Today is my wedding anniversary (my wife’s as well, by happy coincidence!). It is purest chance that I’m putting forth a story today. Especially one that takes the theme of vengeance as its seed-crystal, once again at the suggestion of this guy who writes somewhat more than I do.
No, the anniversary present involves going out to a nice sushi restaurant, son in tow, and eating until we’ve all got That Innsmouth Look. This because we like sushi, we don’t have use for any more china (which is what “tradition” has as appropriate for this year) and watching my son eat “exotic” food gives me strange joy. But while we’re off doing that, there’s no reason that people who aren’t us can’t enjoy a short story about revenge, which is precisely what Dig Two Graves is about.
A small semi-spoiler of a note to go with it, which I will go down a couple of lines to reveal:
OK. Here it is:
I am not specific about the offense at the bottom of the vendetta. I was intending to be less so, to the point that I chose the name “Felix” as being reasonably close in meaning to “Fortunato” without actually lifting from Poe. That I then give a sense that there is some actual reason behind the plot beyond a possibly-imaginary “thousand injuries” is probably a tacit admission that I’m perhaps not quite as good at this writing wheeze as was Poe… but you may also ponder just how culpable Felix is
Something that troubled me in my tender years, when idea of writing as something I might do first surfaced, can be articulated thus: All the good titles have been used. Back then, I thought that the title was sacrosanct, and since H.G. Wells had used The Star then neither I nor any other person could title a story with those two words.
I then went back to pushing a small plastic Luke Skywalker around the floor in a Kenner-made Landspeeder while enjoying Saturday morning cartoons. My view of the world was a little naive for a very good reason.
I now know that this is not the case, and that the same title can grace diverse works of literature, and even films! Still, childhood notions are sticky, so I sometimes baulk at a title that I know hangs on something else. I’m hoping the latest flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig has burnt some of that idea out of me, because he’s instructed people to take a title from a Stephen King novel– just grab it and use it!
And so I have. My little tiny Bag of Bones has nothing whatever to do with King’s fat bundle of words, bar the fact that it has the same three words stuck to the front. I’ve slightly exceeded the word limit for flash, but since I’m on very good terms with the editor here, I’m not getting in trouble for it.
And while I’m here, I’m going to tease– stand by for a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT next week! I’m so giddy about it I could burst, but I’m also quite good at keeping secrets. See you then, I hope.
…ALSO also, I’ll also point out the newly-minted donation button, for those who incline that way, in the left side-bar, which looks rather like this one:
I’m very very very proud to announce that I have a story appearing on Trigger Warning: Short Fiction with Pictures. I’m so proud, in fact, that I’ve de-linked the same story from this site for the moment, so if you want to read it, you’ll have to go over there.
I’m proud of this because it’s my first story to be published. More or less. During a recent spate of auto-Googling– because, occasionally, one does like to see how much attention the internet is paying– I found a couple of references to an article which was printed in Dragon, the monthly organ of, at the time, TSR Gaming (long since taken up by Wizards of the Coast). This was not a huge surprise, since it was a high-circulation magazine, even before the dawn of the Nerd Age we currently live in.
More surprising was to find my name popping up on the Internet Science Fiction Database. I entirely remember the story– the surprise is that anyone else took any notice of it. It appeared in the ‘zine emitted irregularly and briefly by Regina Speculative Fiction Society, and when I use the contraction, I am speaking of the old version; a physical object, composed of pieces of paper passed through a photocopier and hand-collated (as photocopiers of the day had trouble with that sort of thing) before being stapled together and handed to subscribers. It was not quite first-generation, as the editors had access to computer printing and so didn’t have to tape together bits of type-written material. But there was tape involved in the paste-up.
It is a non-professional credit, to be sure, since The Spintrian barely managed to mail out any copies with the available budget. While this more recent presentation of my work is not by the technical definition applied by the Horror Writers Association or the SWFA appearing in a professional market either, it is actually bringing in some payment. Semi-pro, we might say. A step on the path to greater things.
Apart from shouting “Hey, everyone! LOOKIT WHAT I DONE!” I’m making this post to underline something we all occasionally forget– what we did in the past can be very hard to bury. Alas, the original file of the story is locked up in Applewriter II formated 5.25-inch floppy discs which I may or may not still have in the house, so I can’t offer a glimpse at that old work of mine. This is probably a good thing. I seem to remember using some phonetic dialogue, and we all know how embarrassing that sort of thing can be.
The new story, Inner Voice, is another example of me giving into a long-standing stupid notion. At least ten years ago, while I was out walking in the glories of a prairie summer, I got a picture of a composite movie PI in my head, a blending of Humphrey Bogart, Darren McGavin, Robert Montgomery… and a few others, at any rate, involved in a very short scene.
“But what,” said I of a decade past, “can I make of this? Where might it go? I can’t keep that sort of thing up for any length!”
And there it lay at the bottom of my mental pond, until the cement around its feet loosened. I doesn’t have to go anywhere, in this brave world of flash-fiction. It could, I finally realized, go only so far, live out its life as a simple vignette, and bring some joy to others.
No, I promise I’m not doing any fan fiction on this site. At least, not Star Trek fan fiction. There’s plenty of that in the world.
The new Current Story was prompted by my brother mentioning Chekhov’s old maxim at just the right moment, when some valves of my imagination were properly set. Thus, after a certain amount of effort, I arrive at The Third Act, which if we stretch a little can be wedged into the horror genre– you certainly would not want to be in the protagonist’s shoes.