Friday, May 30, 2014


Chicanonautica visites the new, improved Cultura wars over at La Bloga.

It has to do with Chipotle's Cultivating Thought branding campaign, and it's lack of Latino writers:

It inspired Rudy Ch. Garcia to propose #LatinoStory4Chipotle. Which inspired the following story:


© Ernest Hogan 2014

Got a message from Victor Theremin: MEET ME AT EL BRAVO, MUY PRONTO!

I rushed to mi troque and zig-zagged through Phoenix. I hadn’t heard from Victor in years. And I needed no excuse to indulge in El Bravos’s red meat burritos.

I passed a burning Chipotle on the way.

At the restaurant, I looked around. No Victor. But I saw someone dressed as a saguaro cactus at a table, sitting next to a brain in a plexiglass box.

“Ernie, I’d like you to meet Flash Gomez,” the brain said in Victor’s voice.

“Flash! I haven’t seen you since you disappeared back in the Nineties --”

“Yes. A lot has happened since then.”

Then agents in FBI-ish suits and sunglasses burst in, brandishing sparking stun guns.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this,” said Victor’s brain. It began to glow with a pulsating yellow light, accompanied by an electronic whine. They pulsed and throbbed faster and faster.

Soon I was dizzy and couldn’t see.

The next thing I knew I was in my backyard, seated in full-lotus position facing the big cow skull. I had the aftertaste of salsa in my mouth and a tingling in my inner ears. When I got up and peered over the fence, everything looked wrong.

Instead of our neighborhood, I saw a Martian landscape, just like the NASA photos. Except there was a Chipotle on a nearby hill. It was burning.

I asked my wife, “Did we always live on Mars?”

Monday, May 26, 2014


©Ernest Hogan 2014

It must have been the chip, my maimed brain couldn't have done it. Calculating the velocity and trajectory of the lizard, I simply stepped out of its way.

It was confused when it didn't land so its jaws could lock on my throat. I ran a few blocks before its reptilian brain could sort things out.

Phoenix was full of lizards this year. It could be because of all the rain. Obeah X15 ("I'm an experimental model," he sez) thinks it's televoodoo hacking. Most lizards were twice their normal size, but this was way out of line.

Passing a public phone, I did a Charlie Chaplin one-footed-stall&turn, fed it my quarter and dialed home. It rang and rang. "Come on, Vampiko, honey, wake up," I said. Finally, there was the sound of a pick up.

"Hel . . ." she said, then stalled out.

"Vampiko," I leaped in, "it's me, Flash!"

"Flash!" Her adrenal gland popped into action. "Where have you been? I've been worried sick. Your machines have been making an awful racket for days. They keep waking me up, and you know I need my sleep to be beautiful for work." As if anybody would be looking at her face. "I think we should get my coffin sound-proofed."

"Sorry, honey, but I've had an accident."

"Oh, no. I told you that you should wear a helmet."

"Yeah, I know. Could you come an get me?"

There was pregnant pause. "That would mean going out into the daylight . . . the harsh, deadly Phoenix daylight . . ."

"Use your protective gear, honey." At first the vampire thing was just part of her topless-dancer act, but now it was going too far. I enjoy a good neck-bite as much as the next guy, but lately she's been wanting to draw blood.

"First, that gigantic lizard trying to get in the window, and now this . . ."

"Vampiko, are you coming to get me?"

"Well . . . I guess so.  Which hospital are you at?"

"No hospital. Meet me at the Central Library." That was the chip talking. It located the nearest, largest information repository.

"Take care, mon cher," she signed off.

The chip soon had me powerwalking to the library. If I tried real hard I could glance back and see that a saguaro was following me. It was moving fast.  Did it have a gun?

Monday, May 19, 2014


©Ernest Hogan 2014

When they got a good look at me, the homeboys -- as Little Richard would put it -- screamed like white ladies.

"Allah have mercy!" "What the hell!" "Let's get out of here -- he might be radioactive of something!"  "He's bleeding --he's gonna give us AIDS!" they yelled as they flowed back into the Cadillac and left in a cloud of dust and grime.

I felt my bandages, carefully. I must have looked like an old-fashioned horror movie monster. If there was a mirror around, I'd probably scare myself. Dumb luck saved me.

Or was it the Krell chip?

What was this thing they put in my head? And who are they, while I'm at it. Just another Information Age problem.  The right data could solve it, but where to look . . .

The hospital-bunny-suit pajamas I was wearing didn't have any pockets. I didn't have any underwear. No sign of my wallet or my pager. I was downtown, miles from home. What was I supposed to do?

My throbbing brain (or was it the chip?) lurched into action. I found myself looking around, scanning for information. I wasn't really that far from the Mercado. Maybe an offering to the concrete Quetzalcoatl would help. My girlfriend Vampiko would be proud. I picked a flowering weed from an eruption in the asphalt and walked.

In the middle of an unpaved parking lot was a saguaro, a phoney-looking one, like the gun-totters that chased us out of the desert. I waved at it. It didn't wave back. I walked on, and when I looked back the giant cactus was gone.

The Mercado was empty, as usual, and hot from all the pavement, the pseudo-Mexican architecture, and the lack of shade. Nobody noticed when I tossed the flower into the larger-than-life replica of the feathered serpent's mouth. A bus with the Great God Barkley painted on the side passed.  If I didn't feel like I was going to die it would have been like a religious experience or something. Vampiko would have seen it as a sign of spiritual development.

Vampiko. If I called her she'd come get me. She did love me, as she often said.

I wandered around for a few blocks, trying to bum a coin. A dressed-for-success citizens took off at the sight of me. Finally, a toothless homeless guy gave me a quarter.

Suddenly, something hissed. A lizard the size of a pit-bull was licking up a trail of blood that I was leaving.  It looked at me, then licked its lips and leaped.

Friday, May 16, 2014


It's my Chicanonautica take on the Day of Latino Science Fiction over at La Bloga.

Here's a sample of what went on:

Jesús Treviño really knows his science fiction:

Mario Acevedo is doing mad science:

You can watch this L.A. dystopia online:

Monday, May 12, 2014


©Ernest Hogan 2014

The driver cold-bloodedly punched the accelerator, causing the limo to lurch ahead just before the Magnum coughed up a slug. His hand hovered over a red blinking button as he asked, "Should I nuke 'em?"

"Just get us off the freeway," said the man.

"And don't lose them," said the woman, "just keep far enough ahead to be a difficult target."

We sped away in a path that was lightning fast and just as crooked. The g-forces and bodily collisions nearly killed me.  My head, my head . . . 

"Let's take advantage of this situation," the man said, "and start the field experiment now."

"Excellent idea," she said.

The Cadillac kept on our tail, far back, but dead on.  The triggerman kept taking aim, but couldn't get a bead on us.

"This area looks suitable," said the man.

We were in that industrial area next to downtown Phoenix that could be used to film a low-budget remake of Bladerunner.

"Pull over and park somewhere," she told the driver.

We became stationary over cracked asphalt and broken glass so fast if felt like my brain crashed into the top of my skull, pulling my spinal cord and all my nerves up to fuse with it in an implosion of pain.

"As we were saying," the man said, "you are a lucky young man, escaping death to become a prototype for the 21st century."

"The Krell chip should allow you to survive in the chaos of the fractalized Information Society," the woman said.

The Cadillac screeched to halt nearby, taking a bite out of a chain-link-topped-with-razor-wire fence.  The homeboys piled out, and they all had guns.

"In some ways," the man said, "I envy you; I really do."  

The woman smiled, and opened the door that wheezed like an airlock.

The man gave me a swift kick, sending my ultra-sensitive head into the post-holocaust pavement.  I kept thinking that I couldn't possibly hurt any more; then, I would hurt more. I was getting sick of it.

Through some weeds growing through the cracks, I saw the limo skid around a corner.  With my other eye I could see the homeboys, glaring at me.

Something, maybe the Krell chip, made me stand up.

Monday, May 5, 2014


©Ernest Hogan 2014

He didn't have to touch me. My bandaged head already hurt like hell. I screamed at the sight the gleaming pliers.

"Okay," I said, "what would like to talk about?"

"Very good, darling," the blonde said, squeezing my hand. "What were you delivering to Brunhoff?"

"Brunhoff? Oh, you mean Doc Burnout. I don't know," I said, which the brought the chrome pliers closer to my face. "It was a sealed-package, no-questions-asked deal! Honest!  I'd swear on an autographed copy of Neuromancer!"

They did a quick exchange in what didn't sound like German or Japanese.

He let the pliers hover in front of my eyes, and asked, "Then what about Project Brainboost, and the Krell chip?"

"Nothing. Nada. Please believe me. I do know some things -- like local business opportunities in high-speed delivery via bike."

She stroked my arm, and asked, "Were you involved in Burnout's experiments?"

"What experiments? He just piddles around with all kinds of incomprehensible stuff.  Like every other computer geek who thinks he's a cyberpunk."

Again they conferred in the unknown language.

He put the pliers away. My throbbing head was relieved.

Letting go of my arm, she said, "Then we made a good choice.  You are a perfect subject for our little experiment."

"Experiment?" I repeated, flashing on horror movies and/or me as human guinea pig turned monster.  Would my girlfriend be repulsed or turned on?

"You see," he said. "We've had to perform some surgery on you. Most of it reconstructive, because of your . . . accident, but we also implanted . . ."

The limo was then rammed from behind. The impact cranked my pain up to max. Then there was some rapid-fire horn-honking, with the booming of a rap backbeat.

The driver rolled down the partition from the passenger area and his window with a couple of keystrokes on his NASA control panel dashboard.

Beside us was a red, battle-scared Cadillac Seville full of homeboys all wearing red bandanas.  Then one riding shotgun had his head out the rolled-down window, said, "We like your bullet-holes!  Like some more?" and pulled out a .357 Magnum, took aim and . . .

Friday, May 2, 2014


Chicanonautica gets futursitic about California and Arizona over at La Bloga.

A new reality? Que sci-fi, 'mano!

And in L.A., the marketers are getting ready for the new majority:

And Arizona is learning about pan dulce:

And lucha libre is breaking out in Phoenix: