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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Photos by Reid Wright


By Reid Wright

The descending sun illuminated smudged fingerprints on the Plexiglas gondola window soaring high over a small Bluegrass concert in Telluride’s Mountain Village. Wealthy vacationers and ragged local workers gathered in awkward harmony to sip wine and stitch a crude patchwork of blankets and lawn chairs on the soft grass, or bop and sway to the twangy music that echoed from the mountainsides.

Time to go.

The soft whir of tires accompanied me over the pass, where 14,000 foot peaks stand boldly against the sinking sunlight. By the time I crest the hill above Dolores, the skyline is just a neon silhouette, where the Ute sleeps soundly.

Colorado is like an off-again on-again girlfriend of mine. Every time I leave, it gets harder.

I’ve landed a job as a reporter at The Carlsbad-Argus in Carlsbad, New Mexico. I feel extremely lucky to have found work in a struggling industry in a troubled economy. It must have taken an act of divine intervention for me to be selected out of the more than 130 applicants (thank you whoever you are).

I now have my very own cubicle — a flimsy platform from which to launch my quixotian assault on the corruption of the world.

I promptly did an inventory of the desk drawers to see what I have to work with. Among files of city council agendas and criminal files (a bit difficult to discern between the two), I found a plastic spork, can of Pepsi, orange skittle, ketchup packet and a sketch of what looks like the nude backside of a female double amputee.

It seems my short-lived predecessor was better equipped as a sketch artist than a reporter. His caricatures of Carlsbad City Council members were probably more telling than anything he ever wrote about them. I also found what appeared to be a hand-written note passed around during a meeting:

Is she the DA?

She looks scary … Like she has a broom

I know she didn’t sleep her way to the top!

The other staff have been very friendly and welcoming, everyone working together to find me an apartment. Apparently, because of an influx of potash miners, the rental market in Carlsbad is quite competitive. It could be a little while before I have a place to stay, which is probably for the better since having a home and a job at the same time could be too much stability for me.

By Scott MacDonald

I only had 15 minutes…a half an hour at most. If I wanted to beat my dad to the big screen television, I had to move now. Maybe it’s one of those parental intuition things, but in the rare chance I awoke before him, he’d awake shortly after. And since he had the day off, he reigned supreme in this land. I quickly rolled out of bed.
I had nowhere to run. A silvery substance, not unlike mercury, shifted and transformed into bloated, twisted shapes around my miniscule R–9DH. Spikes suddenly shot forth, with the sound a sword makes when pulled from its scabbard. I hovered dangerously low in a valley, wary of my prickly surroundings. In front of me, a red–metallic turret slowly came forth from a glob of mercury the size of a house. A pink light grew brighter from within. It discharged – a wide pink oscillating death laser – and shattered the prison of spikes inches from me. I charged my Defensive Force Pod and the Round Bits I‘d equipped the ship with. I’d only get one chance. I shifted into high gear.
The turret ceased its flamboyant assault and the glob slowly began to consume it once more. I guided my ship in line with the retreating turret and fired everything I had. My laser rippled through the turret and shattered it from the inside out. Without the adhesiveness of the turret, the mercury separated and burst into smaller globs before falling away. I had beaten them, but the war had just begun.
And then it ended. “What’s this?” my dad said. He hovered behind me, clothed in his typical weekend attire – his bathrobe. I replied, like it should be obvious, “R–Type Final.” He responded with a grunt and then asked, “So, you ready to play my game? Is it my turn now? He sounded like a kid on Christmas morning. With a sigh, I reluctantly abandoned my campaign to save humanity.

After my mom’s healthy breakfast of sausage, eggs and hash browns – fried in entirely too much butter – I loaded the dishwasher. And then I saw it – a lone square Tupperware container with a red lid. It rested in plain sight on the counter. I thought to myself, “Why is this here? And what’s in…ugh!” A thick brown liquid filled the container to its brim. White and brown mounds of grease had separated from it and floated casually across the surface. White and green mold grew from the depths of the unsightly muck and snaked its way up the sides. It wouldn’t be long before this mess became sentient. It had to be destroyed.
The garbage disposal whirred energetically. Water did little to subdue its rage. I handled the container cautiously – as if I held a bomb – and poured the toxic liquid into the blades below. A rank scent wafted back – the blades acted like a fan – and decimated the delightful scents of breakfast that still lingered. To my horror, several half–inch wide slices of pot roast splashed into the sink just above the disposal’s reach. I quickly equipped a fork – the weapon of choice for meat – and stabbed it to its death.
I clicked the dishwasher on and returned to the living room. My dad continued to surreptitiously snipe soldiers from his rooftop position. I recalled I needed to put my laundry in the dryer. I descended to the basement, opened the door and froze. If this were a cartoon, the camera would shift to a view in my brain where the hamster on his wheel has a seizure.
Dark gray water rushed and bubbled from the bottom of the sink into a fantastic fountain of filth. It cascaded over the countertop, down the cabinet and across the floor. A nearby mountain of laundry tried to swallow it all. Thin, brown, fibrous strands of some material I didn’t recognize stuck to everything. It wrapped itself around my open box of floss. It smothered the countertop, the sink and the drawers. It strangled my sister’s misplaced and unfortunate bra.
If this were a cartoon, the camera would shift back to my brain as the hamster recovered from his shock, and started to run on his wheel again. I thought of things to scream, things like, “Oh shit!” or maybe, “Oh God, it’s everywhere!” Words failed to escape the dry cavern of my agape mouth. After another dazed moment, the words, “The…uh…sink’s overflowing!” stumbled out.
I tiptoed – carefully, as to not let too much of my body touch whatever liquid covered the floor – to the sink. I thought something might be stuck in the drain, so I hesitantly slipped my hand and arm into the turbid water. A deep bellow, almost a growl, came from within the sink. I yanked my arm back. The drain was open.
The same brown fibrous strands enveloped my hand. I drew my hand close – a familiar scent drifted toward my nostrils. “No…” I thought. “It can’t be…can it?” The vanquished pot roast had returned – and with a vengeance. Upstairs, the dishwasher stopped. The fountain ceased its fantastic, haunting display.

A new war had begun – one in which the bathroom might be lost to an onslaught of spurned beef. All my years of saving humanity – albeit, in the virtual world – had not prepared me for this. I hurriedly equipped a 32–ounce mug from the kitchen. To facilitate the process quickly, I poured the water into the nearby toilet. I equipped a mop to remove the bested beef from the floor. I quickly realized the problem we had on our hands. The beef had usurped the laundry from us. We needed reinforcements.
I grabbed a large box of garbage bags and filled them with the laundry. When I finished, around 12 swollen bags littered the house. I filled the truck and took my mom and sister with me. Our journey to the Laundromat had begun.
The Laundromat lacked air–conditioning. The heat almost overwhelmed us. It was deserted inside, so I started stuffing washers. My mom said we shouldn’t use them all. I, however, thought otherwise. We could not afford to waste time being polite. We filled twenty washers and started them all.
Back at the basement, something awful brewed. The perfumed lemon scented cleaner I had used mixed with the scent of the dishwater and the rancid, puréed, beef. The acrid miasma infiltrated my nostrils and wrecked havoc on my senses. Tears came to my eyes. I wiped the mess on the counter into a pile. I promptly flushed it.
Both of the drawers had filled to the brim with water. In the top drawer, facial cleansing pads drifted slowly across the surface like lily pads on a quiet pond. A layer of beef coated the water’s surface. I froze momentarily. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry – or both. With a heavy sigh, I dumped the water into the nearby toilet and continued the arduous process of de–beefing the bathroom.
The battle waged on for hours, but finally, the vanquished beef had yet again been defeated. A bottle of Drano silenced the beast within the pipes. All was well. I thoroughly brushed my toothbrush, and then thoroughly brushed my teeth. I spat into the sink – and to my delight, the frothy mix slid down the drain without hesitation. I almost turned the light off when something caught my attention. In the corner of the mirror, a single scrawny strand of beef remained, in all its contemptible glory.

By Reid Wright

Deep in the cliffs of the ratlands — among the used condoms, moonshine distilleries and skeletons of would-be bank robbers with rusty m-16s — an alien beast crawls up an impossible ledge and snarls at the scorching desert sun.

Rock racing is the latest emerging sport to pit man and machine against mother nature. The 2009 XRRA Xtreme Off-Road Racing competition in Cortez Colorado features built-from-scratch rock buggies boasts hundreds of horsepower and 44 inch tires. They range in appearance from almost normal:

Probably not a Toyota

Probably not a Toyota

To the sinister:


To the downright weird:

In a schizophrenic marriage of high-speed Baja racing and slow rock crawling, racers shred the unforgiving desert terrain on side-by-side courses for the best combined time.


The first ledge on the outside track proved to be the most challenging for drivers. Massive tires spit dust and shifted boulders until the obstacle was almost impossible by the end of the day. This resulted in metal-twisting rollovers and several slain beasts.

Sad turtle

Sad turtle

After a thrashing roll-over, instead of reaching for the hip-flask to steady trembling hands, drivers promptly floored it, jerking the steering wheel back and forth to attempt to get the beast back on it’s massive tires.They were even given a chance to climb out and try to push it over, only giving up when a fireball erupted.

Dead buggies were extricated via  Mr. Beergut with the forklift.


The survivors lined up for another dose of punishment.