Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Video Blog, to be posted here

What's up world. I haven't been doing my blog justice, and it's for a good reason. I've been writing pretty diligently, so sometimes it is hard to sit down and write some more. Hopefully this new feature/aspect will add some vivacity to this blog so that it doesn't die.

Let me know what you think about the video...it's my first, so be easy.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Teacher

“Get the fuck out the car.”
I cursed. It wasn’t at the cold of the handgun pressed against my temple—that could turn sizzling hot at any second, and then who would I be to complain? It was damn near four in the morning and I had been just about ready to call it a night. Had my hand on the key and the key in the ignition. Now it seemed like I’d be up to see the sunset afterall.
Then again, I might not.
“I said get the fuck out the car!”
I looked up at the tense hand hovering just outside my window. He was black, like me. His finger was wrapped around the trigger, tight and ready. That could mean that either he was more than willing to turn my thinking station into a bowl of torn flesh if I didn’t comply, or that this whole experience was just as scary for him as it was for me.
I put up my hands, slowly. Quick movements get you shot.
“Look, buddy. Whatever you want.” But I didn’t move. I looked past the gun and to the man behind it. His face was paranoid, but angry. This was taking too long, already.
“Don’t look at me,” he said. His voice was firm enough, but I could detect some doubt there. It was the voice of someone who meant business but might not actually know what business meant.
But instead of turning away, I looked past him. My eyes grew wide. In a moment that could have very possibly startled a bullet into my head, I leaned forward and yelled, “Help! Police! Over here!”
“Shit!” The gunslinger whirled his torso but kept the gun surprisingly steady. Before he could realize his mistake, I reached between the car seat and the door, where I kept Susan. I had practiced the movement dozens of times, but never with my heart pushing to overdrive. It felt like forever to me. If the gunslinger had been watching, to him it would have been over faster than a bullet from a chamber.
Ah, the relativity of time.
A few days ago I’d researched what happens to human muscles when damaged—more specifically, when a bullet rips through at the speed of ‘you’re fucked.’ Research may be the wrong word, as my process consisted of a string of Google queries. The only answers I found in my short romp were from a plethora of Internet experts, in other words, pubescent teenage boys who read Wikipedia all day long in between looking at porn. Half the experts said that a bullet through the wrist of a gun-wielding hand would fire for sure and half said that there was only a 50% chance that the muscles would constrict and a 50% chance that everything would go stiff.
I thought they were good odds.
The blast of the gun left a ringing in my ears for days, but then I swear I hardly heard it. It was immediately followed by cursing. I didn’t waste time: I pushed out of the car, the door hitting the wounded predator turned pray on the hip and knocking him over with such ease it could have been comical. But I was in no mood to laugh. In those seconds between staring down the barrel of a gun and standing over this wounded predator with his weapon pointed at his head, a fire had blazed in my chest and my brain had frozen over. It all came together to a hard lump in my throat and with every throb of that lump, my anger grew and grew and my sanity melted.
I waited for the man to stop screaming and cursing. He was rocking on the ground like a ladybug turned on to its back. He was clutching a bloody hand, which now only had three fingers, possibly one and a half. I couldn’t tell if the middle finger was just capped with blood or capped with nothing. His gun had dropped into my car—I’d heard it. I made a mental note to share my real-life experience with the internet professors.
The initial shock was passing—or, at least, flowing out with the tide—and the man began to squirm away.
“You try to rob me?” I said. “You stick a gun in my face and try to rob me?” The man turned and began to awkwardly crawl on his knees while trying to cradle one hand. He looked like a wounded animal, which is pretty much what he was. It was although he had forgotten I was there and there was in the world was the pavement, the night, and the scream in his hand. That just angered me more.
I kicked him hard in the ribs. He cursed and fell over like an upturned beetle.
“I’ll kill you. I’ll fucking kill you.” The intent was all there and more, but he believed the validity of his words just as much as I did. I was the one with the gun and I’d already proven I had what it takes to use it. He hadn’t. Maybe in some other time and place he had passed initiation, but in my world he was still a juvenile.
“Get in the car,” I said.  The man just looked at me. His hand was gushing more blood than I’d ever seen outside of television and movies.
There was a second when everything hanged in the balance. The only movement was the puddle of blood expanding from where his chest met the concrete. I don’t even think either one of us breathed. (also his eyes moved). He debated behind those eyes, went through more than a dozen possibilities, but all of them came back to the same optionless moment. And we switched places. I was on the ground, gushing blood, only instead of standing with the gun cocked, the man with the gun was perusing the pockets of my coat, my pants, my life, not caring that I was bleeding to death. And instead of telling me to get in to the car, in my fading universe I could hear the rumble of the engine I’d been hearing every morning for seven years.
Then the moment passed.
I lowered the gun, sighed, and weakly gestured toward the car. “Get in.”
The man obeyed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear Mother

(Note: No, I do not need to get on anti-depressants. This is actually the start of an idea for a novel)

You did nothing wrong. I've carried around this piece of paper for days wondering how to start it. This is the only way that feels right. You raised me, invested your time in to me, and to see 20 years of your life's work fail must do nothing but leave that deadly question: what did I do wrong?


This was inevitable. I know it has never felt that way. I went to a good school, got a good job, and just got married! You and aunt Terry alwyas talk about how I bright my outlook on life is. I've hid my emotions well. Part of it has been because I love you all and I know my pain wouldn't just be my pain. Most of it is becuae I just wouldn't be able to explain why. Do you understand? My whole existence is a marathon on an internal hell I can't seem to climb out of and for he longest time I had no clue why.

Now I do.

Attached to this letter is Dr. Milligan's diagnosis. There is an imbalance in my brain that makes it hard for me to feel joy and easy for the other way around. This is not becuase of drugs or upbringing, just a random disorder that clicked in to my world sometime around sophormore year. Nothing helps. Believe me, I've tried. Milliford doesn't agree with my way of solving it, but he admits there's nothing else I can do.

This is selfish of me, I know. I've thought about that, too, and so I've made arrangements. You had me young and lord knows you sacrificed everything for me, so I want you to have the chance to see your only son become a man, have a family of his own, be happy.

I found someone who's willing to help. Her name is katrice, and she's extraordinarily become an integral part of my life throuh this process. She's attended my sessions, and i've lead her to believe I will be okay. But the arrangements have been made. She's pregnant with my child and when he's born, he'll be yours. His name is Michael. My condition is not genetic, but rather an anamoly, and katrice's family's medical history is spotless. You're still young and I hope you can come to think of him as your own. Come to think of him as me. I already do. My second chance.

I don't think even I can imagine the pain this is causing you. But I've done everything to make sure you will feel happiness again one day, something I just cannot do. Please take my gift and know that, if anything, I am finally happy.

To second chances,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Daniel (Draft)

Earth Angel, Earth Angel, will you be mine?

I love this song. I first heard it at my high school dance, where I had my first kiss and the rest of my life became set. Do you remember that moment for you? When you knew the rest of your life was determined--not exactly that you knew what that life would be, just that the path was set and you're ticket was booked for the ride. That's how I felt that night. The beat of the music, his gentle and cutely awkward sway, the soft touch of lips...it was magical.

I wish Daniel could know how grateful I am for that moment. I wish he could know that he was my first, no, not in the way that most people past a certain age talk about their first, but in the way that your heart always remembers. I never had the chance to tell him how glad I was he decided to save the last dance for himself out of respect for me, and how it made me shine inside even the more to be able to fill that void when I decided to show. I never had the chance to tell him how special he made me feel. I never got the chance to tell him that his singing of the words--

(Earth Angel, Earth Angel, the one I adore)

--while looking into my eyes defined my existence. I never got the chance to tell him I loved him.

And I never will.

I sometimes stare up at the stars and wish the dead and the living could talk. The embroidery of light in the black sky knows my frustrating--billions of stars visible in the same span of two eyes (one when I decide to close one and not the other, which I do often when looking at stars) yet they are cut off from each other by a barrier which I can see, but they cannot. The space between them so small I can put my finger over it, yet so inscrutably intraversable.

This is how I feel. That something so simple as the shutting down of the machine that is the body, as easily done as taking the engine out of car, could cease the development of two lovers. Yes, I loved him before I had the chance to love, beyond the point where he could even be loved.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I miss Daniel. And I always will.


Earth Angel

I smile and look upon the stars again. I close my eyes and put myself back on that dance floor, the perfect moment. I am there again, knowing my haphazardous life has finally clicked into place on a puzzle I can't wait to finish. Knowing the kiss will come, loving when it does. Knowing that he wants to touch me, pull me closer, but he doesn't because he's a gentleman, even when we kiss, he's a gentleman.

I don't think about the end of the song. The end of ends, a thing inevitable for all. I don't think about how when it is over I will have to leave and Daniel will still be there. I don't think about the moment would have defined my life, and how impossible it was for it to then. I don't think about that he can't feel me, or I can't feel him, or that he can't see me. I tell myself he knows I am here. I don't think about how I will have to pass over after the dance, how this will be my last moment. I don't think about the car slamming into my body the day before. These things are out of my mind, because that's what happens when you define your life, even if that life is too late.

All I focus on is Earth Angel, and how that is me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A story a day will keep the (brain) doctors at bay.

SO, I haven't NOT been writing. I've actually been writing a good deal. I'm typing up my long-ass manuscript that still has no name (Afraid of the Dark = pending, but that's kind of cliche). I hope to finish it this week so I can read right through it this weekend and start on that second draft.

Reading, too. I finished Ghost Story by Peter Straub, almost done with Dark Tower II by Stephen King, and have listened to Mossflower by Brian Jacques, Duma Key by Stephen King (bomb) and am currently listening to Hell House by Richard Matheson (also bomb).

But enough about the past. To quote Jay-Z (another writer, he just doesn't use a pen), loiterers should be arrested. So on to the next one....

And the next one for me is that I have to stay fresh. I need to write everyday and even though I am doing that with typing up my story, I think I also need to write something NEW everyday. So, I have committed to writing a short story everyday. I've already started with today's six-sentence long contribution: Michael. As you can guess, length will vary. Also, I might do it so that a story goes on over multiple days, but I'm at least shooting for a different one every week.

So, dear reader, stay tuned.


by. Justin C. Key

A brown shoe in the middle of the road. Behind, the sirens whirr, the crowd is confused, and the hysterics of the loved will echo long after the day is done. With its toddler Nike sign and glow in the dark strings, the forgotten shoe is the antithesis of joy, yet it holds the happiest memories. The car's dank oil travels the tar and circles around the sole, but never touches. Night will fall before a suit takes it away. Goosing his skin, behind him sad wind whispers through insightful trees: Michael.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Published in '6S Review"

There's this pretty popular site, http://www.sixsentences.blogspot.com/, which invites authors to submit short stories in six sentences. I've submitted to them a few times and recently one of my entries was accepted. Robert McEvily, the editor/founder of the site, told me it would appear in the first issue of The 6S Review, a collection offered in book format.

Either way, you can check it out here: https://www.createspace.com/3426567

House of Leaves

Short version: Shit was crazy!

Longer version: Shit was crazy!

That was one crazy book. If you take an academic thesis, a horror story, and a journal of a psychomaniac, throw them in a blender, and choose 'liquefy,' you'd get House of Leaves....after you let it sit for a while, of course.

At it's core, the book is about a house that is bigger on the inside than it appears on the out. This is a complete understatement, as points in the novel, this house holds corridors that rival the diameter of the Earth itself. Still, a fairly simple story, right? Well, the next layer is that this is actually a story about a blind man's experience with the story of the house (presented through film). Not done yet. There's another guy, who finds the writings on the old bling guy after his death, and he adds footnotes detailing not only his own thoughts about the text, but aspects of his adequately troubled life.

It's an interesting read, if not frustrating at times. The Navidson Record--written by the old bling guy--is a combination of straight narrative and analytic essay, complete with footnotes. It can quickly go from feeling like you're reading a regular novel to a paper for a college psychology course. The weirdest part (and maybe I just missed the explanation somewhere in the text) is that this dude is supposedly writing all this shit down about a documentary....but he's blind. It's like a deaf guy doing an analysis on the opera.

After about 100 ages, the report gets even weirder. Format goes out the window. You'll have footnotes at the top of the page, whole blocks of text missing, pages with only one paragraph, one sentence, one WORD....crazy shit, like I said.

Johnny Truant finds the scattered papers of The Navidson Record and adds his own two cents as more footnotes. We get a glimpse into his life--lots of sex, drugs, and mental problems--which gets progressively worse. He is suffering ill effects from reading The Navidson Record, like nightmares he can't remember, paranoia, and the inability to do anything in life but wallow in his own depression.

Johnny also has some of the hardest parts to get through. At times he just rambles on, stream of consciousness. It paints a great picture of his mental state, but it's jarring to try and get through 3 pages that's only about one or two sentences (I shit you not). He gets caught up on a topic or a thought or an experience, and keeps going and going until you can't really understand what he is saying anymore, when the thoughts have become more imagery than narrative facts, leaving the reader lost in a sea of words that change, deform, devour all mental states until the brain can't take anymore, yelling for freedom, yelling for some kind of peace, or maybe not yelling at all but wandering off to some other place while the eyes are left with the job of scanning the words but never really processing them, hundreds and hundreds of ideas, thoughts, emotions, wasted like a drunken whore.

Yeah....something like that.....times 10. I literally groaned everytime I turned a page and saw that it was another episode of Johnny's ramblings.  It's a shame, too, because I would usually blank out during these times, and I might have missed some deep insights.

As for scare factor, I've heard people say it's a really creepy book. It is, but it also has too much going on for me to really feel the brunt of that fear. The most disturbing part by far is not even a part of the main narrative. It is a collection of letters Johnny's mother sent him from an insane asylum. Now THOSE will leave an imprint on you, especially an encoded section that describes unmentionable horrors. For this alone, the author gains loads of credibility in the genre of horror in a way that's believable and disturbingly real.

I'm not going to go on too much about this book, but know that I enjoyed the experience and think that it's one of those rare gems where multiple readings will do it the most justice. If you decide to pick up the book, think of it more as a piece of art then the conventional word-laced entertainment. It's not something you can jet through. Even if you could, by doing do you'd be missing half the fun.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The short story is, I'm employed. The long story, well, that will come with time.

I have made a commitment to write in this blog daily. It should be easier now since I have the cushion of employment and any free time I have I don't feel like I should be looking for work.

Posts to look forward to:

  • Finishing of cross-country trip.
  • Unemployment chronicles - basically telling about being unemployed....entertaining, trust.
  • Tom's Life
  • Book reviews (just finished House of Leaves)
  • Short Stories
  • Commentary on my own writing projects
  • Six Sentences Publication
  • Movie/Video games reviews (got my Xbox back...and don't feel too guilty to use it).
  • Dream Journal in full effect.
Bring it on.