Review Fifty Shades of Decay

 First off, I have a story in this anthology. ‘I Was Legend’ is a fun play reflective of Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend.’ It is a story where loneliness and desperation turn one man’s hope into his doom. A handful of my friends also found their way into this collection, and to be fair, I will not comment on any of their works, (which I thought were fantastic, but clearly I have a bias.)


Some of my own taboos were stretched a little further than their comfort zone, and I’m no prude. I found all of the stories in this book to be brave, even if there was a serious yuck-factor to some of them. Every story in this collection fit undeniably well to the title, but in my unimportant opinion, fifty-one is too many. Who would I have excluded? None of them—not a one. On the bright side, fifty-one stories of sex and horror is well worth the expense of buying the book.


I also learned that I really hate my Kindle, at least with reading anthologies. Now that the paperback version is out, I’d recommend purchasing the print edition. After reading a story and upon reaching the end I’d say, “Man, that was a kick ass story—who wrote it?” For review purposes, my e-reader is a useless tool.




Speaking of useless tools—I decided to spotlight my absolute favorites in this anthology, and ‘Dead Things Don’t Rise” by Mandy DeGeit had me laughing out loud. The story begins with our drunken narrator stumbling home and taking a shortcut through the cemetery. Luck will have it he staggers into what he thinks is another drunk, this one a cold, yet horny girl, ready for some dirty lovin’. This tale holds a fascinating mix of both hot and gross.


‘Ménage a Trauma’ by Dan Larnerd is another of the dark-comedic stories. Two lovers meet at a 2-star hotel for some hot sex, but the séance taking place a floor above them turns love-making into a fight for their lives.


‘Playing a Game’ by Eric Stoveken was another very naughty story with a horribly dark twist. Two lovers––one tied up and being straddled by his truest––play a game of intimacy, and secrets. Sex is the weapon of choice.


‘Carnage Kandy’ by Teresa Hawk was my absolute favorite in this collection. Two women, now lovers, have found the zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas to be the most liberating experience of their lives. The writing in this weave floored me and I connected with it on a deep level. Killing zombies at the peak of orgasm sounds like fun.


‘Out with a Bang’ by Laura J. Hickman was about a sex-addicted Goth girl who fed her mom to the zombies so as to stop her nagging. Once the batteries of her ‘boyfriend’ ran dry, she devises a new plan to get off, a final plan. I loved the voice of this story.


‘Some Like it Rot’ by John Palisano. There is a new street drug that will expand your mind, or turn you into a zombie. This tale is about a washed-out star and her supposed miracle return to the silver screen. Her publicist finds the starlet in her hotel room, half-baked and zombiefied. His career is on the line if he doesn’t find a cure.


‘Headshot’ by Frankie Sachs tells the sad story of a woman whose recent survival partner has been bitten. She reminisces about her long dead husband, and the difference of ‘fucking’ versus ‘loving.’ This one touched deeper than many of the other tales in this book.


‘Die With Your Boots On’ by Lisa Woods was the one I thought as being the hottest of the sex stories, filled with fantastic visuals for the both the characters and the sex. This was a man and woman sex story, zombies did not participate in the naughtiness.


‘Love in a Laundromat,’ is a self-explaining story by Megan Dorei. It was one of the few to have a happy ending.


My final pick is between ‘Stiff’ by Matthew Scott Baker, and ‘Subject Zero-Zero’ by Alex Chase for my favorite story of how the apocalypse came to be. ‘Stiff’ tells of a radical new drug that will cure erectile dysfunction forever. ‘Subject Zero-Zero’ tells of a man who found sex as being repulsive until one of his lab-mates becomes infected by a chemical weapon they were producing.


So there you have it, the short review of my favorite 20% of these stories. If you like zombies, you will love this book. If you like sex, you’ll like many of the stories. If you like sex with zombies—well, now—looks like you found your book.



In the Land of the Free

(I’d entered this one in a ‘flash-fiction’ contest a while ago. It is hard to tell a story in less than 1000-words, this one does it in less than 750. It didn’t win. This afternoon I fixed it better than what was sent, but I’m not going to try entering it for another contest. I’m giving it to you for free.)




In the Land of the Free

A nine millimeter diameter is a perfect circle. Perfection’s length is explained in inches, and four of them if measured exactly. The beginning of a perfect plan is incased by blued steel.  At the back-end is a hammer locked into place and ready to strike, but the open end is pressing hard against perspiring flesh, the focal point of what will be the execution of a perfected plan.

With one hand curled around rough rubber grips, Anthony Williams presses the pistol’s barrel against the Pakistani’s sweat-saturated head. One-half of the Pakistani’s smock was colored a dark yellow – a sickly urine-yellow – like the smell creeping up over the counter and assaulting Anthony’s nose. Gripping the other half of the clerk’s smock with his free hand – the light yellow half – just beneath where a badge reads, ‘Shop EZ.’

Anthony bellows into the ear of his captive, “Just gimmie a pack’a Newport’s! I gotta get back!”

Fumbling with the key in the register’s drawer, the clerk mumbles, pleading, begging, “Just don’t kill me, please! Have all of it!” His accent is thick, his English raw.

Anthony yells again, menacingly stabbing into the clerk’s head with his gun, “No punk! I don’t want yer god-damn money!  Gimmie the Newport’s!”   He stares directly into the security camera, spreading his lips with practiced smile. They’d know it was him.

Six months ago, Anthony ‘Tony’ Williams turned twenty-eight in Beau Sterritt State Correctional Facility, the ninth consecutive birthday passed in prison. Ten days later he was released on good behavior. More than a third of his life sheared away for selling someone else’s rock. Back then, peddling crack gave him an edge, made him look tough. He knew the streets were hard, but prison had taught him meaner – rehabilitated is what the system calls it.

Breakfast at seven, lunch at noon, dinner at five, lights out at nine, and then repeat. That was a perfect life; not freedom – just life. Freedom was for people who didn’t need structure. Tony would never admit needing someone to tell him ‘when to’ or ‘what for.’ By the standard measure of success in the land of the free, Anthony proved a complete failure.

It mattered no more. He was going back where he understood. Inside that world, he’d earned his rights, and his respects. He smiled one more time for the camera as the clerk  yanked a pack of menthol cigarettes out of the overhead rack, spilling three more cool-green packs across the counter. Releasing his temporary prisoner, Anthony grabbed another pack of smokes and turned towards the door.

He smiled with glee. When the police see the security film, they will know it was he who robbed this store. Reaching out towards the door before him, his head buzzed euphoric.  By the end of the week he’d be home with his armed guards protecting him from all these confusing liberties.  Life again would have definition, and Anthony would again have order. Everything balances by its own perfection.

Light travels faster than sound. Pushing upon the door to get out, a flash of lightning reflected across the pane of well-polished glass before exploding outward over the sidewalk like diamond cubes.  The pain first spread across his back like a bad sunburn, followed shortly thereafter by the sensation of muscle being torn into meat ribbons. From the waist down he feels nothing – absolutely nothing. Jello could have served a better foundation than his legs. The sound of thunder follows the lightning.

Dropping his cigarettes and gun he attempts to soften his fall. The pistol clatters across the sidewalk, scattering glass-cubes while continuing over the curb and bouncing out into the parking lot.  Falling through the shattered doorway and across the ‘Shop EZ’ welcome mat, blood spurts unchecked from a peppering of leaking holes.

Buckshot – the double-ought size shell – was several steel balls of nine-millimeter perfection delivered swiftly from a 12-guage shotgun.

The world began to wash like waves pulling sand across the beach. Slowly filling the grooves of the welcome mat, blood and safety glass mixed in the trenches.  “Why?” Tony croaked, sensing the clerk standing over him. A coppery flavor coated his tongue as he forced out the words, “My gun was empty.”  A crimson smear tainted the cellophane covering over the tobacco.  He remembered believing the day he was released, “I am free!” The pain fades into nothing, as goes the prison called the free world.

(If you liked this one – remember, my best work is for sale, the links are on the left.)