Publishing a novel in 2012 is a tricky proposition. Humans don’t live at a page-by-page pace anymore. There was a time, it seems (if you read enough 19th century literature), when people had hours of spare time to spend doing things like looking out windows, walking along creeks or thinking about their feelings. We don’t stare out windows anymore because we stare into screens, and let’s face it, the shit you can find on the Internet is way more interesting anyway. Now we know about our feelings before we feel them because they show up on our Twitter timeline first.
Four Pins isn’t a boring literary website, so I’ll spare you my diatribe about technology and literature. But I do want to encourage you not to give up all hope. Writers are problem solvers. They start with something to say and then figure out the best way to say it.
In his latest novel, Dead Stars, the novelist/actor/screenwriter/director Bruce Wagner is saying: Look at yourselves. Yes, you, the (sometimes) disgusting, drug-fueled, web-addled, celebrity-obsessed perverts. If we keep on moving at this rate we’re going to eat each other alive.
Or something like that.
His new book is a raunchy joyride through the minds of a few typical Americans—a teenage girl who gets knocked up and runs away from home, the youngest living breast cancer survivor (she had a radical mastectomy at 9), a young crackhead paparazzi aspiring to show his celebrity snatch shots at the Gagosian, and Michael Douglas (yes, the actor), just to name a few. Their lives interweave and fall apart beautifully as the book goes on.
Here’s an excerpt from the book (reproduced here as it appears in print) for you to read and enjoy. Buy Dead Stars here.
To Kill A Hummingbird
Jerzy’s intel, his twittinformers, twatsnitches, GPS-holes, whatever, had furnished him plate numbers & car descriptions, so he could still make the I.D. & give chase, even if they did a vehicle switcheroo, even if the windows were blacked out he could still follow them to Melrose Place or Giorgio Baldi or In-N-Out (the one by LAX had been good to him) or the plastic surgeon’s or wherever. This late afternoon, he had cellpics of plates, dents, & scuffs on Rihanna’s SUV, Reese’s Audi wagon, V Beckham’s Rolls, Colin Farrell’s Fiat, Lindsay’s Lex hybrid plus 100 more, all +/- the last 48 hrs at most, because anything later than that was untrustworthy intel.
A current one to watch was Michael Douglas, who at this moment was being chauffeured around in a Music Express Mercedes. Jerzy was one of a handful of people on planet Earth who knew Douglas was having dinner with Heather Morris at a private estate above the reservoir in Silverlake Hills. He told his twits&shouts to sit on that because if it was a romantic thing (more would be revealed), a furtive exit pic/shadowkiss could gross a fucking mill & if they didn’t keep their mouths shut, they wouldn’t get a penny, which was the only way to guarantee any kind of silence . . . the situation tho was de facto way volatile, he couldn’t keep a lid on it too long, it was a LeakyLeak world like Tom-Tom said, the tomtom drums could be heard in every global village, the Douglas/Hemo tête-à-teats (he sent out a tweet: does Hemo still have her implants?) would need to come to a head soon, i.e., before his rival pack-o’-ratsies found out.
This, as Hyman Roth said, was the life he chose.
. . .
He cycled thru this kind of trouble a couple times a year when sleeping issues got out of hand.
He needed GBH to come down, GBH worked nicely, but heroin or methadone was still preferable. Tom-Tom became his source, very reliable, gave him just enough to mellow at the end of the day, then a few hours later sleep, problem being eventually it wouldn’t be enough. He’d slide into smoking PCP (to further chill), which worked for awhile, in that way everything works for awhile, until it doesn’t, until came the familiar visitations of paranoia&(mostly) auditory hallucinations.
He knew a wave was coming, immense & unsurfable, when he switched the sat radio in the truck from CNN manwhores Blitzer & Cooper to Shade 45, the hardcore hip hop station belonging to racist genius Eminem. It was important for him to listen because Mr. Mathers was the enemy, the Emeny, Mr. Mathers ( Jerzy always used his white birthname) was the Trojan horse from which all coming racial strife, bondage & pestilence would run havoc. Msquared was the puppetmaster, biding his time with his white cohorts & consorts, slaves too but of a higher class, Elton & David, Fallon/Fey, Ashton & Demi (still together tho maintaining divorced personae per PuppetM’s orders), Tom & Katie, Justins Bieber/Timberlake/Theroux, the list was hella long . . . M2’s most ardent skill being his immense instincts/knowledge of how to seduce the black, how to play on their weaknesses, their whitelove of fame & money, their blackened obsession to be white, their white obsession with it, Mr. Mathers played it like a Game of Thrones.
For Jerzy, the distant rolling thunder of conspiracy always had the same flavor: the Race Wars, newfangled, coming race wars, grandfather of that which Manson botched. Today, listening to The Shade, he could see the dark familiar funnel of it as yet far away, trunk of an F5, awesome furry black twister spiral-shimmer with untwinkling rhinestones along its wormy trunk which on closer look were upspooling specks of debris, church pews, housesplinters, yard shard jetsam, John Deeres & orchard trees feeding the frivolous maw, Jerzy saw it change direction & begin its slow advance toward him, & it was a warning he recognized, the gargantuan drill-biting clang, the chomping pulverization of the ground in the syncopated broken circle of 4/4 time, ferocious machine shop tapdance roving over the checkerboard of his mindscape like a playstation God of—— Time to ready himself for his role of counterspy: the White thought he was spying for them on the Black but in actuality he was spying on the Whites for the Black, yessir, that is correct, gathering intel/ conducting cointelpro on behalf of those few Black left who could be trusted, the few who hadn’t been bootysnatched by M2 & his minions Jay-Z (Hov), Kanye (Yahweh), Nicki (Miriam), Lil Wayne (Zion) . . . and now Tyler the Creator was owned by the Puppetmathers who came a-raping in the night, Odd Future no longer a collective but collected, oh the tragedy of it! for Tyler had the shiniest shine, for a moment, Suge had thought he was The One, but now it was done, the Odds weren’t good & the goods were Odd, Wolf Gang still pretending to be heretical anarchists fl ying above their SUPREME t-shirts the SUPREME agitprop banner of Youth, all had succumbed, now blind sucklers of M2’s cock, tongue & tits. They be Gobblin———
Even the Jackal will offer her teats and suckle her cubs (Lamentations 4:3).
Jerzy was one of the coveted outsiders (whites) accepted into the camp of the Black; in the manner Tom Hagen was accepted as the only non-Italian consigliere.
When he first saw him on American Idol, Jerzy looked into his eyes & his soul, down into the ratty mouth of him, & at once he knew—the knowledge electrifying him like a gust from another world, a stellar wind—knew without question that Jimmy Iovine was behind the erasures of Biggie & Tupac—it was I-Veen, with the help of minions Paula Abdul, Spike, Quincy, Arsenio & Eddie Murphy (Tupac said Eddie gave money to charity but the $$$ never ever found its way to the ghetto, Toop said ½ his fans were white & that Madonna was his homie, & Don McClean his mentor), who knocked down that 2nd domino of helter-skelter (Charlie M having pushed the 1st). I-Veen had 50 middleclass Whites standing by, each elected by a constituency of 100,000 Whites all across the land—across the breadbasket & ♥belt of this land my land your land this made for you & me land, by the end they stood for 5 million, all told, but the skittish Black pointed Judaslike fingers at one of their own—Suge—my Suge, your Suge, their Suge, Suge Knight! Suge Knight, who was the only warrior meshugg enough to lead them out of the White darkness that had descended & enshrouded them, if only they had listened—but the water got too muddied, crafty I-Veen knew the triumphant surfacing of the White at that time would have read lunatic-racist-fringey instead of sober-consensus-of-the-White-Mass—so, like a judicious climber who because of inclement weather conditions, turns back a mere 500 feet from Everest’s peak, the wisdom & even-keeled brilliance of General I-Veen bade his infantry retreat. The dominos were scattered, many tin soldiers fell, the Race War was not to be waged.
Not on that day . . . . . . . . . . .
It will keep, said the General.
He would pass the torch to his sons, Ricky Ruben & Liar Cohan, and son of sons Martial Law Mathers. I-Veen the Father, Liar & Little Ricky the Sons, MM the Holy Ghost.
The blind complacency of the Black set the stage for the rise of Marshall Mathers, his marriage to the assassin Fiddy, & the shame and humiliation that followed of Jay-Z, Drs. Dre/ake, Lil Wayne, Snoop, T.I., Ludacris, Nicki, Rihanna, and so many others by his hands. (The beating she suffered was owing to the talented Mr Brown’s explosive displeasure upon learning the news that had been concealed from him; that she had crossed over to the Puppetmathers’ world. He did not love the way she lied. If one were to make a timeline, it would be clear to see that Rihanna’s easing/lifting of the restraining order coincided to the very day she received word from Jay-Z-hova that her contrite beloved had been made a boss on Mathers’ plantation. Alack, another sad day for Suge Templar Knight, who until that moment had been so impressed with Mr Brown, & now spent sleepless nights bemoaning the fate of all of his once brave brethren.)
Jerzy kept a diary in a close, careful hand; the wild history clarified things for him. He wrote about Mr Mathers living in his Oz-like home in Detroit, serviced by Black&White slaves. Like an emperor, his every need was made manifest: in the middle of each of his many labs there sat a fountain which spewed forth Splenda-flavored diet Coke. Mr Mathers has gone on record that he keeps vast files of wordplay rhymes on index cards for future anthems; Jerzy wrote in his journal other hidden details that he felt must come to light should something happen to him during one of his missions—mainly, that a whole room in itself was dedicated to those troves of songs to be written & played at a future date when the War is over & peace descends upon the land. These are the songs that contain the word nigger; the Puppetmathers would fold them into the compositional theme he used so effectively, time & again, of his dominance over the thickheaded thugs & tatted pickanninnies of rapdom. He dreamed he was King, woke up, he was still King . . . . . of those he enslaved. Watch the (game of) throne . . . as White infiltrate & co-commander of Black
Cointelpro, Jerzy had done an exceedingly careful study of Mr Mathers’ manner of speech, his inflections when he talkshowed or spoke to radio press—the Puppetmathers has a playful side, but likes to keep his interviewers on edge, enjoys making them feel honored he has spared them from his whipsaw rage & violent whitened blackhenchmen— Jerzy noted that when M2 was being serious, his broody face formed words with peculiar, post-modern wigger phrasing, odd & somewhat somehow blackified, & strange sounding . . . it isn’t quite white trash not exactly but then what is it? Jerzy realized what caused Mr Mathers’ baffling, unplaceable argot: simply the effect upon his regular speech—a compression or distortion or displacement of sound—by that of an alternate speechifying: as he spoke to whatever obsequious interlocutor to promote himself, he was at the same time sending messages to his slaves. One day there would be a machine
not yet born (Suge’s scientists were working on it) able to split his voice in two, & isolate the 2nd speaker: exposing, for the cynics, the pep talk/marching orders he dispenses to plantation workers, in all media & venue.
So artful was Mr Marshall Mathers, that to his father I-Veen’s pleasure, a 3rd domino need not even be touched by his hand—they were already falling by metempsychosis.