Friday, January 20, 2017

Protesting the New Normal (#newrelease #antitrump #erotica @MoveOn)


This is a political post.

Normally I try to avoid politics and controversial religion on my blog. I am a strong believer in every individual’s right to his or her own opinion, as long as no one tries to foist that opinion on me. Live and let live has always been my motto. Plus I recognize that despite the appeal of painting the world in black and white, almost every issue actually involves shades of gray.

Normally, I’d just title this post “New Release”.

However, things these days are not normal.

The United States is about to swear in a president whose main claim to fame is his ability to insult other people in 140 characters. I’m not going to bore you by listing all his objectionable traits. If you share my views, you are already far too familiar with his vile behavior. If you’re one of the people responsible for today’s historic and, to me, horrifying event—well, you’ve probably given up reading already. Unless of course you’re preparing to leave me some comment full of invective, in the manner approved by your candidate.

Anyway, the day after the election results were announced, Alessia Brio, the founder and guiding light of the charitable erotica imprint Coming Together, sent out a call for submissions. Coming Together: Moving On is an anthology of fiction and poetry on themes made painfully salient by the presidential campaign and its aftermath: civil rights, equality, LGBTQ rights, tolerance, charity, sexual assault, politics, voting rights, immigration... You get the idea.

It's out today...Inauguration Day.

All proceeds from the book benefit MoveOn.org , a civic and political action group which has been at the forefront of efforts to resist the president-elect’s dangerous agenda and nominees, and his un-presidential behavior.

I’ve got a story in the book. I know many of the contributors. We’re donating our work for free, fighting our despair, because we want to do something to improve the situation.

It might not be much. But each of us can make a small difference, writing, and then living, our principles

 

Here’s the table of contents:

Introduction by Alessia Brio
Passion's Pull by Corbin A Grace
Hypocrites by Alyssa Turner
When There Are No Words by Sonni De Soto
The Help by Sonni De Soto
Kayla's Birthday Present by Ashlyn Chase
The Stoning by Michael Swanson
Checklist by B.K. Bilicki
Divided We Fall by Lisabet Sarai
For Their Own Good by Lola White
We Desire Many Things by Skilja Peregrinarius
The Aisle Of Lesbos by Allison Wonderland
A Healthy Passion by Mary Winter
Moving On by Kally Jo Surbeck

My story, “Divided We Fall”, is set in a near-future Los Angeles in which different ethnic groups have been confined to their ghettos and encouraged to wage war on one another.

Here’s a bit to give you the flavor.

***

There are no walls. Just IEDs, trip-wire bombs and snipers. We've learned a few things from the jihadis.

The Santa Anas whip at the white rag attached to my broom handle as I cross Vermont. No-man's land. Black hair tangles in my eyes, obscuring my vision. I should chop it all off, maybe even shave my head. That would be safer. Would look scarier, too. Pathetic how vanity survives, even in the most desperate situations.

Afternoon shadows stripe the broken pavement. The only vehicles visible are burned-out skeletons, picked clean by scavengers from both barrios. I dart from one to the next, keeping a good distance away from the blackened hulks while still trying to use them for cover as I approach the Niggertown gate. Any one of them could be booby-trapped, though that would break the unwritten rules that have allowed us Viets to co-exist with the niggers. So far at least.

I don't want to be here. I've got no confidence my truce flag will buy me any kind of safety. But what can I do? My little brother's disappeared, last seen headed toward the black ghetto. We searched every corner of Viet Village. Unless he's deliberately hiding―not likely given his age and his usual good behavior― he must have wandered outside the bounds.

The many kinds of harm he might meet scroll through my mind like credits for some old movie. I force myself to slow down as I approach the West Century intersection, the only un-mined street leading east into Niggertown. Gripping my flag in one hand, I raise the other high to show I'm unarmed. It's true, aside from the switchblade hidden my boot. I don't step out of the abandoned grocery my family calls home without that knife.

When I sleep, it hangs from cord around my neck, nestled between my breasts. Older Brother calls me Blade-Heart. He thinks it's a joke, but his nickname suits me. I might ask Uncle Pham to tattoo it on my bicep.

"Freeze, bitch."

I'm expecting the challenge, but still, my stomach does a queasy flip. I remain motionless, as instructed, keeping both hands visible. A tall, lean figure steps out from behind some pollution-rusted shrubbery in front of a ruined apartment building. He carries his Kalashnikov like it's another limb, one which he points directly at me. Funny how there's never enough food, but no problem getting guns.

"What you doin' here? This ain't your territory. You get your gook ass back 'cross the street before I kick it back!"

Though the guard talks tough, I can see he's young, maybe younger than I am. He fixes me with a belligerent glare and brandishes his weapon like he'd just as soon shoot me as not, but there's a softness to his mouth that lets me imagine him smiling. Using his left hand to draw an ugly blade from his belt, he strides in my direction.

He wears threadbare jeans and a faded camouflage shirt, open to the waist. The inky skin on his bare chest gleams with sweat, despite the brisk wind. The paler flesh of a scar slashes across his chest, just above his left nipple. That must have been a dire wound, close to fatal. He might be young, but he's no stranger to battle. None of us is, these days.

"You hear me, bitch?" he growls and jabs at me with his knife.

Instinct taking over, I shrink backward, then recover. He mustn't think I'm afraid. Straightening my spine, I raise my flag a bit higher.

"I claim the right of truce." I make my voice low, even, and respectful. But not subservient. "I'm looking for my three-year old brother. He wandered out of our territory earlier today. Someone said he might be in Niggertown."

"You better hope he's not." The guard gives me an evil grin. "Me and my boys just love a bit of barbecue."

I ignore his jibe. He's just trying to pull my chain. I hope. "Can I have a look around? Please?"

"Any gooks enterin' Niggertown got to pay the toll." His leer widens, his white teeth a shocking contrast to his soot-dark complexion.

****

If today’s events make you as sick as they make me, consider buying a copy of Coming Together: Moving On. Take a stand against the new normal. (And enjoy some great fiction, too.)



Available at other booksellers soon.

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