At a Federal level, I am without a party. It’s a hard game to play when both the elections are won and the land is governed from a small strip of …The Truckers Convoy
A pop culture vigilante known colloquially as “The Samurai” was recently bribed to interview the grouchy, recalcitrant publisher of PunchRiot. The Samurai found the publisher uncooperative so he forced the publisher to submit to the interview at sword point. Punch Riot–a new literary rag supposedly launching in Spring 2020–aspires to be, in the words of its publisher and editor-in-chief, “the kind of literary shit that real men and the women who love them” are clamoring for. What follows is the result of that conversation. The Samurai’s questions appear in bold.
What is PunchRiot?
PunchRiot is the Lone Ranger of literary journals, minus Tonto.
What does that even mean?
What does the ocean mean?
Who is your target audience?
People with eyes.
Why do you discriminate against people without eyes?
They’re shitty at pub darts.
What sorts of things appear in PunchRiot?
Words. And some punctuation.
Sometimes drawings or doodles.
What are your editorial or publishing standards?
Whatever the Publisher likes.
Aren’t you the publisher?
And who are you?
So what, then, do you like?
I know it when I see it.
Again, the “I’m so superior” thing just because you have eyes.
Was that a question?
You’ve got a real attitude there, Skippy.
Look who’s talking, Old Sport.
So this is just a website? With stories?
Phase 1 of this project will be a website for news and updates, and some samples and free content. The PunchRiot itself is a literary magazine that will only be available in PDF to subscribers behind a paywall that will also include exclusive author interviews and other related content. The magazine will contain original work by authors as well as some reprinted work from time to time. Some special issues that are topical or collected works of certain authors are planned. Phases 2 and 3 of this project will launch later this year, and in 2021 respectively.
Why would an author want to publish with you?
Because we pay them for first serial rights. And we’re fucking cool, like Tonto.
You said you were the “Lone Ranger of literary magazines,” not the Tonto of literary magazines.
What’re you, racist?
How often will The PunchRiot be published?
As often as possible. Ideally, weekly, unless the submissions are crap or we don’t get any.
What will you do in that case?
Write it all myself.
So your writing isn’t crap?
Maybe, but I’d rather smell my own.
How much does it cost?
Monthly subscriptions begin at $7.77/month.
I was joking.
So how much really?
Editor’s note: Our staff found the publisher alone and unconscious on the floor of his office with a bump on his head and the small recorder containing the interview conducted by The Samurai intact and still running. The publisher remembers nothing that happened after answering that last question, and it remains unclear whether he was struck by The Samurai or perhaps hit his head on the corner of the desk. Nevertheless, the police were called and a report filed, but the publisher declined to press charges.
Regardless, The Samurai has not been seen near our offices since that day.
~ Finis ~
I was somewhere near Cherokee, North Carolina on the edge of the Smokies when the full bladder discomfort began to take hold.
I had always longed for road trips that would take on the surreal, hallucinogenic characteristics of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But I was always too square for drugs or maybe just lacked the right combination of inner demons and adventurousness that made them an optimal or appealing solution.
Nevertheless, here I was, always, it seemed, on the verge of getting lost in a whirlwind of fresh pork cracklings and banjo music, punishing myself with road food and diet soda on my way to a weekend of what I expected to involve plenty of drinking and copacetic, symbiotic hate-fucking.
Maybe Hunter had it right after all.
* * *
I would be spending a long weekend in the mountains with a lady friend who had moved away but who had stayed in touch and was, presumably, at the end of a very long separation and divorce begun years ago. We didn’t know each other well, but well enough. I was driving five hours; she, two and a half. She wasn’t exactly my type but I was freshly divorced and taking advantage of every situations. Besides, she was fun with a decent sense of humor, had a good body, great smile, and was highly submissive. What’s not to love? Besides, this was my first real getaway post-divorce and the first time I would be spending a long weekend with anyone in that time besides family or friends. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have driven this far, but she was cool. I needed a break from work and home for a few days, and I’d been wanting to get to the mountains anyway. Besides, I had thought, it’s not like there was potential for any clingyness with us being over 8 hours apart.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to a weekend of some hot man-woman shit.
The drive up through Atlanta had been wretched. A midsummer storm had apparently moved up from the Gulf of Mexico and was drenching the whole area with a long, slow rain. It had been raining when I’d hit the road that morning; kept raining as I made my way north; helped more people wreck their cars than I’d ever seen in one day’s travel of any distance; and was turning my 5 hour drive into an 8 hour drive.
The clouds dissipated north of Atlanta and the sun appeared in a clear, blue sky as the roads got steeper and I began climbing into the Appalachian foothills of north Georgia and southwestern North Carolina. This is some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen in this great land of ours. Green pastures and farmland stretching to where the Smokies rose up ahead.
I stopped for gas and got out of the truck to pump it, soaking up the humidity and sunshine and the quiet. The sparse, desolate nature of the truly rural south rivals the desert and uncharted islands in the South Pacific for its sense of isolation, if not distance. There is very little to see apart from landscape for miles. The road even narrowed at this point and while I’m sure traffic up into the mountains picked up over weekends and holidays, right now there wasn’t much.
A lot of people don’t care for this kind of environment for a lot of reasons, some founded, some unfounded. As for myself…I was born in a large midwestern city but grew up in the South and, even as a very young boy fishing with relatives on the shoreline of a very polluted Lake Erie, something always stirred within me when I got near the woods or water, and I knew that was the place for me. So when we moved down south in the mid 70s, I ended up feeling more at home than I did in the city of my birth. I’ve spent a good deal of time over the years fishing, camping, and hunting and will take the isolation and aloneness over big city life every time.
I paid for the gas and some bottled water and beef jerky, and with my mind sufficiently acclimated to the world of perfect quiet and solitude I had re-entered, continued on my way, happy to be making good time, finally.
A few miles, and, you guessed it: traffic stopped yet again and the highway became another makeshift parking lot. A herd of elk were crossing the road and had stopped, blocking traffic. I was somewhat annoyed but always enjoyed seeing elk. I fantasized about elk steaks and tenderloin on the grill to pass the time. After nearly thirty minutes, I was rolling.
Passing through Cherokee, I discovered there was a Harrah’s casino there, and I briefly considered calling an audible and telling her to forget the cabin and just make the drive to the casino if she wanted to see me. Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy blackjack almost as much as sex. On some days, I probably enjoy it more at this point.
But I also like money, and we had already paid for the cabin with no refund possible at this point. With my mind re-calibrated towards hanging out with a cool chick and fucking her all weekend, I left the casino in my rear-view and pressed on.
After a long drive up into the mountains, the road snaking back and forth with hairpin turns, through cuts and dips and long steep runs up the side, I crested and pulled over at an overlook to take in the view. Looking across impossibly green valleys to the next peak, and the next peak, fading into lighter green, then blue, then gray cones in the distance, I was hoping that if some kind of apocalyptic event were due to occur in my lifetime, that it would occur right fucking now, and I would stay here, build a cabin, take a few wives in their late teens and early 20s…
I arrived at the cabin just this side of dusk. As I pulled in, my partner-in-crime–let’s call her, Hannah–was just arriving as well. She was wearing some kind of jumper made of seriously thin material and no bra, hard nipples pushing the thin fabric and the hem of her shorts riding high on her thighs. Not bad for 40. We said hello with a quick makeout session. Squeezing her ass I briefly considered dragging her straight to the bedroom, but I had a cooler full of steaks that needed attention.
It ended up being a good weekend, but not a great one. For we had a houseguest I hadn’t counted on: one Corporal Murphy, recently promoted to Sergeant, bent on enforcing his eponymous law.
And enforce it he did.
First order of business after unpacking was to switch on the hot tub on the deck just outside the loft bedroom, and fuck like wildcats on the bed until the hot tub heated up.
Mission accomplished. So far, so good. Single life was–for lack of a better word–the shit.
As it was getting late and already dark, we were both hungry so I delayed hot tub time and went downstairs to grill the steaks, a little miffed at myself that I was now going to have to tend steaks sizzling and popping delicious fat on the grill outside after dark, at night, in bear country. I wasn’t happy that the grill was one of those kinds you see at state parks, and was fixed in concrete a good distance from the house.
“Why don’t you just cook them on the stove.” Hannah suggested. “I don’t mind.”
“Nah fuck that shit,” I said. “Fuck bears.”
When I went to light the coals, I found no lighter in my pocket. Must’ve left it on the table at home, I thought. No matter, must be some in the cabin. But there were none in the cabin. I checked the stove hoping for gas, but it was electric. And Hannah didn’t have a lighter or matches.
This wasn’t going well.
Priding myself on keeping prepared, I always kept a lighter and matches in the truck. Walking to the truck I remembered that I had thoroughly cleaned out the truck and had not yet replaced everything. Including the lighter and matches.
Still priding myself on being always prepared, though with less conviction, I pulled my “get out of dodge” backpack out of the truck. No lighter, or matches. I did have a Spark Lite fire starter in there, though, and happily carried it back to the grill and got the fire going just as it started raining.
“Improvise,” I thought. Adapt. Overcome. I found some metal skewers for the grill and used some of the heavy duty aluminum foil I brought with me to make a little standing cover for the grill. We sat on the covered porch, watching the grill and listening to the light rain click against the carpet of oak and hickory leaves on the ground.
I had Hannah blow me while while the coals rendered and I listened for bears, occasionally sweeping the area with my billion lumens cop flashlight while trying to remain alert despite the pleasure and exaggerated slurping sounds.
I shot my load and she swallowed like a lady, if a somewhat mischievous one. Then I threw the ribeyes on the grill. They cooked to a fine medium rare quickly, and without incident involving wildlife or otherwise.
We spent the evening in the hot tub and the bed. The rest of the weekend was more of the same, though as it wore on she became increasingly maudlin and depressed.
“When are we going to see each other again?” she asked. “I could get my parents to watch my kids, drive down to see you.”
“Let’s play it by ear,” I said. “This has been fun, but we live too far apart to have any expectations.”
The rest of that day, the last day, involved her mostly pouting. That was when I learned my lesson about traveling for pussy. I was 5 hours from home but it sure seemed longer.
She became affectionate, then withdrew, and continued this soy ops, alternating hot and cold for the rest of the day. She got in bed early, clinging to her side of the bed with her back to me. I said, Fuck it, went downstairs to watch sports.
She eventually came downstairs with a sheet wrapped around her naked body. She was warm again. We fucked on the couch with baseball on tv and a hard rain pounding the metal roof on the other side of the vaulted ceiling.
My spidey sense was tingling now, though, and I wasn’t very into it. Pretty sure we had next level true colors coming out and they were cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Or maybe she was just “going through a tough time.”
At one point I started imagining bears watching us through the windows and jerking themselves off at these hairless creatures with their exaggerated rutting. I turned my head, and snickered. She mistook it for passion.
But that, my friends, is the history of the world, and all good things end with come. I shot my load on her big, beautiful tits, and we went upstairs to bed.
* * *
The final hours the next morning were the apocalypse I’d prayed for on top of the mountain. It was not the apocalypse I needed, but the one I deserved having gone on this weekend long excursion into the heart of female darkness with someone I barely knew.
Whether she was BPD or going through caffeine withdrawal, I have no clue, but if anything was going to motivate me to get my ass in gear and hit that long, painful drive home that I was dreading, this was it. Providence, of a sort.
After a perfunctory hug and an insincere, “Yeah, don’t worry about it”, I jumped in the truck and got the fuck out of there.
Stopping to fill up the tank and resupply with shitty road food at a very large interstate truck stop that also caters to us four wheelers, I contemplated that picturesque route back down the mountain through the sparsely populated rural landscape I loved so much. I thought, Fuck that, and decided to take the slightly longer way back, the one involving an interstate which would allow me to counter the extra distance with speed.
After taking a leak and buying pork skins, jerky, water, a donut, and diet mountain dew, I dropped my jerky and water, and heavily processed poison into the cooler on my passenger seat and walked around to the driver’s side. Across the way I saw a woman being helped up into the cab of an eighteen wheeler by the driver, the door shutting behind them.
Yeah I know. Could’ve been his wife or girlfriend…or daughter for all I care. But my mind drifted back twenty years to my first ‘real’ job in my late 20s, working in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. I had befriended an older, retired cop, not much older at that time than I am now. He had retired a detective and liked to talk occasionally about the crazy shit he’d seen over the years. He knew I was heavily into competitive shooting and was an all-around gun nerd–which he was also–so we got on alright, and as a much younger married man he liked to give me advice.
He’d talk a lot about prostitutes and while he never admitting to any exchanges, such were implied, and he’d talk about how hot and friendly some of them were. “But not the ones down around Arkadelphia,” he would say. It was a road at the northwest edge of the city where there was a truck stop notorious for its hookers.
“I wouldn’t fuck one of them with your dick,” he’d say. “But I guess they’re doing God’s work.”
As I got back into my truck, I remembered those conversations and how he was the first one to ever tell me the joke about how you don’t pay hookers for sex; you pay ’em to leave.
I pulled onto the interstate, heading south, setting up my old school iPod to supply the truck’s sound system with Zeppelin and Jimi. Heavy on the gas pedal, I set the cruise control on 85, anxious to get the fuck out of here and back home, where the women were just as crazy but just a few gallons away.
That was 5 years ago, and I learned that lesson.
(And especially you old fuckers).
I knew I was kind of a dumbass. And I decided I didn’t want to be.
In one sense, I was in no hurry to change anything coming out of my twenty-year marriage. Taking time to think things through and deal with all of the issues that tend to rise to the surface during a major life change is wise. However, at 50, with our 30 year high school reunions behind us and friends our age dying, we have a tendency to think, “Holy shit, my best years are behind me. I need to get my ass in gear.”
The truth is, yes, many of your best years are indeed behind you. Chances are, though, that those years–or parts of them–sucked balls anyway. As long as you learn from the past and don’t repeat the same mistakes, some of your best years are beginning right fucking now, but only if you stop being a dumbass and planting the seeds of your own destruction.
1. Dumbass move: Seeking, or getting pulled into, a serious, long-term relationship.
Most men I’ve known do this. Nearly all women seem to. They date a little for a few months after the divorce, and by the end of that first year, they’re already in some kind of committed, serious relationship.
For all I know, most of you reading this who are in a similar situation will do this. If so, you’re a dumbass and you might as well stop reading now. You won’t be saved.
If you want a relationship, want to get married, whatever at some point, that’s your business, but definitely don’t even consider it in that first year.
You will probably do this because you’re insecure and don’t want to be lonely, and being in a relationship after those years of marriage is what normal feels like. Tough shit, Tonto. Job #1 is to learn how to be alone without being lonely, and making peace with that. Or else you’re not really a man and you’re no good to anyone else.
Chances are you’re open to that relationship right now because you’re wounded, your ego is bruised since it was probably your ex who went for the divorce, or cheated on you, and you’re looking for validation, security, a future that is locked down.
Fuck that noise.
Methodology: Spend 6 months highly focused on setting firm boundaries on relationships with women. Then carry this out to 2-3 years. Learn how to enjoy socializing and sex with them without being sucked into–or pursuing–something more serious and domestic. Develop your other interests and male friendships during this time. There are 3.5+ Billion women on this planet. If you allow yourself to develop a thirsty, scarcity mentality, you will never have what you truly want.
2. Dumbass move: Relying on dating apps as a crutch instead of as a convenience.
Yeah, I know…for many, it sounds like the best way to quickly meet a chick or two and bust that post-divorce-I-need-me-some-strange nut. Do what you gotta do.
The problem is you’re probably using Tinder or Match or whatever as a shortcut to hack through your anxiety and spinelessness. But the women you really want aren’t attracted to men without spines.
Also, if you’re like most men and have no game and can’t hold frame, once you start chatting and then meeting women in person, you’re either going to talk her out of fucking you, or you’re going to get pulled in whatever direction she wants because you’re not used to getting laid.
Force yourself to up your social skills and game. Contrary to popular belief, “game” in my view is really just learning how to push through social anxiety and connect with women, enjoying yourself in the moment. In so doing you will learn how to drive the interaction in directions you want it to go, and pull people–women in particular–in your direction.
Just think about how nice it would be to walk into a room and be able to engage whomever you found interesting in, at the very least, an enjoyable conversation.
Methodology: Spend 6 months focusing on social interactions. Read up on and study game (reading list coming soon) from people who know their shit and know how to teach it.
3. Dumbass move: Seeking validation from the female-centric cultural priesthood…or your married friends.
Face it: you’re probably kind of a pussy. I certainly was. If you’re divorcing after 40 and didn’t really want to be, it ain’t all your ex’s fault, no matter how much of a bitch or a whore you think she was. Chances are high you stopped leading…assuming you were ever leading to begin with.
Make no mistake: if you’re not living the life you want, you’re the problem. And only you can solve the problem that is yourself.
Your family and friends want you to find a nice girl, settle down again. Your friends’ wives want you in a relationship because they don’t want their husbands exposed to your “bachelor wonderland.” Much of the culture and the legal system wants you to put women on a pedestal and subjugate yourself to gynocentric or feminist ideals. Tradcons (traditional conservatives) want you to follow their rules on monogamy and religion and politics. Women want you to be a ‘nice guy’ and not a ‘player’…and certainly not an older man who dates much younger women (not that you have to do that, either). Your kids want you to finance their endless adolescence.
Almost nobody wants you to be a man.
Methodology: Unplug from the constant bombardment of stupid television, movies, music, news for 6 months. Study men who do not conform to current societal expectations. Don’t explain yourself or over-communicate with anyone. Practice keeping more of your thoughts to yourself, so that instead of seeking validation from anyone, re-frame yourself and your interactions so that people seek validation from you. Instead of talking first, listen first and talk last, and then make the few words you say count. Most importantly, and at every opportunity: start telling people, No. It’s more important for you to be able to tell people, No, than it is for them to get what they want from you.
Spend 6 months changing or avoiding these 3 dumbass behaviors that typically ensnare older men coming out of a divorce or other serious change, and see how things look then. It will not be easy. It wasn’t for me, and it still sometimes isn’t.
But you don’t lose a fight if you keep on fighting.
As always, Non-serviam.