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Writing excerpts from
Kevin Quigley's published work.

Photo Credit: Jim Boyle

Resume News & Updates Charnel House

from "Ground Chuck"

"When he reached the top stair, he immediately did see something wrong – something very, very wrong. A beam of fluorescent fell into the hallway, lying on the rug there like a dead thing. The light was coming from a room with its door open. He saw it was his own.

“Oh, shit,” Wayne said, a feeling of intense dread building in his belly. “Oh shit oh shit oh shit.”

He dropped his briefcase. The clasps broke open, spilling papers everywhere. He broke into a run, and though it was only three running steps, it felt like the longest sprint he’d ever made.

Wayne reached the doorway, then clutched the frame to keep from falling over. His knees felt watery, his stomach a tight knot. His mouth worked, and a sound like a dull moan escaped.

His lock had been smashed open. It lay separated in the entryway. That wasn’t what drove Wayne to his present sate however. Not that. It was his notebooks; his notebooks had been scattered everywhere. Black marker names stood out on their covers like accusations: WALLY, PETER, ADAM, DONALD, MARSHALL, more. Everyone that had come in and gone out of Maverick House since the time of Wayne’s tenancy. All seemed unharmed and, besides the fact that they no longer sat on his closet shelf, untouched. Except two..."

--from Uncut Gems: A SKEMERs Anthology, Volume 1

from "Screw You"

...Not me. Anyone, anywhere: that's my motto. Never play the game with the same team too long, and never let anyone know it's the work of a single person. Kill them and mutilate them to the point they can't discern the weapon, never do the same type of person twice, and don't stay in one area for very long. It's so fucking simple. But these guys who kill don't do it for the reasons I do it. They do it because of compulsions and obsessions. Eventually those compulsions and obsessions are going to get the better of you, and you will hang yourself.

I don't want to go off on a psychological thing here, because I'm not much for psychology. But I will say this: those other serial killers have something going on upstairs that's just a little off. I'm not saying that they're all insane, but a good bunch of them are, and the rest are skewed just enough so that it amounts to the same. Not me. I'm as sane as the next guy, providing the next guy doesn't happen to be Charles Manson.

I do it because I love it. It makes me happy. It's not as often as I'd like, but no one gets what they want as often as they'd like. You just have to what you can to balance off your life so as to accommodate your fun. It's the way I live, anyway...

--from Uncut Gems: A SKEMERs Anthology, Volume 1

from "Funhouse Frank and His Zodiac Freaks"

"It’s the end of the show, and Fabulous Frank seems to be having a great old time with his freaks on stage. You keep asking yourself why this crowd of people would pay money to see the Zodiac Freaks – you see them everyday and they turn your stomach. Let one of these rich bitches or bastards with their seven figure incomes and their BMWs or Saabs clean up the blood after one of the “performances” for once. Or clean out the Port-A-Sans after one of the freaks take a leak – Aquarius always overflows the damn thing and you have to clean it up. Or watch them eat while they’re cleaning the trailers; yeah, that’s always fun. Leo pounces on the chickens you toss into his cage – live chickens, of course. Frank would have it no other way. Yeah, it must be fun to watch Leo tear the head off of a chicken for a night, but let any of those fu**ers watch it day in and day out, chicken guts you have to clean up, and puke, and blood, and you just can’t take it anymore, can you?"

--from A SKEMERs Anthology, Volume 2

from "Last Night at the Bear"

"Suddenly, Wade said, “You like The Bear, Kevin?” I was startled out of my reverie and asked him to repeat himself. Every time I drove him home, Wade had always been almost scarily silent. I’d tried to talk with him a few times – about girls, or about work, or anything. But he never spoke except for a scattered “yeah” or “naw” here or there. I wondered at those times why I even bothered trying, and I guess my answer came down to early-twenties naïveté. I believed anyone could be helped.

“Not especially, why?” I asked him back. I turned down the radio a bit – the melancholy melody of “Factory” quieted – and glanced over at him. I could hear the steady whup-whup of the wipers on wet glass. It was a lonely sound.

He didn’t answer, just asked, “What about your life? You like living in Maverick House?” By now, I was shocked. Not only was Wade talking in complete sentences, but it looked like –

“Wade, are you crying?” he looked away from me, embarrassed, his hand going up to his eyes. He shook his head violently back and forth. Rain splattered all over my face, and I reached up to wipe it off.

Uncomfortably, I said, “It’s okay, man.” This whole trip was going to hell on me – not that it had been a joyride at the start. I wasn’t very good with dealing with other people’s emotional problems – I had enough of my own, thanks.

“No, it’s not okay!” Wade said, his face still in one big, meaty hand. “It’s not!” He lifted up his other hand, and that’s when I first saw the gun in it. I don’t know what caliber it was, or even what kind. All I knew is that a crying teenager had a gun in the passenger seat of my car, and that the gun was pointed right at me."

-- from A SKEMERs Anthology, Volume 2

from "Rock Bottom Bangor"

"A dense fog hangs in the air of the Bangor Auditorium. Those in the audience may be inclined to first think of Stephen King’s “The Mist,” or perhaps of the remnants of one of Dave Barry’s exploding animals. Then, a jet of the stuff spurts from a machine behind the well-equipped concert stage, and the audience forgets for a moment the literary aspects of the evening. That’s a fog machine, those a real instruments, and this, just maybe, will be a real concert...

...[T]he show proper ends and people are getting up from their seats, when a frenzy of light and sound jumps out from the stage. The Remainders retake the room with their encore of Them’s “Gloria” (Dave Barry never sounded better). It’s one of the truly transcendent moments of the night. You can literally lose yourself in the power of rock and roll.

The Rock Bottom Remainders are not primarily musicians. They are a group of mainly writers with separate ideas and agendas, individuals who shape the world individually. But tonight, together, they formed something larger than themselves, something grand, something cohesive. They were a band, they were magic, and they were sure as hell born to run..."

from Phantasmagoria, March 1998