Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Excerpt from BURNER by M.C. Mars

Jason polished off his fourth vodka. The sun played possum behind a light-tinged cloud, thunderstorms in the forecast. Electricity in the air made the billboards of Times Square blaze like corporate Tarot cards. Rain slapped against the window. He was happy to be back in New York.
     Jason sat pensively looking down at the pedestrian island where Broadway and 7th Ave merge.
      Legions of yellow cabs converged beneath him. The bar turned slowly on its axis. Formations of pigeons swooped and swirled at eye-level. He closed his eyes and imagined that everything around him—the cabs, the birds, and the bar—was attached to some invisible spindle, some enormously powerful electro-magnetic vortex at the center of the planet. When he opened his eyes the rain had stopped, and someone at the other end of the bar was calling out his name. He looked up and nearly fainted. At the other end of the rotating bar, he saw Beatrice wearing a slinky red dress.

      He leapt out of his seat and yelled her name. People surrounding him stopped what they were doing and stared.
He didn’t give a shit. He squeezed passed the suits and the assholes with outturned elbows protecting their drinks. He stopped for a waitress carrying a full tray. He lost sight of her in the mass of bodies as she walked to the elevator banks. He dashed over to the glass guardrail, eight floors up, and shouted her name, “BEATRICE, BEATRICE!”
     He watched helplessly as she glided down in one of those illuminated lanterns. The name BEATRICE echoed through the trellised atrium, even with all the noise and chaos in the lobby.
    By the time he got downstairs, she was gone—and a snaking check-in line slowed him down even further.  He saw a security guard with a walkie-talkie pointing at him. He raced ahead. He had to catch her. His life depended on it. Outside he walked into a blast of hot air and the smell of gas fumes in the gridlocked street. The doorman was busy getting cabs for a long line of unhappy guests. He walked out to Broadway and asked a Russian chauffeur smoking a cigarette if he’d seen her.
     “Yeah, she went that way…”

      He pointed east, down 47th Street. The sidewalks overflowed with the usual suspects—theatergoers, European tourists, foreign sailors, bridge and tunnel types, and, of course, hardcore New Yorkers. Waves of humanity filled the crosswalks. Jason jogged uptown using high school running back skills to avoid collisions. Something fated and mechanical guided him. He believed he could see through buildings and around corners. Half a block away, he spotted her at the 48th Street metro stop, the IND Sixth Avenue line.
      His heart went wild with excitement. He sprinted forward. As he knifed his way through the oncoming crowds, it occurred to him that running in mid-town made him look suspicious. Who’s he running from? Cops all over the area, a black man wouldn’t stand a chance. Eyes focused on the lettered billiard balls, he turned it up a notch and ran faster. He had to catch her. He flew down the banister and plunged ahead, swiping the magnetic card through the turnstile before the train rumbled into the station. He saw Beatrice reading a magazine at the end of the platform. He ran towards her calling out her name. And then he stopped, and held back, and pulled himself away in amazed defeat.

     The woman was not Beatrice!
     Judging by the slinky red dress, this was definitely the same woman he saw in the hotel. In the hotel she was the spitting image of Beatrice. Here on the subway platform the resemblance suffered. Nauseous with disappointment, he dragged himself back upstairs into the noisy street. Heading back to the Marriott, he absent-mindedly walked off the curb and almost got whacked by a speeding cab. You better wake up, son!
     The sun came out with a humid fury, and sweat trickled down the back of his t-shirt. He went into an air-conditioned, fast food restaurant for a slice of pizza.   
     Sitting by the window in Sbarro’s, he watched a crew of break-dancers setting up for the next phase of their show. Drawn by the music, a crowd of curious onlookers gathered on the sidewalk. The young men went shirtless with body art, and wore matching bandanas. They had the boom box on milk crates, and a couple of cardboard mats for dancing. A Con Ed crew, working with hydraulic drills near the window, drowned out the music.
       Jason went outside and joined a small circle of onlookers. The crowd began to swell when they put the music on blast. The youngest member of the crew worked the crowd. He challenged their spirit with a fedora stuffed with bills. The message was clear— the last crowd did the right thing. You should too.
      The first B-boy revved up. He built momentum. Jason recognized the beat—”Rise” by the Safri Duo. The B-boy marked territory with the tips of his gold-shell toes. Then he got down, threw himself on the mat, body went Goodyear, radial rubber. Safri Duo and Egyptian Lover… Spun Sputnik on cardboard cover, early whirlybird abandon Flopped mimic-fish out of water, about to be eviscerated so he crankshafted up to avoid slaughter, waylay vertebrae into a freakish Iwo Jima tilt of the spine, gone one-arm outttayermind handstand. Spine gone spaghetti, eyewitness to Maasai warrior ritual on sidewalk Serengeti. All elbows and gold shell toes, he tabled the pose like Charlie Rose, and jumped to a standing salute, girl in the back say he cute, then he parachute back, spinning, bending, spinning stiff-legged Cossack, anchored to a cosmic thumbtack. In fact, he gyrate faster and faster, human Cuisinart blender return to center…The crowd ate it up like JAWS and burst into spontaneous applause. The fedora kid moved quickly like WHOA...gotta get that doughboy…  
     Second B-boy stepped up. He did a flip in the air like, pit-a-patter fuck the solidity of matter, peep this heat, I’m airborne elite, head over heels release the grease like Value Meals, I go fry-vat don’t try that at home kid, I’m liquid lipid chump, Bolshoi B-boy, balls-out Baryshnikov poppin’ and lockin’ right here on the sidewalk, I’m all Big East, a beast, spinning like a top, I drip-drop like candle wax and rise like yeast, arms fully extended, Giordano Bruno, you know, the mystic gone ballistic at the stake, and just when you thought you caught it, you missed it, faster and faster, so many stares at the Gale Sayers head fake, spasm in my soul, I duck and roll, smooth as Nat King Cole, cantilever up so fast you can’t believe the blast, shot past the toll on the Verrazano without usin’ my pass, got on it lock, Loki versus Thor, my dance is sheer outburst, pure metaphor, head embedded in pavement like a two by four, frozen on the mat—like what-the-fuck was that, that position, that exhibition of astonishing physical strength… I’m Robert Heinlein, three-point headstand, whirlybird hypercube dude, Edward Scissor Hand with legs like the rotors of a helicopter, man… legs spinning at high velocity, articulating that Bronx-born philosophy in botanical silence, and when I suddenly slam brakes and shut it down, there’s nothing but controlled violence in my silence—legs parallel to the ground, that frozen chosen, full split Bruce Lee shit…WOW….
      The crowd went bananas. Money manifested. Jason threw a buck in the hat and went back to Sbarro’s to use the bathroom. The sun right in his eyes created distortions. An air-conditioner leaked blood—rusty water caught the crimson light— splattered weakly on the sidewalk. In the restaurant, the sunset blazed and ricocheted off mirrors. Amid the blinding dazzle, Jason saw something that made him stop dead in his tracks, take off his shades, and say quite audibly in a public place, “You dirty mother fucker….”

Get Burner on Amazon
How far are you willing to go, and how much are you willing to sacrifice in order to realize your dream?

Jason Teal, is a hip-hop deejay and producer who dropped out in his last semester as a college astrophysics major and moved to san Francisco with his rapper friends to pursue a career in music. Three years later, the hip-hop group he co-founded has signed a major label deal – without him. Meanwhile, Jason has lost sight of his dream. He’s working a job he hates and his relationship with his stripper-girlfriend has hit rock bottom. And now, with greater frequency, he’s having hallucinations. He hallucinates walls and trains covered with graffiti pieces (burners). The burners are the work of his dead brother, PSYCHOPOMP, a great graffiti writer whose death, more than twenty years ago, has given rise to strange rumors. Some say he was murdered by the Illuminati, others believe he was in the Illuminati.

Into the chaos of Jason’s downward spiral steps a man named Cyril Magbion, a mysterious figure with ties to a secret society. Cyril has the power to transform Jason’s life overnight. He has money. He has answers. He seems to know everything. But first Jason must prove himself worthy of such a mentor and undergo “The TEST.”

The TEST will take Jason Teal down the rabbit-hole into the new paradigm of wave/particle duality where quantum physics meets mysticism at the level of the unseen. In the rabbit hole, he’ll encounter a dominatrix with a chip on her shoulder, a gangster who blew off his leg making a bomb, a man in a wheelchair dressed as a pharaoh beckoning him with ESP, a ginseng store owner who looks like Peter Lorre on speed, CIA MK ULTRA experiments, and many more weird and terrifying things that will lead to a head-on collision with himself, and the Big Bang of consciousness.

Can you handle a mind-altering adjustment to the mass hallucination we call reality? If the answer is yes, then read this book.

About the Author

M.C. Mars is the author of Don't Take Me The Long Way, his memoir of driving a cab at night in San Francisco for twenty- four years. His latest novel, Burner, blends together hip-hop, quantum physics, and the stigmatized knowledge of Illuminati conspiracy theories, in a gritty tale that addresses the societal questions of, “Who’s in control?” and, “Are we as powerless as we’ve been made to feel?” He’s also a rapper with three albums to his credit, and hip-hop roots that go all the way back to the late 70s. He lives in San Francisco, where he continues to perfect his free- style, and his spaghetti sauce. Find him here:

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