Can you believe it? THE NEW FLESH turned 2 years old today! It seems like just yesterday I was giving her CPR and pushing the defibrillator to her chest just to try and keep her alive and now I can't even open submissions for a month without having to close them for another three months because of all the interest. Wow. We've come a long way, folks. Thank you all so much for your support over the years - to the readers, to the authors. YOU alone make this work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
As a way of showing our appreciation, we've gathered up our favorite stories that were published on THE NEW FLESH within the last year and made them available to download for FREE! The ebook is called LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH: YEAR TWO and you can download it here.
A very special thank you goes to Mr. Brian Barnett for working his ass off to get this ebook ready in time. He says his fingers are still smoking, haha.
So there it is, folks - Year Two all wrapped up in a nice pretty package. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did publishing them. But don't spend too much time reading it, get out your pens and crack your knuckles... let's not waste any time getting started on Year Three.
Keep it weird!
Everyone thought it was just an earthquake...
Eliot was only just holding off the intruding beef people with a large stick. The blasted wall of the sand castle was teeming with the greasy foe, and Eliot knew he wouldn’t last much longer. Surrendering his doorway in a momentary break of the enemy drive, Eliot rushed down the gritty sand hallway on his own beefy legs. He and his comrades, however, were raw beef, exuding a golden hue from years of sand mixing in their red hides. The intruders, on the other hand, were cooked nasty messes. They blew through multiple points of the sand castle at once, and were gaining ground fast.
Eliot caught sight of light down the hall. Suicidal berserkers had lit themselves aflame and were attempting to cook the residents out of the castle, thrashing through masses of soldiers, walls, and air alike. Unfortunately, the coupling of damp air and moisture in the walls seemed to be abolishing the fires with little effort from the defenders.
Surviving the trip to a stable roof, Eliot saw the entire scene. His allies defending their home with the basest of tools available to them: sticks, stones, bits of shell. The enemy boasted superior weaponry, the majority of them swinging long, weathered handles topped with gnarly hooks, caked in rust and grease. Some bore sharpened bones. Still others simply set themselves on fire and ran for a crowd.
And of course, they wielded the Nercobos: a colossal cow carcass that towered stories above the sand castle.
Eliot had never seen a more disgusting object in his life. The Necrobos was pulled toward him on a cart by an army of grease slaves. Hundreds more climbed about the decaying corpse itself, throwing various bits of vulgar and flaming debris towards the castle.
Movement on the staircase. Eliot poised to attack, but some of his own men ascended the stairs. Roger was in the lead, followed by Monty and another raw boy Eliot did not recognize. Behind them was a swinging hook, attached to an attacker around the corner. Monty tore at the ceiling from his elevated position on the staircase, and the ceiling dropped down on anyone in the hallway with the hook bearer. Eliot saw the section of roof fall victim to gravity from his vantage point.
The Necrobos loomed ever nearer. Eliot and his gang retreated further from the hulking corpse, past a toppled tower of muddy sand. Hooks and meaty limbs poked through the wreckage, but the group didn’t stop to identify the victims as friend or foe.
As the last of the standing walls and ceilings dropped, the shadow of the Necrobos passed overhead. Darkness was cast across the gritty rubble, save for the pockets of fire not yet extinguished by the exposed mud strewn about, as well as the glowing eyes of the Necrobos. The real eyes had been plucked out by some scavenger long ago, but ghostly energy still glowed from the sockets. Wretched forms amassed around the necrotic utter and dug their hooks into its taut skin as the monstrosity centered over Eliot’s crew of survivors like a UFO ready for abduction or destruction. The utter maggots screeched with laughter audible hundreds of feet down. They danced. They laughed. They pulled.
And a bombardment of rancid milk surged from the sky above Eliot’s head. The stench alone struck many of the riders clear off the Necrobos. The milk was gelatinous as it fell and exploded into a grotesque concoction resembling chunky chowder with bits of amoebic fat floating about. The mixture dissolved Eliot and his crew in seconds as they simultaneously choked on the thousand year old milk remains.
And only seconds after that, an even larger shadow was cast across Necrobos itself. A tsunami propelled by the earthquake that morning surged forward and tore the shore asunder. The Necrobos was flung across the sandy expanse then ripped back into the sea among assorted beefy debris. The initial force ripped its crispy head clean from its flanks, but the glowing in its eyes remained.
"Battle at Beef Beach"
Copyright: © 2011 Joseph Bouthiette, Jr.
Joseph Bouthiette, Jr. eats food and poops poop. His work has appeared online at The New Flesh, Staring At the Walls and In Between Altered States.
So when Sir Mix-A-Lot decided to do a twenty-year anniversary remix of the 1992 hip hop classic “Baby Got Back,” he decided to accompany it with a remake of the video. The legendary rapper insisted that only the actors, dancers, and extras of the original video be hired to appear in the new one. Sure, if any of the original players were dead or physically or mentally incapacitated they would be replaced, but Mack Daddy wanted to keep things as original as possible.
Rick Peterson (casting director for the new video) and his assistants got on the horns, mailed letters, sent out emails. In about a month, they succeeded in getting ahold of nearly everyone from the old video, all of whom were enthusiastic to sign back on for the remake. Although it was more of a formality than anything else, Rick held auditions with each original performer at his Hollywood office, essentially just to make sure everyone was healthy enough to do the work. Because if it turned out, for example, that one of the original Big Butt girls’ rumps had grown so big that it now had to be wheeled around in a bariatric wheelchair, that could pose certain practical problems and justify use of a stand-in.
Luckily, every lady who was required to bend, gyrate, and jiggle her ass for the camera could still do so, even if their bending, gyrating, and jiggling was a little slower these days, a little harder on their lower backs. But any loss of youthful, sinuous movement on the part of these dancers was more than offset by the value of the extra poundage that twenty years had added to their rumps.
The only notable problem the casting team encountered during the whole roundup was in trying to locate “the white guy”: that nerdy white dude who briefly appeared in the original video precisely at the moment when Sir Mix-A-Lot uttered (to paraphrase and reword the lyric a bit), “Even white boys have to holla: baby got butt!” (thereby implying that every “white boy” is a socially awkward, yellow-haired, bespectacled, suited geek who, in a room full of big juicy female butts, wouldn’t know what to do with himself other than nervously fidget with his necktie).
Turns out this actor legally changed his name to “White Boy” back in 1993 and had been gigging on the national comedy club circuit ever since, dubbing his act “The White Boy from the ‘Baby Got Back’ video.” His act consisted of himself standing onstage—his geek glasses, monkey suit, and side-combed yellow hair all in place—while he fidgeted with his tie in front of a screen displaying a life-sized image of the Big Butt girls while the song played in the background. The guy didn’t tell any jokes. Never talked to the crowd. He just fidgeted with his tie and pulled a few jittery facial expressions. That was it. White Boy was frequently booed off the stage, yet somehow he still managed to eke out a meager living doing this—and had been doing so for nearly twenty years now!
Due to his itinerant life style, the man was difficult to track down. Last anyone heard, White Boy had performed for two nights at a club in Arkham, Massachusetts. When he’d checked out of his motel, White Boy had asked the front desk clerk for directions to the blasted heath, some sort of strange tourist attraction in the rural outskirts of Arkham. The clerk gave him the directions, but warned White Boy not to drive out to the place, that it was cursed. That had been over six months ago.
But just when Rick was about to give up on his search, just when he was about to hold auditions for the part, White Boy showed up in the doorway of his office. Apparently, the travelling performer had heard tell of the remake and wanted in.
“Um, Mr. Boy?” Rick nervously inquired as he sat at his desk, an assistant at each elbow. White Boy sat on the other side.
“Please, just call me White Boy.”
“We’re glad you came to us,” Rick said. “I thank you for that. But . . . oh, this is always so damn hard. I’m sorry, but we can’t give you the part.”
After a moment of silence, White Boy spoke, the indignation thick in his voice. “Now let me get this straight. You’re remaking ‘Baby Got Back.’ Sir Mix-A-Lot wants all the original players. I am the original nerdy white guy from the first video. So why in God’s name would you refuse me the part?”
“Well, White Boy, I don’t know if you’ve looked in a mirror recently, but you’re not white anymore. You’re . . . you’re the Colour Out of Space—a color of allegedly alien origin that defies any sort of description because it’s outside the visible spectrum of the human eye.”
“Call it what you want, Rick. I call it a skin condition that I contracted while motor touring the countryside outside of Arkham. And you know what else I’m gonna call? The Screen Actors Guild and have your ass nailed to the wall, buddy.”
“Sorry, White Boy. But both the script and the song lyric call for a “white boy,” and you just don’t fit the bill anymore. And frankly, you’re sort of freaking us out right now. You’ve left a trail of the Colour Out of Space on my carpet and ruined a very expensive leather chair. I’d like for you to leave now, sir. Please, or I’ll be forced to call security.”
White Boy rose abruptly, knocking that expensive chair on its side before whipping around and stomping off to the door. Before exiting the office and slamming the door behind him, he halted, turned his outlandish, indescribable, colorless-colorful head back toward the casting people.
“This certainly isn’t the last you’ll hear from me. Yo, y’all racist!”
Boys Got to Shout: Baby Got Back!"
Copyright: © 2011 Douglas Hackle
Clyde Baker recently remarked, “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Douglas Hackle.” Clyde Baker is the blind, homeless, illiterate crackhead who lives underneath Douglas’s dilapidated front porch--but hey, Clyde’s opinion counts too, damn it! Douglas reads and writes out of Northeast Ohio, where he lives with his wife and little boy. His short fiction has been published or accepted for publication in several online and print venues. Visit him at: http://douglashackle.wordpress.com