MIDDLE OF NOWHERE – STORIES

I’m changing the title of my short story collection to Middle of Nowhere. Below is a new description of collection. Titular story to follow soon.

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE: STORIES

An Elvis-obsessed father tries to bond with his son in Graceland after losing custody. Two young siblings are brought to live with their father’s mistress after their mother is institutionalized. A paranoid movie director films his wife’s every move until he begins receiving videos of someone filming him. A Girl Scout troop leader becomes involved in a bitter cookie selling scandal that rocks her suburban community. A guy with a talent for eating the hottest chili peppers in existence leaves behind everything to head to a spice competition down South.

From big cities to small towns, from stories grounded in reality to those that border on the surreal, the people in this collection are all lost in various ways. They feel like they are going nowhere and they’re ready for a dramatic change. For some it will be life-altering while others will remain in limbo. Packed with electric prose and bold in its narrative sweep, Middle of Nowhere is a series of tragicomic rides through 21st century America with the abandoned, the dysfunctional, the hopeful, and the restless.

SHORT STORY – DETACHED

 

 

The ninth story from my short story collection Middle of Nowhere is up on my site.  In “Detached,” an intense filmmaker keeps tabs on his wife by filming her every move until he begins receiving videos in the mail from someone filming him. Available now as an ebook on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Detached-ebook/dp/B00CP6GWR2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1368454514&sr=1-1

 


 

THE CAMERA WATCHED THEM EAT DINNER LIKE IT DID EVERY NIGHT.  Sadiora made a steak au poivre for Nick and a salad for herself.  Another camera in the kitchen had filmed every detail of her leaving the steak on the grill for too long instead of cooking it rare like Nick preferred.  They sat facing each other, each at the end of a long table in their large dining room that echoed every sound.  She was blindly stabbing at the lettuce on her plate when she lost grip on the fork and it clanged against the floor.  Only then did Nick look up.

“I’m going to get a new one,” she said, picking up the spinning fork while watching her reflection in the camera’s lens.  She could see her frizzy hair that always seemed out-of-sorts, an untamed animal atop her head.  Her long painter’s fingers covered up the strawberry birthmark above her collarbone that looked as if she’d been beaten there.  But it was her mouth that saddened her the most: tiny lips that made her smile barely there and not worth the attempt.

The camera’s red light continued to beam a bull’s-eye on her forehead.   She swept by its scrutiny and escaped to the kitchen.

Read more

SHORT STORY – GROTESQUE

 

 

The eighth story from my short story collection Middle of Nowhere is up on my site.  In “Grotesque,” an alcoholic businessman begins to wonder what is real anymore when he spends a wasted night with a girl who mysteriously has the same deformity as his former wife.

 

 

GROTESQUE

 

 

I MISSED THE CONNECTION TO SOME NOWHERE CITY ON MY ROUTE AND WOUND UP STRANDED IN ONE EVEN LESS APPEALING.  Christmas season brought booked flights and little sympathy.  So I decided to get sloppy at the airport bar and try to see how I’d do without a wedding ring on my finger, (we’re separating soon due to her wishes, so there’s no need to judge).  Turns out, I was pretty invisible anyway.

At the next table over, a gaggle of stewardesses traded war stories over wine spritzers and curly fries.  My hands clung to a glass of scotch as I took in their white stockings and over-zealous smiles.  The least attractive one of the bunch had a gap in her teeth, and I kept glancing her way.  It had been years since I had kissed another woman’s lips; hers would do just fine.  She even had a similar teardrop-like mole under her eye like my wife did.

Soon they finished their spritzers and curly fries and wobbled to their feet laughing.  My gap-toothed one was the drunkest of the three and her laughter was the loudest.  I sucked at the ice in my drink to get at those last few drops.  What led me to this airport bar?  What led me to all the airport bars of the world with their peppery curly fries and watered-down drinks?  In the window to my right was the same reflection I’d seen throughout the last decade –  my slouched self on a bar stool with a tie flipped over my shoulder, scribbling notes for another conference and grinding my teeth.  There was a time when the thought of my wife was all I needed to keep on scribbling.

I had made a ton of money, and the company I worked for made even more.  We sought out troubled corporations, swooping in and buying them out once they had no other option.  Then we restructured them from the ground up.  The vampire I’d become fired all former employees and new blood was brought in.  The boss man encouraged this vampire, actually demanded this creature, so how could I be blamed when I started to bring him home?

Through the window, I had a clean view of the runway and watched the planes sail into thick winter clouds.  Right then I knew I didn’t have it in me to catch one.  So when the alarm on my watch beeped, I ignored it and waited until I could see my flight disappear into the white sky.

I needed a nap.

I needed to take a break, and I’d always been able to daydream well.

Read more

SHORT STORY – COOKIES

 

The seventh story from my collection Middle of Nowhere is up.  In “Cookies,” a Girl Scout troop leader becomes involved in a bitter cookie selling scandal that rocks her suburban community and makes her an outcast.

 

COOKIES


            THE CHOSEN MOVIE TO BEGIN JANINE ACORN’S ANNUAL SLUMBER PARTY FOR HER SENIOR FLOWER PATCH SCOUT TROOP WAS GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, A PICK FROM JANINE HERSELF, THOUGHT TO BE MOTIVATIONAL REQUIRED VIEWING FOR ANY YOUNG FLOWER PATCHIAN.  The girl who sold the most cookies this year was being rewarded (through a major pulling of strings) to be an extra on the tweentastic show JHS McKinley, a huge jump from last year’s Space Camp fiasco, a prize met with yawns, and worse than that, the lowest Flower Patch earnings since the foundation of the troop in 1972.  Janine was determined not to let another cookie-selling train-wreck resurface this year.

Mackenzie Phelps, the little snot, was the first to make a face at Janine’s film choice.  She had recently lost all her baby fat and gained a holier-than-thou-attitude.  Evidently, she had gone to sloppy second with an older boy under the bleachers and astounded the other girls with repeated stories of the way his pierced tongue felt against her nipple.  It angered Janine to hear it told in whispers during supposed arts and craft sessions, but if Janine was honest, at twelve years old Mackenzie Phelps already had bigger breasts than she did.  Janine couldn’t remember any man in her life who’d been all too excited to go to sloppy second with her, especially her ex-husband Ron, who treated her breasts like doorbells, because in all honesty, there wasn’t much else he could do with them.

The other girls, high on root beer floats, whined along with Mackenzie who stood there with a told you so kind of look.  She had pretty, blond hair, styled at some high-priced salon that her mother frequented and wore a tank top, which allowed her bra straps to peek through.  Janine didn’t even bother wearing a bra that night.

“Is anyone cute in Glenn Larry?” Jamie Lynn asked, a dim girl who looked all of eight.

“It’s Glengarry.  Alec Baldwin is in it.”

“Who?”

That remark made one of Janine’s eyes twitch.  She longed for a smooth cigarette, or any oral fixation, but satiated herself for the time being by nibbling on her bottom lip.  The girls began complaining as a chorus, but Janine raised one slender finger and prayed it would silence them.

Read more

SHORT STORY – WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM WHAT I’VE LEARNED

 

Here’s the sixth story from my collection Middle of Nowhere.   In “What I’ve Learned from What I’ve Learned,” Tex is a misanthrope who falls in love with a wacky girl named Ginny who is his complete opposite.

 

 

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM WHAT I’VE LEARNED

 

 

I’LL TELL YOU FROM THE START THAT I DIDN’T WANT TO GET MARRIED.  Didn’t want none of it.  At least not the way it happened.  Never pictured myself in a cowboy hat and fringes getting married by the oldest lesbian ministers in the West.  Meet a girl, fall in love, and spend the rest of our lives together, except somehow it all happened backwards.  Well, sort of.  I mean, I met her, and she was nice, and pretty, too.  I wouldn’t have done her at my cousin’s wedding in the coat closet if she didn’t have a good face.  But to be honest, I had also sucked down about a half dozen Cape Codders that night.

Her name was Virginia, which bothered me already.  I once dated this girl Alabama, who was a loon, and had sworn off other girls named after states.  Alabama stole utensils.  All the time.  I caught her slipping forks into her pocketbook when I came back from the bathroom at the fancy restaurant I took her to for our two-month anniversary.  She wasn’t even embarrassed.

I convinced myself, though, that I could live with a name like Virginia because it was a state I’d been to and had a very good time.  Alabama was a state that I had never been, nor planned on going.  When I told Virginia that, she said I was funny, and after mentioning that her hair smelled like peaches and summer, I was on top on her with a fur coat on top of me.  

Read more

X