My story “Comprehending Kings” is the lead story in the July issue of The Montreal Review. Check out the rest of this great magazine, too.
The fourth story for my collection Middle of Nowhere is up! In “The Silver Bullet,” a high school stoner becomes obsessed with a socially inept girl after blinding her with a beer bottle that he chucked out of his homeroom window.
THE SILVER BULLET
THE COORS LIGHT BOTTLE SHOT DOWN FROM THE GRAYING SKY LIKE THE SILVER BULLET FROM ITS ADVERTISEMENTS. Logan, however, saw it differently. After he released the cold and wet bottle from his jittery hands, it sprouted wings as it swept the clouds away and spiraled along with a gentle breeze. A girl was walking on the street below and caught it. She looked up and gave him a beautiful smile, followed by a blown kiss.
His nose tingled as his buddy Derek finished another Coors and stumbled over. Derek’s eyes had drifted to the back of his head. Everyone had left school hours ago, but he and Derek still stunk up their homeroom classroom with Marlboro Reds and were doing some blow.
“Throw another one,” Derek said, attempting to hand Logan a fresh brew.
Logan nodded, fiddling with his tongue ring as he pressed his face against the window. He looked out of it every day during Ms. Weitzheimer’s boring history lectures and saw nothing but the meth heads who congregated in the skate park across from his school. His warm breath fogged the glass as screams floated up from below. He aimed to toss another Coors down four stories when he noticed that the same girl he thought had blown him a kiss was now lying in a pool of her own blood. She was crying loud enough to give him chills. A few of the addicts had crowded around, poking and prodding her.
The street became a dumping ground for the girl’s possessions. A clarinet spilled out of its felt case, rolling from side to side. The meth heads were leafing through scattered Physics and Calculus textbooks. Bad clarinet music filled the air as a skeletal junkie brought life to the solemn scene, drowning out the girl’s wails.
Logan fired up his machine gun laugh, pointing at the girl and the broken Coors that rolled around her face as if it was taunting her. Derek also snorted at the scene and then had an appealing suggestion that sounded better than what was happening below.
“Let’s jet and do another line on the back fire escape,” he smirked, and Logan nodded.
In the third story from my collection, two adolescents caught up in a first love retreat to the lagoon where they had their first kiss and learn the ugly truths about one another.
HERE WE ARE. You told your ma you were at Sandy’s house and she believed you again. Duckweed has covered the lagoon and made it nuclear green—the bullfrogs blend in. I see one of their long, pink tongues snare a fly and wonder what it’d taste like. The sky is white but the sun is strong and the clouds look like smudges. You just took my hand for the first time. Even after this day’s over, I know in my head that I’ll keep these lazy moments with you—I’ll think about them till my memory’s all gone.
In the second story from my collection Middle of Nowhere, two young siblings in Nebraska are brought to live with their father’s mistress after their mother becomes institutionalized.
OUR BUICK STOPPED HERE
COLT’S FINGERS CREPT TOWARDS THE SILVER COMBINATION LOCK OF HIS DADDY’S SUITCASE. From the front seat of their car, his daddy reached back and swatted Colt’s hand away with a grimace of twisted yellow teeth. No funny stuff said his daddy’s eyes in the rear view mirror, but funny stuff was what Colt did best. They had stopped in front of a house on a quaint, tree-lined block that Colt found familiar to his own – a slow moving world of nosy neighbors, tossed newspapers, and jingling ice cream trucks. His daddy then changed his tune and teased him by sliding a quarter from behind his ear. Colt knew better. Loose change wouldn’t buy good behavior. He let the sweaty quarter plop into his palm, but kept his other hand in a hidden caress of the suitcase and waited patiently for his daddy to disappear.