Dave Dubrow / Adam Howe: INTERVIEW 2.0
– By Dave Dubrow
So I’ve been asked to interview Adam Howe again; the occasion is the release of his novella Tijuana Donkey Showdown. Our previous interview didn’t go as well as I would have liked, owing in no small part to Howe’s rather significant attitude problem. For his part, Howe got payback by naming a rather…unsympathetic character in Tijuana Donkey Showdown after me. I’m hoping that this interview turns out a bit better. You can read a review of the novella right here at The Slaughtered Bird.
Hi, Adam. Thanks for taking time out of your “busy” schedule to let me ask you some questions. Unless you just want to ask the questions yourself like you did the last time. Your choice.
Always a pleasure to speak to the Bird – as everybody knows, the Bird is the word… You? Eh. Not so much. Naming an especially odious character after you was the very least I could do. But you’re right about one thing. I am a very busy man. Certainly far too busy to respond to your sarcastic use of quotation marks. I just hope your woeful interview technique has improved since the last time we spoke, and I won’t be forced to pose my own questions. Let’s see if you learned anything from the constructive criticism I gave you. First question. Thrill me.
How much research did you do on the intimate parts of animals for Tijuana Donkey Showdown? They figure rather prominently throughout the narrative, what with the leg-humping dog and Reggie Levine, the protagonist, getting dragged along a country road by a donkey’s wedding tackle. I imagine that this research was the most enjoyable part of the process for you.
Nope, here we go again…
Let’s cut the shit, Dubrow, shall we? Why don’t you tell the readers the real reason you’ve got your panties in a bunch? There’s quite enough ‘fake news’ in our brave new world without you adding it… As you well know, my research into animal lovemaking habits came directly from the videocassettes you insisted on loaning me from your vast private library of bestiality pornography – many of which, I was sickened to discover, featured you ‘performing’ with a menagerie of barnyard animals. Was a simple dick-pic not enough for you, man? As I have assured you repeatedly in our PRIVATE correspondence, the videos were shipped back to you. If they haven’t arrived, I suggest you contact your customs bureau…or just wait for the Feds to kick down your door. Should be any day now.
You may be shocked to learn that this is not the first time I have been falsely accused of stealing bestiality porn. For British schoolboys of the pre-digital 80s and 90s, and I’m sure Chris Barnes will back me up on this, one rite of passage was to endure a viewing of a notorious porno known only as…Animal Farm.
Only slightly less political than Orwell’s version, this Animal Farm was a collection of bestiality stag reels in which men and women fornicated with all manner of beasts. Pigs, dogs, stallions, cows, sheep – even a chicken! One memorable scene – and this is for readers on their lunch break – featured a gal using a live eel as a sex toy, before she fried it alive, added a touch of seasoning by defecating on it, and then devoured it. Yummy!
When the video began doing the rounds of the schoolyard, my buddy and I – I don’t want to name and shame the guy, so let’s call him Dave Dubrow – put our names on the list to borrow the flick. After watching the movie, Dave said he’d take the videotape off my hands. Claimed he wanted to show it to his younger brother. Scar the kid for life. He promised to return the tape to its owner the next day at school. Well, I didn’t plan on watching it again. Memorable as the movie was – and given the animal theme of my work, you could argue it was a formative experience for me – there was precious little plot to merit repeat viewings. So I entrusted the tape to Dave and thought little else of it. Of course, the next day at school I discovered that Dave had informed the tape’s owner that I was hoarding the tape, and had no intention of returning it…while keeping it for himself. Why Dave was believed over me, I cannot say. I must have one of those would-steal-a-bestiality-porno faces. My pleas of innocence fell on deaf ears, and for the rest of my schooldays I was haunted by the rumor that I had stolen not just A porno, but THE porno…
And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
I noticed a madcap turn in this story, using more slapstick humor than in Damn Dirty Apes. Damn Dirty Apes focused on the theme of redemption, with the biker’s pet orangutan representing Reggie Levine’s failed shot at boxing glory. Did you have anything quite as lofty in mind for the reader to take away from in Tijuana Donkey Showdown, or is it all about animal johnsons?
I leave it to readers to take what they will from my work. That you choose to focus on donkey genitalia says rather more about you, than it does me.
And how about a little context here? The way you’re carrying on, new readers to my work could be forgiven for thinking I’ve just published a 40k-word book solely about donkey dick! Tijuana Donkey Showdown is the eagerly awaited sequel to Damn Dirty Apes, one of the novellas in my Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet collection. My hero, ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer, Reggie Levine, is a likeable loser with a talent for landing neck-deep in shit, sometimes literally.
In Damn Dirty Apes, Reggie found himself part of a misfit posse hunting a rogue skunk ape, after the creature abducted the high school football mascot as a sexual mate, only to come up against a gang of meth-cooking bikers.
Having barely survived that ordeal, in Tijuana Donkey Showdown, Reggie unwisely agrees to retrieve a Chinese crested terrier from a roadside zoo, where the ugly fucking mutt is being exhibited as the chupacabra, and finds himself embroiled in a neo-Nazi drug smuggling plot…
Now, that said, yes, the story features a freakishly endowed donkey. What of it?
I’d like to think that with Tijuana Donkey Showdown, I run the gamut of lowbrow humor, not just slapstick – although ‘splatstick’ (a term first coined by Sam Raimi, I believe, to describe The Evil Dead), or ‘schadenfreude noir’ might be a better description for my brand of ultraviolent humor.
As for theme? In some respects, Reggie’s character had come full circle by the end of Damn Dirty Apes. In Tijuana Donkey Showdown, he’s struggling with the burden of being feted as a hero, and feels a certain obligation to live up to the legend, which for a shit-magnet like Reggie is a recipe for disaster…
But honestly, even that sounds like a little highfalutin when my primary objective was to tell an action-packed, funny, family-friendly yarn.
Film actor Nicolas Cage is an actual character in Tijuana Donkey Showdown. In one respect, Walt’s faux-autographed poster on The Henhouse wall could be seen as a metaphor for Cage’s appearance in the novel: a put-on. Did you agonize over this decision? I mean, all it would take is one message to the real Nicolas Cage’s agent, and a cease-and-desist letter would surely follow.
Is that a threat? Are you blackmailing me, Dubrow? Well, two can play at that game, smart guy. All it would take is one letter to your wife – a woman who has my deepest sympathy – informing her of your illicit video hoard, and divorce proceedings would surely follow. If not criminal proceedings. Intercourse between man and beast must surely be illegal, even in Florida?
Cage’s cameo in Tijuana Donkey Showdown occurred by happy accident. In Damn Dirty Apes, I made a throwaway reference to Nicolas Cage playing Reggie in a movie adaptation of his story. Mr. Cage’s star has fallen considerably since he scooped the Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas. Now it seems he’ll appear in any old shit. In fact, I recently worked on a screenplay the producers had earmarked for Cage, which proves my point, I’m sure you’ll agree. So it seemed perfectly plausible that Cage would play Reggie in a Uwe Boll-directed Damn Dirty Apes movie (Video on Demand, of course).
That said, when I began writing Tijuana Donkey Showdown, I had no idea that Cage, and his remarkable Con Air hairpiece, would feature in the story, until he made his grand entrance. I know you’re an admirer of Mr. Cage, as am I – who isn’t, frankly? – so I hope I did him justice in your eyes. I remember you were quite unhappy with Damn Dirty Apes, and my depiction of your beloved state animal of Florida, the skunk ape.
I understand you have several projects percolating: collaborations with James Newman and Adam Cesare, respectively. How are those coming along? Can you tell us about the process of working with people more talented than yourself?
I’ll let that last comment slide…
Newman and I are currently working on an occult thriller called Scapegoat. It’s a period piece (1987) about a bunch of dudes travelling by RV to Wrestlemania III, when they take an ill-fated shortcut (is there any other kind?) through the Kentucky woods. There they encounter a young woman fleeing from a cult of fundamentalist mentalists. She’s been mutilated, carved from head to toe with cruciform wounds and the Seven Deadly Sins… And what happens next will blow readers’ minds. Newman and I are very excited about this one.
As for Cesare? Our collaboration-in-progress – a Depression-era alien invasion yarn we’re pitching as Michael Mann’s Public Enemies meets John Carpenter’s The Thing – WILL be completed. It’s just a question of finding time in our schedules. Cesare is a crazy busy guy. And that’s busy without the quotation marks, Dubrow. In a recent Facebook post, he said he owes 78 short stories. Not to mention however many other collaborations he’s got going, his own solo projects, his Cemetery Dance column, and his YouTube channel. Take a fucking breath, Ceezy!
Beyond those collaborations, this year I’d like to finally finish my long-gestating debut novel, and love letter to 80s action movies, One Tough Bastard. I’m also editing an anthology of wrestling-themed horror/crime short stories. (More details on that project soon!) AND raising my six-month old daughter.
But all that just makes me “busy,” right Dubrow? Fucking guy…
What’s next for Reggie Levine? Do you plan on continuing his story into a trilogy? A tetralogy? There are whole other classes of animals for Levine to become intimately familiar with, after all: birds, fish, insects, cephalopods. “Write what you know,” is what they say.
I’d like to write at least one more Reggie Levine misadventure. Readers seem to dig the character (present company excluded) and I enjoy tormenting him like God testing Job’s faith. As for which animal he might molest next? Sorry Dubrow, I don’t take requests; you’ll have to find your masturbatory material elsewhere. I can tell you that he’ll next appear in a short story featuring a Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts-style wrestler. That’ll be my contribution to an anthology of wrestling-themed crime/horror shorts I’m editing for Necro Press.
You also have a story in Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 1, titled Cleanup on Aisle 3. Putting aside the questionable decision of the publisher in associating your name with the word “best,” tell us about how this story saw print.
Cleanup on Aisle 3 was inspired by my favorite Elmore Leonard book, Swag. During a scene in which our characters rob a liquor store, I thought: What if this happened? And took it from there. It was first published in Todd Robinson’s crime magazine, Thuglit, and has been reprinted several times since then. I think it’s an effective cat-and-mouse suspense story with a nasty horror sting in the tail. If it didn’t meet your high standards, Dubrow, I can only assume that’s because it DOESN’T feature bestiality.
Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I mean, really. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Buy Adam’s books HERE!
Buy Dave’s books HERE!