Tag Archives: back hair advocate

Car Park by Shawn Van Tol

The car rolled up to the curb and stopped. Bob quickly hopped out and walked around the back side of the car to Catherine’s door. She smiled to herself, touched by the small act of chivalry, blissfully unaware that Bob was using those precious seconds to release gas pressure that had been building to dangerous levels over the last four minutes of the drive. He allowed the breeze to carry his flatulence away and then opened the door with a cool smile. She took his hand, extending lovely legs onto the sidewalk, and exited the car. Bob closed the door and pulled out his phone.

“Now watch,” he said, tapping at the screen. “The app tells the car where to park and how long to wait based on the time of the movie.”

Catherine snuggled in close to his body and peered at the screen. “That’s so cool!” she said.

“Yeah,” Bob said. “You can even instruct the car to park in the shade. The solar panel on top will trigger the car to move to a different spot if it’s sitting in direct sunlight for too long.”

“What time is it?” Catherine asked. “Are we late?”

“Oh, yeah. We’re cutting it close,” Bob said. “Let’s go.”

He tapped his screen, selecting the option for shade, and the self-driving vehicle pulled away and made its way toward the parking lot. Bob couldn’t help but smile as he saw Catherine’s beautiful legs leading the way into the theater. She was always so frisky during these midday matinees. They hurried through the glass doors and into the air conditioning of the large building.

Bob’s car, a brand new 2021 Nissan Soulare, wound its way around the hot parking lot. Sensors and GPS signals guided it safely along as it searched for a suitable spot of shade. But in every place, the solar panels indicated direct sunlight. It exited from the lot and drove itself down the street.

The car moved easily down Franklin Boulevard, rounding a sloping bend that led around a park. Two teenagers, well into their first experience with LSD, watched the driver-less car pass by. One saw the car as a UFO that split the sky open like a sheet while the other knew with absolute certainty that the vehicle was an orb of pure light coming to restore all that had been lost from humanity. The sensors of the Nissan Soulare found no appropriate places for parking and moved on.

Further downtown, traffic snarled around two lanes worth of construction. A hefty man, resting his ample belly on the handle of a jackhammer, spat on the window of the car as it passed by. “That’s for my brother, you piece of shit! He used to be a cab driver!” The Nissan Soulare sensed the foul discharge of moisture and began to spray its own windshield and activated the wiper-blades. The eyes of the hefty man went wide as he accidentally drove the jackhammer into his big toe. He fell to the ground in pain, and the car moved on.

The vehicle pulled into the vast parking lot of a Stuff Mart and began searching for shade. On the other side of the lot, another Nissan Soulare was doing the same. They scouted the lot like sharks following a faint scent until they both closed in on the same spot. The two vehicles simultaneously turned in, then, sensing the other’s proximity, stopped abruptly. Servos wound up and down. Sensors scanned and signals pinged. On a server based in Silicon Valley some seven hundred miles away, two sets of logic collided in an endless battle of zeros and ones for the final spot of shade.

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Shawn Van Tol is an amateur writer who is secretly training to become a lazy man. He hopes to one day conquer the literary world with books so that he can quit his day job and never wear pants again. More of his stories can be found here.

 

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Battleship by Hallie Bateman

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Illustrator Hallie Bateman has two names with which to identify her. One begins with an “H” and the other begins with a “B.” She probably has a middle name, but we don’t know it. Find her blog Ridiculous Sister here and her website here.

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I’m not actually wearing this dress by Hallie Bateman

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Illustrator Hallie Bateman has two names with which to identify her. One begins with an “H” and the other begins with a “B.” She probably has a middle name, but we don’t know it. Find her blog Ridiculous Sister here and her website here.

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All natural hairpieces for men by Hallie Bateman

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Illustrator Hallie Bateman has two names with which to identify her. One begins with an “H” and the other begins with a “B.” She probably has a middle name, but we don’t know it. Find her blog Ridiculous Sister here and her website here.

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Sad Person’s Club by Ian Starttoday

The Sad Person’s Club meets once a week

in a cramped church basement

It doesn’t matter why you’re sad

It could be divorce it could be the death of a loved one it could be the supermarket no longer stocks your favorite kind of frozen yogurt

We make an effort not to judge

 

There was a woman named Shelly once who was really distraught about tomatoes

When we asked her to elaborate

she told us to back off

and flashed her teeth

That was weird

 

But it’s up to you whether you want to talk

or not talk

The only rule we have is that you be sad

If you smile even once

perpetually mopey-faced Bruce will escort you to the door

and then you leave

 

One of our longest running members

once got a call mid-meeting

that his daughter had been born

Bruce came to him

wished him congratulations

but informed him that he had to leave this instant

 

Halfway to the door the man became very gloomy about having to leave

and told us so

We’re not monsters

so he was invited to stay

 

Then two of our members admitted

they were feeling very happy about this man’s good fortune at having brought a healthy baby into the world

and they were asked to leave

 

It was all very complicated

and not particularly sad

which is our business.

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The Operation by Darlene Campos

My parents worked hard, but only when they could. Ate usually only worked temporarily, and Ina had a regular job that didn’t pay much, anyway. Not long after Ate got a steady job with good pay, Ina lost her job at the superstore.

“They said I used too many sick days this year,” Ina told us during dinner on the day she got fired. “But truth is I ain’t been absent since the day I gave birth to Nimo.”

“I still got my job, and Nimo’s got change in his piggybank. We’ll be okay,” Ate promised.

“What about your surgery, Ate?” I asked as I picked at my broccoli. “It’s next month.”

“Don’t worry about that, son — I’ll cut myself if I have to,” he said.

“Jay Eagle!” Ina cried and slammed her fork down on the table.

“What? I cut myself with my razor all the time. I think I can cut my chest open, too.”

Ate was born with aortic valve stenosis. It means his aorta doesn’t open as big as it should. He had surgery when I was three, but the doctor said he’d need surgery again, eventually. Now I was thirteen, and Ate was still alive, even though he could die any second. I didn’t like it when he took naps on the couch after dinner. I thought he might never wake up.

******

“Ate,” I said one night as he napped during an All in the Family rerun. “Wake up.”

“Not now, Josie, I still got all my clothes on for crying out loud,” he groaned.

I nudged his shoulder with my hand, and he turned to his left side.

“Josie, last thing I wanna do is knock you up after you’ve lost your job,” he went on.

“Ate, it’s Nimo!” I called out, and he jolted up from the couch.

“Nimo! You could’ve given me a heart attack! But hell, if I had one, I wouldn’t need to pay for surgery after all.”

“Sorry, Ate,” I said. “It’s past midnight, though, and Ina’s in bed waiting for you.”

“Is she wearing lingerie?” he asked with a big smile.

I shrugged my shoulders, and Ate ran to the bedroom. I stayed on the couch for a few minutes, relieved.

******

After two weeks, Ina still didn’t have a job, and Ate wanted to cancel his operation. They fell behind on the bills, and we were back to eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“You’re not canceling your surgery,” Ina said at breakfast one morning. “Don’t you have benefits at work now?”

“They don’t kick in for another couple months, Josie,” he informed her. “I can live until then.”

The phone rang, and Ate got up to answer.

“Hello?” he said. “No, you can’t talk to Josie, she’s dead. You can’t talk to Nimo either ‘cause he’s in prison for killing Josie.” Then he hung up.

“Who was it, Ate?” I asked.

“Your grandmother,” he said, and Ina pulled on his ponytail.

******

The day before Ate’s surgery, Ina took me to the cash loan office just outside Pine Ridge rez. We waited in the lobby next to Ray Firebird, who wanted a booze loan.

“Hey Nimo,” he said. “I thought you was in the slammer for killing your mother.”

“He is, I need a loan to bail him out,” Ina said.

Ray Firebird nodded and pretty soon, he passed out on the floor, so we got to take his place when the clerk came out.

“I’m not sure we can give you a loan, Mrs. Thunderclap,” the clerk told Ina after they talked for a minute or two. “The computer says your credit score is substantially low, and your household has 15 unpaid credit cards.”

“Jeez Ina, what did you need that many credit cards for?” I asked.

“To raise you,” she said.

The clerk shook his head and said Ina was better off paying for Ate’s surgery with money borrowed from family.

“All of my family’s broke, why the hell do you think I came here?” she said.

The clerk grunted and gave Ina a sheet with the word DENIED in big letters.

“Ina, what about Leksi Gray Mountain?” I asked as we walked to the exit. “He’s a doctor. I’m sure he’ll lend us the money.”

“You’re right, Nimo,” she said, nodding. “But Ate doesn’t like asking his brother for cash. So I’ll do it for him.”

I waited in the lobby with Ray Firebird snoring next to me while Ina called Leksi Gray Mountain on the pay phone outside. She came back inside after about ten minutes, smiling. Leksi Gray Mountain said he’d send us a check, but not to tell Ate about it.

******

The next day, I sat in the hospital waiting room with Ate and Ina. Ate squirmed in his seat, so Ina whacked him on the head with a magazine.

“I’m about to get cut up, and you’re hitting me?” Ate protested.

“Yeah, to knock you out so we won’t have to pay for anesthesia,” Ina retorted.

Ate slouched in his seat, quiet and sweating from his forehead.

“Nimo, Josie,” Ate said after a few minutes. “In the worst case scenario, after this surgery, I’ll be dead. Nimo, you can have whatever I own, which is nothing. Josie, if you meet another guy you really like, marry him.”

“I already did, he lives in our basement, and he won’t come up until you croak,” Ina said.

Ate shook his head. Ina took hold of his hand, and she didn’t let go for a long time.

******

After Ate got called in, we all waited for the doctor inside a hospital room. Ate wore a big paper gown and wiggled on the bed so much that it rattled.

“Stop it, you’ll break the bed,” Ina scolded.

“If I wanted to break it, I’d bring you up here and make Nimo a sibling,” he said. “I’m starving, I ain’t eaten since yesterday. But I guess it’s good practice for how broke we’re gonna be after this damn surgery.”

“I’m hungry too, Ina,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll run down to the deli to get a sandwich for you,” Ina told me, patting my head. “If the doctor comes while I’m not here, tell him to wait until I get back. I’ll only be a few minutes. Okay?”

I promised I would, and she kissed Ate on his cheek before she left. I stayed at Ate’s side, watching the presidential debate on the TV with him.

“Turn it off, Nimo,” he said. “If I wanted to hear an idiot talk, I’d call your grandmother.”

I shut the TV off, and Ate slid further into the hospital bed. He was shaking, but he probably thought I didn’t notice.

“Nimo,” Ate said. “If I go, your ina will take good care of you. She always has.”

“Don’t say that, Ate, you’re gonna be fine,” I told him. “You survived the last surgery.”

“I’ve also survived a 15 year marriage, but I think I’m running out of strength,” he said. “Just promise me two things if I don’t make it out alive.”

I asked what he wanted, and he was quiet for a few moments. He put his hand on my shoulder to make sure I was paying attention.

“First, keep my wedding ring and do only that. You pawn it and I’ll come back from the dead and take you with me,” he said.

“I promise. What’s the second thing you want me to do?”

“Every single time your grandmother calls, heckle her.”

I laughed, and we did a pinky swear. He sat up in his bed and tugged me by my arm.

“You know something, son,” he remarked. “I’m still paying the hospital bill for your birth. I told your ina to go to the backyard and squat when you was coming out, and she hit me. If she had squatted, we wouldn’t have a bill for you.”

“Really?” I said, and he nodded. He admitted he and Ina couldn’t afford to have a baby when I came along, but did anyway because they felt like taking a risk.

“And everything went okay,” Ate pronounced. “Except for the bill. But you turned out better than we thought.”

Not long after, Ina was back with my sandwich, and the doctor followed after her. He wheeled Ate away down the hall. I poked my head out the door, watching him leave.

******

About five hours later, Ate was brought back into the hospital room, woozy and high on anesthesia, but alive. He saw me first when he opened his eyes, and he waved at me. But he didn’t recognize Ina.

“Hey son,” he said. “Who’s the burning hot nurse standing over there?”

“I’m your wife, you bonehead,” Ina told him. “And this is our son, Nimo.”

“We got a son?” he murmured, half awake. “So, you mean, we’ve done it?”

“Yes, that’s how we got our son,” Ina responded.

“That’s so awesome,” Ate announced. “Man, you’re the hottest nurse in the world. I should get surgery more often.”

He fell asleep right after, and Ina adjusted the blanket so that it was covering all of him.

“Nimo,” Ina said, turning to me. “Go home and tell my second husband in the basement to get lost.”

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Darlene P. Campos is an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Creative Writing Program. In 2013, she won the Glass Mountain magazine contest for prose and was awarded the Sylvan N. Karchmer Fiction Prize. Her work appears in Prism Review, Cleaver, Red Fez, Bartleby Snopes, Elohi Gadugi, The Writing Disorder, Connotation Press, Word Riot, Plain China, and many others. She is from Guayaquil, Ecuador, but has lived in Houston all her life. Her website is www.darlenepcampos.com.

 

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PIG LATIN POETRY/FLASH FICTION CONTEST — Deadline extended!

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We’re pushing back the submission deadline for Back Hair Advocate’s free-to-enter Pig Latin Poetry/Flash Contest all the way to August 31. We need more submissions than we have now to actually be able to refer to it as a “contest.”

As a refresher, here are the details…

Write a humorous poem or flash fiction in Pig Latin. Try not to exceed 250 words (as long as its under 500 words, we will accept it, though).

Here’s a handy how-to-write Pig Latin guide in case anyone needs a refresher.

Best poem/flash will be published here on the Back Hair Advocate website.

We’ll also send the winner a crisp $20 dollar bill in the mail.

Send entries to backhairadvocate@outlook.com. Costs nothing to enter the contest.

Have fun.

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two poems by Rich Boucher

Entendre

Her eyes widened,
and she gasped
as I entered her

cubicle.

 

If Only

If I had a job driving my own ice cream truck,
I’d paint the thing jet fucking black
with an airbrushed execution scene on the sides
and the little loudspeaker up top
would blast Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades”
as I drove through the neighborhood,
vending my delicious ice cream.

Actually, forget about the ice cream,
you know?

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Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has published four chapbooks of poetry and once hosted a poetry slam series in Newark, Delaware. Since moving to Albuquerque in 2008, Rich has performed all over the Duke City, served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and is currently a member of the 2014 Albuquerque City Slam Team. His poems have appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Broadkill Review, Menacing Hedge and The Legendary, among others, and he has work forthcoming in the Write Bloody Publishing anthology MultiVerse, due out in the fall of 2014.

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Call for Submissions

Back Hair Advocate wants your submissions. We’re looking for humor, but what we truly want is great writing.

And one more thing — we’d like Back Hair Advocate to start putting out stories that take more of a nontraditional structure. So think letters, email correspondence, wedding announcements, personals, missed connections, math word problems, whatever really. We’re still going to publish stories with a traditional format, but we’d love to get some diversity in this area.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with, folks.

— Ian Starttoday

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Skippy Goes Sailing by Gary Moshimer

I coughed a little. Some bloody fluid sloshed in the rubber tube coming from my chest.

Outside my door some doctor was ranting. He was looking for the patient in the room across from mine.

“She’s in X-ray,” the nurse told him.

“It’s Friday,” he said. “I have to get out of here. The holiday.”

He was acting like an ass, and I didn’t like the looks of him. He was an ugly fuck. Big everything– feet, nose, ears. I decided he looked like a clown. I decided his name should be ‘Skippy.’

I’d just had some pain medicine. I was blameless.

I called out to him. “Hey, Skippy.”

He ignored me. He tapped his clipboard impatiently.

“YO, SKIPPY!”

He cocked his fat head and looked in at me. “Excuse me?”

“You know where I’ll be for the holiday, Skippy? And that lady? We’ll be right here.”

He shook his head and turned his back to me. The nurse, Angie, made a dimple at me. I loved her, she was so cute.

“Where are you going, Skippy? Country club? Or do you have a big boat for those big feet? Skippy goin’ sailing?”

He mumbled something to Angie and she gently closed my door.

After a bit I saw him from my window. I watched him heading for the parking lot, his lab coat slung over his shoulder. I waited for him to reach his BMW or his Mercedes or one of those cars with the doors that open up like wings. But he just kept walking, past the lot, out into the street. He stood on the sidewalk, looking both ways. He crossed the street and kept going. The white of his coat finally disappeared. I pictured him going into a bar, or visiting a prostitute, or going to his luxury apartment overlooking the water and dressing up in his clown outfit and dancing in front of a mirror, all by himself. I saw him drinking from a bottle and tweaking his ruffled collar and running in his floppy shoes and throwing himself off his balcony because he was that unhappy. My automatic blood pressure cuff turned on, and the reading was twenty points closer to normal.

I watched the horizon over the bridge. The sun was setting. It was beautiful. A cloud bank had a slice out of it and some of the sunset leaked through and it was the same color as the stuff in my tube. I coughed. I felt better, I really did.

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Gary Moshimer has stories in Smokelong Quarterly, Jersey Devil Press, Pank, Frigg, Cease, Cows, and many other places.

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