Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shelbyville Reunion, July 2003

Here is Wayne in between my mother, Dolores, and my daddy Jim. Or, as nicknames go, Doll and Leland. We were staying at my Auntie Dorothy's and I arranged for Wayne to be driven the 110 miles from Madisonville--his son David drove Wayne and Bobbi, and David was the one who suggest Two-Gun Henley to me, which I of course put a twist to. My father was the only one in the dark, and they sat the entire afternoon on Auntie Dorothy's new deck, talking about growing up in Humboldt Park, Wayne and my dad walking from Wolcott and Willard Court, respectively. Meeting up at Henderson Park. How they stood on Honore Street and watched a scene from CALL NORTHSIDE 777 filmed, my dad being a bouncer at Mania's Lucky Stop on Division Street, with my mom a dice girl at the Orange Lantern over there by Hermitage, things like that. Well, I called him yesterday evening while my nieces were playing ball in the yard. My father is very hard of hearing now, so I got the full story. Three months ago, Wayne had a 60 pound tumor removed from his stomach. Underneath that, the docs found cancer in his spleen, prostate, gall bladder, everywhere. He's not on chemo and getting hospice. He wanted to spare everyone from feeling the need to visit, but after getting the copy of the book I dedicated to him, he had to tell everyone in the Chicago area. I will be in Austin at the end of October for the World Fantasy Convention, but hope to take Greyhound to Louisville in November and get my Cousin Slick to drive me in his '64 Dodge Dart out towards Madisonville. I still haven't cried, though tears almost came Saturday morning while I was walking in the tunnel connecting the Red and Blue subway lines, of all places. More like my eyes unfocusing, floating in mist. He worked for decades as a trucker until the place went bankrupt, he moved back to KY and ran a store called Henley's Gottemdown (after a radio show that is long gone). He kept saying how proud he is of me, and I told him that while he was having a life I was writing my fictions every day for twenty years now. I wanted to die before him. There are too many ghosts around me and I want to join them.......Wayne

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Henley Heaven

I had been thinking about doing a post about ol' Bob Petitt, the Baton Rogue, or my John Agar Hypno-Cube, but that aint gonna happen. The photo is of Wayne & Bobbi Henley, the Wayne I dedicated my book to, the Wayne "One and A Half Gun" Henley from my story HIGH MOON, my namesake. He called today, while I was at the print shop, and talked to my father, kept things vague, though it could be my father being very hard of hearing. What I do know is this: the Madisonville KY doctor gives Wayne Henley three months to live. I can't even cry because of the meds I take to control being bipolar and in pain. The last time I cried was 18 days after 9/11, it took me that long. Before that, when my grandfather died in 1996, though I can fall silent when hearing Johnny Cash or George Jones singing "He Stopped Loving Her Today." But I can't cry, I'm trying to right now and I can't. Wayne

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Book Is Out!

FIENDS BY TORCHLIGHT is now available as fast as I can sign each copy. The brains behind Annihilation Press is Roger Dale Trexler, who is publishing a collection by Lawrence P. Santoro, JUST NORTH OF NOWHERE, early next year. You can order the book by checking the website at www.annihilationpress.com or by ordering a copy through Shocklines.com. Hardcovers and paperbacks are all going to be signed and are available at a price that is not eye-gouging. Two photos are published here, the latter is my author photo on the back cover, also by the legendary Greg Loudon, who made the cover as memorable as it is. Examples of his artwork, as mentioned in a previous post, can be seen in his sketchbook, CRUEL & UNUSUAL (with an introduction, "The Corpse Men Like," by some balding hermit in Burbank, Illinois, or at www.desolateangels.net. Why these two guys would put up with a crazy bipolar bastard like me is beyond me. The first photo was taken at the Red Lion, home of the Twilght Tales readings, and from left to right are myself, Larry Santoro, Roger Dale Trexler, Marty Mundt, with John Everson kind of squatting the way John Everson seems to enjoy doing. I have a funny look on my face both because Larry is leaning on my shoulder and (off-camera) Marty has his friend Giddyup Bandito dressed in a blood-stained clown suit, standing on a stack of CAT FANCY magazines, and seconds away of shooting a seltzer gun filled with bacon grease at my crotch. Enough of the past, what a silly night that was. Just wanted to tell you all about the book, because that is what literary whores do...I'll let you get back to your regularly scheduled life now...Wayne

Monday, September 25, 2006

VonCon 1993

The photo quality is bad, but here's the dilly-o. Von replied to my last post about where those 19 years have gone. A few of them had quite a few of us writer types ganging up on each other, either at a VonCon (where a spinning fan leapt from a shelf of cookbooks trying to kill me; there were witnesses and I made a girly-scream like Will Smith in I, ROBOT) or out in Virginia at Beth Massie's Pseudocons. Here we all are on a Saturday afternoon on Von's big, giant back porch, left to right, me with hair, Kathleen Jurgens, Don VanderSluis, Rodger Gerberding (who is now Mr. Kathleen Jurgens), Alexa deMonterice (who worked so close to Ground Zero I was frantic on that...day), a trying to hide Beth Massie, Dolly Nickel, Brian Hodge, Bunny & Snake (ok, ok, Jessica and Sean Doolittle), and Cathy Van Patten and then-fiance Jeff Osier. What a crowd. Back in the day, Sean was the new kid at the dance. His third book, RAIN DOGS, is in print now. You can Google most any of these people without getting slapped, but my reading recommendations would be Von's AFTER AGE, Jeff's DRIFTGLIDER, Brian's WILD HORSES (though reading PROTOTYPE was the only text besides Philip K. Dick's personal letters that wanted me to commit suicide, and that's a high compliment), and, hell, where to start with Beth. Her first novel, SINEATER. Her story "Abed" in one of those Skipp & Spector BOOK OF THE DEAD anthologies, like I said, Google away. Dolly & Brian blew out of southern Illinois for Boulder, Colorado (near my own ghosts in Denver) and Sean and Jessica now have Kate and Jack to keep them even busier. Me, I just keep telling my stories or reporting the truth, whichever you want to believe at the time. I thank Christ every day that I got to know these wackos, pictured here on a porch in Hanover Park, October 1993. Wayne

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Skin of Buildings

Yvonne Navarro, who I have known longer that just about anybody outside of my immediate family and imaginary playmates, going back to 1985 and when we were just starting to, well, I blatantly whored myself, Von, being able to type 3,000 word a minute, simply sent out several hundred stories a day, but that was back in the day. And, yes, the above sentence has about 47 punctuation errors in it, but writing about Von can do that to a guy. A link to her site can be found in the margins, and you can see how she has totally eclipsed my output as of, well, 1987. But we were discussing the fact that the old First District station house is now a building of condos called State Place. She mentioned that even though the old police HQ was gone, that there must still be the ghosts of the victims and the jailed souls hanging around. I was reminded of a line Meyer Meyer tells Steve Carella in one of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books, he ponders "what goes on behind the skin of buildings?" I always look for building that are soon to disappear, and was finally able to get to Wolf Road off the Tri-State Tollway and take some photos of the old Sante Fe Speedway. Richard Chwedyk sent me the radio catch-phrase, "Only one speedway has a track of clay and you aint seen nothin' 'til you been to Sante Fe." Sante Fe Springs was a town lost once Route 66 died, but Sante Fe was around until just a decade or so ago. I passed the building back in June on my way to that funeral in Hampshire, and knew if I didn't get the photo soon, the building would collapse in the next big storm. From the Tri-State, you can see the sign but not be aware that it is attached to a building. There is residential housing nearby, the suburb is now Burr Ridge, and an older woman in a muu-muu watched me take photos with my friend Ray (who drove me there), as if we were Al-Queda scoping out local monuments. Which, as far as I'm concerned, the Sante Fe Speedway sign is. Wayne

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Always My Anchor

The photo itself is of Ashley in 1999, 9/9/99, in fact. Dressed as a "Jailhouse Rock" convict to fit in proper with my surprise 40th birthday party, complete with an Elvis impersonator. But the computer page, straight from GOODFELLAS and (mis)spelled probably less than something Joe Pesci's character might have typed , was one of the many notes and drawings that Ashley has left me over the years to keep me sane. Well, sure, I was the one who taught her the phrase when she was seven, just like her first catch-phrase in kindergarten was "Hasta la vista, baby!" I thought this post might be a good transition in getting past the past and moving on with new thoughts. At least, until that next bright September day comes around next year...Wayne

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A 9 Year old's Drawing

The attacks of 9/11 eventually shut my mind down, turning my hands to cement. I was writing nothing at all, I would have strange dreams of fighting Mohammed Atta in the mouth of a gigantic dolphin, waking up feeling as if the barometer had dropped to an all-time low. Ashley would often have a Saturday night sleepover, mostly to play games and use my computer. I had various superhero action figures that perched on my bookshelves, Hourman, Green Lantern, good old Superman. Even bad buys like Psycho-Pirate, if only for his garish costume. To cheer me up on one of these sleepover weekends, Ash drew this scene of the heroes in my room saving people jumping from the towers. My brain started working again, I ended up writing a story called "I Know I Can Never Save Her," because I realized that what 9/11 had truly done to me was take away my invincibility. I always believed that I would give my life for a stranger as well as Ashley or any family member. My niece is now in middle school and at times, I think of Columbine, but I still have the stark realization that even though I believe that I am unbreakable, we now have to deal with suicide bombers who will eventually find a way to blow themselves up wherever they please wearing explosives under a Nicoderm patch. ...Wayne