Sunday, March 30, 2008

Southern Fried Weirdness is Changing Formats!

It has been a little over a year now since I first dreamed up the concept of "Southern Fried Weirdness." During this time, I have found decent sales and library presence with the first print anthology, grown to know many wonderful authors, and watched the weekly webzine grow in popularity. Overall, this first year has been a great success! I want to sincerely thank all of the authors who helped this dream become a reality.

Over this first year, I have also learned a lot about the publishing industry. From the beginning, I have wanted to pay more than just a token for accepted works, and have been trying to think of ways to better pay authors. So, I am revamping the format based on what I have learned in an effort to pay authors a little more and, hopefully, create an even more entertaining reading experience.

Southern Fried Weirdness is going to become a quarterly webzine, with new stories and features each season. Look for the debut of our reformatted publication to be published this summer. Each story, poem, and feature will be published here on the website for a season; archived for a year; and then, at the end of each year, will be showcased in a yearly print anthology.

I look forward to watching this concept continue to grow and evolve. Please see the updated submission guidelines prior to sending me your work.

Thank you for your continued support.

T.J. McIntyre
editor, Southern Fried Weirdness

Monday, March 24, 2008


by Rupert Merkin

It was a soft April night. The candle spluttered as a cool wind oozedthrough the open window. Barefoot on the chair stood Albert, a lonely man with thin hair and wearing a short-sleeved shirt. A noose hung around his neck. It was three minutes past nine.

"For my angel," he said, "I'm coming to fly with you."

With one final look at the snapped lilies sprinkled over the floor, he kicked the chair back with the heel of his foot. As everything faded he thought he saw a flock of bluebirds take off and fly out of thewindow. Then he was in the long white corridor. He asked Nurse Samuel,"Is it ok if Mildred has tea and toast?"

When the light returned Albert was still on the chair, the noose slack around his neck. 'I'm dreaming,' he thought, and then he looked at hiswatch. It was three minutes past nine. Outside it was still a hot dreary September night.

"I don't understand," he muttered. "Oh, what difference does it make?"He kicked the back of the chair once more. The gentle breeze in theroom died as the noose tightened and everything became hot and airless.

'She was weeping again,' thought Albert as he opened his eyes."Nurse," he said. "Do you think she'll come out of it?"

And then he realised. Same noose. Same chair.

"Is this it," cried Albert. "Are we having fun yet?"

He took the noose from his neck and swung it away. Outside it was still a chilly autumn evening. On a chest of drawers in the corner wasa vase full of lilies, Mildred's favourites. He took them out, snapped them in two and scattered them over the floor.

"See that," said Albert and climbed back on the chair. He slipped the noose around his neck, and then quickly stood down. He gathered the broken flowers up. "I'm sorry Mildred," he said. "I know how you loved lilies." Placing them on the drawers beside the vase, he said, "It will do, it will do."

It was three minutes past nine. Noose around his neck, he kicked the back of the chair with his heel. As the blackness folded over him he heard the pounding feet running down the long white corridor. He feltthe hand on his shoulder. "Stay here," said Nurse Samuel. "We'll come and get you as soon as she's okay."

Albert remembered walking through a park. Mildred's peach pink lipstick. The bluebirds cascading behind her head as the winter evening settled in. A smell of smoke, and in the trees a yellowishfog. Her green Wellingtons boots. The way she took his hand in hers as she said yes.

Albert opened his eyes. Snakes of frost patterned the window and Albert shivered. From his place on the chair he looked around the room, at the filthy, sheet-less bed, the piles of dirty clothes, his life tipped out all over the floor, and there in the corner, her vase,and the long slender lilies inside.

After leaving the States a lifetime ago, Rupert has now settled in London with a quill, two dogs, and a monkey. But sadly no ink.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


By Michael Fontana

Back in the 1980s, it was simple enough for me to enter a drug store, fake a raspy cough, and sign the register for a bottle of codeine cough syrup. Sure it tasted chalky but its physical thickness gradually translated into a head thick with sleepiness and nausea, nodding down into myself to listen to the hum at the center of my being.

I always had a hankering for hot tea and spicy fried rice on the nod so one night I tottered down to the Chinese restaurant nearest my apartment. They kept the interior dark but the various dragons on kimonos and screens kept my eyes busy with their glitter. I hunkered down in a rear booth and breathed the steam from my green tea. The food was salty but good, tickling my throat, sweet crunch of sprouts and snow pea pods.

In the thick of this rapture, my friend Bill the Millipede visited me. It wasn’t clear whether Bill was an apparition of the codeine or if he was as real as me, assuming of course that I was real. The way things hummed and vibrated in that space, it was difficult to translate anything into reality, including myself.

Bill sat in my booth with a squeak of faux leather on his feelers. “What’s shaking, hombre?”

“You sound like John Wayne.”

“I’m into westerns. Spaghetti westerns are especially toothsome. The man with no name entering a town and dispensing justice with a hot iron hand.”

“Is there a point to this?” I asked this with my forehead in the palm of my hand, a headache growing slowly like a violet inside my skull.

“I’ve come to talk to you about the direction your life is taking.”

“It’s not taking a direction. It’s totally inert like a brick outside a human hand.”

“No, this is a direction. A poor one for a man of your aptitudes.”

“What kind of aptitudes?”

“You have a certain, I don’t know, flourish with words.”

“It doesn’t pay. Little magazines dispense themselves as rich reward.”

“There are jobs to supplement one’s creativity.”

“Who’s going to hire me like this?”

“Are we indulging in self-pity? It isn’t very becoming.”

I took a loud sip of tea. The rings in the surface contorted my face like a funhouse mirror. “It’s not self-pity. It’s pragmatism.”

“There’s nothing pragmatic about a poor man’s junkie.”

“It’s not like I ride the white horse. This is just goofs.”

“The stuff does alter your consciousness. Take, for example, the fact that you’re conversing with a millipede.”

“I’ll take it,” I said. A waitress sauntered by and gave me a look but then simply nodded and moved on.

“This is very Burruoughsian, you know. The typewriter bug from Naked Lunch.””Book or movie?”

“No matter. Cronenberg’s just as warped as Burroughs. They both fed off their own respective forms of junk.”

“Your point?”

“This is reducing your creativity, not enhancing it. Don’t go romanticizing addicts like they have some key to a threshold of insight. Their brains are on the rack, being stretched to the limit. Not in a pretty way.”

“I make sure I create something every time I gobble down one of these bottles.”

“Some people create after every orgasm as well. There are saner ways to play with consciousness.” Bill fluttered his many legs like a wave in the stands of a stadium.

“You wouldn’t be here if I didn’t toy with my consciousness. I’ve decided that you’re a figment of my imagination. An entertaining figment, but a figment no less.”

“You think so? Then why am I able to do this?” With that he slapped a dozen or so feet into my teakettle and knocked it over so its luxurious green fluid seeped into the pale tablecloth like a moist lesion.

“Because I allowed you to,” I said, mopping at my trousers with a napkin.

“Then explain this.” Now he lunged across the table and kissed me with his tiny prickly lips. I swore I tasted tongue behind them.

“You all right, sir?” The waitress had returned and was methodically patting the wet tablecloth with a damp rag of her own.

I no longer saw Bill. “Fine,” I said, remembering to add a happy lilt to my voice, remembering to force a smile.

She smiled back and raised her sleeve. Out if its white depths came a dozen or so black and furry arms, thin as razors, all bent on tickling my head. That’s when I stood up gradually, brushed her arms away, hung the napkin from my belt so it covered up the growing wet spot on my crotch, and stepped away from t he table like it was a land mine.

Michael Fontana has been published in a variety of journals, electronic and otherwise. His most recent work has appeared in Arcane Twilight, Rope and Wire, Slow Trains, and Clockwise Cat. He works at a community mental health center in northwest Arkansas.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Preditors and Editors Needs Our Help!

This week, instead of posting a new piece of Southern Fried Weirdness, I am writing a post to support Dave Kuzminski and Preditors and Editors.

Preditors and Editors has been an invaluable resource for writers since the inception of the site. Most writers/editors are already aware of this site, but for those who are not: they provide listings of publishers/agents, informative articles about writing, and other resources for writers.

They have become well-known for their bravery when it comes to reporting on potential frauds and shady agents/publishers which prey on writers. As a reward for their bravery, they sometimes face lawsuits. In fact, they're facing two at the same time in different states as I write this. Per Dave's thread on

"Ah, yes. Well, it's true. P&E/me are being sued by literary agent Barbara Bauer in a New Jersey court and by Victor E. Cretella, III, Esq. in Federal District Court, Eastern Virginia Division. Two suits at the same time have put a bit of a strain on resources so I did post a donation button on the P&E sites for funds to handle legal expenses."

Help them out, make a donation. I did. You can use the donation button on their news page here to donate.

I know any help, no matter how small, will be appreciated.


T.J. McIntyre
editor, Southern Fried Weirdness Online