Tag Archives: Keith Buckley

Dumb Sheep Screwed by Keith Buckley

[Keith Buckley’s new Paragraph Line Books release, The Orphic Egg Caper, follows the antics of Osborne Yesterday, barely sober and brain-damaged private investigator, as he stumbles along the trail of a fabled talisman. You can find his book on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle eBook here: The Orphic Egg Caper.]

I first met the late Osborne Yesterday on Tuesday, March 2, 1976, during the second semester of my junior year at Indiana University. My directing professor, Richard Scammon, was reviewing the requirements of our final scene assignment when one of the theater department’s administrative assistants walked in the room unannounced, closely followed by two very serious, very button-down Establishment guys. Obviously Feds, and most of us had grown accustomed to these interruptions—several members of the Symbionese Liberation Army had met at I.U. before moving to the west coast, and the extremely dead Angela Atwood had been a theater major. Scammon had already bragged several times to us that he had inside knowledge about Atwood because she had been a student assistant director on one of his productions. He grooved on the attention and seemed happy enough halting class and waltzing off with the two G-men. I was getting an extremely weird vibe off the shorter, uglier one, who stared intently at me as he followed Scammon and his partner out of the room.

At least half of my fellow students seemed content to wait around and see if the agents would be finished with our teacher before the class was over. Not me: I shoved my notebook and coffee thermos into my backpack and bolted. My guts were tightening with sickening jolts of paranoia. I shared a house with three enterprising drug-dealers, and all I could think about was a rumored quantity of dope coming into town that evening. Even though I lived on a floor below the miscreants and kept my nose relatively clean, I wanted to give them fair warning and also be as far as possible from any possible busts. I ran outside, scrambled on my bike, and nearly got myself killed running every stop sign between the Theater Building and our house on North Prow. The house was empty when I got there, so I left large warning messages on all three locked bedroom doors on the second floor. Then I stuffed my backpack with homework for the rest of my classes and made the return trip to campus, this time heading for the Main Library, where I intended to stay until closing time.

I’d pretty much peeled myself off the ceiling by 9 p.m. that evening. Several calls back to the house on library payphones (way before cellphones, boys and girls) informed me that my roommates had taken delivery of five pounds of Oaxacan weed without incident, although they took the precaution of shuttling the dope to a girlfriend’s apartment for weighing and bagging. I felt safe and secure up there by myself on the 11th floor of the library’s graduate tower; the elevators only went up to 10, and nobody ever seemed to want to climb the extra flight of stairs. I was just beginning to mellow out over a reading for my Buddhism class when I heard the door from the stairway open. I didn’t hear any footsteps, though, and the next thing I know, the beady dark gray  eyes of the hideous Fed are drilling into me again, intense yet also deeply serene and he pushes a badge in my face, and he says softly and distinctly “I am FBI Special Agent Osborn Yesterday and I need to know where’s the Tibetan you’ve been studying with, Keith Allen Buckley of 510 Prow Avenue.” 

As a true child of the Nixon era, my first impulse is to deny being this Keith Buckley dude. Yesterday nods his chin at me and says “You’re a bad liar, Keith Allen Buckley and there’s your tell—you’ve folded your hands in what the Tibetan has taught you is the mudra ngang ring po, abiding patience” and he points at my neck. “It’s not doing shit for you, Keith Allen Buckley, because your pulse is now over 100, so just cool down because I am not here about those dope-dealing jokers you live with,” and then his dark eyes narrow. “Unless the Tibetan is using these dimwits to move Golden Triangle junk through this hole,” he says, and I just about piss myself blubbering “Honest to God, Officer Yesterday, my roommates don’t sell heroin and they don’t know anything about the Tantric group and Dzogchen Tulku Rinpoche or even where—“ and he picks up my backpack from the floor and tosses it on the carrel, and says “Yeah, I know. And I don’t care about them. You are going to take me to wherever he and his crew have been watching you dumb sheep screw for them. Right now.” 

Little did I realize that the Rinpoche, who’d been leading a group of us through some wonderfully nasty so-called Tantric rituals, was a murderous opium trafficker who would escape Yesterday on this occasion, and whose return to Bloomington would trigger the events Osborne narrated to me and which would become the newest book from Paragraph Line Books, The Orphic Egg Caper. 

[Keith Buckley lives in Bloomington, Indiana. When Osborne Yesterday retired from the FBI and moved to Bloomington as a private detective, Buckley worked as his amanuensis from 1990 until shortly before Yesterday’s disappearance in 2014. Aside from the 29 cases Buckley compiled and edited for Yesterday, he is also a writer, and is currently working on Welcome To Friday Noon Edition, which will contain a more detailed narrative of his first meeting with Osborne.]

Out Now: The Orphic Egg Caper by Keith Buckley

We’re pleased to announce the release of Keith Buckley’s new book, The Orphic Egg Caper. Keith is the newest addition to the Paragraph Line Books stable, although you may remember him from his previous story published here, back when we had the time and patience to publish short fiction online.

On the book:

Osborne Yesterday, ex-CIA and barely functional private investigator, is headed for rock bottom when a scared graduate student in a world of trouble sends him staggering into a web of lies that will bring him face to face with an old and deadly enemy bent on vengeance. No one gets in Ozzie’s way and nothing is more important than debauchery … with the possible exception of the constant threat of serious brain trauma.

This books a great mashup of a hardboiled detective story mixed with some serious weirdness in a way only Buckley could serve up. An added bonus to Hoosier expatriates such as myself is that it’s set in an early 90s Bloomington.

The Orphic Egg Caper is available for purchase in print and ebook formats at Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/31CnIZM

Seven Distinct Iconic Representations by Keith Buckley

1: The Swing Bridge

Laura Danly imagines the right angles between the open swing bridge and the landing on which she stands are the rungs on a melting ladder out of time, in direct contrast to the very solid metal rail she followed to this terminus, the long track of her own private entropy.  She watches Frederick Townsend Ward walking back and forth through the watch house, contrasting the irregular shadows across the mercenary’s scarred jaw with the pleasing symmetry of the rusting diagonal trusses.  Painfully clearing his throat, Ward brings up one last gout of blood from the abdominal wound that had killed him over a century ago.  He waves at the silent woman below, recognizing her as an absolute value in the only remaining vector space where he had any chance of retaining a semblance of meaning.



2: The Demolished Pool

Stretching across the broken rubble of the demolished pool, Alex Fillipenko assumed the various postures of Elizabeth Ann Short’s bisected corpse, memorializing dreams of the serial mutilations he intended to commit and the vaguely lurid expectation of retribution her descendants might one day visit on his dissolving corpse.  The jagged piece of #6 rebar poking his exposed right thigh reminds Fillipenko that a recent survey showed housewives age 31-40 slightly prefer images of smaller plus-sized males to those of compound transverse fractures with impact.



3:  The Unassembled Sink

Michelle Thaller bitterly resents the billions of dollars wasted on the search for intelligent life in the universe.  She knows for a fact the only hint of organized thought beyond Earth exists on an uninhabited planetoid orbiting an outer star in NGC6705, the Wild Duck Cluster.  On warm summer evenings when Nambu-Goto activity is particularly unstable, NS-branes match the resonant frequency of the calcarine fissure in the unfortunate woman’s left occipital lobe, and she sees this badly decorated bedroom with an unassembled sink, the solitary feature on that very distant planet.  Her study of Messier objects has revealed this star can be no older than 210 million years, and therefore the room’s existence is the result of a completely random collision of molecules rather than any bio-evolutionary process, so she feels deeply cheated.  She could really use a chunk of all those billions of dollars.  And why was the only extraterrestrial room decorated with such hideous wallpaper?  To make the vision of the sink and the bedroom disappear, Dr. Thaller will have to eat at least a pound of red velvet cake in the next 24 hours.



4: The Twilight Platform

The sienna substructure of the platform ceiling reminds Neil DeGrasse Tyson of the infinite manifold of Mina Loy’s thorax– the perfectly aligned and powerful ribs, cross-bracings of intercostal meat waiting to be wrenched apart, bolt-heads of vertebral anchorage.  The objectification of the dead poet’s body in the topography of the station gradually destroys her identity.  How far down the twilight platform must Tyson walk before he can locate the vorticized pelvic girdle?  Undisturbed by the wrestler’s crude explorations, Mina cries out to him in her only remaining voice. After a few minutes, however, her plea becomes a garish intrusion into the indigo silence, and Tyson turns away, his thoughts now curling around a recent Carneros Pinot Noir.



5: The Violated Bidet

Amy Mainzer winces at the bombed-out restroom with its shattered porcelain. Quantum entanglements are no longer valid here.  Even the violated bidet, the symbol of hidden renewal and possibility, is reduced to a non-linear sigma model.  These fixtures are the corpses of a remembered moment in the victim’s excretory history.  Mainzer decides the most disquieting attributes are the dichotomous displays of Roman tile and the sea beyond.  The disjunction of these two features through the years, and their infiltration of her own continuity, has twisted them into inflexible constructs upon which she will mount the severed head and limbs of her doorman.



6: The Green Machine


For the last three months, the local cable feed had been jammed with videos of the New Mexico Penitentiary Riot reenactments, many of which featured the use of incendiary devices and specially trained camelids.  Michio Kaku professed a complete lack of surprise when the source of these appalling films turned out to be a green machine hidden in the basement of Saint Michael’s Church, a few miles outside of Cornettsville, Indiana.  What Kaku could not predict, however, was that follow-up studies clearly demonstrated that phony atrocity media had a profoundly positive effect on the verbal and social skills of stroke victims previously identified as persistently vegetative.  One of his next door neighbors has gone so far as to buy a blowtorch and a herd of alpacas.



7: The Unappetizing Bear

The oven door drops open, and Owl looks in. “Hallo, Pooh,” he coughs. “How’s tricks?”

“Terrible and sad,” Pooh bubbles, “because I’m not much good at my work, I’ve never had a girlfriend, or a friend of any kind, I’ve got very little imagination, nothing makes me laugh.  I’m fat, poor, and balding.  I’ve got a terribly spotty face, violent flatulence, B.O., Piglet breath, an amputated package, and I’m actually only eighteen inches tall. Hardly a meal for one, bearly an appetizer.  I’ve gone quite mad in this oven, what with my brain cooked down to a blackened lump of honey.  Fair enough?”  “Mmm.” says Owl, licking his beak. “Brains.”

Keith Buckley lives in a dimly-lit, mildewed money pit in south central Indiana. He has written numerous unpublishable novels, pornoviolence, and noir, as well as more bad music than anyone in human history. He is currently awaiting extradition to Kerguelen Island to face charges of slandering their land cabbages.