High Weirdness by Mail

Best excuse of 1990:

Daniel Cox – “I have been on location in Cuba as technical advisor for the snuff movie ‘Kinkarver’ or as it is known by its UK release title ‘The Kinski Lookalike Murders’ and please do not suspect me of exaggeration. [ Who, me? I did meet Dennis Neilsen at a party, prior to his arrest of course…(expect he had other things on his mind at that time, such as “did I turn the oven offr…the party did take place and is not a figment of my imagination”.

Neilsen used to work for the Manpower Services Commission in Denmark St, just opposite the old Forbidden Planet shop – probably all those nasty books warped his mind. Speaking of warped minds, here’s

Andy Waller – “TC appears to be cleaning up it’s act. judging by the latest edition -it’s becoming far too clean, decent and bloody responsible! It’s rapidly losing it’s crude unrefined personality, it’s borderline origins – TC come home! Screw discretion, commercialism, honour and decency – bring on the sleaze!”

Certainly a problem I’m aware of -the only difficulty is that my life lately has been too clean. decent and bloody responsible! TC reflects this and is thus distressingly sleaze-free – all suggestions and offers of 14-year old nymphomaniacs, large amounts of money and heaps of pharmaceuticals would be welcome.

Which is an easy link to Handy Household Hints. “You have to be careful not to make ergot (lysergic acid) as well as psilocybe”, warns Claire Blarney. That would be a disaster, wouldn’t it? David Thomson asks “Could you please tell me where to avoid getting hold of any psilocybe mycelium? Just to be sure.” – so far, I’ve luckily avoided that pitfall myself. Poor Richard Owen has a problem in the offing – “A friend is very grateful to you for HHH n. He recently spent a lot of time researching at the library in Swansea University but to no avail – unfortunately, I’m the one who’ll have to look after him”.

Mark Stevens – “Please put me on the letters page, I’ve seen Robert de Niro’s left testicle”.

No bother at all, Mark. Next.

Paul Mallinson – “Boo! No mention in the letters page!…Maybe next time. Jim?!”.

Maybe, maybe not. Oh, alright then – go ahead!

EM – “On the whole, I enjoyed the Splatterfest – not because of the films (although ‘Rabid Grannies’ was marvellous), mainly because of the atmosphere and getting the chance to meet all the people I’ve been writing to… Well said on ‘The Comic’…Sure, it was well out of place at the event but all the shouting did was to deny us the chance of seeing their other film on offer which could have been much better”. Every festival has it’s dick-heads – Splatterfest just had more than most it seems.

The Sybil Denning piece was enjoyed/appreciated, tho’ maybe those that didn’t just kept quiet rather than risk the wrath of SD. who naturally pops round to collect her copy in person… Several people spotted that ‘Your Sister is a Werewolf’ is an alternate title for ‘The Howling II’ and Tony Lee adds “you forgot her guest appearance as a prison bitch, beating up Heather Thomas in TV’s ‘The Fall Guy! (No I’m not kidding)”. Not forgot, Tony just haven’t seen – I’m sure it’s pretty unforgettable!

Simon Wood – “TC5 was jolly interesting, with my only gripe being the fact that you got my name wrong in the letters page. Simon Owen? Who he?” [Guilty. m’lud – probably something to do with him residing at Owen Court. I expect.] Tell Stuart Adamson of R.A.D. (letters, TC5) there is another band who would dispute the ‘fastest band on earth’ tag. The Anal C*nts started out by putting out a single (7″) which contains 88 songs and their latest 7″ single has a total of over 5.000 (!!!!) songs on it!!!”.

More one-upmanship comes from Paul Higson –

“I sat alone in a cinema studio for the last day of a two week run of ‘Videodrome’. The usherette didn’t bother coming down with the tray, she just called out ‘Do you want any ices?” from the door”.

The only way we can take this further is to find someone working at a cinema who knows of a showing when no-one turned up!

Several readers kindly told me about Pop Will Eat Itself and their unofficial World Cup Single. ‘Touched by the Hand of Cicciolina’. I was very disappointed they wimped out and failed to include Ms. Staller when they were on ‘Top of the Pops’ as they claimed they wanted – even the video had a fake Cicciolina and about two stills of her. Far better to watch The Late Show’, which had a piece on an Italian art exhibition where one of the exhibits was a double life-size sculpture of her and the artist making love, surrounded by photos of them. This is Art, so it was alright to show the sort of things the BBFC would frown on… Glyn Williams speculates on the possibilities:

“One can only hope that Maggie. by the next election, is in such desperate straits that she will feel it is necessary to stand on the back of a lorry lifting her skirt and opening her blouse to gain attention”.

Not sure ‘hope’ is the word I’d use, Glyn – it will be interesting to see if Glenda Jackson. a lady not averse to removing her clothes for Ken Russell. tries something similar. When I write 80% of a paragraph, I know it’s time to stop! All letters are read avidly and you will get a reply, though given the time spent watching the World Cup. it might take a while to clear the backlog…

Christopher Lee – Fangs for the Memory

I’m writing this on Christopher Lee’s 68th birthday, May 27th, and I’m trying to find words to sum up the career of a man who has appeared in more films than almost any other actor. Not all of these have been good perhaps, but even in the dullest of these (who mentioned ‘Night of the Big Heat’?) he is always worth watching. He’s a highly versatile actor, capable of playing everything from the Mummy to Sherlock Holmes, via Shakespeare – ‘Hamlet’ (1948) won an Oscar, and was his first film with Peter Cushing.

He is undoubtedly best known for his performances as Dracula, his height (6 ft. 4″) lending him an air of authority few, if any, other actors have been able to bring to the role. In addition to the Hammer versions, beginning with ‘Dracula’ (1958) and generally going downhill in quality until the abysmal ‘Dracula AD 1972’, he also appeared in other vampire films, though these were usually feeble spoofs. He was ‘misled’ into appearing in ‘El Conde Dracula’ by promises it would be the definitive telling of Stoker’s tale – since it was directed by Jess Franco, it will not surprise readers to learn this is not how it turned out…

Outside the horror genre, his appearances have been almost as numerous, especially in more recent years. He was Scaramanga in ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’, and is also well known for his appearances in ‘The Three Musketeers’ and it’s two sequels. At other times, he has played Dr Jekyll, Rasputin & Fu Manchu, but for me his most memorable role was as Lord Summerisle in ‘The Wicker Man’ (1973), which in my opinion is the best non-Hammer British horror film ever made.

In recent years his appearances have become slightly less numerous, leaving him free to pursue his other interests – he is a keen golfer, possessing a low handicap, and is also very fond of cricket. However, he can shortly be seen in ‘Gremlins II’, which means the man will be in the (unique?) position of having starred in films with three of your editor’s idols; Nastassja Kinski (‘To the Devil a Daughter’), Sybil Danning (‘The Howling II’) and now Phoebe Cates.

His latest film, as yet unreleased here, is called ‘The Rainbow Thief’, with Michael Caine. During the filming, it was reported that Lee was called to do a scene where he has a heart attack while bonking some beauty. Lee wanted it changed, in deference to his age, and settled for being tickled into a seizure by eight topless bimbos! Some people have all the luck…

Filmography

So you thought Sybil Danning was busy? I lost count of the following list when it went into three figures; all corrections, additions and amendments would be gratefully received, though note that only commonly encountered alternative titles are included:

  • 1947 – Corridor of Mirrors
  • 1948 – Hamlet
  • 1949 – They Were Not Divided
  • 1950 – Prelude of Fame
  • 1951 – Valley of the Eagles
  • 1952 – The Crimson Pirate
  • 1953 – Moulin Rouge
  • 1954 – Dark Avenger a.k.a. The Warriors
  • 1955 – Private’s Progress
  • 1956 – Alias John Preston
    Moby Dick
    Ill Met by Moonlight a.k.a. Night Ambush
    The Battle of the River Plate a.k.a. Pursuit of the Graf Spee
  • 1957 – The Traitor
    The Curse of Frankenstein
    Corridors of Blood a.k.a. Doctor from Seven Dials
  • 1958 – Dracula a.k.a. Horror of Dracula
  • 1959 – A Tale of Two Cities
    The Man Who Could Cheat Death
    The Mummy
    Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
  • 1960 – Beat Girl
    City of the Dead
    Taste of Fear a.k.a. Scream of Fear
  • 1961 – Hercules in the Haunted Kingdom a.k.a. Hercules in the Centre of the Earth
  • 1962 – Hands of Orlac a.k.a. Hands of a Strangler
    The Terror Tongs a.k.a. The Terror of the Tongs
    Uncle Was a Vampire
    Sherlock Holmes & the Deadly Necklace
    The Longest Day
    Pirates of Blood River
    Puzzle of the Red Orchid a.k.a. Secret of the Red Orchid
    Devil’s Daffodil a.k.a. Daffodil Killer
  • 1963 – Terror Castle a.k.a. Virgin of Nuremberg
    What a.k.a. Night is the Phantom
    Devil’s Ship Pirates
    Castle of the Living Dead
  • 1964 – The Gorgon
  • 1965 – Dracula, Prince of Darkness
    Rasputin, the Mad Monk
    Dr. Terror’s House of Horror
    The Skull
    Face of Fu Manchu
    She
  • 1966 – Brides of Fu Manchu
  • 1967 – Vengeance of Fu Manchu
    Theatre of Death
    Circus of Fear a.k.a. Psycho Circus
    Night of the Big Heat a.k.a. Island of the Burning Damned
    The Devil Rides Out a.k.a. The Devil’s Bride
    Five Golden Dragons
    The Torture Chamber of Dr Sadism
    Curse of the Crimson Altar a.k.a. The Reincarnation a.k.a. about five other titles!
  • 1968 – Eve
    The Oblong Box
    Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
    Blood of Fu Manchu a.k.a. Kiss and Tell
  • 1969 – Castle of Fu Manchu a.k.a. Torture Chamber of Fu Manchu
    Assignment: Istanbul
    Taste the Blood of Dracula
    Night of the Blood Beast a.k.a. Throne of the Blood Monster
    The Magic Christian
    One More Time
  • 1970 – Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion a.k.a. Sade 70
    El Conde Dracula a.k.a. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
    The Scars of Dracula
    Scream & Scream Again
    The House That Dripped Blood
    Julius Caesar
    The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
  • 1971 – I, Monster
  • 1972 – Dracula AD 1972 a.k.a. Dracula Today
    Hannie Calder
    Dark Places
    Poor Devil (TVM)
  • 1973 – The Satanic Rites of Dracula a.k.a. Count Dracula & His Vampire Bride
    Panic on the Trans-Siberian Express a.k.a. Horror Express
    Creeping Flesh
    Nothing But The Night
    Deathline a.k.a. Raw Meat
    The Wicker Man
  • 1974 – The Three Musketeers
    The Man with the Golden Gun
  • 1975 – Tendre Dracula
    In Search of Dracula
    The Four Musketeers
  • 1976 – Dragon’s Murder
    Killer Force
    Mask of Murder
    To the Devil a Daughter
    Revenge of the Dead
    Dracula Pere et Fils
    Meat Cleaver Massacre
    Diagnosis: Murder
  • 1977 – Airport ’77
    Starship Invasion a.k.a. Alien Encounter
    End of the World
  • 1978 – Return From Witch Mountain
    Caravans
    The Pirate
  • 1979 – The Passage
    Arabian Adventure
    1941
    Circle of Iron a.k.a. The Silent Flute
    Bear Island
    Captain America II
  • 1981 – The Salamander
    An Eye for an Eye
    Goliath Awaits (TVM)
    Jaguar Lives
  • 1982 – Safari 3000
  • 1983 – The House of the Long Shadows
    Whispering Death
    The Return of Captain Invincible a.k.a. The Legend in Leotards
  • 1984 – Rosebud Hotel
    The Howling II
  • 1988 – Murder Story
  • 1989 – The Return of the Three Musketeers
  • 1990 – Treasure Island
    Gremlins II
    The Rainbow Thief

Welcome to the Videodrome

Great mysteries of our time #739 : Where do misprints go between the final draft and the finished item? ‘Cos I’m damned if the final draft had ‘Heane 17’ for Heaven 17, or credited TIM Lehmann, instead of Michael, for directing ‘Heathers’. Still, at least the former can be put down to typing frenzy and the latter, well, I got it right in TC4, which proves I’m not completely ignorant. TC is not alone in mis-prints as I’ve recently seen two references to ‘Isla, She Wolf of the SS’ – I knew Miss St Clair was hard up but… Presumably a similar gremlin caused Warner Home Video to release ‘Zoltan, Hound of Dracula’, as part of their House of Hammer collection when the film was a cheap (tho’ endearing) American rip-off. And I’m now a little more cynical about the joys of DTP after the rumour that NK was due to appear in Peter Greenaway’s next film was discredited in exactly the same place it had first appeared, two weeks after I’d rewritten my editorial to accomodate it.

In fifty years time when my grandchildren ask me, “What did you do during the Great Poll Tax Riots of 1990?”, I’ll be able to look them straight in the eye and say, “I was sitting in the Scala cinema watching ‘Queen of Outer Space’ starring Zsa Zsa Gabor”. I have a theory that history is largely determined by people with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Distribution: TC5 was available in/from Forbidden Planet and Psychotronic Videos (both London), Artware of Germany and a couple of other places that might get mentioned when I get paid for the issues! More outlets should follow. Thanks to Andy Waller, Kevin McLure, John London, Pete “Eat Them Alive” Shepherd, Claire Blamey and the Men in Black, Malcolm Dalglish (who got out of the bath to answer my queries – sorry!) & Dave Bryan.

Hideous lack of space this issue – even this editorial is edited. Next issue will be out whenever it appears, which may not be long given the amount of unused stuff lying around. TC7 should include Rutger Hauer, John Waters, ‘Deathstalker II’, more conspiracies & Shock Around the Clock 4.

“The street will find it’s own use for technology”

Contents

Trash City 6

Summer 1990.

Bringing you fun in the sun, Nastassja Kinski, splatter movies, culture from East and West, conspiracy theory, some very bad fiction, some very good fiction, Christopher Lee, and more deviant ideas than you can shake a stick at. People of a sensible disposition or with deep faith in copyright law should stop here. No back issues are currently available, though bribery in that area may be productive. For the record, previous TC’s were:

  • TC0 – Nastassja Kinski, the Human League, “Hellbound” + H.G.Lewis
  • TC1 – Black Sunday ’89, NK, “Salo”, DIY flamethrowers + Holiday ’88
  • TC2 – Shock 2, NK, “Reform School Girls”, “Edge of Sanity” + a road accident
  • TC3 – lists, Cicciolina, Linnea Quigley, + “The New Avengers”
  • TC4 – “Ilsa”, “The Railway Children”, Tom & Jerry + eye violence
  • TC5 – Sybil Danning, “G.L.O.W.”, “Dangermouse”, Black Sunday ’90 + Troma

CONTENTS

1Cover, colophon and contents19The TC Interview (PH)
3Christopher Lee (MM & JM)21Desultory Nights (DFL)
7Reader’s Ramblings22Born to be Wile
8The Section With No Name24Film Blitz
10Jailhouse Shock30Nightmares (PP)
12Back to Black32Conspiracy Corner
14Escape To New York35Incredibly Bad Book Show
16The Joe Bob Backlash… (AF)38Orient Excess (TL, JM, PP & SW)
17At last, the competition results!48Back Cover

CREDITS

Editor/benevolent dictator: Jim McLennan. Arty bits: Phil “it’s in the post” Mielewczyk, Per Porter and David Thomson. Texts: Alun Fairburn, Paul Higson, Tony Lee, Des Lewis, Andrew McGavin, Jim McLennan, Martin Murray, Per Porter & Steve Welburn. Printers: the ever wonderful Copyprint, London.

Subscriptions are available; 60p/issue UK, 80p/$1.25 in Europe, $3 elsewhere. A label on the envelope for subscribers tells you the last issue you’ll get + how much money will be left over after that. Cheques or PO’s made payable to Jim McLennan please. Contributions are welcome, and in any case I reserve the right to publish any correspondence unless specifically asked not to. All submissions, subscriptions, petitions and proclamations to:
    Jim McLennan, 247 Underhill Road, E.Dulwich, LONDON, SE22 0PB

T-shirts!

The idea of TC T-shirts has been put forward. I quite like the idea of running off a limited, full-colour one; the cost would probably be 7.95 or thereabouts. However, I don’t know what ought to be put on them! A past TC cover? All suggestions would be welcome…

Trash City 06

Issue available in:


Articles

It Must Be True…

Tidying up on a story from a previous issue; the Sunday Times, in their review of the year, mentioned the story about Cicciolina and the squashed dove. According to them, it took place in AFGHANISTAN and not Hungary, but since they described Ms. Staller as a “dancer” (euphemistic, to say the least), I’m taking their version with a pinch of salt! They did restore their credibility a little in a recent colour supplement, with “A Day in the Life of Ilona Staller”, which was superb. A few quotes from it here are essential :

“Very often I wake up in the clouds without nearly as much sleep as my young body needs [ she’s 38! ] and the only remedy is to plunge straight under an ice-cold shower. It’s good for my breasts… I want to build love parks all over the world. I’m hoping Mrs. Thatcher will want several… Catching people’s attention is easy – going past the Colosseum on a float, I just lifted up my blouse and showed the crowd my titties, then my skirt to keep their interest, and they all listened to what I had to say”

Thief of the Year award goes to the man who tried to rob a store in America while carrying two guns. The assistant pointed out that two guns were not really necessary and offered to buy one off the robber. Following some negotiation, a price of $300 was struck and the pistol handed over in exchange for the cash. The shop-keeper then offered to buy the OTHER gun for the same amount – after some agonising, the thief agreed, snatched the second lot of $300, threw the gun at the assistant and headed for the doors. The victim pressed the button that automatically locked these and refused to let the villain out until all the cash was returned. This the robber did, and he was freed, leaving the store with a net gain of two pistols.

Only in America. Indiana University doctors attributed a patient’s anaemia to his having swallowed 80 quarters and $1.32 in loose change. He believed it was necessary “to prevent a gun in his stomach from firing”. Also, David Burling, 19, was acquitted on a charge of manafacturing the drug ecstasy because it’s scientific name, methylene-dioxymethamphetamine, was misspelled in the state law.

Pennsylvania state is planning a law that will make ‘deviant’ records and tapes carry a sticker, labelled as follows : “WARNING: May carry explicit lyrics descriptive of or advocating one or more of the following: suicide, sodomy, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual activity in a violent context, murder, morbid violence, illegal use of drugs or alcohol. PARENTAL ADVISORY. Clearly no-one has considered this might ENCOURAGE people to buy the records…

Trash sport. Robert Vance, playing cricket for Wellington in the New Zealand equivalent of the County Championship, conceded a world record SEVENTY-SEVEN runs off one over. 69 of these went to Lee German of Canterbury, who was caught out off two of the over’s seventeen no-balls, hit 8 sixes and 5 fours and whose score went from 75 to 160 in two overs. The umpires lost track and stopped the over after only five legal balls had been bowled. The reason for this odd behavior was to try and tempt Canterbury to go for a win – in the end, however, the match was a draw.

So you think TC’s bad for printing gratuitous pictures of Nastassja. Recently, the “Daily Express” had a short article on Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni and his love life, accompanied by some pictures of him and his past lovers. Mastroianni’s pic was 10 square cm, Faye Dunaway and Catherine Deneuve each got 8 square cm but the pic of NK was 14.5 by 8, or a meaty 116 square cm. Not bad going, given the only mention of her was second place in a list of his mistresses!

From the Independent, via ‘Time Out’: ‘Swaziland is to deport a self-confessed Moroccan cannibal because he has been demanding the bodies of road accident victims for his meals. The authorities feel unable to satisfy the appetites of Hitler Sharin [ sic ], a self-style mercenary soldier, who has just spent six months in prison for the illegal possession of arms’. Not to mention a couple of legs and the odd internal organ, no doubt.

For once, most of the stories on the opposite page don’t really need any explanation from me. However, the “vibrator play’ one might do (I’m indebted to Glyn Williams from bringing this piece to my attention). To quote the article:

“Aussie soap fans have blasted a Prisoner Cell Block H play which includes refence to vibrators and uses language such as ‘vinegar tits’… Fan club organiser Roz Vescey said ‘We believe this would be offensive to many genuine fans who turn up to the show expecting it to be like the series'”

Vinegar tits! Gosh! Even speaking as someone whose knowledge of the female penal system is confined to ‘Reform School Girls’, I think it might be just about possible that you would hear such language behind bars. Mind you, Prisoner Cell Block H has never really been about reality to any extent!

PATIENT ATTACKS DENTIST WITH HIS OWN DRILL. “Easygoing Al Hartman writhed and squirmed for 90 minutes as a bumbling dentist nearly ripped his mouth to shreds. Then the peeved patient leaped from the chair – and turned the drill on the dumbo doc! ‘He tore my gums bloody just cleaning my teeth and when he started to drill, the drill kept slipping off and boring holes in my gums and cheeks… I grabbed him by the shirt and shoved him down in the chair and started drilling away at his teeth. He started screaming his head off and I loved every minute of it. I know it was the wrong thing to do, but right then I just wanted to make the little twerp pay.'”

That’s what you get for having Steve Martin as your dentist.

Nightmares in a Damaged Brain: Nightmares 5, Sanity 2

The phone rang.

I leant back on the beach, swept up the nearest crab and moaned ‘Yeargh’ into it like a cellar door in need of liquid refreshment. A thin and insufferably cheerful voice chimed back “Your early morning call, Sir”. I asked for extra chilli on my kebab, replaced the crab and rubbed some more intoxicatingly aromatic oil into Nastassja’s thigh. Waves of fluorescent azure licked contentedly at the starfish shaded sand.

The crab rang again. “You told me to ring twice, Sir”, the voice piped cheerily. “Now why would I do a stupid thing like that?” I replied, instantly pleased with the logic. “I don’t know, Sir, but you were very insistent”. Mmmm. Sounded like me alright. I asked Nastassja to roll over so I could work the oil… “I am sorry, Sir” the creature twittered insincerely “but you know no house guests are permitted”. I told the crab to scuttle off somewhere moist or I’d pull it’s legs off, but it seemed to be attached to the beach by a length of coiled plastic flex…

Reality slid slowly sideways, capsised and sank, it’s iridescent colours and exotic smells vaporising in flame like a burning photograph, leaving me with a stiffness in the groin and a puzzled hotelier. I told him I’d be down for coffee. “I’ll make it strong, Sir” he intoned flatly. There were some days when it would be better to stay in bed. This was one of them, so I got up.

Fighting my way to the window with a hangover so big you could camp under it when it rains, I was greeted by Burton Latimer . The town has ostensibly been laid out by someone who longed to build Arndale Centres, but didn’t have the imagination. It smelt of casual slacks, Volvo estates and Sainsbury’s carrier bags.

The room was furnished with what appeared to be the result of a five minute frenzy in an MFI Closing Down Sale, and assembled by someone who didn’t know if he was going to live through the day. The colour scheme had evidently been chosen by someone who didn’t care either way. There had, I reckoned, better be a bloody good reason for my being here. _________________

Burton Latimer is very near to the Weetabix factory. Car drivers going from Northampton to Burton Latimer often get stuck behind it’s big yellow lorries. On their way home, they often get stuck behind Carlsberg lorries. Contrary to popular belief, Carlsberg is probably the best lager in Northampton. It’s an exciting place to live, Burton Latimer…

The hotelier’s expression came straight out of a Dario Argento flick. He was looking at a face worse than death, so I smiled back. I figured that his idea of living in the fast lane was probably the six items or less checkout at Sainsbury’s. With a voice like stormtroopers tap-dancing on a honeyed gravel drive, I ordered my coffee black as a moonless night and sweeter than a stolen kiss. He replied that it would be made by Dawn, which I hoped was a lady rather than a sunrise deadline. She approached my table like an extra in a Kylie Minogue promo, and I am not suggesting that Kylie is either particularly pretty or graceful.

The coffee leaked away through the table without wetting my knees, and a second cup performed the same trick. I toyed with the idea of keeping some in a sample bottle in case I ever needed a positive pregnancy test, but too much thinking like that would get you a long stay in a room with soft walls. I reckoned that I belonged here about as much as the Skin Two matchbook belonged in my pocket. The address on the flap was opulent, expansive and exquisite and that was just the handwriting, so I made a move.

The taxi driver decided I needed to see both town halls, so I decided to keep the tip. I expected someday to hear intelligent conversation from a cabbie, but I sure wasn’t dumb enough to hold my breath. The shop windows were blacked out, which was fine enough, but the nameboard was Japanese,which wasn’t. Knowing as much abiut the Bushido code as a geranium, I crossed the desert of cracked paving slabs, nostrils assailed with black bean sauce, and entered the oriental emporium.

The unscrupulous Oriental behind the counter smiled like someone who had a Magnum pointed at my balls, so I figured that my name wasn’t Robert Robinson. There was enough hardware in the place to make any gun collector/Mercenary magazine reader wet himself with delight, but none of it was projectile. It was like standing in the Shogun Assassin props room. “I have been expecting you, Detective Sahn”, he breathed, and unwrapped a shining shuriken from an oiled paper sheet as if it were made of ice and not hammered steel, never breaking eye contact like a gunfighter in a Sergio Leone movie.

“A woman”, he whispered.