Mark Haskell Smith
B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1979
M.F.A., American Film Institute, 1987
Mark Haskell Smith is the author of four novels: Moist (Grove Press), Delicious (Atlantic Monthly Press), Salty (Grove/Atlantic Black Cat) which was a Book Sense Notable Book in 2007, and Baked (Grove/Atlantic Black Cat).
His novels have been published in the UK (Atlantic Books), France (Editions Rivages Noir), Italy (Bompiani), Norway (Font Forlag), and Russia (AST).
Currently he is writing the non-fiction book Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers and the Race to the Cannabis Cup for Broadway Books in the U.S. and McClelland & Stewart in Canada.
He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of California Riverside Palm Desert MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts program.
Latest Publication Title
Baked, Grove/Atlantic Black Cat, 2010
Moist, Grove, 2007
Salty, Grove, 2007
Delicious, Grove, 2006
One bullet can really fuck up your day.
He walked out of his house and into the white-light white heat of a bullet exploding out the end of a handgun. A bullet that flew out of a passing SUV and burned a perfect black hole in his jacket—the one he got at the thrift store on Sunset, the one that said “Tigers” in bright orange script—pushing bits of his T-shirt into his chest as it tore through his skin. One bullet, slicing through his body, puncturing his right lung, the soft metal expanding as it traveled through his chest, tearing and burning tissue, breaking two ribs on its way out. The bullet that almost killed him. One hundred and twenty grains of lead that fucked up his day.
The bullet didn’t stop at his shattered ribs. It kept going, blasting out of his body, blowing a hole in the other side of his jacket, flying along Perlita Avenue until it embedded itself with a clank in the side of a clean white-and-orange van with the name George Brazil Plumbing & Heating painted on the side. The plumber thought someone had thrown a rock at him.
Miro blinked. He was looking at the world sideways, his
face resting in the soft grass. He could feel something wet and
warm, a sticky liquid flowing over him. The pain, the actual
sensation of a burning hot piece of metal ripping through his
flesh, was so extreme that he almost didn’t feel anything.
Maybe he was in shock.
He could hear people shouting, the distant sound of a
siren, but he couldn’t move. It took too much energy to move.
His neighbor’s dog—a mangy old Pekinese whose body
was riddled with hairless scabby patches from his constant
chewing and clawing at his eczematic skin—walked up to him
and started growling.
Miro blinked. The dog crept closer and suddenly lunged forward and bit Miro on the arm. It was then that he had a thought, his first lucid moment since he saw the flash.
That fucking dog just bit me.
That’s what he tried to tell the paramedics, the Los Angeles Fire Department emergency medical technicians who
were flipping him over, urgently rapping in medical code,
checking his ABCs—airways, breathing, circulation—sticking
needles in his arm and tubes down his throat.
“A dog bite is the least of your worries, sir.”
That’s what the female paramedic said to him. She called
him “sir.” Like he was old.
Miro blinked. He saw his neighbors huddled on the
other side of the street. He could hear the nosy Filipino granny
who lived next door.
“He was up to something. I know that for sure.”
That fucking dog bit me.
One of the paramedics injected something into a tube
that was hooked to his arm.
“Try and relax.”
How did Evergreen help you in your career?
Evergreen got me in to the habit of being curious about the world around me. That has really come in handy.