Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail!: Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellionby Gary Phillips
An incendiary mixture of genres and voices, this collection of short stories compiles a unique set of work that revolves around riots, revolts, and revolution. From the turbulent days of unionism in the streets of New York City during the Great Depression to a group of old women who meet at their local café to plan a radical act that will change the world
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An incendiary mixture of genres and voices, this collection of short stories compiles a unique set of work that revolves around riots, revolts, and revolution. From the turbulent days of unionism in the streets of New York City during the Great Depression to a group of old women who meet at their local café to plan a radical act that will change the world forever, these original and once out-of-print stories capture the various ways people rise up to challenge the status quo and change up the relationships of power. Ideal for any fan of noir, science fiction, and revolution and mayhem, this collection includes works from Sara Paretsky, Paco Taibo II, Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Summer Brenner.
"The 18 mostly original stories in this thought-provoking crime anthology offer gritty testament to the violence, cunning, and resilience of people pushed to the brink." —Publishers Weekly (November 27, 2011)
"There are some real gems between its covers. Major names from not only the crime beat, but also the sci-fi and fantasy genres, make worthwhile contributions to the set, including names like Cory Doctorow, Sara Paretsky, and Kim Stanley Robinson." —San Francisco Book Review (April 2012)
"The stories in Send My Love may riff on radical and revolutionary themes, but they are more entertaining than instructive." —Briarpatch Magazine
"Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail! will interest readers of both the science fiction and mystery genres. Editors Gary Phillips and Andrea Gibbons have put together an interesting mix of pulp, hard-boiled and noirish mysteries along with several science fiction stories, many with a decidedly political bent." —www.SFRevu.com
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Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail!
Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellion
By Gary Phillips, Andrea Gibbons
PM PressCopyright © 2011 PM Press
All rights reserved.
Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Bizco Padilla became a soccer player in prison, so he saw the game in a unique fashion, like a war where anything went. Nothing could've been further from the supposedly British spirit of honorable competition or the prescribed Olympic ethos. His was a warlike soccer, country or death, the kind from which no one was exempted: not mothers, refs, busybodies, spectators nor the cities, nations, or races involved.
We got into the habit of watching the Pumas' games every Sunday on TV. We were the ideal companions: me because I had a thirty-five-inch color television inherited from a stale marriage, and him because he acted as commentator for the match, filling in for the sound that had long ago died in the appliance and that I had never bothered getting fixed.
El Bizco would arrive half an hour before the match to wake me up. Without much consideration he'd kick out my casual ladyfriend from Saturday night's sad fever and start to smoke, pacing around the bedroom while we talked politics.
Once the game started, his squinty eyes would fixate on the TV and the ashes from his little cigar would start to fall all over the place, most substantially around the curve of the kitchen stool he sat on.
Bizco's rules did not include off-sides, a pansy charge by the refs to disallow goals and make themselves hated. He considered infantile any punishment that didn't involve the guilty party eating dirt and getting trampled on. He permitted pulling the goalkeeper's pants down as the goalkeeper jumped up, and said that hand balls were only a foul if they saw you. For a good game there had to be at least two or three beatings and the red liquid had to flow. A broken leg and bleeding from the nose seemed to fall within the parameters of what he considered normal.
Bizco possessed a clairvoyant sense of the players' psychology. After having seen them touch the ball three times he could anticipate both their movements and their motivations. Bizco knew a lot about egos, manias, and displays of manliness. Above all, he knew a lot about fears.
"Now López is going to make a run along the edge of the field, looking to get behind Guadalajara's defense."
"Look at that prick, complaining for nothing. The guy barely pushed him! If he doesn't like it he can go home, stupid-ass."
Curiously our dominical meetings were teetotal. Prison had made Bizco a ferocious militant for Alcoholics Anonymous. My nonexistent author royalties at the time had condemned me to lemonade with a little sugar. Coffee sometimes — when the Pumas trashed the other team.
We had promised ourselves that when our economic situation improved we would go to the stadium instead of this ritual gathering in front of a mute TV. Bizco agreed to it then, even knowing that part of the enchantment was in the remoteness, the distance, the world that remained outside. The sensation of being prisoner that protected him.
Bizco was so cross-eyed that it was the same to him whether he looked at you face-to-face or sideways, and his scar filled you with fear, crossing his right cheek from his ear to his lip. Just another of the footprints left by prison. They'd thrown him in the joint at the end of the '60s, almost into '70, the last day of the year. All because when he was seventeen he was a messenger for a guerilla force that never took action, and that had been so heavily infiltrated it was the police making decisions on the national committee by a simple majority. Having committed no crime didn't save him from two weeks of torture and a month of preventative imprisonment that was so bad it would've been better if it had ceased to exist in his memories. Later he was sent to Oblatos prison in Jalisco, in those days the highest-security prison the federales had.
That's where he became a great soccer player, not through kicking around a ball in the barrio or on interscholastic teams. It never had anything to do with sport: just the fucked-up soccer of prison. Gangbangers from crujía siete, rapists, sexual predators, and parricides all against the "P," what they called the political prisoners. Guards against inmates. An average of seven wounded, and two or three goals by Bizco per game.
"A header, forcing the goalkeeper to dive to the ground so there's no chance he'll get the rebound."
And then to celebrate you get close to the fallen goalkeeper, spit on him, and say:
"I fucked you, bro."
That's how it went until things began to get bad. Bizco wasn't used to talking about that either. He wasn't used to talking about a lot of things, like where he was born for instance. He didn't talk about his personal life. From what I remember he didn't have any family. To the question of where he was living he would answer with nonspecifics.
"Over there Fierro, in an apartment like a closet."
And then he'd return to the central theme: "Kill him already, asshole, what do you have elbows for? You see that, Fierro? That kid'll go far, he's slick, a true athlete"
One Sunday he disappeared. When I had just started to get worried, he reappeared the next, and from the doorway he told me in a whisper: "If I tell you, you will probably write it down, and if you write it down, then probably I will stop seeing it at night."
It seemed to be the prologue to everything, to the long-hoped-for history surging from the past. I asked him: "Do you have nightmares, Bizco?"
"I have everything," he said, sitting in front of the television that he hurried me to turn on.
As the Pumas came out onto the field in their gala uniforms, the gold and the black, in the less-than-full stands the capricious fans carried off half a wave.
"Who knows why the authorities wanted to screw us and told the director to throw us in with the common population. In the "P" zone we were maybe 150 political prisoners, and there were six thousand inmates. There wasn't a day or a night that they didn't fuck with us. They took hold of a dude from Saltillo and they raped him in the middle of the yard, forced us to watch with their knives in their hands.
"Pure law of the jungle. Punishments at all hours, months without letters, not even permission to go to the library, no visits, cells turned upside down, regular beatings, torture, and so we went with no sleep, our balls shriveled up from living with pure fear. The one who ran the whole operation and passed his time inventing ways to fuck us was a real skinny dude, Flaco, who was in the tank for having killed his mother to steal from her. He's the one who got the green light from the director and started arranging things here and there, handing out money and permissions and packets and favors, and they let him traffic coke and marijuana."
"We organized. We started a mutiny and took over the guardroom. The way things were it was better to die of a bullet than die of fear. The whole of the inside perimeter was in our hands. We got hold of like fifteen shotguns. The rebellion lasted three days until we negotiated with the federales."
Another silence, the Pumas had scored an early goal and Bizco had let it pass unnoticed.
"Well, it was a question of pounding some fear into the bodies of those assholes, but we couldn't start killing all of them because that wouldn't have put an end to it, one of them dead and they'd just be back for revenge ... And so we organized a football game. Just us, political prisoners against political prisoners, without a fucking ref, with only one goal, just kicking the ball around, all 150 of us, even the ones who didn't know how to play. And we were playing it hard for half an hour there in the main yard with all the rest of the inmates watching. I scored a goal."
"With your head?"
"How could I? The only head that counted was Flaco's, that's what we were using for a ball, Fierro."
That's where he left it. Then he returned to narrating the Pumas game with the same flavor as always.CHAPTER 2
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
We sit in a café.
The coffee is strong.
You are unarmed.
The wind blows hard and the waiter closes the door.
"Hercules," you say.
I raise my eyebrows, silent.
You understand me.
"The wind is strong, the waiter is stronger," you say.
I understand you.
"I must," you say.
"I know," I say.
"Do you?" she asks.
I try to hide that her remark has hurt me.
She starts to speak again.
I put my finger to my lips.
Unmistaken, she draws her body across the table, and — unveiled — she kisses my lips.
Sand straddles our table. The waiter was not quick enough.
I return her kiss.
She leaves and I order another coffee. I linger a while and I read a thick book by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a history of the world. Night crashes quickly, crescendos to darkness, like the clap and bang of a falling bomb. I return to my barracks.
The Wagner morning comes suddenly. Neither night nor day can last. Despite the dust, I can see clearly from the compound window. In the mile or so that separates us, the uprooted air lifts matter, dark and real, dead and alive, heavenward like the Ascension. The dawn is punctuated. I make the sign of the cross and I speak aloud in Latin: "In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti." I fall silent as the base alarm sounds full alert. I fall to my knees. I rise again within seconds as I am called, with my company, to the scene.CHAPTER 3
Nickels and Dimes
John A Imani
"Fuck it. I ain't been arrested lately."
UCLA — May 11, 1972
It was a beautiful day that no one noticed. Least of all me.
The knot in my midsection was churning. Burning. Bubbling. Bursting. Turning itself inside-over like a pack of sharks threshing and slashing their way through what used to be calm shallow waters now chummed and become bleeding foam. But, as I stood there watching, the bloodletting going on inside me wasn't because of the impending menace of the row after row of armed and armored cops heading towards them.
The pigs were John Wayneing their way slowly — sashaying down Main Street at High Noon in their minds — savoring their own swagger, licking their own (pork)chops, greedily but patiently anticipating the thuds of their truncheons, the slash, the crash, the crush of flesh, skull and bones. The "bad guys," a pack of tied-dyed long hairs, sat grouped about "King Bruin" himself, the latest and perhaps star of UCLA's high- flying perennial National Championship basketball teams, all yelling today's favored slogan, "Fuck Chuck." They were camp squatted sitting in the street fifty feet to the left of me right in front of the school's administration building.
Inside the chancellor, Charles Young of "Fuck Chuck" fame, surrounded by and sheltered with a beefed-up security, peeped out a second-level window to watch the carnage he'd ordered up unfold. The front line of the cops was another fifty yards beyond these student "leaders." Stretching to my right — looking like lambs looking for Jesus — sat the rest of the crowd of demonstrators, perhaps two hundred weak. It was gonna be the usual pig-fest with a few more busted hippy heads, a few more notches carved into nightsticks well worn. And that bothered me. But that wasn't what was bothering me. Not at all.
And it wasn't from any sense of outrage at the outrageous continuously recurring nightmares such as the mining of Haiphong Harbor, the by-now daily "incidental" or "accidental" incursions into Laos, the carpet bombings in Cambodia, the multiple My Lai-type massacres in Vietnam. Or even at the war in Southeast Asia as a whole. Or even at war itself in general. And what was eating me alive from inside out wasn't twenty-four years of being black in America, fifteen years of which having grown up a Nigger in the South, sired up out of the loins of Nigger ancestors who with their present-day Nigger descendents had totaled up some 246 years of human bondage in chattel slavery followed by 107 years of third-class/third-rate citizenship all the way to this very fucking day. Eight years ago, Bob Dylan had electrified our movement and set it to verse singing "The Times They Are A-Changin'" but all about me, all around me, as far as I could see and all that I could see was nothing but the "same ole, same ole": Niggahs takin' a foot up they ass. Yeah, that pissed me off. That pissed me off big time and had been pissing me off for a long long time. But today, and for a while now it seems, that wasn't what had me pissed.
* * *
And, as an aside, naw ... it wasn't from burning the candle at both ends and putting the platinum-white hot jet of a blowtorch to its middle. Wasn't from the women I was using who used me. Fair exchange ain't no robbery. And, naw, it wasn't from doing dope, lots of dope, as I was selling more. With a positive cash flow being de riguer, as real Niggahs don't get to deficit spend, a steady flow of five- and ten-dollar bags, "nickels" and "dimes," flew out of my hands more than compensating — economically that is — for the masses of the dopes that I imbibed, that I smoked, that I snorted, that I shot ... I was teetering ... teetering on the very verge of slip-sliding onto the rain-slicked highway lanes of an ever-tightening spiral that pointed only one way. Down.
But before a dope fiend can reach the bottom-level of his fiendishness he has first to run out of dough; but the hippies and the hipsters, the flower-children and the militants, I sold my dope to keep my coffers topped. They visited so often that it got around that it was my crib was what was meant when someone made mention of going to cop at the five-and-dime store. A dime was three fingers-full of a wax paper sandwich bag of unspectacular Mexican weed. A nickel less than half that. Rule of thumb: rule of thumb. Occasionally, the spectaculars did come in: Acapulco gold, Panamanian red, the lush green leaves of Oaxacan or the smoky deeply satisfying buds of Michoacán and the ante went up or the fingers went down. Either way the monies came and continued to come. But now even the dough provided no salve. How much healing can be bought and lumped-smeared across a gaping festering gash? How much good could it do?
That knot in my stomach — doubling me over as if in the midst of a thousand story elevator free-fall — wasn't from anything. Or anybody. Or any reason at all. It was from nothing. Nothing. Nothingness. Nihilism. Negativity. A wide open wound had acid-burned its way into and through the lining of my guts. I was burnt out, spent out, used up, about to give up. So ... "Fuck it. I ain't been arrested lately."
Twenty-five yards from the students the slowly advancing cops presented their arms, raising their truncheons and grasping them in both haunches of their pig-feet hands in a "ready-to-chuck" position across their chests. Just behind them a big black pigsty of a bus with windows barred and blackened. I looked at the star athlete and saw his minions leaned in and milling about him. Saw them looking nervously to him. Saw him looking nervously at the oncoming slow dark-blue tide. Saw two minutes into the future and saw the same damn thing I had seen two days past: they were gonna run.
The words of the great Rahid rang out their echoes in the caverns of my mind: "Resistance must be given whenever the state attacks us. Resist! 'Resist!' as Bunchy Carter said, 'Even if all you can do is spit.' Comrades, listen up ... If the state intimidates the revolution with just the threat of its violence then the revolution is dead; if, however, the state does not intimidate us even with its use of its unmatched violence then the revolution, dear Comrades, emerges stronger than it was before the battle it has just lost."
I looked at them ... and they were gonna run. They were gonna get up and give up, slinking back like a pack of Pomeranians, whose high-pitched snappy yaps immediately morph themselves into a stirred and mixed-up mélange of whined whimpers and hapless yelps with but the first throaty growl of the irritated Big Dog. "They gon' run. Yeah ... them m'f'ers gon' run like dogs. Jis' liken two days ago they ran scatterin', whoopin' and yelpin' they way down Wilshire Bl from in front of tha Federal Building ...
Excerpted from Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail! by Gary Phillips, Andrea Gibbons. Copyright © 2011 PM Press. Excerpted by permission of PM Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Gary Phillips is the author of The Jook and The Underbelly. He is an editor and a contributor to Orange County Noir. He lives in Los Angeles. Andrea Gibbons is an editor at PM Press and the associate editor of the progressive journal CITY.
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