Download the Moon is the second volume of the Canvas Sextet series, a collection of six volumes of 50 original literary short stories, each story told in a single page – no more than what can be written on one standard blank page in Word – 12-point, single spaced, Times Roman, equivalent to a single sheet of typewriter paper. Like Jesus Loves You but Not Today, these provocative stories – some tragic, some darkly comic – are written with an intensity of language and storytelling that makes reading them compelling, hypnotic, and highly entertaining.
A home invasion robbery goes bad in “Home of the Brave in the City of Angels”; a dying man gets his final wish in “Mother Mary Comes to Me”. In “Potato Chips from Hell” three men share a secret and a wild night out, while three female combat soldiers fight to stay alive in “Bring it on Home.” The stories in this book are short yet complex, deeply evocative tales you will not soon forget.
My Warrior Heart
Hiro kneeled on the linoleum kitchen floor in his best bathrobe and thrust the knife into his abdomen; he grimaced but was resolute. Slowly, he moved the blade from left to right until he had reached the other side of his belly, disemboweling himself. He called out – Emily! I need you! Please come quickly! A young woman with blonde hair down to her hips ran into the room and gasped. What the hell are you doing?, she said. I need you to cut my head off now!, Hiro told her. Bring down the sword and behead me! Emily looked at him for a tic. Then she opened the refrigerator door and took out a jar of blueberry yogurt. Look, she said, I already told you I’m not doing this. You can cut off your own fucking head. This whole thing is gross. Hiro plopped down on the kitchen floor. How come I can’t get you to do this one little thing for me?, he said.
Emily looked for a spoon. Because it’s so fucking stupid, she said. You want to ritually kill yourself because you like, didn’t make the Dean’s List? You’re not a samurai. You’re not even Japanese. You were born in Cleveland. And who told you you could kill yourself with a wooden knife. Hiro groaned. Fuck the Dean’s List, he said. I didn’t even break 3.0. My fucking GPA is 2.3. Do you know how embarrassing this is? I have brought shame upon my family, and the wooden knife was just for practice. I have a real one, and one for you to chop off my head. You must do it with decision. Emily opened the yogurt and put a spoon in her mouth. So let me get this straight, she said, you are going to do this whole hari-kari thing because your family is ashamed of you? You’re in Berkeley, for Chrissakes. What do they want, UCLA? Hiro put down the wooden ritual knife and asked her to give him a Sprite. I got in, now I’m sucking, Hiro said. I’m failing Calculus and Introduction to Einstein and I don’t have a fucking clue about quarks so I’m flunking Astrophysics. I’ll never get a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with grades like these. Emily wondered why every Asian had to be a rocket scientist, then said: You like rap music, don’t you? Why don’t you take the African American Music class? I hear it’s an easy A. Hiro said: Hey, I might know how to b-boy a little, but what the fuck am I gonna do with that shit when I graduate? Go on the road with Justin Bieber?
Hiro took a big swig of the Sprite. Even though I am not officially a samurai, the spirit of the greatest warrior Japan has ever known lives in my breast. It’s what he would do. Emily spooned around in the jar to scoop some blueberries. Who? Toshiro Mifune? The guy hanging on the wall? Wasn’t he just an actor? Hiro was insulted: It was Toshiro who was transformed by Kikuchiyo, the trickster fool, the greatest of the Seven Samurai, he said. While being himself he could also be the fool. He was also being Mifune, so he was really being three people. That’s why he was the most wise and most clever of all the other samurai. He took a drink of Sprite and burped. Will you at least, you know, witness my death? I’ll just bleed out. Emily expelled air.
You know Hiro, she said, I have tests too. I can’t be here to chop your head off. But Hiro, you need to get off of this. So you’re not particularly, you know, bright. Happens to all of us. You think I’m getting straight A’s? But I’m not going to blow my brains out or anything just because my parents are like, pissed off about it and stuff. She grabbed her books and jacket. She walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek, then on the lips. I like you the way you are, Hiro, she said. Go work in a bike shop for all I care if it makes you happy. Why stay here because your family thinks you’re going to be Einstein? She was taller, so he had to up at her. Because I am the only son, he said. Emily sighed and gave him a hug. Then she left for school. Hiro stood in the kitchen drinking his Sprite and looking at the grainy photo of Kikuchiyo, the greatest samurai warrior ever. He raised the can of soda in his honor. One day, he said, the peasants will rise up.