Sunday, May 03, 2015

SAD #3: "Center of Madness"

[Batting third in the Story A Day Challenge is a 640 Word Limit. This is "Center of Madness"]

Her phone rang. She kept changing the ring tone, and right now it was the opening bars of "The Thing That Should Not Be," fat, ominous, and low. It was a portent, a warning. She knew he would call, knew the inner workings of his brain as well as he did, and she knew just as surely that she shouldn't answer the phone. So she didn't.

He would call because he was the sort of person who couldn't leave enemies behind. He had to know that everyone liked him, that he was an okay person, that he wasn't cruel or heartless or shortsighted. It was a kind of vanity, this insistence that everyone think he is honorable. Whether he is or isn't was immaterial, it was how he appeared that was most important to him. She knew he was going to call to try and mend fences, to make sure she wasn't angry with him.

If she was perfectly honest, she was simply too tired to listen to him. He would be charming, sure- he always was. He would flood her with evasions and half truths and justifications and rationalizations, get her laughing, and then part gracefully, making sure her last image of him was a pleasant one before he faded away forever. She was too tired to engage in that combat right now.

The phone stopped, then, after a beat, the tone started again, the late Cliff Burton's bass line, subterranean, lumbering and angry, full of coiled up menace. She closed her eyes and pictured him playing it, a picture in a magazine she saw once, his hair whipping around in a maelstrom of motion, but his face, in the center, quiet and focused. She imagined the chaos going on around him at the moment that picture was taken, and the calm it must have took to keep playing in the center of madness. She wished she felt that calm, that ability to maintain control, to keep doing your job in the midst of a storm.

The phone stopped again. She knew he would call again, so she waited. She felt herself beginning to fly apart, a slow motion plane crash that she called her life, and the only way she kept from screaming was to not answer the phone, to not allow him a way back in. She had to stay together, keep herself under control, remain within herself, within the limits of good behavior and decent sense, because to lose it all would be to let him win, to let him show that he was in control. To surrender control was to surrender herself, and above all, that was one trade she was unwilling to make again.

The phone started ringing again. She thought about peeking at the face of it, seeing if he left a message, but she thought better of it, didn't dare risk it. He had said he couldn't do this anymore, and that's that: you can't, she had learned, force someone to do something they weren't prepared to do. She wasn't all that mad about the decision itself- it was his to make, and he had made it. She had pushed him until he revealed what she knew he was thinking, and that was, also, simply the way it was. It wasn't really fair to demand an answer, then be upset because it wasn't the one you wanted.

She was basically just annoyed at the universe, angry that nobody ever decided that she was worth the effort. It felt like everything else in life she loved- her favorite sports teams, her favorite musicians, her favorite actors, all of it, even her children. What distressed her most was that you give them everything: devotion, time and money and energy, and in the end, they do whatever the hell they want to, no matter what.




Saturday, May 02, 2015

SAD Day 2: "Reunion"


[The Story A Day Project rolls on with Day 2's prompt, Other People's Memories. This story is called "Reunion"]

Julie's expensive shoes tapped on the hardwood floor. "Remember how we used to hand out the answer key? Everybody cheated in that class! We were so bad!" Forever the bitchy alpha.

That's not how Sara remembered it. She wasn't as included as they thought she was. Or as she thought.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Another Failed Project, Part One

[StoryADay.Org is Yet Another Project I Am Probably Going To Bail On Within The First Week, an effort to write a story every day based on a provided prompt. Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin bats leadoff with an assortment of William Blake's proverbs, from which I have selected "You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough." This story is called "In Line"]

She felt the eyes boring into her from behind. She imagined she could feel them burning tiny holes in her shoulders.

"I need to ask a favor," she said, knowing he would say no. But she still asked.

"JUST TELL THEM YOU'RE IN JAIL," the officer insisted at her elbow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Announcements announcements announcements

"The Broken Plate", the literary magazine published at Ball State University, is about to publish a story of mine, and Pure Slush's new collection "Feast" will also feature some of my work.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Who is killing it?


This lady is killing it, that's who. A world where she doesn't have a book contract is not a world I entirely comprehend.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Me In Honey

My amiga Remi Germaine is one hoopy frood, but is also selling a neato keeno t shirt design over here.

So if you're pro honey, or pro Remi, or if you're currently naked and need something to wear, go forth and purchase.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Light And Shade Challenge: "Before She's Gone"

[ Writing resumes on This Blog with a response to the Light and Shade http://lightandshadechallenge.blogspot.com">Challenge.
]

"It's quite easy, really," she says. We had gone out onto the porch. The night sky was clear, a few stars indistinct behind the glow of the city. I feel like those stars, fading in and out of view.

"I'll be back in 3 months," she says again. It has been a refrain, every time my face closes down in front of her, she reminds me of how little time it really is. August until November. I can't look at her, so I stare up at the sky.

"It's not that long," she says, and I think about how far it is between the planets, and I will myself not to cry. Distances are relative. Time and space dilate at high speeds. I hear the boards of the porch creak as she walks up behind me. She's leaving because she has to go, because its best for her, because it's what she needs to do. Her hands find my waist, and snake across my middle. I cover her hands with my own.

Behind us, the TV is still on, and I hear someone washing a dish in the kitchen. I look at the sky and feel the pain of missing her with every breath she exhales against my back. I miss her, even now, before she's gone.

A Brief Descent Into Sportsball

Why would I, a lifelong New England Patriots fan, take to my digital soapbox to defend Pete Carroll, a man who coached my hometown team so less than eptly that Grantland's Bill Simmons called him "Fredo"? (I think Carroll is a decent man, as far as I can tell. He does appear to be a bit of a fraud, but I think anyone whose job it is to convince grown men to shorten their lives has to have a bit of the huckster.)

By now, nearly every sentient being has registered the fact that Carroll decided (or acceded to a decision) to throw a pass on the 1 yard line, second down, trailing by four points with 26 seconds to go, which was intercepted to cost him a second straight Super Bowl championship. Luminaries inside and outside the sports world united to castigate the decision, but I don't think, given more thought, that this is a fair verdict.

If you think about the whole picture, Carroll's team needs to gain one yard, and he has three chances to do so. He cannot run three times (the clock continues to run on run plays) because they won't be able to unpile, reform and snap the ball again before time expires. If he runs on second down, he has to call a time out, and then, if unsuccessful, he has to throw on third down because he risks running out of time. Thus, arguably, Carroll had to throw on second down.

Now, whether he should have called that particular pass play is another story.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Plato

This is one of the most remarkable voices I have ever encountered.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Thing!

The fine folks over at Flash Frontier have seen fit to publish a story of mine in their current issue, available here. It is a view from another character in the Mark Hamilton story that may or may not be coming to a desktop near you at some point between now and the heat death of the universe.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Not a thing, but kind of a thing.

Not exactly a book contract, but something. Random House has added a quote from this review of mine to their publicity materials for Steve Almond's "Against Football".

Monday, December 01, 2014

Under Review

A new book review of mine is available for perusal here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Airports and "Airport"

The mighty force that is Matt Potter's "Pure Slush" has seen fit to publish a story of mine, "Airport", which can be found here by clicking on "The Latest". It is an extension/side story of my Mark Hamilton stories that are featured in the "2014" books, which can also be found on the site, or wherever fine calendrical fiction can be found.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 and all that

Pure Slush's 2014 story cycle, like the year itself, draws to a close, and as these 31 tales tumble to violent and sad and hopeful finishes, I renew my call to the readers of This Blog, if you are a fan of good writing, or if you just like dates, to give the stories a try. The ebooks are only $5 apiece, and you can do worse things with 5 minutes than read a short story.



And, not for nothing, this lady is killing it. If you love brilliant writing, check her out.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Things and stuff

Matt Potter, who is fair and just and nice to old people, has seen fit to publish a story of mine, "One Eleven", on Pure Slush here . (Once there, click on "The Latest")