Steve B Howard
Steve Howard's self-published collection of short stories Satori in the Slip Stream, Something Gaijin This Way Comes, and others were released in 2018. His poetry collection Diet of a Piss Poor Poet was released in 2019.
The Beanie Baby Murders
The green filth had grown over the grate and locked his memory away from this street. Homelessness was punishable by banishment from recognition. The law was enacted to make them forget his existence, but now he had pushed his way through the hidden sewers and stood before the gift shop, a representative of the rejected and abandoned.
They Come to Snuff the Rooster Santana
This is the story of Santana the Rooster’s triumph. It is not the greatest story I could tell or the most dangerous. It is not the only time I have faced death in my life. Some of the old timers that I attended school with as a boy do not believe it ever took place. But my cousin Tito and I still remember it clearly. Maybe because it is an event that only our young minds could have conceived of, or maybe because it was our first time facing death together, whatever the reason this is how it happened.
An Emperor's Request
On August 15th following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Emperor asked Japan to endure the unendurable. Ten minutes later my commanding officer, Kenji Takagawa assembled us in the main lecture hall. He openly wept as he announced that we had failed in our duty to protect Japan. “Japan’s shame is our shame. The defeat lays on our shoulders.” Then he recommended us all to return to our families and try to rebuild our shattered lives. All of us stood there stunned as he quietly returned to his office. From the lecture hall we watched through his office window as he drew his service revolver, put the short gray barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger. As chief medical officer on base I was required to examine him, and fill out the death certificate.
I remember my granddaddy saying, “Austin, boy every generation needs a war to define itself. This one’s yours. You go on and sign up now. You’ll come back a man or you’ll die a hero.” The coroner told me your suicide looked like a Jackson Pollock done in gray matter. You said you would been a painter if ‘Nam hadn’t of fucked you up. Fitting you were also the bastard that told me Hitler wanted to be a painter too.
Hapsley the Bird Hunter
The music throbbed, then pounded, then backfired into some sort of Indian Techno Disco hybrid. It was deceptively black inside the club. The walls, the ceiling, the bar, and most of the patrons were painted, or tanned in darkness. The deception was created by the lighting. Spinning light rainbows, white lightning flashes, and sparkling blue strobes puked out of the ceiling mounted special effects system and blended sickenly with the music. The net effect was a severe warping of ones senses and discretion.
Memories of the Big L
Remember that night well, clear as a spring sunrise in Montana. Slim kept buying ’em until I was under the table. Woke up the next day back in my bunk at the ranch with the worst hangover of my life. Haven’t been able to say his name since. Just call him the Big L in my mind.
Bone Splinters and Booze Vapors
Old Zenard used to say, “Never throw a damn punch when your so tanked you’re seeing double, Too numb to feel the impact.” Should have taken his advice. Wouldn’t be using a rusty pair of needle nose to pry Burpie’s tooth out of my knuckles right now if I had. Didn’t even know I’d slugged him till I came to this morning.
The Tree Wizards
Texas, in all her flatness, was now our new home. But there were surprises. The little pink rambler was squat and somewhat ugly due to its Mary Kay exterior, but the yard was amazing. A small stream running through the back of the property had been diverted to provide nourishment for the plants and garden.