Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – Shaking Hands by Debra Brenegan

I admit to being strange. Everyone is strange, which should move strangeness to normalcy, but doesn’t. An abundance of strangeness doesn’t mean consistency. It only means a consistent state of strange states of beings.

One of my personal strangenesses involves heeding sudden whims for no good reason at all. For instance, I am writing this at shortly past three, Thursday morning, 17 February 2022. Just after two, the words “Five years ago today” popped into my head for no reason. Maybe it was a random thought; maybe it was God whispering something important to my mind. Siding with my substantial ego, I have decided to go with the Chosen One theory.

I do not keep a diary. Only whatever Supreme Record Keeper there may or may not be knows what I was doing on 17 February 2017. Other than obviously from participating in activities that have not lasted five years in my memory, I discovered that I did read the LS post that day. And I made a comment under my old WordPress moniker “Walking Boss Cooper” (derived from one of my characters). And going back to the story Shaking Hands by one time contributor, Debra Brenegan, proved to me that I did exist that day and that I did find one thing from it still in my mind; for I instantly recalled the piece once I began to read it about a half hour ago.

Call it divine intervention or simply the rattlings of a strange mind, I now present

Shaking Hands.

If you are listening, Debra, here are a couple of questions to answer at your leisure:

Q: Did a real event prompt this in your mind?

Q: After all these years is there anything you’d change about the piece (I think it holds up well myself)?


Debra’s response.

Thank you so much for rerunning my story “Shaking Hands.” I’m delighted that you will be giving it another life! 

To answer your questions, no, a real event didn’t prompt this story for me — at least not a specific event. It was prompted by numerous news articles I read about gun violence and how I believe the victims of such violence go well beyond those who are immediately  injured or killed. I don’t think I’d change anything about the story, but, if possible, I wonder if you might consider changing the graphic that goes with the picture. I intended for readers to imagine the characters as “everybodies.” Depicting a particular race in the graphic pushes readers to think in a more constricted sense, I think. Could a more neutral graphic, of, say, a street light or a convenience store, be used? 


Thank you for the response. We are always happy to work with authors to present their work in the way that they have envisaged. I hope that the new image is more in-keeping with your idea for this piece. dd

3 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Shaking Hands by Debra Brenegan”

  1. Thank you Debra for your excellent answers. And thank you Diane for your extra work. I advise everyone who comes by to hit the link to Debra’s story. You will be glad you did.


  2. Leila,
    Excellent as always.
    I also do things on a whim. I decided that I wasn’t going into Sainsburys in Prestwick as it was evil. The rest are fine though.

    Great to see this back on the front page as such.
    I had another look and I can’t add to my initial comments. Some folks would need double the words to even get half your story!!
    I hope this gives you a wee nudge to send us some more.

    All the very best folks.


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