Posts Tagged ‘short fiction’

The things we did, the things we didn’t do, the things we can never do again, the things we can never undo. Beneath every fantastical premise in Vampires In The Lemon Grove, a ghastly longing gnaws at the heart. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’s illustrated by a soldier’s magic back tattoo (“The New Veterans”); a mysterious scarecrow haunts a rueful teenage bully (“The Graveless Doll Of Eric Mutis”); immortal bloodsuckers struggle with retirement and commitment (“Vampires In The Lemon Grove”). In my favorite story here- the one I had to stop reading a couple times because it kept hitting me so hard- a woman-turned-silkworm is tortured by the past mistakes and the present limits of her own free will (“Reeling For The Empire”).

In the middle of it all there’s a lighthearted intermission involving US Presidents reincarnated as horses (“The Barn At The End Of Our Term”) and a spoof of sports fandom as it might appear near the South Pole (“Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules For Antarctic Tailgating”). Yet even these zany amusements throb with that same painful longing. Because in some way or another, we’re always Vampires In The Lemon Grove, chomping on the unpeeled lemons that are shabby substitutes for the bloody throats we really crave.

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After years of publishing great flash fiction online, Matchbook‘s releasing their first print issue, and I’m thrilled that my story “The Little Daredevil” is a part of it.  Copies are available right here.

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My short story “The Siamese Python” was recently published in Issue 2 of an awesomely twisted British magazine called The Alarmist Copies should make their way to a select few super-cool US bookstores next month (like Brooklyn’s Spoonbill & Sugartown), but for now they’re available for sale online here and here.

I’d also like to remind you that you can read my short story “The Shortcut” for free over at The Rusty Nail.  Or, if you were feeling generous and wanted to purchase a hard copy of “The Shortcut,” along with dozens of other stories and poems by up-and-coming writers, you could buy the January 2013 issue of The Rusty Nail at Amazon or CreateSpace.

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My short story “The Shortcut” has just been published online by The Rusty Nail.

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Normally, I leave work through the theater’s back door and pause to light my 6:01 smoke, then once my smoke is lit I rush to the K train so I can go home and goof off.  But today my routine’s interrupted by a young lady saying, “That’s a hot shirt.”

I turn to look at her, and she’s just lovely.  She’s smoking her own cigarette, and she’s young enough that the habit hasn’t weathered her yet.  She stands with her back straight against the brick wall, her posture firm and proper but not stiff.  She starts pulling back the sides of her snug motorcycle jacket and thrusting her chest out just a little.  It takes me a moment to realize that she’s doing this because we’re wearing identical T-shirts, which advertise an obscure rock band called The Luscious Assassins.  I’ve never seen anyone else wear a Luscious Assassins T-shirt- not even at one of their shows- and I’d bet that she hasn’t either.

I tell her, “Thanks.  Looks much better on you, though.”

My admittedly cheap line seems to charm her far more than I expected.  She asks if I’m going to see the Assassins play at Cookie’s in July, and I say of course.  I ask if she’s going too, and she says she thinks she’ll have to.  We start talking about other great bands we’ve seen recently, and our tastes overlap in some very important places.  By the time we stub out our smokes we’re also bonding over our love of German expressionist movies, and she does the funniest Peter Lorre impression I’ve ever seen.

Her name’s Ferida, by the way.  Just finished auditioning for the role of the rebellious 18 year-old daughter in The Honesty of Deceit– that’s why she wore the shirt today.  Not that she’s 18 herself…in fact she was just about to go drink her some whiskey.  Only problem is she has no one to drink with (hint, hint).

Here’s where I know she must have an angle.  I wonder if she thinks I’m some big-shot artistic director who can be charmed into giving her a big break, and not the lowly stagehand I actually am.  If that’s what she thinks, I figure she can’t be very bright.  I doubt that though.  She seems pretty smart, and it’s virtually impossible for a dumb actress to play pretty smart.  Besides, wearing that Luscious Assassins T-shirt is too good to be coincidence.  It’s like she’s done research on me.  She’s certainly up to something.  Maybe even something on someone else’s behalf.

Yet my gut assures me she’s not criminally insane, and whatever her angle is, it can’t be a terribly dangerous one.  So I think I should just see where this goes for now.

*   *   *


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According to legend, today is the 2500th anniversary of the origin of the phrase, “kill two birds with one stone.”

They say back in 490 BC, in a remote Chinese monastery, a young pupil said to the wise Master Lao Tzen Tzang:

“Master, I seek your wisdom, for I have two problems which trouble me greatly, and which, coincidentally enough, both involve chickens.


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