Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Straight Razor


Straight Razor
by Harold Jaffe

1995
$9.95

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A collection of 12 stories which are set in post-industrial society, populated by sexual outlaws, serial killers, techno-freaks, gender benders, rogue cops, and punk anarchists.


Straight razor -- Latex glove -- Counter couture --Necro -- Stalker -- Camo, dope & videotape -- F2M --Serial/cereal -- Carjack -- Things to do during time of war -- Invisible man -- Sex guerrillas.


 

Excerpt


THINGS TO DO DURING TIME OF WAR


Turn your cap back to front and root for the home team.


Don't root.


Root around in bed without a partner.


Cross dress.


Memorize military nomenclature: theater of operations, corps, division, brigade, regiment,battalion...

Root around in bed with a partner, just make sure he's your husband who's been tested and can prove it.


Flick on the TV.


Wath TV swearing at the jingoism, sentimentality and consumer cannibalization of war.


Fling your show at the telegenic TV anchordroid and miss, your shoe soaring through the empty window but being intercepted by a Patriot anti-missle-missile in mid-flight, the impact demolishing a crack factory in the inner city, no casualties.


Watch TV approving of the jingoism, sentimentality and consumer cannibalization of war.


Get stoned.


Get stoned and watch the dissidents on TV throw stones and the occupation forces shoot rubber bullets and tear gas.


Get stoned and listen to the optimistic estimates of the tens of thousands of allied bombing sorties which take out military and military-industrial targets but murder almost no civilians.


Carpet bombing, cluster bombing, smart bombs, smart missiles...


Remote-switch channels to a cavalry-killing-Indians flick.


Remote-switch to pregnant women doing low-impact aerobics.


Remote-switch to a televangalist with dyed hair and two diamond pinky rings closing his eyes in prayer.


Remote-switch to GI's in the desert watching videotapes of their families.


Remote-switch to black GI's in the dessert playing basket ball.


Remote-switch to a fashion show featuring Gulf War Couture.


Get naked.


Look in the mirror.


Get naked and look in the mirror at the TV that is broadcasting "news" about the war.


Stay naked, look in the mirror, stick your finger in your ass, do a manic little dance.


Dance until you feel exhausted on the carpet.


Get a heart attack.


Get rushed to the hospital but be refused admittance for lacking the appropriate medical coverage card.


Get rushed to another hospital but be refused admittance for the same reason.


Get rushed to a third hospital and be admitted after the technocrat scrutinizes your medical coverage card.


Listen to the banal conversation of the patients who share your room.


Exchange banal conversation with the patients sharing your room.


Exchange banal conversation while watching the war on the TV monitor in your room.


Die in your hospital room of heart failure while the TV is broadcasting news about the war.


Don't die, get checked out of the hospital.


Return to your condo to find the bathroom window forced open and your PC and CD stolen, but not your TV.


Return to your condo and fourteen minutes worth of phone messages on your machine.


Swallow two Advil with sink water, sit down on the hardbacked chair and play the phone messages.


Flick on the TV with the sound off and return phone calls.


Ask him to come over.


Ask her to come over.


He comes over, she comes over.


They get stoned.


They get naked and look at TV news through their spread legs in the mirror.


It's deviant but it's not fun.


They sniff each other's armpits.


They take a shower separately after making love.


Why don't they make love?


Sex has been demoted to a tertiary urge, on a par with dangerous, exotic travel.


Demoted by whom?


By the same TV news that presents the war.


They make cyberlove.


They drink decaf.


They part.


She removes her robe, stands in front of the mirror, and feels her breasts for lumps.


He removes his robe, stands in front of the mirror, and feels his testicles for lumps.


Why do they do this?


They were instructed to by the same TV news that presents the war.


He flicks on the TV in his condo.


She sits in front of the PC in her condo.


Phone rings.


It's a local veteran's group asking for money for the war effort.


It's AmVets asking for old clothes.


It's a wrong number.


It's an andriod breathing heavily into the phone.

It's a computer voice touting a time share in Hawaii.


It's a computer voice conducting a poll about which brand of crazy glue you prefer.


It's not your phone, it's your fax.


It's not your phone, it's your neighbor's phone.


It's not your phone, it's the "all clear" siren on the TV.


Switch off the TV and go to sleep.


Turn and thrash, get up to pee, thrash some more, finally fall asleep.


Die in your sleep.


Don't die in your sleep.

Wake up in the morning and flick on the TV.