Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Legendary Elephant Summer

Elephant Haiku for Elephant Summer over at xTx's house.

Thanks, X. You rock, and so does Elephant Summer.

Also, the new Legendary has hit the shelves, featuring work by Tia Prouhet, xTx, Jennifer Bower, Gavin Broom, ME ME ME, Paul D. Brazill, and many others.

Excellent work, all. High fives to everyone.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Carl, After the Arcade

Calliope Nerve.





Thank you.

Happy hot Saturday, all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Heron Nests in Northampton/Amherst

Greetings, writers and readers. Happy Friday.

As of this morning, a limited number of printed Herons, featuring my story "Leave Me as I Lessen," are available at these fine places in the valley, free of charge.

In Northampton, Massachusetts:

Raven Used Books
4 Old South Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Website: http://www.ravenusedbooks.com/

In Amherst, Massachusetts:

The Jones Library
43 Amity Street
Amherst, MA 01002

Website: http://www.joneslibrary.org/

Food For Thought Books
106 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002

Website: http://www.foodforthoughtbooks.com/

If you're in the valley or coming to the valley, make sure you drop by one of these spots to grab a free Heron. But make it quick. The supplies are very limited.

And don't forget about the Heron contest and giveaway. If you want a copy of Heron mailed to you free of charge, email me at eddiesocko at gmail dot com. Subject line: HERON LOVE. Include your name and mailing address. I won't share it with anyone. I promise. But be quick here too. I'm down to 15 copies.

**Update 7/26/09: I now have 30 more copies of the professionally printed Heron for those who would like me to send them one. Who doesn't like mail that's not a bill?

Thanks again to Folded Word and to these fine landmarks of the valley. Love to the locals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More July News & Freshness

Feedback on Blue Print Review #21 here.

Also, new shortcut piece at the Blue Print Blog here.

Prick of the Spindle Poetry Open Competition. Guidelines here.


New Dogzplot.

New decomP.

New Right Hand Pointing.

New Word Riot.

Heron, contest, giveaway, do it.

See you soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Right Hand Pointing #27

New Issue. Super Short Shorts.


Eric Burke.

Some dude named J.A. Tyler.

Greta Igl.

Many more.

And me.

Thanks, RHP.







Right now.

Click, read, follow directions. Participate in the contest. It'll be fun. Be a hero. Be my hero.

Thanks to Folded Word Press, and to YOU, dear reader.


You want me to send you one? Email me your name and address at eddiesocko at gmail dot com.

Put HERON LOVE in the subject line.

I won't share your address with anyone. Promise. I'll even play the overseas game.

I'll be doing this for 20 copies. Maybe 30. We'll see how it goes.

You rule. And YOU rule too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The dust has settled. My urge to set fire to the world has been quelled. Best Buy executives can slip on their bunny slippers and get a good night’s sleep tonight. Why?

They sent their Big Gun, their Ace, their Fixer. They sent a woman, and I’m not complaining.

For those of you who read my Best Buy rant from a few days ago, the rant in which happy endings were nonexistent, I now offer a denouement that is far more satisfying, at least for me, if not the world at large.

Recap (for those unacquainted with this tale, you can read it in its sweeping glory here):

Bought new computer from Best Buy online.

Picked it up at Best Buy incarnate.

Monitor broken.

Returned broken monitor to store.

Horrendous runaround commenced.

Aggravation, stomping, teeth grinding, bitter laughter, sword fights, grunting, snack breaks, jell-o wrestling, high speed chases, more snack breaks, cartwheels.

I won…?

….At the close of that day, I had a complete computer system again, everything worked wonderfully, and the money I had forked over had been spooned back. I went to sleep.

Well, before I went to sleep, I wrote my rant. Then I sent links to my rant to two contacts at Best Buy online. Within 48 hours (I think), I had some responses.

The credit department of Best Buy assured me some $$ would be plunking into my account. It did. Today. I smiled.

I also received a voicemail from the Best Buy Fixer. She sounded sweet, and cuddly, and very open to dialogue. So I called her back. I wasn’t disappointed.

She offered an apology on behalf of Best Buy for the nonsensical runaround to which I’d been subjected. By that point, the sting had lessened, but to speak to a real person with real sympathy was an even finer salve to my healing wounds.

Today I received another call from the Fixer. She enjoyed my rant so much that she (and Best Buy) decided to offer me a free printer to go with my spiffy new computer.

I must admit, I blushed a little. And I accepted the offer. I’m picking it up at the store tomorrow.

The moral to this story?

Open your mouth. Make some noise. If you’re not happy, let it be known. Let it be known on your website. Let it be known on Twitter. Let it be known in bathroom stalls, and on the sides of hapless livestock. Let it be known at the breakfast table. Let it be known in bed while your significant other is sleeping. Let it be known so loud it wakes them up and they piss themselves.

Open your mouth. Let it be known.

At the end of the day, we’re still just people trying to make our way. People. We’re still just people playing in a giant sandbox.

I won’t thank Best Buy (that would be like thanking McDonald’s) but I will thank the good souls that exist within the machine. It’s heartening to know you’re out there.

Maybe it’s just your job, but I’d like to imagine it’s something more. Imagine with me. Make it real.

Thank you. Thank you, Fixer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tweeting at PicFic: 7-Tweet Special

Tune in to PicFic this week for my 7-Tweet Special, "Earning Your Keep."

Later, you can read the piece in its entirely at my author's page.

Thanks, as always, to Folded Word Press.

...July is nice.


July PANK.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Something Happy Now

Water and Words.

Thanks again to Dorothee Lang and Blue Print Review.

Have a great weekend, all.

And happy Birthday weekend to xTx. 33 again is the best.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Well, they tried. They really tried. And in a sense, I suppose they succeeded. They certainly raped me of my time, but not my money. My victory, if I can call it that, is marred by exhaustion and aggravation that lingers even now, hours after the ordeal.

Note: Although I have nothing against it, I'm not much of a "blogger blogger," if that makes sense. I don't spout about my day, or my life, or what I eat for breakfast. I save that for emails. Sometimes not even then. I generally keep my mouth shut, and let my written pieces speak for me, should anyone be listening. However, today I told a tale to no less than 5 people. It was the same tale, and it was told over a period of 3+ hours. This tale filled me with fire that made my mind a diamond. Well, eventually. The initial shock of the attempted rape had me staggering blind for a while, but I came out of it. Incendiary.

I'll begin at the beginning.

I've never owned a new computer. I've subsisted on hand-me-downs and used computers scavenged from Craigslist for years. I can't complain. They've served me well. For the longest time I resisted even the internet, using my ancient machines simply as word processors. I've always been a firm believer in paper, stamps, and the Post Office.

Early rejections came in the mail as slips of paper. I've made bookmarks out of all of them. The process was slow, and often painstaking, but there was a certain integrity to it that still swirls inside me today. Mailing actual letters to people was, and remains, a pure joy.

But, like many or most, I finally buckled. I got online. I began submitting my work electronically. It took some getting used to, but I found my comfort zone, and now it's hard to believe I once wasted so much paper. Was it a waste? I don't know. Maybe not. Debate for another day...

My last computer was an old clunker with 15 GB of hard drive. What? Yeah, 15 GB. Not a typo. It was slow as shit, but it got the job done. I drove it up until a few days ago, when I buckled yet again and decided to shit some money and buy a new computer.

I'd been keeping an eye on the fliers. I'd been keeping an eye on Best Buy. When a good deal (well, what I considered a good deal) popped up, I jumped on it. The original plan was to buy it directly from the store, but I figured I'd flex some modern prowess and buy the mother online, then just pick it up at the store. So I did. I bought it online. Then picked it up at the store.

It was a package deal. It was a sale item. Computer and monitor bundle deal. Sweet little machine. Fast as all hell (to me). 320 GB of hard drive. Lightning. Amazing. I brought it home, wired it up, then fired it up.

The monitor was cracked in the left corner, a jagged, festering crack of a crack that drove me nuts. Not visible until you turned the monitor on. Awesome. But no big deal, I thought. Sure, a modest annoyance, but nothing a quick swap at the store won't solve.

So I boxed it up and brought back to Best Buy this morning, where the attempted rape came with great boldness and alacrity. I wasn't ready for it. Maybe I should have been.

When the girl handed me my new receipt, I was credited $26. I looked at it a few times. She was already wandering off doing something else.

"Excuse me. I don't understand this. Why am I only being credited $26?"

She came over and took the receipt.

"When you return a sale item that was purchased online, you lose the sale price. We charged you full price for the computer, and this is the difference for the returned monitor."

I looked at it again. I still didn't know they were trying to rape me.

"So, can I get a replacement monitor now?"

The question seemed to surprise her. She pointed toward the back of the store.

"The monitors are back there. You can pick whatever you like."

"And I have to buy it?"


I could feel my anger rising like the tides of Pillor beneath the electrical skies of Zigmundt(reference to Pooh in Meatspace. Read it today!).

"So," I said, leaning close, trying to invite some confidence, trying to garner an ally within the system, now feeling the cold hands of Best Buy on my shoulders while something else slapped against the back of my jeans. "Let me get this straight: I bought a new computer online. I picked it up here. The monitor was damaged. I brought the monitor back. Now I'm being charged full price for the computer, and I have to buy a replacement monitor out of my own pocket?"

"I'm sorry," she said. "There's nothing we can do here at the store. Purchases online are completely different than in the store."

It was early. The store was pretty dead. Lots of sleepy employees walking around. Maybe she cared but wasn't in my zone yet, and despite my posturing appeals to her humanity, it was becoming increasingly and painfully clear that I was fast becoming the victim. So I fell to frustration.

"This is dirty business," I said in a hard whisper. "This isn't right. Why am I being penalized for something over which I had no control? I received the monitor damaged."

She backed up, all hands and glasses.

"I'm sorry," she said. "Call 1-888-BESTBUY. There's nothing we can do at the store regarding online purchases."

Staggering rage. I stormed to the back and grabbed the first blue shirt that got in my path.

"Where are the 20 inch HP monitors?"

He guided me to them with no words. Perhaps he'd heard my conversation with the worthless customer service clerk through his toolish headset. He pulled out a box and I took it. I went back to the front. As I approached the girl who had doled out the onset of my rape, she quickly diverted me to another clerk, then disappeared through flapping plastic curtains that looked like over-sized linguine. I reckon they want to offer some kind of warehouse appearance, but I'm not sure why. I wouldn't trust a single Best Buy employee on a forklift. They'd probably kill each other. Hm.

I bought the monitor. With money out of my own pocket. No exchange. No zero effect. In retrospect, I coughed up the money like an idiot, thinking an angry call to 1888BESTBUY would cure everything expeditiously. So stupid. But what was I going to do? Go back home without a monitor?

I ranted to a friend on the ride home. He laughed.

"Google it sometime," he told me. "Best Buy is notorious for dirty tactics like this."

That was awesome. Great to hear that. My experience with buying a brand new computer was being sullied at an alarming rate. When I got back home, I hooked up the new monitor and gave it a thorough once-over. Then I gave it another once-over. Then another. Then, satisfied I hadn't picked up a lemon, I lined up all my receipts and my bank card. I called 1888BESTBUY.

I pushed 1 for English.

I pushed 3 to speak to a live person.

I spoke to a live person.

I told her my tale quickly, again trying to push through their protocol armor with phrases like,

"Do you believe this?"

"This is outrageous. Do you feel me?"

The thread of underlying sympathy was there, but I could feel another wall coming my way.

"Okay," she said. "Let me direct you to someone who can handle this. But I must warn you: We've been having problems with the line today, so if your call is lost, call back in 35 minutes."

Yet another good omen. Maybe they knew I was going to call. They're all linked. Conspiracy.

She transferred my call to a raging busy signal. I hung up and pounded a glass of milk. I paced for a while. I ground my teeth. I called back, got another phone loser, told my tale again, got transferred successfully, told my tale again, gave out my personal phone number.

"The credit department will receive your issue and contact you," said the man.

"What? What do you mean? They're going to call me?"


"Well, what kind of window can I expect to receive the call?"

"2-3 days."

I wanted to choke him.

"Listen, what if I miss the call? What then?"

"You'll have to call back and set up a better time to reach you."

Fuming. Rape rape rapage runaround. Too much. It's comical now, but at the time I wanted to crush people.

"No," I said. "This is pure nonsense. This is no good. Who can I talk to today, right now, that can handle this? Give me a direct number to the credit department. I don't have time for this."

"I'm sorry, sir," he said, his tone inflected with those minuscule traces of apathetic sympathy borne through countless hours of dealing with attempted rape victims such as myself. "I don't have that number."

I gasped. Did I believe him? Maybe. Maybe not. He whined a bit more about how there was nothing he could do and that my only option was to wait for the call.

I thanked him. I'd been saying "thank you" to every moron I spoke to in the hopes of breaking through to that one elusive inside ally I knew existed. It wasn't the phone jerk, but I knew there was someone out there who could push the fucking magic button and make it all better.

I called the store.

I told my tale again.

They gave me static, more runaround, but they were my last option and I wasn't going anywhere until I made some real headway. After a botched transfer, I finally got the store manager on the line. I should've started there, earlier, when I was at the store and Best Buy was tugging at my jeans like an aggressive drunk in the back of a shitty barroom. But I was reeling then, stupid. I wasn't anymore.

"Have you been briefed on my situation?" I asked. I didn't want to repeat it again.

"Yes," said a deep, calm voice.

"What can you do for me?"

"Do you have all of your receipts and paperwork?"

"Yes. In my hand."

"You'll have to come back to the store."

"I'll be there in 15 minutes. Will you be there, or will you be out to lunch?"

"I'll be here," he said. "We'll take care of this."

Finally, a comrade.

"Thank you. You're the best person I've talked to all day."

I made sure I got his name. Then I drove back to the store.

It was past noon now, and the store was busy. I asked the man by the door where Terrance the manager was. He pointed to a tall black man a few feet from me. I tapped him on the shoulder.

"Excuse me? Terrance?"

He turned and I offered my hand. He shook it.

"Mel Bosworth. We just spoke on the phone."

"Do you have your receipts?"

I waved them proudly like a set of gold medals I'd won at the Best Buy Olympics. The events: Shit Eating, Shit Eating...and, well--Shit Eating. It's such a big event it counts as three.

He took them and asked me to follow him to the customer service counter. My old friend from earlier was there. She gave me a fast glance and nothing more. Terrance handed her the receipts, then coached her through a series of button pushing. They spoke in hushed words. The vibe I got was that they wanted to hook me up somehow. At least that's what I thought. I reiterated that all I wanted was the money back I'd spent at the store today, although an additional gift certificate would've been nice.

But when it was all said and done, they passed me a fistful of cash (since I'd bought the monitor with a debit card) and assured me that the $26 from the initial return would be credited to my account within 2-3 business days. Ha. They also passed me back all of my receipts which I will guard with my life for the next 14 days.

After some quick math, I put myself ahead about $5, but only once the $26 drops into my account. It better drop.

I wanted the two of them to share in my excitement of having slipped from the grubby mitts of Best Buy's scumbag upper echelon. But they just grinned, somewhat disconnected, perhaps too weighted down and desensitized by the unethical plight of their superiors that they, as mere minions, must carry out. I try not to hate them. In all honesty, I don't. They are just worker bees. Worker bees who've made their career choice. Underhandedness runs deep in any corporation. It's hard to blame the lower level entirely, but they're certainly enablers. But they've got to pay the bills too. Is that a good excuse? Again, debate for another day.

I texted my friend when I got to the car.

"I won."

"What did you have to do?"

"I had to kill a hooker."

"Atta boy! Way to stick it to The Man!"

I got home, again. I sat in my chair, face in hands. It had taken me nearly 4 hours to return a monitor. It had taken me nearly 4 hours to come out, potentially, $5 bucks ahead.

I didn't win. Not really. They paid for my gas to get to the store and back, but the time was gone. Lost and gone forever. But the computer system was whole. I just had to hook up my old printer.

I pulled out the Windex and the paper towels and cleaned up my old reliable printer so it looked shiny and new. I wanted it to look proper sitting next to my brand new computer. I've had this particular printer for a few years, and I'm a big fan of it. I also dropped $35 on fresh ink recently.

When I turned the computer to find the printer port, my eyes narrowed, and I laughed.

My printer isn't compatible with this computer. I have to buy a new printer. Maybe I'll have better luck at Target. I'll be sure to bring my rape whistle.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Who is Eddie Socko?

Maybe this isn't a question you've been asking yourself for months, but thanks to Amber Lea Starfire it's a question I can finally answer.

...and no--Eddie Socko isn't John Galt.

It's been a long time coming, but No More Hot Lunches for Eddie Socko has landed at The Writer's Eye Magazine, an outstanding online venue that features fiction, poetry, photography, and myriad writing resources. In short, this place is awesome.

Endless thanks to Amber for her time, patience, and willingness to keep fighting. Despite time constraints, the struggling economy, and, simply, the hurdles that life throws at us, Amber's fortitude and passion to keep The Writer's Eye going is an inspiration.

Pull up a chair. Kill a few minutes. You'll be glad you did. I promise.

Respect the Quickness

New love at Anastomoo.

Respect the Quickness. Spread the love. Hang the painting.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Heron: Sneak Preview

The Heron mini-mag is ready for love and launch. Only a few more days to go.

July 15th. Save the date. Tune in here and at Folded Word for updates.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July News & Freshness

Happy July, all.

New decomP is live.

New Mud Luscious is live. (Go Tia Prouhet!)

Elephant Summer is in full effect.

Folded Word (Shape of a Box, PicFic, Form Reborn and soon, Heron) is always fresh.

Free Bartleby Snopes magazine (issue #2) download now available. (Make sure you check out the picture on page 33--Go xTx!)

And don't forget about their ongoing contest.

The wheels of 50 to 1 are again turning. Read my rambling first line here. (Thanks, Glen!)

My feet are currently dry.

You're pretty.