Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creative Writing 101

This is not an article on how to write. I don't think that I could really help much with that, at this point in my life. I want to write about writing sometimes, and about myself, but not about how you should do something. Self-centered, but not narcissistic.

This is about creative writing class.


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Red Spotlight: Harley Benson

Every week this year, the Lainsville Freak Town Herald is chronicling some of the alternative community's biggest playersThis week, Todd returns to normalcy by interviewing area businessman Harley Benson, who seems deceptively uptight. 


The Red Spotlight: Harley Benson
by Todd Jones, staff reporter and super sleuth


Business is boring. That's why movies about business are really about uhinged businessmen doing coke while they set up their mega deal, only to watch it blow up in their faces. In reality, business is about making money and balancing budgets and mistreating your employees while avoiding labor lawsuits. This week's subject is supposedly all business. One of the two remaining partners of Benson, Blake and Crawford (nee BCCS), Harley Benson is responsible for saving the collective asses of over 150 companies. His job has nothing to do with anything remotely kinky. Also, unlike Kyle Blake, he still exists.

I should have known something was fishy when I got him on the phone about the actual interview. Here's what happened:

Me: "Hi, is this Mr. Benson?"

Him: *breathe* "You, are that fox who was pestering me about Kyle Blake last week."

Me: "Well, yeah, I guess I am, I'm Todd Jones from the-"

Him: "I will pick you up in the back of the parking lot for my office building. Wear something attractive. Perhaps something like what you wore while entertaining Mr. Kirsch some time ago, at his nightclub."

Obviously my reputation preceded me like a bad smell. You might remember that I interviewed one Harold Kirsch, colloquially and appropriately known as "Hawk", owner of "The Pit". I went back there to really see what the place was about.

Yeah.

Anyway, that conversation was the extent of it. He gave me a time, and that was it. I didn't even have a chance to inform him that I was going to be interviewing him for the paper.

I showed up in the back of his building's parking lot, dressed in my leather jeans, a pair of New Rock motorcycle boots that looked as badass as anything a goth teenager would wear, and the black spandex shirt.  I didn't belong in an office building's parking lot.

Harley did not come out and meet me on foot. Instead, he drove up and picked me up. His car was a black Mazerati Elexa Geo GTS, which was not only fantastically luxurious and Italian, but completely electric. I knew that right away because he was parked behind me for several minutes before opening the door and announcing himself. Ahem.

Harley is a very large lion. He's almost seven feet tall, built heavily but not stout, with a shocking dark ruddy mane that he does little to keep under control. The car was a good fit for him stylistically: he had a pinstripe charcoal suit and creme caramel dress shirt with a slant-striped red tie. I wasn't so sure he would actually fit in it.

Inside the car, he seemed quite comfortable, but he still dwarfed me. "I will take you out for a drive, so you can 'interview' me," he said, and his voice filled the car like that foam stuff you squirt in cracks. He sounded like a supervillain in a movie, crossed with that guy who does the Love Show late night on the smooth jazz station.

Lainsville has plenty of scenic driving, especially once you get into the hills. He drove fast, and on scenic roads that gave me the willies. The car handled it fine - I'd hope it would handle twisty roads at high speed, being a Mazerati whose price tag is not discussed except as an afterthought. Harley seemed almost robotic, pinned back in the seat, driving gloves clutching the wheel, never once looking at me with his laser-beam golden eyes.

He was not a very good interviewee. For a start, he didn't seem to want to talk. We spent almost half an hour literally driving around the hills before he even said anything else. I couldn't bring myself to say anything, because his car was practically silent and he didn't have the radio on. All I could hear was the faint rush of the road and him breathing. I couldn't ask him a damn question. I just couldn't.

"Your readers do not want to hear about how I twist the arms of business operations managers until they cry uncle and listen to my advice," he finally said, without warning. "They want to hear about what I do in the bedroom. I suppose you don't have any inkling what that is, which I find amusing, as I know what you do in the bedroom. You print pictures of it alongside your articles in the Freak Town Herald. You also have been in some of those films that you produce, if I am not mistaken."

I couldn't really respond to that, either. Since I said nothing, he just kept driving.

We eventually came up to one of the scenic entrances to the Barrin Botanical Gardens. A big bike path (excuse me, "Multipurpose Pathway") had been winding along the road with us, and probably served to dump jogging soccer moms at the nature area. Harley parked the car and grabbed my leg. No, I did not pee myself.

"You will follow me," he said, let go, and got out of the car.

Walking with him was just as fruitless. I tried to ply him for answers to various biographical questions, and he barely gave me enough.

He was from Connecticut, and despite his current pedigree, had been the rough kid in the family. That had culminated in him joining some fight clubs in college, which apparently were full of intellectual types who sought philosophical refuge in beating each other up. Or, in his case, beating everyone else up. That jived with his attitude; I could imagine the towering lion saving up every inconvenience and irritation until he spontaneously punched someone's heart out of their chest and ate it. [Editor's note: Harley contacted us to express his admiration at Todd's frank description of his attitude.]

He had turned around in college and learned how to make himself more presentable, partly thanks to a lesbian friend of his. I thought that was an unusual anecdote.

The more we walked around the botanical gardens, the more he seemed to lose his alarming veneer, but I never saw him smile, and he still avoided looking at me. We finally sat down on a park bench near a rose garden. I got up my nerve. "So what do you do in your bedroom? I mean, I've heard your name come up, but you don't wear your kink pride on your sleeve. You don't raise your kink flag high. You don't-"

He grabbed my leg again. "I am a First, Mr. Jones. I spend much of my time trying to keep from eating people. I would not normally eat a fox, but you are much smaller than me." Okay, I could feel some pee getting ready. "I spend another portion doing my job. The rest is reserved for cultivating relationships, so that I can get what I want when I want it. Do you understand?" No one would notice a little wet spot... oh, leather pants, even better.

I didn't really understand what he was talking about, but that was okay since a distraction came up. Someone came jogging by, wearing skimpy running shorts and a shirt that was almost identical to mine. He jogged to a halt right in front of us. A zebra. A zebra-hybrid, judging by his being grayish instead of white and all splotchy. He had dyed his mohawk blue. "Hey Harley. Is this that newspaper report-oh! I know you!"

Harley knew me because I was writing articles for the alternative newspaper. The zebra knew me because I'd been in a band with him in high school, before he joined his 'real' band and tried to make it big. His name was Zale Sterling and I was pretty sure he was Australian. He used to try to talk like he was from California to hide his accent.

"Mr. Sterling, do not interrupt us. This is an interview," Harley said. Zale's sunny jogger demeanor immediately crumbled and he looked beaten. "You did not answer my question. Do you know what I'm talking about?" Harley continued as if I actually remembered as well.

"Mm-hmm," I nodded. Zale looked trapped. Harley looked completely fed up. I smiled.

"I am done sitting," he growled, then stood up and started walking down the path, the way Zale had come, the way we hadn't. At first, I thought he was going to simply walk off. He didn't. Zale picked up with me and walked along, sweating. He had the expansive body of someone pretty, but he was built like a man.

"Wanna interview me? I like to talk about stuff."

Up ahead, Harley growled to himself.

Zale laughed at me. "I'm kidding. I guess he didn't tell you that we were picking me up? I have a friend from work come drop me off here and I go running. It's really pretty, even if you get attacked by cougars sometimes."

"What?"

"You know, middle-aged women who want to get laid."

I started to feel a little dizzy. "Mr. Benson, I don't think that's the way back to the car."

He turned to look back at me, gave me a glare that would rot meat, and then kept walking. We wound through the entire bontanical gardens, then back around to his car. Harley didn't speak to me the rest of the time; Zale and I only talked about peripheral things like what he'd been doing all this time. Something had happened, but I wasn't party to it. I would have said Harley was angry, but there was a strange, completely unspoken warmth between him and Zale and only indifference to me. Plus, I couldn't stop thinking about Zale's cryptic mention of big, horny cats.

They dropped me back at the same building I'd started at, then drove off to wherever they were going.

I didn't get the story I was looking for. I did get a wet sock.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Red Spotlight: The Dog Who Wasn't There

Every week this year, the Lainsville Freak Town Herald is chronicling some of the alternative community's biggest players. This week, Todd finds out that his subject doesn't seem to exist.

The Red Spotlight: The Dog Who Wasn't There
by Todd Jones, FTH staff reporter and xenomorph egg inspector

I apologize for the delay. I was covering a big story, and you're about to read it. The first part, at least. Trust me on splitting it up.

I'm a features writer for a free alternative weekly and I make my living filming guerilla porn. I don't do real journalism. (Guerilla porn, you ask? That's hand-cam porn with actual cinematographic skill for you prudes. Why would a prude or square read this paper? Why am I talking to myself?)

I am supposed to find an interesting person in the kink/fetish community and showcase them, mostly to prove that kinky weirdos can be real people with real careers. So far, they all seem to have careers related to kinky weird shit. They also all seem to know each other, which is what makes this particular assignment actually creepy.

My victim was supposed to be one Kyle Blake, retired U.S Marine and partner in the now-defunct business consulting firm Benson, Blake, and Crawford. Kyle was a german shepherd, middle aged, and renowned for his unflinching play style. That last bit came from some of my kinky contacts. Kinktacts?

My first inkling that something was amiss came when I called their office. The phone tree said, "BCCS" instead. The receptionist assured me that the company was the same, they had just changed their name due to the loss of one of the principal partners. That was Kyle Blake, who was dismissed almost six months prior.

One of my contacts was employed at the company, a future subject for this series. Harley Benson, who is the most intimidating lion on the face of the planet. I work in porn, there are a lot of lions in porn, and he would make them all mewl and hide under the sofa. While I had a line open, I begged and pleaded with the receptionist and got Harley to explain why Kyle had been 'dismissed'. The answer:

"I grew tired of his poor attitude and inappropriate behavior. We had an... altercation, and then I simply fired him."

Yes, that ellipsis represents a movie-badguy pregnant pause. The lion went on to explain that he had intentionally lost contact with Kyle. Mr. Benson was quite busy and simply gave me what he thought was Kyle's number.

I called it. That mobile subscriber was no longer active. So, I went back to Michael Jasek, who I had heard was friends with Kyle.

The fox gave me Kyle's address, which belonged to a house out at the foot of the hills surrounding town. A woman answered the door and told me that she'd bought the house just weeks earlier at an auction. Apparently, it was owned by someone out of state who had to move for business, and he had been renting it to Kyle. When the rent checks stopped coming, the owner gave up and sent the mortgage bank some jingle mail.

The owner of the house was not in a very good mood when I called, and told me that he had no idea where Kyle was and to fuck off and stop asking.

Next stop: Tomasz Dusicielski, esteemed fetish photographer. I actually ran into him in person, which was very frightening. He backed me into a corner at a sushi restaurant, apparently just blocks from his studio. The first thing out of his mouth was that he liked how the picture turned out in the paper. I asked him about Kyle, and he was dismissive, pretending not to care. Or maybe he actually cared, but acted like he didn't. It was hard to tell, because his mood would change mid-syllable.

Tomasz also seemed more interested in interrogating me about my actual day job, so I had to write him off as a wash.

Everyone I talked to knew who Kyle was (a tautology because, of course, that's why I was asking them) but had no idea where he was, where he had gone off to, or what was going on.

As far as I could tell, one day, he simply got up and completely abandoned every aspect of his life, every person he knew, everything he owned.

I thought that was going to be the end of the story. Instead, Tomasz paid me a visit at the newspaper while I was bumming around in the office, discussing whether I should even submit the story. There was no interview. I had bits and pieces of nothing.

The cougar showed up, found me, and threw something at me.

It was a hankerchief. Inside of it was the dog tag that you now see attached to this article. "KYLE BLAKE - MASTER SGT - MARSOC". There was also a key.

"Is for storage unit," Tomasz said, and then left. "You are newspaper fox, go find it."

This is what we call a cliffhanger, folks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Porn As A Story

If you're reading this, you probably know I write smut. (It's kind of described in the masthead.) Smut, erotica, porn, graphic writing, whatever you want to call it - it's certainly a legitimate form of expression. You might not find it morally correct, but it's been around for as long as humans have been writing things and it never has failed to stimulate.

I find it almost natural to write about sex, and I fumbled around with writing for a few years before I figured out why. The reason was something I learned in middle school, from my super awesome English teacher who was also a former African missionary (!!!).

Read on.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Red Spotlight: Michael Jasek

Every week this year, the Lainsville Freak Town Herald is chronicling some of the alternative community's biggest players. This week, Todd hopes that area entrepreneur Michael Jasek will be more interested in talking about his custom rubber fetish gear business, and not interested in the reporter's bodily functions.

The Red Spotlight: Michael Jasek
by Todd Jones, FTH staff reporter and investor in paper towels.

My editors have informed me that my byline will humiliate me again. After last week's article, I don't think so.


Luckily for me, this week's subject is much more compatible. We are both male, we are both foxes, and we are both disturbingly kinky. In fact, he's the one who suggested that I refer to him as my 'subject'. Michael Jasek is a Russian Silver Fox who has been cultivating a line of customized rubber gear that looks as much at home in science-fiction movies as it does while its wearer brandishes a bullwhip in a dingy basement dungeon.

I joined him in his house, which was immediately weird. I thought it was a duplex. "It's kind of like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back," he said, giving me a shotgun tour. One side of his house had been retrofitted into a business: the living room was the lobby, the bedrooms were a dressing room and 'tryout room', and the basement was where he did his actual work. "I don't really know when I got into rubber gear. I spent a lot of my childhood in the hospital, so it probably came from having guys in rubber gloves playing around with me while I was under. Masks, too."

All of that was evident in what Michael made. To use his words, imagine the iconic Batman suits from the Tim Burton movies on forward. Then, make them into sex play gear. Sculpted rubber in any color and design, enhancing the body until it looks intimidating or like a plaything. Full coverage, from gleaming boots or strange latex toe socks, to zentai-like hoods and immense complicated gasmask hoods. He and his business partner had packed the house with display examples at every turn, including a vicious-looking wolf mask hood perched right on the kitchen counter. They made and sold off the shelf gear as well, although most of that is sold through a shop at the venerable club The Pit.

"I've always been a nerd," Michael told me, as we transitioned from the business side of his house over to the personal side. "I've been watching science fiction movies, fantasy movies, comic book movies my entire life. My parents let me watch the War of the Worlds TV show when I was in third grade. That was a really violent show. Did you ever see it?" I proceeded to say no, and listen to Michael go off on a massive geek tangent that wound through horror and science-fiction. He seemed very eager to slip into these discussions without any warning or knowledge that he might be boring. Luckily, he isn't really boring, unless you don't like anything he likes. Then, you shouldn't be standing in his house.

On the personal side, he had one room with an ominous lock. He opened it up with a key combo and a pass card and let me in. The room was cool and dry and fans whirred up as soon as we got in, adjusting the temperature according to the fox. The room held a collection of movie, comic book, and videogame costumes. A traditional and animal-hybrid Darth Vader, spandex and rubber Batman suits, and one that I recognized even though I didn't think I should. "Is that a klingon?" I pointed out. "Yes! That's from Star Trek Six. I used to love ogling Sci-Fi fan magazines, but I usually just looked at the pictures. I could definitely get into the stories in actual shows and movies, but there was something so visually appealing. As I got a little older, I started wanting to dress up like characters, and then I started getting aroused by it."

Michael looked very unusual, very iconic, just standing there. He had the dark charcoal fur of a silver fox, but instead of ashy tips, he was dusted with red. His hands and feet were deep, burnt red, as was a shock of a 'mohawk' between his ears. He caught me inspecting as we went downstairs to the 'play' side of his basement. "No one had seen a silver fox at my school, and so they all made fun of me for being a weird fox. I really wanted to be a regular red one, like you. When I was a teenager, I got some fur dye and turned myself red, but it only colored the light parts. I ended up looking like an inverted fox. That got me more impressed attention, so I kept doing it and permadyed it later."

The 'play side' of his basement was a dungeon fit for the most disturbing sexual tastes. Flat medical exam bed, gynecological chair, St. Andrews whipping cross, head and foot stocks, bondage horses and benches, torture chairs, a stand-up cage and a puppy cage, a sling, and enough toys and gear to fill a sex shop. Most of it was old hat to yours truly; my day job is filming people having sex. Some of it was too medical for my own sanity. I pointed out a big console with various hoses. "Oh, that's an anesthesia machine. It really works, so no touching. I told you I was in the hospital when I was a kid. Well, I wasn't really sick." Michael started to look frightened, simply by talking. "You've probably never met anyone who was the 'proxy' part of Munchausen's By Proxy, right?"

Munchausen's By Proxy is a psychological disorder where a mother seeks attention by way of unnecessary medical treatment. The By Proxy part means that she doesn't seek it for herself, but for her child. Michael talked around the subject, trying to give me a global sense that he'd spent years essentially used as a medical practice dummy, but without being particularly specific. He looked like he would throw up any second. Then, as he started demonstrating various other medical implements - including a full set of anesthesia breathing gear  - the terror drained away and he seemed just as excited as he'd been to show off his authentic Darth Vader suit upstairs.

I didn't fare so well and asked that we go look at something else. He opened the door back to the other part of his basement, where he actually made the flashy gear that he sold for most of his living. I hadn't seen the back part of the workshop; he decided to tell me how he had reinvented sizing and modeling using 3D software and a 3D printing service. I could babble on about that, but my attention was caught by a huge glass cylinder full of unpleasantly yellowy liquid and covered in tubes and hoses. It looked like a movie prop. I even recognized it. "That's from Aliens, isn't it? When they get into the medical labs after landing on the planet."

"Yep!" Michael beamed and lost his train of thought instantly. "That's a facehugger. It's not just a movie prop, it's kind of a... it's kind of a toy. It's, well, you see that thing on the end of the umbilical? That's a Laryngeal Mask Airway, kind of  way of intubating someone without having to shove a tube through their vocal folds. It's for breathing if you're paralyzed in the hospital. I thought those facehuggers were some kind of demon sex freaks in a way; the attach to your head, knock you out, shove their ovipositor things into you and then grow an alien. It's really rapacious, really victimizing. I thought that would make them a perfect toy for breath play, which is just about as terrifying. Unfortunately, this thing I made only really fits on humans."

I was quite glad I was a fox.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Red Spotlight: Tomasz Dusicielski

Every week this year, the Lainsville Freak Town Herald is chronicling some of the alternative community's biggest players. This week, Todd Jones models for one of the top controversial BDSM photographers in the area, possibly even the country. 

The Red Spotlight: Tomasz Dusicielski
by Todd Jones, FTH staff writer and wolf magnet

About that picture? Yeah. Hold on a minute.

We got a lot of feedback from our first Spotlight feature, mostly because Hawk swears a lot and we didn't edit it out. I don't really understand how someone can complain about profanity from someone else who threatened to use yours truly as a sex toy just to keep up his reputation, but you can find some of the best responses in this week's letter column.

Keeping with the theme of 'tall, intimidating men in leather business suits', I sat down to have a chat with one of the more prominent fetish photographers of the last decade, Lainsville's own Tomasz Dusicielski.

Actually, when I showed up at his studio-slash-apartment downtown, he almost slammed the door on me. "I don't want any, go find some other shit," he said, and I had to actually stick my foot in the door to keep him from slamming it. I hurridly introduced myself and reminded him that we had an interview appointment. "Oh, you are fox bitch who was playing with wolf last week." Thanks to Hawk, I had a new reputation.

Tomasz was a cougar and like most cougars, he looked pissed off just by existing. He had a tendency to squint and turn his ears back a lot, and was prone to flexing his hands like he was going to swat me. He was clearly tolerating my presence, and just barely at that. However, as he tried to be polite, it became pretty obvious that he barely tolerated anything. The simple act of making me coffee unleashed a steady stream of rowling displeasure at everything in his kitchen.

While Tomasz called his coffee machine a dirty pair of whore's underwear (At least that's what an intern who knows Polish said when I played him the interview recording), I had a look around. He lived in a big loft apartment where the kitchen, living room, and dining area all merged into one huge space. Mixed in with upscale black leather furniture was camera equipment: hot lights and strobes, seamless backgrounds, gobos and tripods. I knew cigars for the first interview; I knew camera equipment for this one.

Which Tomasz did not care to talk about at all. "This machine stuff, I don't care about it, I just want to take pictures. I need to have light, so I buy light. I need to have camera, so I buy camera. I need victims, so I go out and find people."

Victims?

"I don't say victims, what are you talking about?"

So I played it back for him, and he hissed in my face. I mean all-out fangy big-yawn spit-spray throat-rattling hiss.

Tomasz was Polish, and the only person I'd ever met who was human-born. He had come to this country with his family and ended up in Albany. His family struggled to make ends meet, doomed by his father's gambling addiction.

Then, shortly after his tenth birthday, Tomasz got sick. "I had the flu, but then I stopped having all the, I don't know, sneezing and coughing, and just had fever and aches and had it for months and months. Then it got worse and finally one day I faint in school, so my parents take me to hospital, and I was there for ever, no one knew what was wrong, only that I was maybe dying. It was animal sickness."

Animal sickness is, of course, the retrovirus that threatened to wipe out most of humanity and that started the whole hybrid community. These days, there are only a handful of cases each year, mostly in developing countries. That explained why Tomasz got the short end of the stick; by the time he was admitted to the hospital, his body was starting to turn into one large cancer. That meant one treatment: being turned into a hybrid. The disease has a much more effective treatment if caught early during regular screenings, but the last ditch attempt is the hybrid conversion.

Tomasz spent two years having his body killed and replaced in situ with that of an IPC-2 cougar. To compound the trauma, he was made a ward of the state halfway through as his parents tried to declare bankruptcy and ended up being deported.  Without his family there to help him through the process, he had to gain his wits with the help of medical staff that, in his own words, "were useless shits of humans." Afterwards, he was sent to a foster family that were oppressive Catholics.

He spent the rest of his school years struggling to stay in his grade, suffering from broken English and a bad attitude, not to mention poor social skills. He blamed the transformation. "I am like an animal that can think too much, or maybe a human that cannot stop having animal thoughts, it invades everything, I am distracted and I hunger and lust for things and it fills me up until I want to scream and run around and, and make biting on everyone and even worse, I don't know."

Interviewing him was very hard, because he would often decide to tell me something irrelevant to the question I'd ask, or he'd tell me to fuck off or mutter something only to come back and answer it later in the evening with no provocation. Not to mention the poor command of English, something that he admitted he could probably work more on. "But then I would be some good statement of how it works to be a hybrid, but that is not true, hybrids are slaves for humanity and I am broken."

Despite being churned up by the state medical system and spit out as a broken, snarling, chirping cougar, Tomasz managed to find his niche. He befriended his downstairs neighbor (who, interestingly enough, is also someone I will be interviewing) and ended up buying a digital camera off him. Tomasz immediately discovered that his unusual state gave him a unique perspective and started documenting everything he could with the camera.

"No, that isn't how I say it," he corrected me, as he started setting up an array of lights. "Things happen, and they mean other things, and I like to document the... I like to see the time and space of a situation, the horror and beauty and matter-of-fact? Is that the word? And I am freak, I like to have sex and do terrible things at same time, and so that is what I take pictures of."

His studio was rimmed with some of his photos, almost like a ceiling-edge wallpaper border, placed up high enough that they'd never be in most shots. They had dates underneath, like a giant timeline. The actual quality of the photography didn't change much but his style slowly morphed. His early shots were shockingly candid and stark, frank work that evoked Robert Mapplethorpe. They grew increasingly polished, but still frank and disturbing, often triptychs that explored some poor sap's sexually violent torture.

Tomasz agreed to be interviewed on one condition: that I would model for him. Okay, sure. I'd seen quite a bit of his artwork before, especially some that he'd done for an ad agency that wasn't particularly erotic (although unsettling.) I also promised that we'd print his choice of photo from the shoot alongside my shot of him looking like he wanted to throw me out of his apartment, which was how he looked the entire night.

After I saw his little timeline of photos in his studio, I wasn't so sure I wanted to model, and I was definitely sure that we'd have fun trying to print an unedited photo.  One of the models in some of his early shots was a fox, and that fox was not shy. Or, if he was shy, Tomasz took pictures of him anyway. The final one he appeared in looked like some kind of alien-machine rape scene.

Tomasz disappeared into a room that he announced as his dungeon, which he suggested I not go into if I was squeamish. I wasn't really squeamish, but I also thought it might be some kind of foreshadowing trap so I stayed put.

He returned with one of those big black trays that you mix cement in. "You stand in this," he said, and put it in front of the sofa.

Now, you really do have to read this next part in order to truly understand what Tomasz is about. It's frank because he's frank, frank and broken. Also, I have the go-ahead to freak people out from the editors. If little old ladies who complain to the FCC when they see boobs on TV are reading this newspaper, they shouldn't be writing in to complain. It's called the fucking Freak Town Herald for a reason.

Tomasz set up his camera to be triggered remotely and then came over to me. He wore a black leather suit, with the blazer made out of black hornback alligator leather and the pants of regular cow or lamb. His cowboy boots matched the jacket, and as he finished setting up his camera, he pulled on a pair of black riding gloves.

He walked up and came up behind me, then grabbed me around the front of the chest. "Now I take pictures of fox who makes porn video," he said, and then strangled me with his black-gloved hands. "I know who you are, I see you with wolf-dog and some human. Fox is filthy."

I moonlight as a videographer for Rough Trade Studios. Yes, it's true. I film porn. That's all the plug I'm going to give myself.

He strangled me, and I peed myself, and that's why there's a photo of me looking like I spilled coffee on my lap next to one of Tomasz looking like he wants to claw my  face (I was the cameraman for that secondshot) off my head.

I am convinced that the editors are going to use this series to humiliate me. You're all coming along.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

01011001 (or, Stereotypes)

Why would you want to write about animal-people, as opposed to regular people? In order to be recognizable and interesting to humans, the animal-people (or anthropomorphic animals, or furries, or werewolves, or K'zin, or those cat things from Doctor Who, etc.) would have to be mostly human in behavior in order to engender empathy.

OR DO THEY?

Seriously, one of the questions that any obsessively thoughtful furry fiction writer will inevitably encounter is, "why are they furry?" Why are you writing about furries? It might be interesting why the furries are furry, but that's internal to the story. The author's motivation is external.

You could probably argue that the author's motivation is not very pertinent to the story, in which case, you should stop reading this article because that's what the goddamn thing is about in the first place, asshole. If you have that attitude, you probably also go read blogs about things you don't like just so you can complain about them in the comments.

Assuming that you actually care about why someone would write about anthro animals, read on for some discussion as to why I write about them, and why I think they are important. You'll also find out why the title is in binary.


Monday, June 20, 2011

A Dark World: Animals (Pt. 1)

World building and porn go together like nerds and spirited discussions of sports at the local watering hole. In other words: they don't.

I don't really write porn, though. I write about sex. I just happen to like describing it in graphic detail, often while exercising my own fetishes. Apparently that means porn, not erotica. I read it on the internet so it must be true.

Almost all of my stories that involve animal hybrids (aka anthropomorphic animals, aka furries) take place in one particular town, and more importantly, one overall alternate near future. I'll start off with the most pertinent bits:

Animal people?! Read on.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Red Spotlight: Hawk

Every week this year, the Lainsville Freak Town Herald is chronicling some of the alternative community's biggest players. This week for our first installment, we're taking a look at a black wolf who is shaping up to take the place of the singular-named Carl as king of the kink hill.



The Red Spotlight: Hawk
by Todd Jones, FTH Staff Writer and Donut Bitch

"King of the hill? This isn't a fucking playground." I made the mistake of letting Hawk read the proposed byline for this first Red Spotlight article, and it was the first thing he mentioned when we sat down for a leisurely dinner.

He suggested the setting for our interview, a private booth at Casey's Steakhouse. If you aren't familiar with Casey's, it's located right at the edge of the gay district and is attached to The Bell Tower Hotel. That'll give you an idea of the clientele: men, usually middle-aged, mixed attire from business suits to biker gear, and plenty of cigar smoke. Luckily, I'd been a cigar fan for years so I braved the atmosphere and the price tag.

Hawk fit right in. He towered over me at about six-foot-seven, and he had leather head to toe. "Let me tell you about this outfit. This outfit cost thirteen thousand dollars. This isn't like wearing designer shit at a red carpet event, this is like putting your fetish where your money goes." Leather suit jacket with dark red hornback alligator on the lapels and up around the collar, fitted leather pants, a stunning pair of tall leather boots, and dress leather gloves that he refused to take off until we had food steaming in front of us. It didn't look high fashion, perhaps more high weird, like a cavalier mafia pimp. The only thing missing was a cigar, which he promised to leave until after dinner. Smart puppy. "I like telling people how much it costs, because frankly, they care. It's impressive. It's like having a fancy car. Even hipsters care if you have a fancy car, even though they say they hate it. If they didn't care, they wouldn't fucking open their mouths. Plus, it was fucking expensive." He seemed honest about that justification.

I couldn't really argue with that. 

---

Hawk was born Harold Allen Kirsch, in  Brooklyn, New York. His childhood was marked by familial problems. "My mom was human, which pretty much led to every joke you could imagine about being half skinbag. It doesn't actually matter, I guess, in a biological sense. I don't have human parts any more than any other hybrid. My dad was a black wolf just like me, though, and everyone assumed my mom was a total slut for wanting some animal humping her all over the place. Funny thing was, my dad was actually the slut."

The Kirsch family moved to Lainsville when Hawk was eight years old, trading a run-down brownstone for a trailer 'in the middle of nowhere' out on Hog Lake Road. His mother got a job as a park ranger for the nearby Hog Lake Nature Conservation, while his father mostly worked sales jobs while pining away for the big time as a screen writer. "I thought my dad was full of shit. If he wanted to be a writer, the big city was it, and Lainsville kind of had this reputation of 'that place near Albany'. Not so big. Plus, he was a total fucking cad. I don't even think he was hiding it by the time I hit high school."

The wolf spent high school alternating between AP mathematics and drama club, both of which set the stage. Drama wet his appetite for costuming, culminating in him winning a forensics award for reenacting the famous 'badass' monologue from trashy soft-porn cowboy B-flick "The Gunslinger". Math, on the other hand, "Sucked ass. So I was good at math, so what? I wasn't one of the smart kids, I mean I didn't fit with them, they all had rich families and I lived in a trailer with a park ranger and a jerk." Once he graduated, Hawk went off to Lainsville CC to study mechanical engineering, which landed him a stint doing diesel engine development for a marine power company. "Imagine me, wearing this shit, sitting behind a desk drawing stuff with Auto-CAD. Isn't that funny?"

His choice of career somewhat led to his meeting the influential Carl, former owner of Casey's, The Pit, and almost an entire street of retail shops in the gay district. "I ended up at The Pit the day I graduated from community college. I got on my bike, which I'd worked on in school, and figured I'd hit The Pit, which was then a rough kind of leather biker club. I ran into this total freak, this maned wolf who acted like some bad mashup of movie pirate and 80's glam rocker. I kind of fell in with him and he kept me coming back to the club and causing trouble. Eventually, Carl took notice and instead of banning me, had me stay in this insane bondage dungeon he had for a week. He wanted to teach me a lesson. Actually, one of his friends wanted to mess with me, but I ended up on Carl's good side as a result. I took everything in stride, you know? They dished out weird shit and I took it."

Hawk slowly started shaping his life together, turning some inherited property out in Carlton Hills from an old house into a stunning Ralph Claude modernist revival house. He started a custom motorcycle engine company, then merged it with Lainsville Powersports, then bought up a string of dealers. "All that engineering shit really ended up helping me, because I could go down to the machine shop and hold a conversation with the guys building our gear, and I wasn't being patronizing. I could have stepped in, I could listen to their complaints and it meant something. I wasn't just the guy with the fancy car and the nice boots who had the big office." 

Fifteen years later, and Hawk was no longer causing trouble at The Pit. Just a week before my interview, the infamous club reopened - with the black wolf at the helm. "Let me put it this way: when I first set foot in The Pit, it was rough. It was hard and kinky, it was like a cross between some downtown overindulged night club and a fucking cowboy saloon for gay ranch studs, it was the kind of place where you would get heckled, pushed around, maybe even coerced into shit you didn't want. Carl got it polished up to the point where you went there because you were going to get treated like that. I'm keeping that up, and I'm just making it more. I'm going to turn up the volume. I'm going to make it a place where you can have a drink with your kinky friends, you can sweat it out on the dance floor, or go all the way to the bottom or the top. I am, to use some business buzzword bullshit, vertically integrating the gay kink experience."

I had to wonder why we weren't at the revamped club for the interview. Hawk had lit up when talking about it, like he was genuinely excited instead of just smug and sarcastic. I waited until after dinner, when we were both sated and Hawk was enjoying a Padron 7000 Maduro. The gloves went back on. He leaned forward. "You want to know why I didn't take you to the club? You better print this or I'm not gonna look like enough of a tawdry asshole. If I showed up at The Pit with some little fox on my arm, I'd have to live up to my reputation. I don't know what your newspaper would think of their roving features reporter coming into work with wolf cum running down his leg."

I don't know what they would think, either.