Tag Archives: alabama

Piltdownlad #9 – Pamphleteria: The Rise and Fall of Phony Lid


Piltdownlad #9 – Pamphleteria: 
The Rise and Fall of Phony Lid

Part One: Shut Up and Publish

For five years, before I went broke and half-insane, I was a small press publisher. I started out doing zines and then moved on to trade paperbacks. In true DIY spirit, I handled every aspect of the operation myself: the editing, the designing, the printing, the distribution and the marketing… It was all about becoming the media and my steadfast determination to take a crackpot idea as far as I possibly could, despite the lack of money or the fact that I had no business running a publishing company. 

The first part of a three part series, this is the story of how I started publishing my first zine, Vagabond, back at the turn of the century. I’d just acquired a computer and was ready to take over the world. Or course, life got in the way. So it’s also about dealing with failed relationships, having a fucked up family, working dead end jobs in Birmingham, Alabama, and the search for existential meaning. Or just something to take my mind off all the bullshit. Still, a work in progress.

half-size . 64 pp . perfect bound

trade or etsy


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The Nasty Oh-Dear (Prologue to A Masque of Infamy)

This is the prologue to the novel A Masque of Infamy. It has also appeared in different form in the zine Piltdownlad #4. The artwork is by Walt Hall.


The ladies called it the Jackson Home.

“Nobody will be able to find y’all there,” they said as we drove through the black part of town. “So you’ll be safe.”

The silver minivan pulled up to a run-down two-story house on a treeless street among dwellings of similar vintage. We stepped out of the air conditioning and the heat pushed against us like an unruly mob. The sun, directly above in a cloudless sky, beat down without restraint.

At the door, an elderly woman with kind eyes behind a sea of wrinkles greeted us.

“Boys, this is Mrs. Gertie,” said Clorise, the one who had done most of the talking so far.

Joey and I mumbled a feeble hello and followed the ladies up a staircase.

“This here’s the bedroom,” Mrs. Gertie said. “And over yonder, the bathroom.” She gestured at the obvious.

Joey and I walked into the bedroom but the ladies stopped short of the doorway.

“We’ll check on y’all in a few days,” Clorise announced. “So just sit tight and don’t make no trouble for Mrs. Gertie, y’hear?”

“Don’t worry, guys,” the other lady said. Her name was Sandra. She was young and, compared to Clorise, a glamor queen. In the van, I’d watched her apply mascara in the visor mirror and longed to go home with her and watch her put on makeup for the rest of my life. “Everything’s going to be alright. You’ll look after your brother, won’t you, Louis?”

I swore to do my best, though I would have promised her anything so she’d see me as a big man and not some stupid kid.

“Supper’s at seven,” Mrs. Gertie said. “You’ll hear me holler when it’s ready.”

Joey and I listened to their voices fade down the stairs. Clorise and Sandra thanked the old woman for taking us in on such short notice. Read more »

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Piltdownlad #8.5 – The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin

evil teddy ruxpin cult





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CW_article_machine_UAArticle from the Crimson White on the Machine and their reaction to Cleo Thomas winning the election for SGA president.

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A Masque of Infamy Goodreads Book Giveaway

So I’m giving away 15 copies of my novel, but with a major caveat: the version I am giving away is rife with typos and mistakes (it has since been copyedited), has a unresolved ending that you will most likely hate and/or feel cheated by, the font size of the text is one point too large, the cover features a self portrait that makes me look like a Bon Jovi chick (which may further confuse people about whether I am a boy or a girl), the back copy seems like it was written by a copywriter on a cigarette break, and the subject matter is dark and generally referred to as “not for everybody” and led one reviewer to proclaim, “HUH?” Not to mention the pompous title that doesn’t make any sense. But hey… what the fuck, it’s FREE. And it comes with a money-back guarantee: After reading it, if you still feel like you’ve had a fucked up childhood, you get a full refund. HOW CAN YOU LOSE?!? Enter now:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Masque of Infamy by Kelly Dessaint

A Masque of Infamy

by Kelly Dessaint

Giveaway ends October 27, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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Piltdownlad #6

This issue features the “Institutionalized” story cycle, which is an exploration of one event told from the individual perspectives of four participants. Picks up where The Nasty Dear (Piltdownlad #4) left off: from the Jackson group home in Anniston, Alabama, to Hill Crest Hospital, a mental hospital in Birmingham, where my brother Joey is put in the Youth Ward and I end up in the Adolescent Ward. Meanwhile, our father and Rick come home to discover their fate: a potential life sentence for child sexual abuse. Interspersed among the narrative are actual court records from the trial, newspaper clippings, song lyrics, photos and other miscellany. As with all issues of Piltdownlad, not for the fainthearted or the hardhearted.


The “INSTITUTIONALIZED” story cycle:
1. The Adolescent Ward
2. Shit on A Shingle
3. POW
4. Group
5. The Hanged Man
6. Mister Nice Guy
7. Reckoning
8. Feeling Blocks

100 pages
wraparound cover
perfect bound

Available through Amazon.com




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A Review of A Masque of Infamy from my name is sage


Louis kept his composure and rarely showed a soft side, but when he did, it completely changed the mood of the book. It was a firm reminder that this story is real.

Read the rest of the review here.

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VIDEO: Sugarcubes Live in Auburn, Alabama

One more reason I wish I’d gone to Auburn instead of Alabama, the Sugarcubes playing live at the Olympic Stadium in Oct 1988.



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A Fake Mohawk – A Masque of Infamy excerpt


Back at Hillcrest, I counted down the days until my departure. Sandra said I would be out of the hospital some time before Christmas. To commemorate my inevitable discharge, I requested a trip to Supercuts so I could get a mohawk. “It’ll be my Christmas present,” I told Calvin. “I got the cash. Just need somebody to take me to get it done.”

As I was leaving the Sheltons’s house, Mrs. Shelton slipped a bill into my pocket. “In case you need anything down there…” In Sandra’s van, I unfolded it and smiled at Benjamin Franklin’s smirk. One hundred smackeroos!

“You’ll look like a fool with a haircut like that!” Calvin scoffed when I showed him the picture of the hairstyle I wanted. “I’d let you do it just to see how dumb you’ll look afterwards, but I’m not that cruel.”

“What do you know? It’ll be tough.”

After a few days of persistent cajoling, Calvin went to Julie, who decided that I needed to get permission for such an extreme hairstyle.

“From who?” I asked. “My mother’d let me do it.”

“Your caseworker.”


I was vaguely optimistic when I picked up the phone, but Sandra was ambivalent.

“I don’t know… that sounds a little drastic.”

“It’s not a real mohawk,” I protested. “I just want to shave the sides, that way if I want, most of the time my hair’ll just fall over the side, or I could part it down the middle and nobody would be able tell.”

After she relented, Nina drove me to Supercuts, where the hairstylist wrinkled her brow when I described the haircut I wanted.

“I don’t think that’s gonna look very good.”

I was persistent. But she refused to shave my sides to the skin. Instead she left an inch of hair that she slicked back with gel. So it was almost like a real mohawk.

On my way out of the mall, I stopped by the photo booth and documented my new style.

— from A Masque of Infamy

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Death Is The Ultimate High – A Masque of Infamy Excerpt


The social workers called me into the office. The first one gestured at my clothes. “Can I ask why you’re dressed this way?”

I looked down at what I was wearing that day: a sleeveless white t-shirt with an anarchy symbol scrawled on the front with a red magic marker.

“What? This is just my style.”

She pointed at my hi-tops. I’d written the word “FUCK” on the front tip of my right shoe, and on the left, “OFF.”

“You have ‘death is the ultimate high’ written on the side of your shoes… Are you suicidal?”

“No, that’s from Miami Vice. When Crocket and Tubbs went after these punk rock thugs, that’s what they had spray-painted on the side of their car. I just thought it was a funny expression. It’s not supposed to mean anything.”

— from A Masque of Infamy

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