The Way Back Home

Here we have another visitation from our dear companion Kitty Wang, everyone’s favorite time refugee. A publication in the UK was having an issue on “Foreign Travel”, or “Traveling Abroad” or something along those lines. A friend of a friend asked me to write something so I did. At 400 plus words it was declared too long, so I cut it to 299 words overnight and resubmitted. I was assured they said of being “long listed”. Little did I know that apparently in the UK “long list” is about the same as “shit list” is over here. So here is my shit listed piece, in it’s full length wide screen version complete with all the charming details and clever asides. My friend got long listed too.

The Way Back Home

The problem never seemed to be where you were going, it was more about where you were coming from. Having to establishing a plausible place of departure. Kitty Wang was well accomplished at navigating customs with their baby-steps of logic. Normally she kept a portfolio of travel documents that would be useful in any situation, but this time she had been caught off guard. Kitty is one of those rare people afflicted with “Billy Pilgrim’s Disease”, a condition where sufferers become “unstuck in time”. Without warning she could be swept away to absolutely anywhere, future, past, or “other”, her name for alternate universes. Most recently she had been swept into a remote portion of the Austro Hungarian Empire, charming enough of course, but not new to Kitty who was intent on getting back home. Choosing where to get back into our worlds travel document system is key. Letters of transit and safe passage from a long dead Duke are of no use.

Kitty had often slipped back in at Carnival, where ever it might be. Any small country whose economy depends on tourism is forgiving of paper work problems which can be overlooked. Kitty often plays the part of a circus performer and promise the examiner free tickets. Other reentry scenarios involved being an airship captain attending a UK Steampunk festival, or shouting incomprehensible slogans to all questions regarding her attendance to a World Cup match. This time getting back might be harder. She didn’t have any of her “good” passports with her. Her worse case back up passport was a long out of date, tattered, and pre-digital. At least the photo in this one was Kitty, but there were so many conflicting dates from the future and distant past along with validations from places that don’t exist yet. It would have to do.

The single engine propeller airplane taxied close to the only building near the unpaved landing strip. It was a small one story concrete block combination laundromat, convenience store, bus station, and customs house. Inside the lone
government representative, an older gentleman with a badge pinned to his sleeveless mess shirt, flipped pages trying to make chronological sense of things. Finally Kitty said “I’m sorry, you can see how difficult this is.
The passport was actually my grandmother’s. She was a powerful witch, and I use it in her memory”. With eyebrows up, and rubber stamp down, he called out “Next”!
Doug Mathewson

 

Kitty and Vincent, Sitting in a Tree

My friend Catfish McDaris asked me to write something about Vincent van Gogh for a book he is publishing in the Netherlands. I didn’t think I really had much to say or add on the topic, especially that the book is over 500 pages so far, but Catfish kept after me so I wrote this, which will be published under a different title. Thanks Catfish!

Kitty and Vincent, Sitting in a Tree

My friend Kitty Wang, wanted to get together so I could meet her new boyfriend. She’d had a few over the years but nobody she wanted to show off like this guy. It’s hard to imagine she’d be looking for my approval but who knows? We work out of the same office, just she’s not around much. Kitty has that same thing with time that Billy Pilgrim had where you just become “unstuck” and get moved through the years back and forth with no warning. That’s where her old boyfriends had come from, all different eras, distant places in time. I guess that’s why I never got to see them.
So we meet up at this hip new place Kitty likes. She always catches on to the trendy-trends. This place is micro-brews, kale salads, with strange and exotic paninis. It’s nice to see her. She’s with this guy who she introduces as “Vincent”. She says he’s a painter and doesn’t speak much Americanese. He seems nice enough, a little odd maybe, but so what? We order and sit down. Me on one side of Vincent and Kitty on the other, then I notice he only has one ear. As you might imagine Kitty has put herself on the side with the ear and is filling it up with gushes and giggles in something I don’t speak. He’s smiling and flirting right back so I’m odd man out and start drawing on my napkin. That’s what I do at work. I draw (not on napkins usually) art for some of the books and comics we publish. Mostly I do science fiction and fantasy. Maybe horror or romance if we’re slow. Anyway I’m drawing spacemen and moon maids and old Vincent gets real excited and starts drawing in all this amazing background stuff. Big starry night skies behind my guys with ray-guns, and pin-up girls riding six legged purple space bears.
We were both laughing like crazy and shaking hands, when the food came and Kitty told us quit it. Knock it off and get back to lunch.

Doug Mathewson

 

16th

We meet at “Lou’s Liquor-n-Lotto” every month on the 16th, which is funny since neither one of us drink.
Assistance Checks come in on the 15th, so she is there to make her Grand Father’s bad check good, and I’m there to pick up the walker my Mom was forced to abandoned so she could carry home two cases of beer.

Doug Mathewson

From Wood Lot #1

I started another small publication called “Wood Lot”. I wanted something with a different feel to it that Blink-Ink or The Mambo Academy of Kitty Wang (which are my two other publications). I hope that Wood Lot will be something with a life much like one of my favorite flash stories “Magic For Beginners” by Kelly Link. She describes a cult TV show that has a very strong following, but no known schedule. The central characters remain the same but every episode has a different cast. No one know when the show will be on, or what station. I like that idea a great deal. Hear is my purposely untitled piece from “Wood Lot” #1 that mailed as an insert with issue #26 for Blink-Ink.

 

 

I’d recognize her easy enough even without the rodeo number pinned to her back. Would’ve stopped no matter when I saw her old truck with the hood up.
We both smiled when it was ah easy fix.
Then it came to me, farm girl knew how to fix the damned thing herself.

Doug Mathewson

The Captain

After almost nine, well eight really I guess, of editing and publishing Blink-Ink I included one of my stories. Blink-Ink is a quarterly print journal of 50 word fiction. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this project and hope the results show that. More info @ www.blink-ink.org where you can find links to our podcasts with Rocky Mountain Revival, news and updates as well as info on submissions and how to subscribe (which is cheap and you should do).

This piece is 50 words right on the button and appears in issue #26, our “Space” issue.

The Captain

Grandfather Mutton-Chops was basically a nutcase, but it was his money so he called the shots. Straightening his crisp white vintage Captain’s cap, he announced we were changing course for the Dog Star system. With a longing glance towards the picnic basket, my brother and I began to paddle.

Doug Mathewson

Traffic

I’m second car at the light, the first a police car. The officer fusses with his hair in the rear-view. He fusses, he musses. Slick the sides back and repeat. Playfully he arranges his forelock, and then plucks it forward twice more. No, three times.
The light is green, should I blow the horn?

Doug Mathewson

Coyote, On The Move

The good folks at Chicago Literati put this piece of mine up on their site for their magic realism issue. It’s a tighter edit (at the suggestion of my friend Catfish McDaris) of something I wrote a few months back called “Passing Through”. Thanks, much appreciated to all.

Chicago Literati November 30, 2016 Current Issue, Feature Issues, Fiction, Magic: The Magical Realism Issue
Coyote, Moving On by Doug Mathewson

 

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Buckshot holes in her pack and the shoulder of her jacket told a story I didn’t want to know. Her being so hungry, ravenous you could say, and having dirty hands and matted down hair you could see she’d been living rough. Had more hair about the face than most women, starting out light on her cheeks and getting redder as it went back. Bright black eyes, not like a regular person. Now you could ask about a tail and find out just how sharp that knife on her belt was. Find out how quick she was too. Damned quick I’d say, from the look of her. With troubles up north some people, especially people who were part something else were making their way south. Keeping to themselves. Being real quiet about it. I’d done that trip a couple or more years back, run across a few other folks who had too. For now, I’ll just buy her two more burgers with fries and be listening when fox-girl wants to talk.

She liked it when I called her Coyote, figured she was from someplace they still told the Tricksters old stories. She was from no-place on the northwest side of nothing, way up in Quebec. She said she hoped her two moms wouldn’t be worried. I thought she meant one thing, but then knew she was meaning was her human mom and her birth mom. There aren’t a lot of people up there. Two dozen trailers maybe, up on a big lake with nothing but forest in every direction. Some youngsters come out of the woods, and other kids get curious and want to go in. People take in each other’s children, their kid’s friends. That’s how bonds were made and families grew. I remember it too. Native kids, Quebecois, and forest kids, running like a little tribe. More winters you spend in the trailer more human your ways. Start speaking French and wearing clothes sometimes. Seeing if you liked the people part. Seeing how much you might miss the other.

Coyote was down to a smear of ketchup and a glass of ice when she asked if I knew a place she could stay. (Better she asked than I offered). Sure, maybe, I said well, maybe sure. You can stay with us. I’ll check with my wife but most likely it’s okay.” Coyote smiled natural now, not afraid to show her teeth. My wife, Claire, got native blood, the daughter of a medicine man, so she recognized me right away when we meet. It was something else, the magic we had back then. Together the two of us pulling from both the earth and sky. She thought it was funny when I asked her to marry me. Man nor boy on that whole damned island had been brave enough to ask her. We told her folks, and funny thing, they saw it as us being married was about the old ways. Spirit Worlds of man and nature combined. I know Claire misses them. I miss them too. Miss that whole way of life.

More than likely the girl staying on with us will be alright, but I’m not fool enough to be bringing home a bottomless pit of a dirty she-fox kid without asking. Couple of months maybe me and Claire be moving on anyway. Go out to the coast, get a job on a fishing boat. Be spring then and I’ll be going white to brown like I do every year. Leave here before anybody starts asking questions. Your hair, your beard, they can go all white and people just think you’re getting old. It don’t work the other way. People get funny and start to ask. Yeah, dump the job, screw the boss, screw the rent too and just leave. Won’t be first time I’ve been called a weasel.

The Holidays

Real short, but all you need. That’s the point of Flash fic isn’t it? From another era in American life, universal family stuff I guess.

The Holidays

Your mother had had three drinks.
Mine just finished number four.
Soon the fur will fly.

Doug Mathewson

Emily and Frida

We are very fortunate to have a pair of young kitten sisters in our house. We adopted then in early Oct. of 2016 when they were about five moths old. They are petite tuxedo cats and bring us great joy and companionship. They are named for Canadian painter Emily Carr, and Frida You-know-who.

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Watching our black and white kittens shred the laces out of
my black Converse high-tops. Joey Ramone would be so proud.

Doug Mathewson

Amazon

I’m glad we joined Amazon Prime so the cats get a new box to play with every couple of days.

Doug Mathewson