubo and the Two String, from Laika Studios!
Captain Canada returns again, with a look at Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, and many more in a double-sized edition of the Movie Rodeo!
Scott Waldyn reviews The Killing Joke, an animated adaptation of the highly beloved comic book. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a dud. Our rating: C.
In our first post-Trump episode, we talk a lot of escapist fare, from Doctor Strange to Batman v. Superman, as well as the alien invasion think-piece Arrival.
Films discussed on this episode:
Doctor Strange (2016)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Attack the Block (2011)
The Visitor (1979)
Batman v. Superman (2016)
Our intrepid Filmcast crew tries, and fails, to talk about anything other than this horrid Presidential election. We also delve into the mysteries of whether or not John Kennedy was handsome and why did Warren Beatty make a movie where he raps? All that much more in the latest episode of Drunk Monkeys Radio!
Movies discussed on this episode: Moonlight (2016), The Way He Looks (2014), Stranger by the Lake(2013), Election (1999), Primary (1960), Bulworth (1998), Bob Roberts (1992), The Candidate (1972)
We discuss the latest version of The Magnificent Seven, a movie so boring that we spend twenty minutes talking about the Muppets.
Films discussed in this episode: Wonder Boys (2000), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), Ghost World (2001), The Magnificent Seven (2016), Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), The Muppets (2011), The Muppet Movie (1979)
A selection of literary readings, featuring the poetry of Kevin Ridgeway and Nathan Alan Schwartz of Five 2 One Magazine, and an essay from Ashley Perez.
We review the latest film from Clint Eastwood, Sully.
Film discussed on this episode:
Other People (2016), The BFG (2016), Don't Think Twice (2016), Sully (2016), Shadow (1959), Stand By Me (1986), The Postman (1997)
We discuss the instant classic, stop-motion animated, Kubo and the Two Strings along with films from Kurosawa, Miyazaki, and many more on the latest Filmcast!
Movies discussed on this episode:
Don't Breathe (2016)
Safety Last (1923)
The Human Condition (1959-61)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
The Ballad of Narayama (1958)
Spirited Away (2001)
Tokyo Story (1953)
We discuss one of the best reviewed films of 2016, Hell or High Water, on the latest episode of the Drunk Monkeys Radio Filmcast! We also follow up on our homework assignments, and share some of our favorite crime family movies.
We interview writer Ashley Perez on the latest episode Drunk Monkeys Radio!
We boldly go where no Filmcast has gone before in our exploration of Star Trek Beyond and the entire Star Trek film series!
We talk the needlessly controversial Ghostbusters reboot, and reboots in general, in the latest episode of the Filmcast!
Film discussed on this episode:
Take Me to the River (2015)
Hi Diddle Diddle (1943)
Samurai Rebellion (1967)
The Big Short (2015)
The Thing (1982)
Batman Begins (2005)