My story “Justo’s Mummy Magic Capac Cuna Medicine Company” has been accepted for Duane Pesice’s anthology Weird Westerns. I wrote this one a few years ago for an anthology titled Monsters, Rebuilt. That volume was essentially an attempt to reinterpret classic horror monsters through a Weird fiction gaze, and the roster of authors was a veritable Who’s Who of contemporaries who’ve gone on to garner critical praise, awards, appearances in Best Ofs, and whatnot. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter for the book sank into the deep, dark depths of the Black Lagoon, and my tale being an odd horror Western had no home. So, drifter that it was, the story wandered the desert until Pesice’s intriguing Western themed project appeared on the horizon like the heat shimmer silhouette of A Story With No Name.
Mummies are better than werewolves, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees, but boring, ol’ Egyptian mummies just don’t impress me. I’m more interested in Incan and Chinchorro mummies, and the profound religious and cultural practices surrounding their loved one’s preservation. Mexican, and Central and South American history offer varied cultures and such a wealth of stories to derive inspiration, I find myself repeatedly drawn to them.
So “Justo’s Mummy Magic Capac Cuna Medicine Company” is about mummies of course, as well as the United Fruit Company, American genocide in Guatemala, the loss of family, and the agony of nostalgia. It’s a bit of an outlier for me as it’s not as cosmic as some of my stories, and it’s also the first overtly “traditional” iconic horror monster I’ve written about. It’s also the first I can point to as being a tip o’ the Stetson to Joe Lansdale and Mary Hunter Austin. Hopefully, it’s still my voice here, and despite being a bit more mainstream (gasp!) than the bulk of my work, I feel it casts a hallucinatory, sad, and strange mood.
Test Patterns: Weird Westerns also includes stories by these folks:
Ashley Dioses – Strung by a Noose
(S. L.) Sam L Edwards – The Older Laws of John Armitage
(Scott J.) Scott Couturier – Buzzard-man
John Ghost – The Terror at Cleopatra Hill
Thomas Joyce – No God’s Country, No Man’s Land
Jill Hand – The Burning Women of Glory
GD Dearborn – Daltrey Returns
Dustin Chisam – Into the Emerald Frontier
Sarah Walker – The Foreigner
John Paul Fitch – Gut Shot
Erica Ruppert – Oh, Bury Me Not
Sean M. Thompson – Dark Sky Above
(Max D.) Max Stanton – The Transported Man
Alan Sessler – The Ogre West
Can Wiggins – Sweet Betsey from P.I.K.E.
Zoltan Komor – Planted Bullets and Coffin Whores
KA Opperman – Peyote Quickdraw
Duane Pesice – In the Name