Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two Days Sampling at Fictionaut

The last couple of days I've been picking and chewing some work being shared at the literary website Fictionaut.  I had been too full to digest words for a good while, but I'm back to my old self, and it comes at just the right time.  There have been some interesting stories shared at Fictionaut during the past two days and I'll offer five of my favorite ones, and their links, below this dude chowing words.


"Guantanamo Zen" by Chris Okum

"The Boy Who Knew Death" by Javed Baloch

"Three Short Shorts" by Jake Barnes

"Brides." by Pia Ehrhardt

"Fissures" by James Claffey

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brown Bottle Excerpt: Chapter 11

I DON'T KNOW the name of the place I’m at from Adam.  Doesn’t matter.  Strapped up like a mule with ninety pounds of mortar rounds and gear humping down on my skinny ass.  We been slumping through for days and days and here’s a little town, a village, whatever you’d want to call the place we’ve come to and thought to rest.  But they’s no resting here.  Here we were to fight and kill and rape folks without guns and without so much as a sneer to offer us a reason for any of it. 
Soldiers I traded stories with in boot raping women and then gashing their throats.  Randy from Ohio, Buckeye Randy, ripped the clothes from a lady and done her good right and there in front of some whimpering children, her children I suspect.
I can’t find one damn thing to shoot at, not a damn thing that’s putting a threat on me.  Colley is setting fire to a hut or home or whatever to my left.  I’ve not fired a shot.  No reason.  But folks are dying all around.  They gut a child, his innards spill out in front of a man I figure to be the father and the father screams and lunges and fails and damn all that.  They stand him up and shoot him simple through the head.
I’ll make my way through all this shit, and I’ll do it on my terms.  Then they can stand me up, send me to Hell or home.  Ain’t no nevermind to me. 
Across the way Carter’s got a dirty, screaming baby hanging upside down by her twisted ankle.  He’s grinning like a possum, eyes all walled out of his head.  I never minded Carter, kept to himself most of the time, only talked to anybody whenever they first talked to him.  Guess I misjudged him being polite with him being a plain-as-day crazy sonofabitch.  Carter’s got a knife in his other hand.
I see red.  It seems I lose my hearing.  I lose my bearings.  I guess I lose whatever it takes to leave Carter to his evil, cause I start breaking my way across to him in a good run.  He makes me when I’m about halfway to him, about ten feet or so, and raises his knife.  Now, they had told me to always tend to my rifle, keep it with me at all times, that sort of thing, but I decide right then to heave it like a hatchet at Carter.
It was a lucky toss, the butt hitting flush against his forehead, and Carter drops, the baby drops.  My hearing is back, my bearings are back.  But, Heaven help me, I figure I’ve killed Carter.  When I close the last ten feet, I bend to check the baby and an explosion draft force knocks me a few feet back.  When I crawl back, the baby’s covered in dust and rocks.  But the explosion hadn’t mattered.  Her head is limp across her shoulder.  Her neck looks like a small bag of rocks.  She’s dead, and Carter comes up behind me just when I’m about to pick up this broken necked baby.  And then I lose everything.  Sound, sight, speech, and the last things are all thoughts.  My last thoughts before blacking all the way out were that I’m done with this Hell.  This Hell is done with me.  It’s done.
But it wasn’t done.  I woke up in a hospital bed and folks came in telling me about how I lost rank cause of attacking Carter, telling me that this was going to happen and that was going to happen, and they talked that way for a long time before they gave me a chance to ask what I was doing in the hospital. 
Turns out when Carter came to he clocked me a good lick in the head then gathered me up and carried me out of the village to a clearing, called for some of the others to come over and watch over me.  Turns out, Carter was sort of a hero, from what I could gather from all the talk around my bed.  Turns out, I was losing rank, but it didn’t matter.  They’s sending me home with a dishonorable discharge, and they said that was being kind.  Turns out that was fine as paint by me.  It wouldn’tve done for me to see Carter again anyways and break a commandment like it wasn’t nothing more than a Saltine.

Fail Better: Learning To Let Go as a Reader and a Writer

Tonight I begin again on a book I'm writing that may have no ending at all. And no hope for one. It's doesn't even have a tit...