No shit, there I was watering my flowers. Orchestration or habit bent on outcomes, I do it daily, making sure I can get back from all my Elsewheres in time to do so before the day is gone with the moon. I am faithful to that compulsion, and when this chick comes along, made nice in a certain way, yet points out dismal little failures in the front garden or the narrow plot beside the driveway to an occasional walking companion, it pisses me off no end. I’ve heard her through an open window say things like, “Wouldn’t you think someone would know better than to plant the short ones in the back.” Or, “Don’t you agree that his color scheme is a bit off base? Needs a little more imagination?” Or, like one totally elliptical occasion when she said, “Who does he thinks likes so much orange?”
Well here it is, week 52. That must be a good twelve months but not if you multiply the four weeks that we have in a month with the twelve months that, was it, the Roman’s gave us? Oh and don’t start me about five week months. For anyone who is paid monthly then every four weeks ends up with thirteen pays a year. That will always sound good until you realise that there is no difference to your annual salary.
I suppose that week 52 should maybe be called week 54 as our anniversary on the 17th was mentioned two weeks ago on week 50 as the said anniversary was coming up the following week, which is of course a week behind as week one is at the end of the first week which is therefore read into week 2.
Now if anyone is left reading we come to a wee review of our stories this week. Before I go on I will swallow some Prozac. I can’t say for definite but I think dm gillis has given us our only Christmas story. Now don’t take that as an invitation to send any sentimental or sugary family friendly beigeness!! (A challenge folks… Come on give us something different. Give us something that makes us feel weird and uncomfortable. Let’s bomb out Christmas stories. Be inspired by those old black and white unsettling films that were so out of place on Christmas night but made us all feel alive.)
It is a privilege to continue publishing Tom Sheehan’s writing. Nik and myself have put ourselves out there again and we have a new person. A writer with a very different structure to his story. We welcome Adam Kluger.
We are working hard through the submissions this week and it is excellent to have so much interest but please don’t let up, keep submitting.
A last mention about the anthology. We are so happy to see some reviews being posted. Come on… You are all writers, send Amazon a review!
…It was the beginning of a new term. There was a volatile mix of the noisy, frantic new starts, in amongst the typical surly teenagers. A man stood staring at his new charges. If you didn’t know otherwise you‘d never have taken him for a teacher, he looked like a yeti. He eyed them up and down and tried to spot the ‘Wee fudds.’ He had tolerance and intolerance in compassion with sarcasm. There was also a mix of shyness with confidence but this would never be shown to the kids. His intelligence was well-known amongst his work-mates and friends. He kept it hidden though, his brains were covert. He was a person of opposites. He was by no means atypical, more unique.
37G Henry Spiler.
Henry Spiller had long stopped caring about the missing letter on the nameplate demarcating the faceless geography of his workspace. Terry O’Callahan over in 19F had got his fixed up after his wife dropped by for lunch and nagged him about it for three straight days.
Maybe Terry used up the last L anyway
Henry had bigger things on his mind. Deadlines had to be met. In seventeen years he’d never missed a single one but this would be tight. The faint chirp from his terminal could only mean things were about to get tighter.
Thanks for letting us see your work…
I’m afraid we are unable to offer you publication in Pushing Down the Daisies magazine.”
” Hi Rudolf…Thanks for the kind and quick reply. Submitting two pieces of fiction (The Pencil-Pusher & The Rain Washed His Underwear Clean) and some artwork that perhaps, might be a better fit for Pushing Down the Daisies. Best regards, Alfred…”
“…sorry we dont publish fiction at all…”
I’ll have to tell the story because I’m the one most at fault here. I should have known better, I’m the new generation type. Even on the way home from the cemetery, going back to the house with my mother, my two younger brothers and my sister, it was me who should have known better. Lots of things should have tipped me off; instead of being bigger, having more room with a body gone from it, the house appeared smaller, at least to me. It felt smaller, smelled smaller, corners were tighter, the air cooler. I swore, after spending my first twenty-two years in it, it didn’t have its hand out for me, “Not a touch in the tally,” as my father used to say about things found useless, unproductive, too much emptiness to expend much-courted energy on.
The snowman smiled. He was driving a ’72 Lincoln with the windows down and the A/C on full. He smoked Kools and drank frosty cold cans of beer. The Stones played on the eight track. It was December 24th.
The Voice was speaking to him. It had been all afternoon. It was the same Voice he’d been hearing since he’d opened his bottle cap eyes and walked off of the abandoned lot of his birth. The Voice had told him to steal the car. It was nameless. The one that whispered. Sometimes it even spoke backward, as though in tongues. Now it was saying, “Smoke, drink and drive fast, for snowmen melt sooner rather than later. We have seen the future, and you are not a part of it.”
Before we begin I am sure that all of us here at Literally Stories wish to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Paris. The unfolding story was more of a horror than anyone could ever write.
Our thoughts are with you all.
I sent for a copy of the anthology and was very happy to receive it this week. There is nothing better than the look, feel and smell of a new book, especially one that you have been involved with. I hope that all our writers, their families and friends ask the old boy with the white beard to bring them one in a few weeks time. (I refuse to mention that time of year without Prozac.) It is a privilege to champion the short story not only on a daily basis but now with something more concrete.
Our stories this week were another mixed bag. We had sadness from both our new writers, Sarah Walker and Ronald Friedman. Tom Sheehan put together a tale with a twist. Nik gave us a bit of future-thinking satire and I questioned acceptance.
We have had quite a few submissions from new writers this week and we are in the process of reading and deciding. So if you are reading this and thinking ‘Mmm, I wonder?’ Stop wondering and send! It is a pure delight for us to find someone who has that new writer enthusiasm!
Last two comments are reiterations… Happy Anniversary to the site in the past week. And of course a huge thanks to all of you for the past year!!
I look at my scars and I know why I am the way that I am. You stood by me more than you ever should and I will always love you for giving me that chance. I blew it. Lifting my hands was the biggest mistake of my life and I am eternally sorry. I am glad that you left and are out of harm’s way. You are out of my way. The medication I am on I am not proud of. The therapy sessions that I have been ordered to take don’t help. I know why I am the way I am. I know that I can’t handle the things that I saw. I have night terrors. I don’t understand why I can’t look at the wounds as I would an operation scar and only be thankful that I am still here. The mark on my neck especially scares me. I am paranoid. Hateful. I am terrified. I wish I could resent as that would be a more understandable thought but I can’t. I don’t know how to focus anymore. I only feel anger and terror and hate. I can’t control any emotion and more importantly, I can’t focus my hate on who deserves it. I am dangerous and I am only too aware what I am capable of. I look at the world as a rabid dog. Head down, eyes up and then I snap.
Roll up! Roll up! Widen your eyes, suspend your disbelief and step forward to be amazed and enthralled and in thrall you shall be! Such wonders await, such sights will abound! For this is no ordinary journey friends… this is the looking-glass, the time travelling, time unravelling, unparalleled and unrivalled… Monsanto Brothers Circus! And when I say circus ladies and gentlemen boys and girls I’m not just talking about your humdrum everyday bearded mermaid! I’m not just sending you through for a juggler or two… although for the record the mercury spinners in the anti-grav tent have to be seen to be believed! Conjurers aplenty! Strongman automatons! High wire hybrids for your eye-poppery and jaw-droppery!
You sir! Yes you there with the optical implants, what more dare you ask to behold? What’s that? Come now sir, don’t be shy, uncloak your aura for all to see and speak the words the rest of these fine folk are thinking. You’ve all seen him on the holosphere, and I’d take a strong wager – if I happened to be of the betting persuasion – most of you are scanning his bio on your cortex embedded readers as I speak! Well read on lovely people but this must be seen in the flesh and the flesh must be seen…