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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Abdulla and Nassir sat on the hard wooden bench trying to get comfortable.

"They are not coming," Nassir said to his older cousin.

"They'll be here. We'll wait. We'll tell them what we've decided. Then we can go back to Akron and forget this nasty business."

Nassir covered his eyes with his hands while Abdulla studied the young man, in front of them, with long flowing hair.

"We're going to Hell for sure." Nassir said refusing to look.

"It's only a sin if you join them in their heathen idolatry."

Abdulla was fascinated with the young man. He was almost completely naked. Only a small cloth covered his man parts. The rest of his body was exposed for any woman or child to see. It was an obvious abomination. God would deal with these unbelievers in his own way.

But despite himself something drew Abdulla to study the young man. He was healthy and virile with rippling stomach muscles, thin waist and strong manly chest. Abdulla was disturbed by his own interest.

"I though their God was a Jew!" Nassir said to his cousin. "This one looks like a Norwegian Olympic Swimmer."

The arms of the young Olympic Swimmer were stretched to their limit as he hung from the cross. There was a wound in his side, a crown of thorns digging into his forehead and drops of blood that the sculptor had chiseled on his handsome anguished face.

Abdul was fascinated and appalled by the gruesome life-sized spectacle hanging at the front of the Cathedral. Red, green and blue light from stained glass windows flooded the front of the church where a priest in a black cassock with frilly white shirtsleeves was giving communion to a group of elderly women.

Abdulla remembered reading somewhere that the heathens believe they are actually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their God when they take bread and wine from the priest. His stomach heaved at the though of such depravity.

The cathedral was busy this time of day. It had become a favorite tour bus stop on the way to the gambling Casinos in Niagara Falls after one lucky worshipper had purchased a winning 20 million dollar lottery ticket after morning mass. In gratitude she'd bought the priest a new BMW 601e and paid for a complete renovation of the parish bingo hall. She had the priest's cell phone on speed dial and called him every morning to confess the details of all the sins her newfound wealth granted her.

The cousins had arrived early to scout out the meeting place. A trick Abdulla had learned from reading John Le Carré. They'd found all the exits, the secret alcoves, and the little red fire extinguishers. They'd wandered around looking at the heathen idols and frescos. Grisly scenes of bearded old men shot full of arrows and beautiful young women tied to stakes while flames licked at their clothing while God looked down from heaven and smiled.

They'd washed their hands and faces in the little fountain at the back of the hall and been startled when an elderly caretaker hustled over and chased them away, angrily muttering heathen curses at them in some devilish tongue.

The cousin didn't notice when two large men in black suits sat down at either end of their row.

"You must be Abdulla and Nassir." A voice in the pew behind them said. They turned to look at a middle-aged woman with bright red hair and extravagantly painted eyebrows.

"Yes that is us," Abdulla said.

"I'm Rosebud."

Abdulla was relieved. The cousins had decided they would refuse to risk their lives on whatever foolish scheme they'd been forced into. Now it was easy to say no. They could never take orders from a woman. Especially not when it was a vain old crone who painted her face like a harlot.
Bernie Slackbacker studied the cousins. Noted the anger in their faces. Their defiant glare.

"We have decided to go home," Abdulla told Slackbacker.

"You can go anywhere you want after we've finished here," Bernie told them.

"No!" Nassir said. "We are leaving today. We want no part of your foolish plans."

Bernie sighed. "Certainly. No one will prevent you from leaving. First though you should look at this." Slackbacker handed Abdulla an 8x12 envelope.

"You'll find my cell number inside if you decide to change your mind. My advice is, don’t wait too long."

Abdulla and Nassir sat for a long time after the painted harlot had left. Neither one wanted to open the envelope. When they did they saw a grainy black and white picture of Nassir's father, eyes wide with fright as he stared into the camera. The other picture was Abdulla's mother and young sisters holding tightly to each other, surrounded by bearded men carrying AK 47 rifles.When the cousins came out of the dark cathedral into the bright sunshine both men had tears on their cheeks. They were too distracted to notice the large SUV with tinted windows parked across the street. They walked to the lot where they'd left their car and drove back to their hotel. The black SUV stayed back a discrete distance as it followed them.



Thursday, November 03, 2005

Miss Discipline

"That's getting into the weird zone!" the editor growled, when I finished pitching him the story I wanted to do. "Exactly my point," I said.

The last couple of weeks, images of torture and degradation in Iraq's prisons, dominated the headlines. As the story cooled and drifted back a few pages, I wanted to do a background piece. Something on the deeper malignant causes within the US psyche that made the abuse inevitable. Some root cause. Someone to blame.

The editor glanced at the fat, half-smoked cigar sitting in his ashtray. I knew he wanted to light it up and fog me out of his office but we're politically correct here at the Daily Dirt. He knew the smoke police would have him writing 100 times, 'I will not smoke in the building'.

I was scheduled to fly to Washington the next day, to cover the National Convention of Adult Entertainers. I'd do some interviews with porn actors, inside views on life in the business, review some new movies, check out the sex toy exhibitions. The usual boring journalism stuff. I had to fight to keep the assignment away from a dozen other writers.

The other story I wanted to do, while I was there, the one I was pitching the editor, was an investigative piece focusing on the pictures and stories about prisoner abuse in Iraq-and how inevitable it was this would happen.

I'd heard a lot about Washington having the biggest underground bondage and discipline scene in the US. I suspected there was something about all that unbridled power and Christian guilt mixed together. It had to burst out somewhere.

The unspoken understanding I have with the editor is that at the end of a pitch if he doesn't say no, then I'm free to do the piece. He was still thinking it over when his phone rang. He picked up the receiver and without looking at me flicked his wrist towards the door, in a gesture of dismissal.

The Washington hotel, where they were holding the convention, was a mad house. Glamorous women in skimpy attire, muscular young men with perfect teeth, limousines, red carpets, paparazzi. I parked my rented Neon in the day lot and carried my bags to the front desk.

That afternoon I interviewed a young starlet with a squeaky, high pitched voice. Her most memorable quote was, "This business is, like, you know, like a business! Know what I mean?" That night I sat through her picture, 'Deep Revenge'. Fortunately she didn't have many lines. The film is, like, you know, like an action flick. Know what I mean?

While I was having my leather jacket repaired at one of the "leather and rubber" displays, I struck up a conversation with another customer. She was a tall attractive woman, old enough to be a grandmother but still buxom and energetic with a certain dark sexual appeal. She listened while I described my desire to interview someone in the bondage and discipline business. I carefully explained that this was not a personal request for professional services.

She nodded her head and smiled. I saw in her face the look of someone who'd seen it all. Nothing shocked her. Her 'stage name' she told me was Miss Discipline. She was, I realized, exactly the kind of women powerful men would come to, for absolution from their many and sundry naughty transgressions.

She gave me her address and told me to drop by that night, at eight. Her building was in an exclusive part of town. It was beside the embassy of a small Central American country, topped with a flag showing a nasty reptile with huge fangs and a viscous Eagle, locked in mortal combat.
She buzzed me up to her condo. I stood at the full-length windows, sinking into the plush carpet. I looked out over the city while she poured me a drink. She wore a long, black silk dressing gown and underneath I could see the outline of her jewel covered leather costume.

I felt oddly comfortable in her presence, relieved of any need to control the conversation. I asked her a few questions and she told me how she got into the business and confided that it can be extremely lucrative, if you have the right customers.

"You would be surprised who some of my clients are," she said. We talked for about an hour, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. "I've forgotten about my nine o'clock regular," she said glancing at her watch.

She told me to wait in one of the bedrooms. She didn't want anyone to know she'd been talking to a reporter. Discretion, she assured me, is absolutely essential in her business.

Ordinarily I'm not the kind of guy who peaks through key holes but in this case I felt it was important for the integrity of my story. I owed it to my readers to get some firsthand, observed details. Besides, the customer's voice sounded oddly familiar.

It was dark in the other room and at first I could only make out shadowy details, until my eyes adjusted. I could see Miss Discipline's broad muscular back as she leaned over the mysterious customer.

"You've been a naughty boy!" I heard her say in a strong authoritative voice.

"I was Miss Discipline. I've been really bad."

"You've invaded a country and gotten a lot of people killed, for no good reason and I'm going to have to punish you, aren't I George?"

"Yes Miss Discipline."

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Paul Corman

Monday, October 24, 2005

Our lives are but dreams and at some appointed hour each one of us will see those gossamer illusions dissolve?

Red hot metal flies through the air so fast no human eye can see its path. It spews death furiously from the mouth of musket and cannon as rapidly as sweating men can load and fire. It tears into the line of soldiers ripping flesh from bone. Ripping wounds so deep even those who survive unscathed will never be whole again.

At the first volley some soldiers turn and flee from the carnage. They shed their packs and drop their weapons in the mud. Others run with their muskets held above their heads hoping to deflect the shrapnel falling around them. Black smoke drifts across the field shrouding the death scene.

Not far away, noses twitch and sniff the dark air. Ears swivel about slowly listening. One by one they shake out their leathery wings and release their claws from the cracks in the ceiling that hold them suspended. They congregate at the mouth of the cave and swirl out into the warm night air following the scent along the sharp edge of the escarpment.

Clouds drift across the moon but most of the men laying out in that field are beyond the need for light. The smell of blood and cries of the wounded are all the vector the winged ones need. They follow the shrieks of those in torment and despair and the low groans and aching sighs of those expelling their final breath.

The bats fold their wings and settle like a black mist on the field where men from both sides lay torn and shredded among the wrecked cannons and bloated horses. They drink from open wounds, their feet sticky with coagulated blood. A female with large wet breasts takes a severed leg and flies off to the nest to wean her pups.

These are the leavings. The men without hope. They lay on their backs holding their guts in with their hands, sucking breath through their ribs, listening as their brains boils out through their ears. They are already corpses-waiting for their last breath.

A figure draped in dark wool and carrying a lamp, moves among the dying. He kneels beside a boy with both legs severed.

"Hush," he whispers in the boy's ear. "Hush, your Grandfather is calling you, listen."

The boy looks into the figure's face. He sees an old man who smiles sadly. "It's grandfather," he tells the boy. "I have come to guide you home."

Gently he places his fingertips on the boy's neck feeling for the vein that pumps red blood from the heart to the brain. He gently presses feeling the rapid fearful pulse. He looks into the boy's eyes and watches. His fingers tighten slowly bit by bit until the pulse has faded to emptiness and the boy's eyes have turned still and dry and lost their light.

He picks up his lamp and moves among the bodies until he finds another one still living. It is a very old man this time. He kneels and takes the man in his arms.

"Hush," he whispers in the man's ear. "Hush, your son is calling you, listen." The man looks into the figure's face. He sees a child who smiles sadly. "Come with me father," he tells the old man. "I have come to guide you home."

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Paul Corman

Monday, October 17, 2005

Paul Corman


I can feel Natalie slipping out of my life like an image on poorly fixed celluloid. She fades further away each day as the etching of time subtly erodes what detail of her still remains. I am in the darkened theatre of my life, watching her greedy apparition dissolve to white.

In the next reel I know she will take to the dance floor with a strange muscular man with large white teeth who twirls her about to flamenco music. The scene ends with them flailing about on a large bed with silk sheets.See how I torture myself.

I wish we would have a raging fight and throw our wedding china around the apartment, so one of us has an excuse to leave and have it mercifully over. But no, we keep the charade alive. She because of what her family and friends will think of her failed marriage. Me because, god help me, I still love the bitch.

Some time when it hurts too much I image her suffering some humiliation to soften the pain of the fantasy. To scrape the emulsion from my memory.Nothing physically injurious. Oh it's nothing violent I imagine. Not usually anyway. Mostly it's seeing her with a custard pie the face, or in her black lawyer gown standing in front of a jury, with a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe.But let's forget her for awhile.

The real question of the day is has spring finally arrived? Surely it must be. The last of the gray slush has melted away in the rain, stranding road sand and soggy cigarette buts, in the gutter. Thrusting mountains impregnate dark swollen clouds as they move east of the fecund ocean. They gestate above the prairie and swoop across the northern woods to spread their birth fluid over our gray city. A monochrome world of subtle gradation and course-grained silver nitrate waiting for the birth of the sun to fully form it's captured image.

Rain beats at my window and soggy pigeons coo on the sill as I work all day at the editing table, cutting and taping brittle celluloid. Mixing up the moments in time. Scissoring one place in beside another. Creating continuity that alludes me in my own life when I turn from the allusions on the bright editing screen to my own inescapable experience.

There was a time before vanity and the subtle tingling of arthritis to come that I'd run to my room on a rainy six day like this to strip of jeans and drag on my bathing suit from the drawer. All the neighborhood kids would run joyfully into the warming rain, to jump in puddles and splash muddy water up each other's legs. That alas was before puberty struck and the poisoned arrow of passion was thrust into my receptive breast.

It is dark and still raining when I close up the editing studio and walk to the lot where my car is parked. Around me the recently renovated factory buildings of the old garment district drip with new money. I pause under the awning of a woman's clothing boutique. The window mannequin has Natalie's nose and sharp upturned breasts.

As I look up at the heavy gray blanket of starless sky I imagine it protecting all the sleepy lovers. They wake in the morning to untangle limbs and behind the shaded windows they sort out their underwear on the bedroom floor and begi9n the days conversation.

A pressure like deep unresolved hunger rolls up from my groin and lodges in the pit of my stomach. I am tempted to slip out of the light into a darkened corner and relieve my carnal pressure under the gaze of this counterfeit voyeur. Like some street corner pervert whacking off in front of startled schoolgirls. And as I stand there staring at the window I realize there is more than a resemblance to Natalie's flesh in this porcelain facsimile. They are both hard and cold.

A taxi sloshes by with its darkened roof light and steamed windows. Rushing on with its human freight. For a moment I feel safe and protected under my wide English umbrella. A wet mist settles slowly on the black pavement and yellow globes of incandescence surround the street lights like balls of pain.

At the corner a man in a wheel chair sits out in the drizzle. Caught in the spotlight during the filming of a bad movie: the dark side of Singing in the Rain. His dirty pant legs are tucked up under his stumps and his metal cup is overturned on the sidewalk. Pennies and nickels scattered like a lost and desolate life, exposed.

His thin gray hair is plastered to his head and tears streak his dirt stained face. He reeks from cheap wine and tobacco and as I push him under an awning he opens his eyes and looks up at me. He points nicotine stained finger at his scattered coins and I scuttle out from under the awning to sweep them up.

A passing car splashes a wave against the curb. It licks at my leather shoes and at the last second melts back onto the road and runs fiercely along the gutter seeking the drain.

The man stares at me with a toothless grin as I hand him the cup."Bless you." He says, gripping my hand tightly as I try to pull back. His dirty fingers are cold and as he draws me closer I fear he means to thank me with a kiss from those cracked and pealing lips. But he only looks into my eyes as if searching for some answer, and satisfied it's not there he lets my fingers slip away.

I turn from the old man slumped in his chair under the awning. I am half way down the street when he begins to sing something Irish and mournful. It drifts towards me on the empty street like some piece of shared history I've long since forgotten and he feels I should remember.

I turn the experience to productive currency. A voice over narration for some as yet unrealized project.

Role the film. Music. Narration.

"You out there sitting safely beyond pity in the darkened theater. Why all this human suffering you ask. To what purpose this life of grief and pain? No answer? Tell me this then. Did you think to discover wisdom laughing and playing in the Garden of Eden?Ah! If only it were so simple."

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Paul Corman

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


A Novel by Paul Corman

What if Climate Change is not an accident but part of a diabolical plan to alter Earth's atmosphere for Alien colonization? What if the purpose of human life on Earth is to create lots of CO2, for oxygen sensitive Reptilian Empire? Could humans be just a chemical agent introduced to the planet-like alcohol-producing bacteria in wine? What if there are Humans among us working on behalf of their Reptilian masters-some traitors even among our most trusted leaders?

Well, if you can accept that premise, nothing in my hilarious political satire, Reptilian Empire, will be beyond imagination.

Leaders of the G7 nations are meeting in Toronto. Cross-dressing Secret Agent Bernie (Bernice) Slackbacker is there to blow them up. His controllers believe the carnage will draw the rest of the world into the War for Oil in Iraq. That suits the Reptilian's purpose. More war, more destruction, more oil to burn. How can they loose?

Throw into the story, Olgon, a good guy, pot smoking, Human Alien come to help humanity, Dirk Davies a tourist from Los Angeles who can't decide whether he's living a life or writing a sci-fi novel, and the lovely and talented Kitty Lunt, Dirk's love interest, who's come to Toronto to find her missing brother Eldridge and is kidnapped by Bernie Slackbacker and his gang. The bad guys think she will lead them to Eldridge and Olgon the Human Alien. Dirk is drawn into the plot as he tries to rescue Kitty.

Add to this a couple of Iranian Taxidermy Students Abdulla and Nassir, from Akron, Ohio, who are chosen to be the fall guys when the shit hits the fan, Osama bin Laden causing mischief, President Jerry Shrub who sleeps with his teddy bear, First Lady Laura Lee who sleeps with Vice President Rick Dick, Zab a Human Alien in orbit around Earth, narrating the story, and a group of loveable homeless men who could turn the tide in the final conflict. Throw in some graphic sex, full nudity, naughty language, irreverent social satire and cynical ruminations. Cook slowly over a smoke free fire and you've got a saucy little story of love, betrayal, intrigue and possible Armageddon.

Have a look at chapter one

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