By Steven G. Farrell
An homage to the Bowery Boys movies of the 1930s! This is a wild, humorous and slightly chilling yarn that takes us through the alleys of New York’s Bowery as a group of young hooligans known as the Bowery Irish Clowns tries to stop a killer who seems a lot like a certain Jack the Ripper.
The Ripper on the Bowery
“I got to get on safe ground before the Ripper hits the streets,” Shem fretted out loud as he made a dash for it as soon as the doors of the elevated train opened.
Clarence Darrow Shaw, aka ‘Shem,’ member of the Bowery’s Irish Clown social club and an infamous loafer of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, disembarked the 3rd Avenue Elevated Train at Canal Street. He had spent another fruitless day seeking an executive position on Wall Street; now it was time to get back to his real occupation: goofing off with the other Bowery’s Irish Clowns. The job-hunting façade was just a scam to keep his old man at bay in the Shaw family’s tenement apartment. He would do anything to keep his parents from yelling at him. It usually worked. After coughing-up the fare to and from the city Shem had just enough of the money he had bummed off his Ma for a coffee and piece of pie at “Hughie’s Bohemian Café,” the official hang-out for Bugs and the other Clowns. Hughie Kressin the ancient Yiddish-spewing innkeeper of the Bohemian Café, was an easy touch in spite of all of his ranting at the Irish corner boys who cluttered his place. Shem knew he wouldn’t feel secure until he was with the gang. The Ripper wouldn’t dare step into the holy grounds of the café. Hughie was particular about the quality of the people who stepped into his establishment.
“Gee, Bugs will understand why I can’t get my career off of the ground,” Shem said out loud as he descended the stairways of the station. His moronically bug-eyed looks and mumblings always drew stares. He just knew his folks would start harping on him about going back to his old gig at the Fulton Fish Market. “They’re both nothing but Irish harpies.”
Shem drew a bead on Hughie’s just down the block but his vision was blocked when his Dodgers baseball cap fell over his eyes upon his collision with Squirt Sheridan, the tough newsboy who worked the corner and who was a sworn enemy of the Bowery Irish Clowns. Squirt was known for carrying a switchblade knife.
By Mike Sauve
In the Shade of the Allan Gardens Greenhouse
In the late 19th century George Street “caught the refined tone”* of Toronto’s noblest family mansions on neighboring Jarvis Street. Today it rots and rages with the bitter pulse of strong beer and crack cocaine. Inside Seton House, called Satan House by those in the know, live 600 homeless men. It’s an alternate universe created by the synthetic horror of cheap crack and all the foul additives irresponsibly mixed in. It’s the most dangerous street in Toronto according to police.
So many are high the air is charged with bizarre energy, almost always negative, excluding those heart-wrenching seconds after a crack-blast when euphoric peace blooms for a few seconds before vanishing like it was never there.
In what appears to be one of the worst cases of literary censorship in modern United States history, Amazon.com has listed a wide range of books as what the company calls ‘adult material.’ It would appear that they have included any title that contains any material related in any way to homosexuality. By being placed on this ‘adult material list’, the books were essentially stripped away from any search results and made very difficult to find by browsing.
The following is from Amazon:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Candlelight Stories thinks that this represents one of the single most moronic statements ever delivered to the public by a prominent book seller.
The company has announced that this was due to a ‘technical glitch’ but there are very few bloggers who seem to believe that explanation. It would seem that plenty of ‘adult material’ was left available and that this effort was focused largely on non-heterosexual material. This is a terrible thing for a major bookseller to do. It’s a form of book banning. It reeks of ultra-conservative fear of ideas or differing lifestyles. Amazon says it was engaged in an initiative to protect its wide customer base by listing certain books as ‘adult material’ so that they would not appear at the top of search results and possibly offend someone. The complaints of someone who is offended by a book for adults showing up in a list of search results should not be listened to for even a moment. It is a very short step from this kind of censorship to a book burning. This is truly indicative of the danger in primarily relying upon a single online source for books.
It would be advisable to immediately move away from Amazon as a source for books. This kind of behavior, though given a flimsy explanation by the company, tends to indicate a general direction or pattern of behavior in a company. Candlelight Stories is looking into fully disengaging from our relationship with Amazon and will not be offering their products through our site. This blog stands fully opposed to discrimination, censorship or book banning of any kind whatsoever.
Once again, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of moving away from Amazon for book purchases. This is a very serious problem and the company’s explanation is insultingly false.
Here are links to several of the best book sellers on the internet:
Barnes & Noble
Night Zero is a photo comic book aimed at older readers. It’s set in the months following a deadly viral outbreak. It follows the lives of survivors in Seattle, Washington who barricade themselves against the terrors of the outside world and try to build a future for themselves. The novel is riveting and beautifully designed.
The collaborative team of artists shoots the photos on location with a full cast and crew, then uses high dynamic range photography and a process called tonemapping to give the comic a style that is both photography and illustration. The effect really catches the eye and draws the reader in immediately. I found myself turning pages quickly and not wanting the story to end. It’s a very violent, gory zombie story that is not for the very young or the very squeamish. That’s what a good zombie story should be. The two lead characters are vivid and exciting. The actresses who play them are doing a wonderful job and I will continue to follow the adventures of these two in their zombie world!
This thing is just fantastic. You can get all the episodes here.