You know this place.
You've been here before.
A hatchback slams. The door of a van rolls shut. Brakes squeal. Horns blare. Two cars nearly collide backing up at once. An obscene gesture. "¡Hijo de puta!" An elderly man drives off afraid. Exhaust mingles with the stench of rubbish from a barrel that hasn't been emptied and the odor of grease from the fryer at Burger Boy.
Welcome to Lot C.
Empty and bleak at 2 AM. Mayhem on Saturday afternoon. "Littering, loitering, skateboarding, ball playing, soliciting, overnight parking PROHIBITED," says the sign. "Video surveillance in use." "Management assumes no responsibility." A discarded Orange Julius cup bears the imprint of the tire that flattened it. A half finished box of Karmelkorn sits on the curb. Nobody lingers here—nobody stands around except to smoke a cigarette on her ten minute break. This is the place to park and lock. The place where couples quarrel, kids squirm and wail, and single moms make sure the car seat is buckled just right. Want some advice? Remember your row. Don't leave packages in plain sight. Report suspicious activity. Cross traffic does not stop.
Longing for something that turns you around completely? That captivates instead of seduces? That inspires instead of distracts? This is merchandise outside the box. No fads. No gimmicks. No cards to swipe. No points to redeem. Not even Green Stamps. Dignity and freedom don't carry stickers that say Made in China when you turn them upside down. Purpose and love can't be found at a "2 for 1 Pre-Clearance Blowout." Longing for clarity, insight, something more than hype and hypocrisy? Something meaningful that lasts? Somebody who understands? A way out of the emptiness and loneliness? Or just a way out?
Welcome to Lot C Media.
Bold as a pastor preaching a sermon through a bullhorn, earnest as a convert passing out faded tracts on a street corner in the cold, LOT C MEDIA annoys and offends the thin skinned, the cynical, and the certain, idealists and pessimists alike.
This is a dark and bumpy ride that takes the shopper far from her comfort zone, that jumps the curbs, aims straight for the pot holes, accelerates at the speed bumps, and does "Crazy-8s" outside Merchandise Pick-Up.
Perhaps, when the time is right, we'll play chicken with the man in the white car with the flashing light on top.
After all, he's a fan too!
Original fiction that bleeds.
Stark and uncompromising stories of ordinary lives where hope is elusive and despair relentless.
Stories of everyday life written by and for those who live it.
Stories that propel the reader from spectator to participant, from witness to accomplice, that dissolve the boundary between observer and observed, between self and other, between imagination and real life.
Stories that roam the interior, speak the unspoken, expose the unseen, revealing the power of the past to define and determine the present, telling the truth from the inside out.
Stories that leverage the limits of the possible, engaging the problem of humanity at its core, exploring the oldest lament, tragically always new —"If only I had a second chance."
Stories that invite reflection. And incite response.
This is not entertainment.
This is resurrection.
A glimpse of what's to come.
If you're watching, it's for you.
If you're here, there's a reason.
January 18th, 1925 - October 24th, 2006.
A moving description of determination and its consequences.
A vivid portrayal of a bygone era and those who shaped it and were shaped by it.
A stark testament to antiquated ideals and forgotten values.
A candid reminder of what it takes to pull through.
Don't miss the highlighted links from within the story to special features—vintage aerial photos, music, articles, and more—on and off site.
Once you've explored a link, use your browser's "back" button to return to your place in the story.×
They said I had to write a brief biography for this page.
Don't know how to do a "biography", brief or otherwise. Don't know what to say about myself. What would you say about your own worst enemy? This should be simple, right? Something like, "I am a forty-three year old vampire living in Oklahoma. I work nights and dolls are just another hobby."
Here's another try. I am a product of a late nineteen sixties merger doomed to fail from the get go, before the paint was dry, from the moment she got on the back of his chopper. I grew up mostly in Hollyweird during the seventies and mid eighties. I detached from the parent company—broke the contract (burnt it actually)—in nineteen eighty. I have since branched out four times over. Little ones are big now, and as I write this I am on my way to pick up a daughter whose old man won't stop beating her and worse. Kind of like mine did. Shoot, he still does. It's just that she's too young to have to go through what I went through. Wish me luck. Better yet, take me seriously.
Hobbies include everything. I'm currently working on a sanity project or insanity project, depending on your point of view. I dabble in everything and commit to nothing. My journey has been long and interesting to say the least. A terrible storm blew in, a lot like the one that took Dorothy out of Kansas. It blew and it blew and I currently find myself stranded on the eighth level of Hell also known as southwest Oklahoma. Still don't know whose evil witchy shoes lay beneath my foundation—that remains's a mystery. I do know one thing however; this journey leads to a path that will finally take me home.
E. L. G.
Born in the Bronx, Wallace grew up in more places than he cares to remember. He attended high school in Redondo Beach and spent his twenties on loading docks and in print shops, hoofing around Chicago hawking typesetting and graphic design, pursuing his share of dreams that didn't pan out. He attended the City Colleges of Chicago and earned a Bachelor's Degree from National-Louis University. While in medical school, Wallace discovered something in this world but not of this world—the Christian faith practiced in the Church of the Province of the West Indies. He completed residency at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, and moved to the heartland. A physician for over ten years, Wallace aspires to attend seminary in the Anglican tradition. In five decades, Wallace has lived lots of places, seen lots of things, and met lots of people, all of which inform his observations and perspective. His short story “Angel’s Mercy” placed third in a writing contest and has appeared in an anthology.
Game World. Flower Child. Hide and Seek. Freakshow. Charlie's Place. Watch Your Back. The Steps. Real Men. Letter to the Editor. All Wagers Come to Naught. Listen, Christian! My Own Worst Enemy. Three Saints Who Have Never Met. What Money Can't Buy: Loss and Loathing in the Land of Plenty. How to Ruin A Marriage (and Other Fragile Things.) First, the Good News. Meanings, Not Molecules: Has Psychiatry Lost Touch with Reality? The Use of Psychiatric Rating Scales in Pre-School Children. Feel Good Theology. Sign of the Times.
A glimpse of what's to come.
If you're watching, it's for you.
If you're here, there's a reason.×
M. H. Mackenzie is a Midwesterner who attended SMU, grew up, and became a Texan. She has lived and worked in Texas most of her adult life: Dallas, Houston, Austin, Dalhart, and now Fort Worth and Wichita Falls, where she leads a double life. Like most people, she learned most of life’s lessons the hard way. She has written for a long time, from Op-Eds for the Houston Post and Houston Chronicle to video scripts, which she has also produced. In her emotional moments, she reverts to poetry. One of her favorite times in her life was living and working for four years in the Bahamas on a “family island.” She loves music of all kinds, horses, a black lab named Orion, her children and grands, and even her husband of 35 years! Her motto? Shopping is a fine art and should be practiced frequently!
M. H. Mackenzie
What if somebody told you that the road you're on leads nowhere—before you get to the point of no turning back?
What if somebody showed you that you're making a big mistake—while you still have time to do something about it?
What if somebody gave you a glimpse, a hint, a moment of clarity—before you get stuck in a life that you hate?
Would you do things differently?
Would you slow down?
Would you listen?
Would you think twice?
Here's a clue. Sometimes—maybe all the time, I don't know—the destination isn't what you dream, the consequences aren't what you imagne, the payoff isn't anything like the promise, the true cost is a lot more than the price on the sticker, a hard road hides behind an easy first step, rust sticks around a lot longer than glitter, getting what you want doesn't mean you've won, every betrayal starts with a kiss, and new things grow old faster than you ever thought possible.
I'm twenty eight now, but I was seventeen once too. I thought I knew better then. Now I do.
Is this what is meant by coming full circle? Or trying to pay it forward? Or am I just kidding myself, because that's less painful that admitting that there is no hope at all, ever, anywhere. I'm trying to tell you something, and I know you don't want to hear it. But I'm going to try anyway. I'm going to tell you something that will change your life if you'll give it half a chance. I know you dont have to listen to me. I stopped listening as soon as I saw that I didn't have to anymore, not that anybody was saying anything meaningful anyway. Maybe that's what makes this different. Maybe I have something to say that will help you avoid making the same mistakes I made, learning lessons the hard way, wishing every moment of every day that things were different. Maybe I'm full of shit. You decide. These are your choices, and they will have consequences. No getting out of that.
There's one last question that has to be asked, sooner or later. It may not make sense at the moment, but someday it will.
What would you give to get your innocence back?
A. R. McAlister
What do you picture when you read my name for the first time? What do you assume is true about my life? Maybe you think you know the color of my hair or how tall I am. Maybe you think you know how far I went in school or the kinds of things I do—and don't do—for a living. Maybe you think my life is pretty simple compared to yours. More limits than opportunities. More traps than triumphs. The Maria Mendozas of this world are not someone you would ever want to trade places with. Not for a day. Not even for an hour.
Here's a thought. You can't picture me because you don't know me. All you can picture is what someone called Maria Mendoza should look like, ought to be, based on your experience—all the Marias and Juanitas and Glorias and Doloreses and Roselias you've ever met and the places you've met them. Maybe they cleaned your office overnight or a hotel room after you left. Maybe they watched your kids or took your order for breakfast. Maybe you blame them for having "too many babies", filling up the Emergency Room when they get sick or the check out line at Costco when you're in a hurry. Maybe you drive down deserted streets before the sun comes up trying to score with a girl who's poor. Sure, picture me. Tell me who I am and what I'm good for. Tell me what I can and can't achieve. Tell me where I belong and how far I can go. Tell me all those slogans and cliches about what it takes to succeed and be somebody. Tell me that they apply to those already seated at the table and not just those struggling to get in the door.
Do you know what it's like to want something so badly that your throat feels tight and your skin crawls at the thought of not having it, because you know what it's like to go without, and that's no longer an option? Do you know what it's like to want to be somebody you've never been, because it hurts too much to be the person you are? Do you know what it's like to be driven by fear and self-contempt because the alternative seems ridiculous and so far out of reach it might as well be on the moon? Do you know how black the sky appears at 3AM? Or how empty it can seem at three in the afternoon?
In some dark corner of my soul there's a little girl who won't go away, no matter what I call myself or do for a living. She never deserved all the things that happened to her. I am not ashamed of her; I—I love her. But I don't know what to do with her. I don't want to make her vanish. I want to make her safe. Maybe then she won't have to be so angry, so quick to get even, so desperate even after all these years. Maybe then she can sleep without being afraid and see the world through innocent eyes again. Maybe then she can love herself. Maybe then she will finally understand that she already is somebody, and no one can take that away.
Exclusively at Lot C Media.
What does it take to give someone you love a second chance? What does it take to get one for yourself? What does it take to find the courage to do the impossible? A mother drives cross country to rescue her daughter from an abusive marriage, or does she? Find out in Grace. Land.
Childhood memories cut short by tragedy. Missing faces and empty spaces. For the pain that will not die, only one answer will suffice. Only one solution makes sense. Only one outcome makes it right. Can innocence really be restored? Don't miss Dear Patrick...
A mother's letter to her son leaves a lasting impression. Voices from the past speak across the chasm of indifference and self absorption. Can we learn something meaningful and lasting from strangers we have never met? For a heartwarming and poignant witness to a mother's love, read Getting to Know You.×
I was asked to write a brief biography for this page. Here it is.
My name is K. Shaw. I am not without sin. Not that I wanted to become the person I am today. Addiction wasn’t some gift I found under the Christmas tree or a birthday present. I never asked God to make me an addict, but just the same I am. Every day not using is like treading water, and when I am exhausted and too weak to tread, I give in. Always for the last time you understand. The lines I said I would never let my addiction take me across have all been crossed. It crossed them. It? We? I? I crossed them even as I insisted that I would not, could not, let myself and others down, again. All my hopes and dreams vanished. There was always a new bottom to fall into. I don’t believe in me, not sure if I ever did. But, I do believe in God. I am preparing to enter a 13 month residential treatment program. I excel at treatment. That isn't the problem. The problem is what I do that day I get out. That has always been the problem.
I’ll write another bio after a year. I pray that by then I have something more hopeful to say in it.
Blessings and best wishes,
K. A. Shaw
In the kingdom of consumption, the citizen is king. A democratic monarchy: equality before
consumption, fraternity in consumption, and freedom through consumption.
The Kingdom of God is not just pie in the sky bye and bye—it starts here and now in how we see ourselves and how we treat each other, in what we seek and what we avoid, in what we allow and what we reject, in what we assume and what we deny.
It would be nursing a great illusion if the man of our times were to think that, having attained a fuller understanding of himself and of the world,
he had no further need of religion. There has been a multiplication of systems in which the existence of religion has been interpreted as a psychological phenomenom associated with the childhood of mankind. At its maximum when civilization is beginning, it should gradually fade away,
giving place to more positive constructions, from which God (particularly a personal and transcendent God) would be excluded. In reality, for those who can see, the great conflict from which we have escaped will only consolidate in the world the necessity of faith. Having reached a higher degree of self-mastery, the Spirit of Earth will experience an increasingly vital need to adore; out of universal evolution God emerges in our consciousness as greater and more necessary than ever.
Building the Earth, Teilhard de Chardin, 1965
Society is a carnivorous flower.
Scrawled on wall, Paris, May 1968.
"And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."
Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV)
One last thing. Before you dive into that salad or devour that sandwich, why not take a moment and utter a few words of, you know, gratitude. It's called "saying grace", and it goes something like this.
Bless, O Father, these gifts to our use and ourselves to thy service, for Christ's sake. Give us grateful hearts for all thy mercies. Make us mindful of the needs of others. Remember those who are hungry and don't have enough to eat. Through Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Other things you can say are available here.×
Carol McIntyre from Springfield, MO... "whatever you're trying to accomplish here, consider it a success... the stories are thought-provoking... the music is haunting. This is one place I will come back to time after time.."
Luis Hernandez of Chicago, IL... "You guys don't know what you got here. I have never seen stories so realistic. It's like you follow people around or something. Like you're sitting at their kitchen table. You're playing with fire. I hope you understand that."
Anonymous in Los Angeles... "total crap... utter nonsense.. forcing your religious bullshit down other people's throats... like that helps them or anything... you need your meds adjusted... anything but this."×
An up-to-date browser delivers the ultimate experience.
Now mobile friendly. Give it a try on your tablet or smartphone!×
That's where the Good Stuff goes.
The best of the best.
The stuff that sets the standard.
The stuff to which others are compared.
Some say "it's all good",
but everybody knows
only certain things make it
to The Top Shelf.
Things that count more than others.
Things you ask for by name.
Things that don't belong anywhere else.
You know them when you see them.
You remember them long after they're gone.
Today, The Top Shelf contains...
The Feed is the ticket to fresh content you won't find anyplace else. Content that makes a difference. Content that changes your life.
Lot C Media breaks down barriers, pounds holes in walls, violates boundries, and talks about things that matter like no one else can. Here, it gets real. Here, honesty detonates, and sham and pretense are the first casualties. Here, words are weapons and tears Holy water.
Grab the Feed.
Shout it out the window.
Scrawl it on the wall.
Tattoo it over your heart.
Make them understand.
The Feed is what you need.×
What if we told you we weren't trying to sell you anything?
Would you buy it?
A camera obscura for the soul—what would that look like?
How would it function?
And what would happen to those whose images it captured and revealed?
Lot C Media is that kind of device—that kind of experience. Something you've never seen. Something that exists largely in the mind's eye, the imagination, the intersection of dreams and desires, the place where honesty and doubt collide and anything is possible. Not a charity. Not a scheme. Not a product or program. Lot C Media employs no one and sells nothing. Privately funded, its expenses are paid out of pocket. There's no business model associated with this endeavor. No attempt at monetization. No appeal for donations. No pay-pal link. Nothing to join. Nothing to buy. No solicitation. No fundraising. No request for referrals. No merchandise, not even a lousy tee shirt. The list goes on, but you get the point. The actual cost of maintaining the site is negligible. Maybe that's a big mistake, but like every one we've ever made, it seems like the right thing to do at the moment. It let's us focus on the message.
Current challenges include creating a version of this site optimized for mobile devices, better website design, and strategies for promotion and publicity. If you've got answers, we're listening.
Want to participate? Collaborate? Lose your identity in a purpose larger than yourself? Stand on a streetcorner selling plastic flowers for a dime?
We're grateful if you share this site with others. That kind of exposure is almost impossible to obtain otherwise. Without it these projects might as well be tears in the rain, irrelevant, inconsequential, even pathetic. Spit in the sea lately? The sea is not offended. The sea is unmoved.
There is something to consider. Social networking sites gather, store, and sell information about their users. That means you. Does using them make you feel like you're accomplishing something meaningful? Don't get offended. After all, why would you do it if it didn't? The bottom line is this. Beneath the excitement (if you can still call it that) their purpose is targeted marketing. That's their business model; it's what they do. Search engines (think big names) track their users too and for the same reasons. Is that OK with you? Why? Why not? We're not saying any of this is evil, but it's not about the warm fuzzies. If you're not paying for something then you're not the customer—you're the product being sold. What appears to be a gift turns out to have a lot of strings attached. Everything costs something, and that cost is paid somehow, at some point, by somebody along the line, usually a lot of somebodies just like you. Sometimes the cost is upfront on a price tag and rung up on a register, but it can also be found in other things of value that you give up—things like time, energy, enthuaism, innocence—the opportunities you miss, the life you forfeit. While you're busy playing Farmville, you're not getting around to _________, and __________, and __________.
Educate yourself about web privacy. You'll probably have to "Google" that, but... oh well.
Enjoy the ride.×
Just because we link to another site, don't assume the folks behind that site agree with anything we say, care about anything we do, or even know we exist. Yadda, yadda, yadda.