ZDMT #6 - Quimby's Bookstore

Memories of Chicago from the old days: Lincoln Park, breakfast at Toast, the gateway of the underworld of Gary, IN (a.k.a. Mordor), the view of Lake Michigan from my sister’s dorm room at Loyola University, psychedelic mushrooms at Wrigley Field, skeletons like termites in the trees, an interlude on a concrete stairway on New Year’s Eve (she had yellow teeth), drinks with Oprah in the black pylon, Tim Burton’s Batman, chili dogs, Lake Shore Drive, French fries dipped in Ranch, lost and cabless and freezing at 4 a.m. in the snow, mnemonic residue of fraternal camaraderie, the L . . . I’ve done readings at Quimby’s Bookstore before on two previous occasions, one for the release of Blankety Blank: A Memoir of Vulgaria in 2008, the other for the release of Peckinpah: An Ultraviolent Romance in 2009. So this is my third year in a row. Quimby’s specializes in independent, small press, and offbeat titles and I always feel at home here, where I first discovered the work of Fletcher Hanks in I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!, a collection of Golden Age cartoons from 1939-41 about flamboyant, Freddie Mercury-like superheroes and the cosmic hate-punishments they inflict on various global terrorists. This collection in fact significantly informed the direction and mood of Codename Prague, which would have been a different novel without it. There is even a reference to Hanks’ supercriminal “Lepus the Fiend,” a kind of angry lava-man . . . This year I was happy to find a new collection, You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! Today I began writing a screenplay based upon three of the book’s cartoons. Working title: I Shall Make All the Universe Wild and Primitive!