Authors: Gary Phillips,Andrea Gibbons
switchâ¢blade (swÄch'blÄd'] n.
a different slice of hardboiled fiction where the dreamers and the schemers, the dispossessed and the damned, and the hobos and the rebels tango at the edge of society.
I-5: A NOVEL OF CRIME, TRANSPORT, AND SEX
THE CHIEU HOI SALOON
THE WRONG THING
SEND MY LOVE AND A MOLOTOV COCKTAIL! STORIES OF CRIME, LOVE AND REBELLION
EDITED BY GARY PHILLIPS AND ANDREA GIBBONS
PRUDENCE COULDN'T SWIM
“Introduction” copyright Â© 2011 by Gary Phillips and Andrea Gibbons. “Bizco's Memories” copyright Â© 2011 by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, English translation copyright Â© 2011 by Andrea Gibbons. “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and “Darkness Drops” copyright Â© 2011 by Larry Fondation. “Nickels and Dimes” copyright Â© 2011 by S John Daniels. “The El Rey Bar” copyright Â© by Andrea Gibbons. “Poster Child” copyright Â© 2011 by Sara Paretsky. “The Lunatics” copyright Â© 2011 by Kim Stanley Robinson. “Murder â¦ Then and Now” copyright Â© 2011 by Penny Mickelbury. “Piece Work” copyright Â© by Kenneth Wishnia. “Gold Diggers of 1977 (Ten Claims that Won Our Hearts)” was first published by Virgin Books, 1980, as
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle,
and was revised in 1989 Â© 1989 by Michael & Linda Moorcock. “Cincinnati Lou” copyright Â© 2011 by Benjamin Whitmer. “Berlin: Two Days in June” copyright Â© 2011 by Rick Dakan. “Orange Alert” copyright Â© 2011 by Summer Brenner. “Masai's Back in Town” copyright Â© 2011 by Gary Phillips. “I Love Paree” originally published in
December 2000, copyright Â© 2011 by Cory Doctorow and Michael Skeet. “A Good Start” copyright Â© 2011 by Barry Graham. “One Dark Berkeley Night” copyright Â© 2011 by Tim Wohlforth. “Look Both Ways” copyright Â© 2011 by Luis Rodriguez.
This edition Â© 2011 PM Press
PO Box 23912
Oakland, CA 94623
Cover designed by Brian Bowes
Interior design by Courtney Utt/briandesign
Library of Congress Control Number: 2010916479
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the USA on recycled paper, by the Employee Owners of Thomson-Shore in Dexter, Michigan.
A big thanks to all of the authors who submitted their work for this collection, and PM Press for making it possible. Thanks also to Allan Kausch, David Cooper, and Shael Love for their help with “Gold Diggers of 1977 (Ten Claims that Won Our Hearts)” by Michael Moorcock, and Gregory Nipper for his splendid copyediting.
Gary Phillips and Andrea Gibbons
Paco Ignacio Taibo II
John A Imani
Kim Stanley Robinson
Cory Doctorow & Michael Skeet
Get your grind on: From the streets of Athens to Watts '65; the Velvet Revolution; sit-in strikes in Flint, Chicago and beyond; the MPLA taking Luanda to the attack on the barracks at Moncada; the Bolsheviks; the Poll Tax Revolt; Stonewall; the Mothers of the Disappeared; the Black Panthers; the Gray Panthers; the Yippies and on and on â¦ the fight for a better world has involved various ways to challenge the status quo and change up the relationships of power.
The foregoing was the opening grabber in the solicitation we sent to our potential contributors concerning the anthology you now hold in your hand. It's a bit fuzzy today as to the exact origins of
Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail!
though the title came from a punk song by the UK band The Flys that PM Press's publisher Ramsey Kanaan suggested. We knew we wanted an eclectic mix of contributors to this collection, and the two of us are quite pleased with the results we believe you'll enjoy in this edition. Most of the pieces are original. A few are out of print or being made available for the first time in a U.S. publication.
We have tales set in the past (or where the past haunts the present), to stories ranging from the tumult of now to futures where uncertainty and the iron heel reign. Herein you'll find renditions of lust and ideals, avarice and altruism, ruthlessness and hope, the left and the right and points in between, the fantastic and the crushing banality of bureaucracies. Yet shot through all of the stories, stories where politics big and personal play a role, is the contradictory and often surprisingly resilient nature of the human animal.
Certainly one of the aspects that made putting this collection together so cool for us as editors and contributors was our respective backgrounds in activism and community organizing. The lessons we took away from those experiences were not only about the need for a incisive power analysis and being aware that goals and objectives have to be constantly readjusted, but just how indomitable are the spirits of everyday working people, be they dealing with faceless slumlords, police abuse, rights on the shop floor or simply banding together to get a stop light erected at a street corner for their kids.
Stuart Hanlon, one of the attorneys who helped overturn the framed-up conviction the FBI orchestrated against former Black Panther leader Elmer Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, stated in regards to the $4 million or so in damages his client and friend received post his release, “If you didn't have anything or want anything, they couldn't take anything from you.” But that was of course only about material things. As a freedom fighter, the late Ji Jaga long ago learned in all those years on the streets and in prison to keep going forward, to not let the system beat you down. The interesting characters you'll find in these pages are in some respects in the mold of what Ji Jaga, Septima Clark, Emma Goldman and so many others stood for in their pursuit of certain freedoms and truthsâmaybe not on a world-shattering scale, but for stakes that meant something to them â¦ and us. Mind you, some of the other folks you'll encounter in these pages you wouldn't want to meet in a well-lighted alley under any circumstances.
We know though you'll find the stories in this collection entertaining, insightful and damn good reads.
The struggle, as always, continues.
Gary Phillips & Andrea Gibbons
Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Bizco Padilla became a soccer player in prison, so he saw the game in a unique fashion, like a war where anything went. Nothing could've been further from the supposedly British spirit of honorable competition or the prescribed Olympic ethos. His was a warlike soccer, country or death, the kind from which no one was exempted: not mothers, refs, busybodies, spectators nor the cities, nations, or races involved.
We got into the habit of watching the Pumas' games every Sunday on TV. We were the ideal companions: me because I had a thirty-five-inch color television inherited from a stale marriage, and him because he acted as commentator for the match, filling in for the sound that had long ago died in the appliance and that I had never bothered getting fixed.
El Bizco would arrive half an hour before the match to wake me up. Without much consideration he'd kick out my casual ladyfriend from Saturday night's sad fever and start to smoke, pacing around the bedroom while we talked politics.
Once the game started, his squinty eyes would fixate on the TV and the ashes from his little cigar would start to fall all over the place, most substantially around the curve of the kitchen stool he sat on.
Bizco's rules did not include off-sides, a pansy charge by the refs to disallow goals and make themselves hated. He considered infantile any punishment that didn't involve the guilty party eating dirt and getting trampled on. He permitted pulling the goalkeeper's pants down as the goalkeeper jumped up, and said that hand balls were only a foul if they saw you. For a good game there had to be at least two or three beatings and the red liquid had to flow. A broken leg and bleeding from the nose seemed to fall within the parameters of what he considered normal.
Bizco possessed a clairvoyant sense of the players' psychology. After having seen them touch the ball three times he could anticipate both their movements and their motivations. Bizco knew a lot about egos, manias, and displays of manliness. Above all, he knew a lot about fears.
“Now LÃ³pez is going to make a run along the edge of the field, looking to get behind Guadalajara's defense.”
“Look at that prick, complaining for nothing. The guy barely pushed him! If he doesn't like it he can go home, stupid-ass.”
Curiously our dominical meetings were teetotal. Prison had made Bizco a ferocious militant for Alcoholics Anonymous. My nonexistent author royalties at the time had condemned me to lemonade with a little sugar. Coffee sometimesâwhen the Pumas trashed the other team.
We had promised ourselves that when our economic situation improved we would go to the stadium instead of this ritual gathering in front of a mute TV. Bizco agreed to it then, even knowing that part of the enchantment was in the remoteness, the distance, the world that remained outside. The sensation of being prisoner that protected him.
Bizco was so cross-eyed that it was the same to him whether he looked at you face-to-face or sideways, and his scar filled you with fear, crossing his right cheek from his ear to his lip. Just another of the footprints left by prison. They'd thrown him in the joint at the end of the â60s, almost into â70, the last day of the year. All because when he was seventeen he was a messenger for a guerilla force that never took action, and that had been so heavily infiltrated it was the police making decisions on the national committee by a simple majority. Having committed no crime didn't save him from two weeks of torture and a month of preventative imprisonment that was so bad it would've been better if it had ceased to exist in his memories. Later he was sent to Oblatos prison in Jalisco, in those days the highest-security prison the