RIP Wuornos, Serial Killer

Wournos, Aileen

Final Interview

October 8, 2002

Florida State Prison, Bradford County, Florida

I was benighted amidst the yellow birch, conifer and sugar maple in the forests of the Midwest.

There I ran with the squirrels. In my child’s voice the song of the Scarlet Tanager echoed, harbinger of spring, my bared toes massaged the loam under hemlock and black oak.

The sky was wide. It offered a seamless verticality.

When the sun hung above the horizon, I felt, in my child’s body, a tensing of muscles, as if I was lifting something heavy.

Dirt and asphalt cut black scars through the hills.

For me, life was a matter of straying from the shoulder of roads.

Soon the forest gave way to concrete and the broken skyline of cities.

There I met the gritted teeth of the world.

There is a dream memory of me, floating above my child’s body.

It haunts me at night when the alcohol wears off.

I am motionless and lying on black, star print sheets, staring through the popcorn ceiling, peering at a life lived rogue, and a future I can’t imagine.

No, can’t hardly think of me an old woman. Ain’t no getting old.

I heard the nauseating sound of a chord struck, like strings out of tune on an old Dobro guitar.

In the dream memory I can make out his hairline, blocking out the dim sixty-watt hanging from the fixture, his thumbs pressing into my wrists, smell of his stale cigarette and Schlitz breath and see that stars of Dixie tattooed on his neck—my mother’s father—and a bright white light erupted from above.

Not until I heard my grandfather was dead, did the pieces fall together.

And your Father?

[Father was a pedo. Hung hisself in the Pen.]

The grace of Jesus. That’s what I thought it was then, that’s what I call it now, waiting here to die.

The light was a signal and a map.

Codified in pain, I was tasked—me—with removing from the world eight demonic entities.

This was a quest I couldn’t comprehend nor deny.

If you asked me, I would tell you, in my own street talk way, that I shifted from child to woman.

Like a manual shift transmission.

Fast and smooth like that Camaro I boosted with Tracy when we was on the lam from that fucking piece of S.H.I.T. Jasper.

Pressed, I would foreswear my childhood.

That the shift never occurred—was imperceptible—and that I was born an angel, with womanly parts and disposition.

You had a child at fourteen you gave up for adoption?

Ain’t gonna talk about that, okay?

No prob.

Here, this is where we enter the world of the transaction.

Somewhere, inside me, a vacuum.

They said I was too immature to grasp the finality of death.

Prosecutor was a condescending prick. ‘Scuse me for sayin’ so.

But my awareness stemmed not from a lack of maturity but a diamond honed sense of survival.

To avoid pain and embrace the reptilian.

Escaping pain became centrifugal.

A damaged and primitive child, I slipped through the teeth of the world and bared my own.

When I was at County I met an Indian lady, looked me in the eye and told me I was a container.

F-ing Tupperware, I says to her?

No, she told me that I contained everything; anguish, loneliness, sadness, anger and love poured into the hollow point between my sternum and above my pubic bone.

Trippy right?

Please continue.

 

Learning eventually that the foundation would always shift but the center wouldn’t never change, you know?

I rode the road.

Offered myself.

And the in between plushness of death, extended to the men I encountered.

Under cypress and the smell of wet soil, diesel and aftershave, I absorbed them into mine.

Gave my tender love to Boys who later died under the oily umbrella of a Kuwaiti sky.

In the low-lying hitchhiker’s thumb of the continent, skirting gators in the glades, lessons in the secrets of the transaction were practiced.

Meanwhile, I looked for the signs and signals of the eight.

See, violence in America is idiosyncratic.

I was further enlightened with a pistol in my rectum.

Back of some bastard’s Buick Le Sabre.

Hell fire of rubbing alcohol to wash away the evidence, his sin.

He was my first and when the hammer hit the firing pin, I shot true, relieving the world of the first of eight demons.

This was in?

Must have been ’round Thanksgiving, ’89.

Then it was the principle. The deputy. The businessman. The pastor.

You got any cigarettes?

 

Sure. Here.

 

Thanks [shrugs and motions towards her restraints].

 

[Exhaling]

 

That upon leaving this world I would be met by the holy trinity.

Those spirits would bear the names: sodium thiopental; Pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

 

What about the other homicides?

When I met them, each of them, my muscles tensed, mouth filled up with hot spit like when you’re about to puke. I’d hear with clarity the strumming of a badly out of tune guitar.

The notes, was always sour.

But it’s how I knew.

The dance I had to perform with them was always terribly painful and violent.

Getting punched in the mouth. Raped in the, you know, in the rear…

But I had faith.

With God. My Jesus was by my side, guiding my hand, sending those demons back to hell.

 

The used-car salesman. Unemployed high-school coach. Tax preparer. Bar tender from Pensacola.

Before I killed them, they asked me my secret.

What is your secret?

Call me Lee…

Raised Lettering, Jesus…Guns

A Military optics manufacturer supplied targeting scopes to US and Allied troops in [______] and [______] referencing scripture verses featuring, “2COR4:6” and “JN8:12” in raised letters.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians reads: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness.”

And John 8:12 reads: ‘I am the light of the world.”

Amidst controversy, the manufacturer of the “Jesus Guns” offered 100 modification kits to remove the inscriptions.

Roughly 250,000 of the targeting scopes are in service.

GooQuery 1: effects of light pollution during combat.

GooQuery 2: what would Jesus do, in a combat zone. 

Draft 1 Printed in Pacific Review 2011: Revolt

Available at Amazon

Federal Bureau of In Your Face Book

The F.B.I. has entered the social networking space creating phony profiles in an effort to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize dissidents.

Distant acquaintances and “friends” who post: at the gym; waiting in line; guess who got tickets to the Superbowl? or other insufferable humble brags and literal “in the moment” activities, attention seeking narcissism or uninformed political bating while sharing pictures in grammatically/syntactically incorrect prose are, quite possibly, bored and overpaid analysts @ Quantico.

Printed in Pacific Review 2011: Revolt

Available at Amazon

*In light of the Edward Snowden’s revelations last year regarding the NSA’s massive data collection program, this piece, though speculative when I wrote it, can easily be edited/redacted in a few places. For example, F.B.I. changed to NSA and Quantico, changed to Fort Meade.

Facebook_welcome

 

Revolutionary Brain “An Insurgent Text” – Reveiw

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Revolutionary Brain by Harold Jaffe

Harold Jaffe, author of 20 books, including Terror-dot-Gov, Beyond the Techno-Cave and 15 Serial Killers, turns his critical eye to America and global media culture in his latest collection of essays, quasi-essays and “docufictions,” Revolutionary Brain. These 19 texts, written with Jaffe’s confident élan, range stylistically from interview, to reportage, to the use of an extensive list of pornographic keywords in the text, “Revolution Post-Mill.” The result is a book composed and organized much like an album, each text a song to be listened to individually, or within the context of the whole.

Revolutionary Brain interrogates our collective amnesia in relation to our obsession with technology, with all the attendant contradictions. We live in a time where we are increasingly aware of looming environmental catastrophe, yet our awareness of global warming is sublimated by the use of the term as a semantic palliative.  Despite real social progress towards diversity, class inequity is worsening dramatically. The news media profits from diverting attention from crucial news to corporate-sponsored blandishments. Jaffe’s writing addresses these issues, deftly intermingling relevance with irreverence, juxtaposing pain with beauty and conveying serious thought with brevity. These aspects are perhaps best depicted in “Crisis Art.” Jaffe writes that “crisis art” is situational, “hence created rapidly rather than painstakingly revised and refined,” and Revolutionary Brain, though clearly refined, addresses crises while also being “keenly aware of text and context” (Jaffe 25). The prerogative of the activist/socially conscious writer is to reconfigure, interact and integrate information and deliver the result in a text that vibrates, bears witness.  “Crisis artists must swallow the poison in order to reconstitute it. Expel it art…The poison, currently, includes our crazily spinning, electronic-obsessed, war-making culture and its profit-mad institutions; along with the rapidly worsening environmental crisis.” (25)

Though the bulk of this collection includes longer essay-esque pieces, instances of compressed writing also appear as shorter, micro texts like Fear and Pet Girl. Fear is a dialog between two unknown individuals discussing the use of cognac to alleviate fear. The final line is expressive and taut. “After cognac you feel clear. Unafraid. Only then will you permit yourself to be merciful.” ( 45) “Pet Girl” describes a relationship between a submissive and her master who leads her around in public on a silver leash. When questioned about the dynamic, the girl, explains it is her choice and she isn’t harming anyone. A few other interludes appear in the form of actual To-Do lists, these serve as reminders, ostensibly to readers, to embrace pleasure.

Additional fictive exchanges between the author, and an artist or celebrity are used effectively to frame a concept or theme. In Weep the author “interviews” the actor Marlon Brando months prior to the actor’s death, discussing Brando’s propensity to weep. Notably, Brando was one or perhaps the only Caucasian to pay his respects to slain Black Panthers leader, Fred Hampton. He wept openly at the viewing. This segues into a close inspection of weeping as a social act. The author is careful to make the distinction between the tears of the bereaved and those who experience “despair without fear,” and the crocodile tears of televangelists, politicians and billionaires embroiled in scandal.  Finally, the title acts as a mantra and also a challenge:  to weep is to feel.

Truth-Force begins with a repetition of dialog between los pobres (“We, The Poor Ones”) and an unidentified interlocutor aboard a train as they discuss the ultimate fate of a junta torturer captured by revolutionaries.  During the exchange is a coded sentence, “I’ve read the report,” which triggers a yes or no vote by the compañero. Votes tallied will determine whether or not the torturer is to be executed. A detailed account of torture by electrocution experienced by one of the compañeros follows: “You’d expect the electric shock to feel like catching hold of a live wire with your fingers. One might tolerate that. This is a hundred times worse… I didn’t know until inmate compañeros told me afterwards that they wept to hear me tortured. I screamed and wailed, they told me,” and it ends with a wrenching, “pain beyond pain” (69). Just as there are images that can’t be unseen, there are texts that, once read, cannot be forgotten. Revolutionary Brain infiltrates the reader’s mind, resonating long after reading.

Salvation Mountain is a docufictional account of “Dewey Birdsong” and his testament God is Love in the form of a mountain made of adobe, paint and various debris sourced from the Imperial Valley desert in Southern California. Dewey—the fictive incarnation of Leonard Knight, who began building Salvation Mountain nearly thirty years ago—explains that while he may make a hundred mistakes, that with Jesus he can start again with the same enthusiasm. The prose here is spare and beautiful.

The book’s title is inspired by the real world events involving members of the notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang, a group of German anti-imperialist revolutionaries, and the abuse of their corpses by authorities. After the apparent suicides of imprisoned gang members (including the bizarre “self-inflicted” gunshot wound to the neck and four stab wounds to the heart) in May 1976, German authorities extracted their brains for study, with all but Ulrike Meinhof’s having since been “lost.”

In Revolutionary Brain, Harold Jaffe shines light into the gaps in the official discourse so as to find an opening, plant an idea and let it grow, positing that critical dissent never becomes extinct in the mind and passions. This is powerful writing from a mind that refuses to remain silent, that continues to bear witness.

Copies available at Amazon

China Grove Press Literary Journal

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The premiere issue of China Grove Literary Journal is currently available and features my quasi-essay, anti-connectivity piece, In Extremis – Opting Out. 

You can read it alongside talented, imaginative writers like Ellen Gilchrist and Michael Farris Smith as well as previously unpublished work by Eudora Welty and Mark Twain. 

It is also a nominee for the Ellen Gilchrist Award. 

Pick up a copy at http://www.chinagrovepress.com/china-grove-a-literary-journal/ 

 

These Songs, with a Chance of Repeats

I am a music consumer.

Active. Not Passive. I search. Listen. Absorb.

Song sponge. Yep. That’s me.

These songs have popped up over the last few weeks and I thought I’d do myself a favor by putting them all on one blog post so I could come back and listen to them whenever I wanted and to share them with other folks who have similar, schizoid music taste.

Being a writer and fan of visual story telling, I almost always imagine songs as they’d appear in a film. This ‘film’, that would have these songs is about two ex-members of the New Symbionese Liberation Coalition on the run from Ukranian mafiosos somewhere in Riverside, CA. The working title is “Riot Stares” for that look that people give when they witness some unspeakable violence or shocking act of compassion. Shooting from the hip here folks…

The first is a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start” by Tears for Fears. Yes. That Tears for Fears. The same band I proudly and loudly played from my battery operated boom box…shout shout let it all out, ahem…re-imagined Arcade Fire’s song and made it their own. It adds a new dimension to the song. Endlessly listenable.

Next.

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” slowed from 45 to 33 1/3 will set the hair on your neck. This is what ‘doom’ folk sounds like. Or if you drank some cough syrup and forgot to change the speed on your record player.

Beautiful and haunting.

TV On the Radio recently released a new track via Dave Sitek’s label, Federal Prism, called “Mercy.” You can pick it up on iTunes (and hopefully a single on merciful vinyl for RSD) but you can check out the band ripping through the track at ATP.

Indeed.

Los Angeles based artist Chelsea Wolfe is poised to release her forthcoming album, Pain is Beauty via Sargent House this September. She released a preview of the track, “The Warden” some time ago and I keep coming back to it, over and over.

While visiting Wax Trax in Denver, CO this past week I got turned on to Hailu Mergia. His full length was released via Awesome Tapes from Africa on June 25. The LP is a treasure, and even though this song is from his work with the Walias Band, you get a sense of how amazeballs this guy truly is.

Put these songs together and they form a tableau.

A noirish soundtrack about a love triangle and a heist gone squirrely and violent.

Caustic Soda Kickstarter Launch

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The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the graphic novel Caustic Soda – A Year Future Narco Romance has launched.

You can participate in this creative endeavor by contributing!

Contributors/collaborators will receive fantastic rewards, including original artwork from Daniel Crosier, Sonny Kay, BobRob Medina and Moonlight Speed.

Thanks for your support and please share with friends and family.

LINK to Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shaneroeschlein/caustic-soda-a-year-future-narco-romance-graphic-n

“Like” on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/causticsodanarcoromance

Road Runner, Road Runner

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Boston Marathon.

Here comes the finish line.

Gatorade, congratulations and successive, dual explosions greet the runners.

Bloody spectators are dragged from the debris.

Mile marker 26 is dedicated to the victims of the Newtown massacre.

26 for the number of dead.

Twitter erupts.

@so_and_so tweets: “I saw people’s legs blown off. Horrific. Explosions.”

Two IED’s were placed near the finish line.

Each explosive device, believed to be a type of pressure cooker bomb, packed with metal ball bearings.

BB’s.

Vine, a social video service depicts an 8-second loop of the finish line.

Silent explosion. Runners in motion. Grand stands pushed into the street.

Concussion displaces people to make room for air.

A thin, bandy-legged marathoner turns his head in mid stride. Mid-explosion. And I’m instantly nauseous watching his legs buckle.

I can’t comprehend the sequence of images without the sound. Seems hyper-real.

By the third viewing my stomach has settled but I remind myself not to click on it again.

Later, having picked my daughter up from childcare we navigate residential roads to our home, I hear “dual decapitation.”

Legs missing below the knees.

I curse loudly, abruptly as we pass the park.

The emergency room in Boston is inundated with hundreds of injured.

Shards of glass, metal embedded in flesh.

Areas around the mouth and nose are blackened with soot from breathing searing hot air.

Victims need immediate attention before the soft tissue swells.

Fuck! I say aloud, waiting for the light to turn.

Checking the rearview mirror, I see the question in my daughter’s eyes.

We go to park?

Yeah, lets!

At the park kids occupy swings, climb stairs, mount the slide.

Chase each other.

Sitting on a bench, a Dad scours the screen of his smart phone.

Is he consuming all that data?

Two mom’s sip from paper Starbucks cups.

A horn prompts me through the now green light.

I scan the street for parking.

An old trauma begins to fester and slither its way to the surface.

Police and FBI query passengers flying out of Logan International for photos and videos of the scene.

This will be a crowd-sourced investigation.

Earlier in the day, scanning Facebook, Reuters, and Twitter I see what will become the iconic image.

In the foreground, a sidewalk is heavy with spectators, craning their necks, peering down the street as marathoners in sneakers and numbered jerseys run toward a ball of orange flame.

Boylston Street.

At the park we climb the play structure.

The entire thing is made of form-molded plastic.

Steel frame encased in thick coated, rubberized paint.

They’ve done away with bark, gravel and concrete at parks.

No more rail ties, chain-link or sheet metal.

Engineering a safer, risk-free environment for play.

They take the piss out of everything.

Here, recycled tires are shredded and turned into a buoyant surface for kids to run, spin, jump and skin their knees on.

Together we ride the dual slide.

Hold hands and laugh.

Several nights ago, I try watching the Falling Man documentary about 9/11.

Streaming on Hulu.

How can you watch this shit?

My wife asks, visibly angry as the opening sequence shows flight 175 disappearing in the South Tower.

Five minutes into the doc.

Suddenly, I’m standing in the Lakewood Library.

I’m twenty-four.

Several librarians I’ve become acquainted with while working for Jefferson County  sob audibly.

I enjoyed my work there. Mowing lawns. Planting flowers. Fixing sprinklers.

On the doc I see flight 175 burrowing into the tower on live television.

Simultaneously I smell the 2-cycle fuel and fresh cut grass.

Taste the Camel Light on my tongue.

There, back in that room (that space and time) of the library, we watch both towers crumble.

I turn off the television, disgusted.

With whom?

Myself.

Weeping quietly on the couch I gaze at the blank screen.

Standing, I move across the floor to the hallway and do something I haven’t done since she was a newborn and open the door to my daughter’s room, peering in, eyes adjusting to the dim green glow of the turtle nightlight, I see her, fawn legs curled beneath, breathing steadily.

Back at the park, fortified by the laughter of children.

The sound offers relief from the bombardment of the newscast.

Other parents seem to smile too easily.

Is every reaction scripted?

My stomach tightens. Heart contracts.

At bedtime I read Green Eggs and Ham.

My daughter talks to the characters as I read.

Sam, Seuss’s persistent interlocutor/pusher gets a SoCal inflected surfer dude accent.

The nameless character hounded by Sam, “That Sam I Am, That Sam I Am” sounds like Tom Brokaw.

Rolling off the inflection at the end of each denial.

My daughter’s imagination astonishes me.

She pretends to drive the train into the sea.

Asks to ride in the boat with the goat.

Kiss goodnight.

Hug?

Hug.

My wife is glued to her phone.

Mine is sitting on the couch.

I pick it up. The weight reassuring. Finger the screen to life.

Why am I angry?

Shouldn’t I be documenting this?

Writing everything down as it occurs?

The few pieces I’ve had published deal almost exclusively with technology and terror.

Killer drones.

IED’s.

Violence.

This kind of extremity is in my wheelhouse.

Instead of writing I flip through the channels.

Each episode features a woman—actress—in middle age with a Botox-plastic-surgery face, crying.

In the morning, nothing new is discovered.

No suspects.

Nor claims by a terror organization.

But the story has taken on a patina.

Speculations abound.

Challenges: be a hawk, not a dove.

Platitudes are issued.

“Thoughts and prayers…”

Polite xenophobia.

“Please, don’t be Arabs or Muslims.”

The death toll in Boston is 3, including an 8-year old boy.

Many say that is low considering.

Tilt their heads, you know, in that way people tilt their heads when faced with mortality or drink cup sizes.

Venti or Grande?

More victims listed in critical condition.

Meanwhile, 9 are confirmed dead in Peshawar, Pakistan, killed in a suicide bombing during a political rally.

Syrian MiG-23’s bomb the Qaboun neighborhood to rubble.

It’s morning in America.

A bipartisan commission convened by the Constitution Project finds members of the Bush administration complicit in allowing and sanctioning the practice of torture.

Soon, a library will be named in honor of former President George W. Bush.

I’m sure he’ll weep at the ceremony.

Violence in America is idiosyncratic.

Cognitive Dissonance – 10 Years Later

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This was initially posted on Facebook in a civil discourse with a friend.

Out of context. Disembodied. Mutilated.

It appears to resemble some sort of complete thought. Concept.

If you pay attention to the world, our plight worsens daily.

Pollution. Famine. Violence. Societal malaise.

What will cure us of our collective trauma? 

 

Facebooking Discourse

Certainly a disconnection of a fabricated moral standard is a symptom of the American/Western hegemonic structure, as such those symptoms—9/11, profligacy, security—are the easiest-to-digest for invasion, preemption and occupation of a resource rich country.

9/11. An asymmetric rationalization of a moment embedded in the collective consumption of reactionary culture.

Falling Man >|< Fall in man

Reactions equate to rhetoric, i.e. “we have to fight the terrorists wherever they may hide,” or worse, apathy “It’s a fucked up world altogether.”

SO GIVE UP 

As a corporatocracy, America’s interests are purely profit: oil, private security contracts, construction etc, not to usurp the post-Soviet Islamist rule of the Taliban (yes they were awful, just look at the pictures of civilized Kabul! Some of the Afghans have blue eyes!). Record profits abound. The apparatus of control is gilded in perpetuity. Crisis’ increase exponentially even after public discovery of fraud “#nowmd” and manipulation of information. Still, as our warrior brothers and sisters return home from the global conflict, damaged and exposed to a domestic nightmare of ghost towns and economic decrepititude, we can be assured that somehow, enexplicably, the effort was worth the risk and sacrifice.

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We exacted our revenge on the enemy who was living comfortably in a palatial estate miles from Islamabad, surrounded by Pakistani military elite. By using extrajudicial execution “while condemning the practice by other nations, we succumb to our own hubris. Of Afghans, disconnection from people suffering works much better (sells much better) on paper (or Facebook/Twitter/Huffpo/FauxNews/Obama&Bush teleprompters) to a public increasingly less interested in truth.

The difficult realization is that we’ve apparently succeeded and simultaneously failed.

“Mission Accomplished-ish”

[right, right, left, left, up, down, up, down, A, B, to start all over right?]

We can’t withdraw, pullout, mid-coitus, we’re vested in making the best of the situation, finish on the backs of main street and the shrinking middle class.

We can’t sustain the approach much longer either, unless Afghanistan will serve—and this is mere speculation—as our proxy staging area for a war with a nuclear armed Pakistan. More automated combat. Reliance on computers to determine hostiles.

America is indeed exceptional. In our military and security spending. In our continued pollution of third world countries via proxy manufacturing for cheaper labor and the unregulated environmental legislation of those countries and by extension, our governments massive military and budgetary support of an Israeli neo-apartheid.

This system enabled us to supplant democracy plant pliable leadership in North Africa and the Middle East for the past four decades. But as we’ve witnessed, through our mediated American perspective, people often tire of being served the same meal for too long. We are idle and conveniently diplomatic while Assad murders Syrian’s indiscriminately.

Perhaps, to “see it from both sides” detracts from the complexity. There isn’t necessarily a discernable side when faced with the ultimatum of “you’re either with us or with the terrorists.”

Post-Obama HOPE conspiracy election buzz, do we embrace the new normal?

Drones. Disposition Matrix. Targeted Killing and other euphemisms for the tactics used in our perpetual global war on terror.

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Caustic Soda – Graphic Novel

I’ve been working on a my graphic novel, Caustic Soda – A Year Future Narco Romance, for the past year with artist, film maker and friend, Daniel Crosier. We’re printing a 3 page mini-comic preview for SD Comic Con next week (phew!) and we’re putting together a kickstarter campaign to help fund the printing of the first, 25-page issue. This will cover the costs of printing a full-color book. We’ll have tons of rad rewards for our contributors,including a few of the birch panel pages illustrated by Daniel. The comic is a futuristic fictional story about two lovers on either sides of a nasty border war between the Narco Syndicate and a private multi-national and security firm, Agility INC. You can take a look at the intro on the http://causticsodanarcoromance.com/ to give you an idea of the story and scope of this project.

The story is about San Diego and the border. You’ll recognize lots of landmarks in the book, including a fictionalized version of The Casbah I’ve dubbed, The InterZone. Plus lots of guns, quad-copter drones, Augmented Reality, Psychotropic substances and of course, the namesake of the book, Caustic Soda. Caustic Soda (NaOH) or sodium hydroxide is the chemical one of the characters (The Alchemist) uses to dispose of “clients” processed by the Arnelle Liquidation Associates–the assassin team at the center of the tale.

I can’t wait to share this with you!