6 Great Story Titles For Which I Have No Stories

What happens when you have more titles than stories? You make a round-up that no one will ever read—like this one.

1. ‘Peace & Plenty’

I once heard the fictional land of Shangri-La described as one of Peace & Plenty, though I don’t believe it was in James Hilton’s novel. The phrase sort of struck a chord with me. Of course, I imagine something different from Dorian Gray-esque monks and deadly mountain passes. Maybe a story about a near-future dystopia being cleverly camouflaged as a blossoming utopia. A land where news media paints a portrait of the real world as accurately as gonzo-porn paints a portrait of sex. A land where grown men kill teenagers and get away with it. A land where the Church, the State and the Rich all guffaw in an Oligarical circle-jerk of unrestrained stratification. A land where major cities file for bankruptcy and talk show hosts give away houses and shiny cars to impoverished, swooning fans (houses and shiny cars which the impoverished, swooning fans must pay tax on). Wait a minute…

2. ‘Bitch Goddess’

That Bitch you just hate to love. The more you love her, the tighter her grip around you becomes. And she takes pride in her grip. Like some poisonous fucking spider that lurks deep within the jungle. The longer her legs, the sharper her teeth and the larger her glimmering web, the more mesmerizing, the more infatuating, the more deadly she turns out to be. But you just can’t stay away.

Let’s be honest: no two words go together quite as well as Bitch and Goddess. No two words carry the same inner turmoil. The same polarization. Bitch Goddess: the hip-swaying idol, the rebel-icon, the faded poster on the wall in the bedrooms of all the lesser, watered-down oxymorons of the world.

Surrender, resignation, subservience, addiction and nothingness contrasted by control, power, infamy, majesty and beauty. There are many Bitch Goddesses in this world: booze, television, money, Mother Nature, drugs, true romance and free internet porn to name a few. Plenty of hearty jumping-off points for any cut-rate writer to utilize shamelessly.

3. ‘Mercury Retrograde’

Mercury Retrograde is when, for three of four weeks each year, the small, flaming nugget of a planet appears to be moving backwards in its orbit. It doesn’t move backwards of course. It’s an illusion. But it’s fucking cool.

I know. It sounds super science-fictiony. But the idea is that it would be the exact opposite. It would be about a tortured teenager or a broken-hearted widow or a struggling salesman or a race car driver or a chef or a new father. A real person going about their very real chores in a very real world. Maybe with an element of nerdism. Kind of like Melancholia… except good.

4. ‘Under Burning Skies’

Tijuana, Mexico. A town so odd, descriptions often fail it. Honky-tonk bars and high-rises, hustlers and the hustled, losers and the lost, users and dealers, sinners and saints all mixed-up in a bag like Pop Rocks. A piss-and-hot-sauce-stained stage upon which any story could be reasonably played out and belived. There are no rules in a place like Tijuana. Only what happened yesterday providing a loose context for what could happen tomorrow. And anything could happen.

If ever there was a town Under Burning Skies, it’s Tijuana. The perfect place for a heart-broken white man to take refuge in. The perfect venue for him to bludgeon his inner demons with booze and tits and drugs and gypsies and loathing and death. The perfect backdrop for tragedy. The perfect platform for a man’s own personal apocalypse.

5. ‘Blackout In Monte Cristo’

In high-school I was in a fake band. The reason I call it fake is because none of us pimple-faced, horn-dogs could actually play a musical instrument, let alone write original music. I had a cheap telecaster replica. It was iridescent purple with a pearl white pick guard. I knew my way around basic, rookie riffs like Clapton’s Sunshine Of Your Love and Nirvana’s Come As You Are. Ponte was a good drummer, the only one of us that exhibited anything remotely resembling skill, but we couldn’t afford a drum kit so it was a moot point. Hell, we couldn’t afford a fucking amp cable.

There were a few other transient members in the band. They would come and go. Sort of like Guns N’ Roses (if Guns N’ Roses only ever held three rehearsals/practices/jam-sessions in their parents’ basements, never EVER played a live gig, never recorded a track or played a song the whole way through… and grew half-boners at the sound of a power chord with overdrive).

As a band, we had very little talent, promise or passion. But, we had a great fucking band name: Blackout In Monte Cristo. Kris came up with it. If fake-bands can have fake-band-leaders, he was it. I remember liking the name so damn much that I wanted to be in the band just because of it.

6. ‘Because Of It’

This is the result of one of those drunken nights when someone says something and I, the drunken writer, says ‘wait, that would make a great title’ and then I jot it down on some scrap piece of paper or soggy booze bottle label. There was beer, bad pot and extremely fine tequila involved. I was in Mexico on the beach with friends. We had just eaten very good burittos. The conditions were perfect for finding quality in something with very little inherent quality. Like nasty strippers under perfect lighting after you’ve had a few cold bottles of watery American beer. Or sweaty egg salad sandwiches on the 9th green of a world famous golf course. Or drunk Irish minstrels playing out of tune and too-loud in a small upstairs loft off Temple Bar. Because Of It. A title that should probably have never been drunkenly jotted down. A title with absolutely no meaning, message or merit. But it’s starting to grow on me now…


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