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T Fox Dunham - The Dude Works Like A Whore At A Construction Site

THE NOIR AFFLICTION By Ryan Sayles

T Fox Dunham, the world’s strongest man, former porn star, presidential candidate and Rhodes scholar, Gutter Books author of The Street Martyr, stopped by my desk at the Out of the Gutter offices for a quickie—er, quick interview before he got on the whirlwind tour trail of book promotions. Suffice it to say, it was a hell of a thing he did there. In my lap.

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Define noir for the masses, please.

Well what comes to mind is a detective, a dead body, and a leggy woman in a raincoat and hat; however, I feel the genre has changed and grown quite a bit. Noir can mean anything on the darker side of the street or the soul. It’s always raining at night in Noir, or it had just rained or threatens to rain. A woman walks in the night. Blood drips from her hands. She’s killed someone, and she can’t recall whom. A young drug dealer finds her, and he’s seeking redemption; thus, he wants to help. This is the darker world, the world people in the light bury in the heart of the dirty city and their own dirty hearts. These are broken people just trying to survive, and if you love one, they’re going to break your heart—and you want them to break it.

I know this sounds crazy, but I met my wife that same way. God rest her soul. Where does your grit come from?

From what I see. grit grounds the street in Philly. It’s on the street corners with dealers. It exists in the row homes, in the communities where the secret cadres live and survive. I have watched. I saw it while going through radiation therapy at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania. I come from a poor family, and grit belongs to the poor. We are survivors, and we survive any way we can.

Recommend a single T Fox Dunham story, please. Why?

The Unhappy Accident or Feelin’ Fine in the Kurt Vonnegut Tribute Anthology, And So it Goes, published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. It’s an amazing collection, and I think that story is truest to my heart. It has more commentary, more expression of my view of the universe. And I’m so tired in the story. It shows my fatigue. It shows how hard it is for me to carry on. It’s the most honest story I’ve ever written. That’s rare, because we have to wear so many masks for our editors and readers. It’s in the Vonnegut style. Here’s a segment:

I am the last saint in the Cult of Saints. I drape the Stars-and-Stripes, Old Glory, around my torso. I march in moccasins carved from the lambskin of the Declaration of Independence. I am Saint America. I lived free only because I ignored the evil in the world, in a safe quilt of tall seas and super shopping malls. I wore jeans spun from the hands of slave children. I grew fat on cheeseburgers and sugar euphoria. All was fine. No one could hurt me. I felt comfortable with the passive immorality of my existence. My bliss was the ignorance that I hurt no other. Saint America.

Feelin’ fine.

Slave children make all the best clothing. I don’t care what anybody says, there should be one factory where women have babies all day long, and next to that there is another factory where those same babies make my thongs and hulu skirts. Straight up. You're sort-of a newcomer to the crime/noir arena, correct? What drew you to us?

Mobsters. I love reading and watching mobsters. Sopranos. Godfather. Boardwalk Empire. It’s a great and fun voice to write in, and as I said early, Noir is about darkness. Darkness attracts me. It is my muse.

Go ahead and fill in my vast audience about your other stuff. Horror, correct?

Tell your millions that I write everything. I am known as a horror author. I am a member of the HWA, but I have no idea how that happened. I’m a really literary author—Capote, Hemingway, Salinger. These are my loves, but I also like to drink Long Island Ice Tea, and these cost money. You can’t be a pure literary author and afford to drink Long Island Ice Teas. So I had a voice for darkness, and horror pays very well. Eventually, I started getting request after request for work. I have published equally in most genres, and I’m glad that my first novel was literary, as will be many others. I’m a literary author expressing in other genres, and I’m told that’s what makes my work so unique and compelling. Long Island iced tea? Does Zima make that? Because if they did, I’d be all over that shit.

Please, sell us your book.

Here you go. 14.99 please. Oh . . . a synopsis. You’ve got these two low-level drug dealers. They’re losers. They’re never going to make it out of the street, will probably end up dead in the year. Vincent’s got a mom sick with cancer, and he’s taking care of her. Louie hates the world, and he takes it out on everyone, including Vincent.

Then Father Gabe, the local priest who pretty much raised Vincent asks him to take care of some dirty business. There’s a priest new to the church that’s good a bad history with kids, and Gabe needs Vincent to scare him until he can be transferred. Vincent does the deed, leaves the pedophile priest alive, then the cops find the priest dead in the park the next morning. He’s accused of killing a priest, so the city hunts him down. The priest had mob connections, so the mob’s after him.

My book is about poverty. It’s about the disenfranchised. At one point, Vincent hides among the poor and lost. He loses his face among the faceless, and I want to show this world—this forgotten world, the suffering you don’t see that goes on around you all the time. This may not sell you the book, but it should. It will kick you in the chest.

You lost me at $14.99. If Matt Louis gets one red cent of that you tell him he owes me for investing in those baby/clothing factories he owns. I swear that guy is your best friend until you give him your social security number, bank account information and help him bury a hooker. I don’t mind lying to the cops but damn, man. Matt leaves you high and dry. Please relay to the readers how, with just a single FB conversation with Isaac Kirkman and I, you got the character of The Squid. How is your life better now?

Sure. That old knee-you-in-the nuts story. There’s this mug, Issac Kirkman. Not a bad kid. Got a bit of a voice, likes to mouth off. I told him I’d call the grammar mafia on him, on Facebook. Then you came over, driving that beat up Chevy of yours, and worried about ending with a preposition. So I warned you mooks about a grammar hitman, Vinnie The Squid. I said, when he rings your bell . . . DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE SQUID. He’s sensitive about that. Later I warned you I was putting him in a story, and I did, published by Bare Knuckle Pulp. How is my life better? It’s not. It’s decidedly worse. Vinnie the Squid hangs out in my den, sleeps on the couch, and eats all my cold pizza and drinks all my Long Island Ice Teas. I keep telling him to go back to his wife, but the guy’s got a hairy chest full of pride. Can he stay at your place?

No. The Squid poops on my floor and keeps coming onto my mother. I wouldn’t mind that so much if she weren’t a vegetable living in the back room of my house. It’s bad enough with the sponge bathes and changing her diapers … but to find him back there wearing her clothing and trying to slow dance with her while she sits in her wheelchair … that guy really sucks, actually.

You've got other books out besides The Street Martyr. Quick! Tell us all about them!

I’ve mostly been a short story author. I wrote a novella for May December Books called New World, a zombie novel about whether life has meaning. It’s about an insane and honest religious group called the Rainbow cult hunting this guy whom they believe is their next profit and will lead them to oblivion. I’m under contract to PMMP for a novel about the lost son of Andy Kaufman. It’s called The Tangible Illusion of Reality or Searching for Andy Kaufman. It’s a literary story about a young guy dying of cancer who figures out that most of reality is an illusion. In his last months, he comes to believe that Andy Kaufman was his father—and eventually that he might still be alive—and he goes on a journey with two friends to find him before he dies. I have a lot of projects in the works.

What's next?

San Francisco for the book release party for The Street Martyr. And then promotional work. You’ve got to work hard to get the word out. A published author’s life is half about promotion. I’d rather be writing, but I owe it to the publisher and the reader to fight for it. Agent Nat Sobel has asked me to send him my next crime novel, The Tick-Tock Man. That’ll be after I finish the Andy Kaufman Book. And I’m doing a horror novel for Blood Bound Books, Mercy. That’s done. I’m waiting on my beta readers. I’m always working. And when I’m not working, I’m fishing. It’s what I do to clear my head. And lots of short fiction coming out.

What theme song would play as you entered a room?

Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum. This was a tough one, but right now, this is me.

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There you go, folks. Check out his Amazon page for shit tons of books to buy, his website for shit tons of website-y stuff to read and just in general feel good this crazy bastard is out there. But seriously he is out there. Watch your cornholes.


T. Fox Dunham resides outside of Philadelphia PA—author and historian. He’s published in nearly 200 international journals and anthologies. His first novel, The Street Martyr will be published by Out of the Gutter Books, followed up by Searching for Andy Kaufman from PMMP in 2014. He’s a cancer survivor. His friends call him fox, being his totem animal, and his motto is: Wrecking civilization one story at a time. Site: www.tfoxdunham.com. Blog: http://tfoxdunham.blogspot.com/. http://www.facebook.com/tfoxdunham & Twitter: @TFoxDunham