My story “Kiss Off” is now live at Emprise Review.

My story “Kiss Off” is now live at Emprise Review.

How do these things happen, I often wonder. Maybe I was issued a challenge, maybe I was just listening to Pandora one day and an old Violent Femmes song came on and I thought “Damn, this is a good song.” As I nodded my head and started to recite the lyrics, these classic alternative indie lyrics from many years ago, I also thought, “This would make a good story.” Here are the original lyrics, in their entirety with the part that I stole from in bold:

I need someone a person to talk to
Someone who’d care to love
Could it be you could it be you
Situation gets rough then I start to panic
It’s not enough it’s just a habit
Hey kid you’re sick well darling this is it
You can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back I can see them stare
They’ll hurt me bad but I won’t mind
They’ll hurt me bad they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
I hope you know this will go down
On your permanent record
Oh yeah well don’t get so distressed
Did I happen to mention that I’m impressed
I take one one one cause you left me and
Two two two for my family and
3 3 3 for my heartache and
4 4 4 for my headaches and
5 5 5 for my lonely and
6 6 6 for my sorrow and
7 7 for no tomorrow and
8 8 I forget what 8 was for and
9 9 9 for a lost god and
10 10 10 10 for everything everything everything everything
You can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back I can see them stare
They’ll hurt me bad but I won’t mind
They’ll hurt me bad they do it all the time
Yeah yeah,yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah,yeah they do it all the time
Do it all the time
Do it all the time
Do it all the time time time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time

This whole song resonates with me, it always has. It’s a story of angst, of the world not being fair, of the bullshit and violence and randomness that not only shadows our youth, but the adult world as well. The opening lines of this song, they haunt me to this day. “I need someone, a person to talk to, someone who’d care to love. Could it be you?” Isn’t that what we all say, we all want? Sure it is.

So, I took the ten parts and tried to imagine a scene where a man who is falling apart, he says these things to himself, he is talking to himself. He’s talking to the world. He has talked himself into ending it all, but maybe, at the end of it, when the lights are fading and he feels that maybe there is something left to cling to, he tries to change his situation. He won’t be the victim yet once again. But, as it often is in life, maybe it’s too late. I hope you enjoy “Kiss Off.”

Thank you, Amber Sparks for always supporting my work and for taking this story at Emprise Review. If you didn’t know it, I’ll tell you now that not only is Amber a great editor, but one hell of an author as well. Also, thanks to Patrick McAllaster for his excellent editing too, he caught some things that got by me.

There is more excellent fiction in this issue by Amye Archer, Joe Kapitan, Jon Morgan Davies, Marko Fong, Steven R. Gowin, Todd McKie, Brian Mihok, Garrett Socol, and Angela Woodward. Check it out when you get a second.

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Complete List of Online Stories

This is a Table of Contents for all of my current, LIVE fiction that is available online for FREE. Below are each of the stories, a brief synopsis, and a link to the site that hosts them. They are in reverse chronological order.

What do all of these stories have in common? I tend to write about the darker aspects of life, and am fascinated by what happens when things fall apart, how we handle life when it throws us a curve ball, the dysfunction in everyday life, how we rebel against the rules of society, and what goes on in the middle of the night.

Last Updated: June 19, 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

“How Not to Come Undone”
THE WRITING DISORDER
SYNOPSIS: A pair of twins balance each other out, but that’s not always a good thing. In this dark magical realism we see how far family will go to save each other.
HOW NOT TO COME UNDONE

“The Offering on the Hill”
GAMUT
SYNOPSIS: When a man scours a dead land for his daughter, he’ll do anything to get her back. Inspired by The Dark Tower series, originally published in Chiral Mad 3, a Bram Stoker nominee. Long-listed for Best Horror of the Year. (Subscription required to read.)
PART ONE / PART TWO

“Vision Quest”
NORWEGIAN AMERICAN
SYNOPSIS: When a violent car accident takes his family, one man starts having visions.
VISION QUEST

“Repent”
GAMUT
SYNOPSIS: What would you do to save your son? Can a truly evil soul become anything else? Originally published in Gutted: Beautiful Horror stories, a Bram Stoker nominee. Long-listed for Best Horror of the Year. (Subscription required to read.)
PART ONE / PART TWO

“Rapture”
SOLARCIDE
SYNOPSIS: It’s not easy being a goddess these days. But there’s hope for Dia still.
RAPTURE

“From Within”
CEASE, COWS
SYNOPSIS: In a slave state, how do you protect your son? What if he doesn’t need protecting? Long-listed for Best Horror of the Year.
FROM WITHIN

“Little Red Wagon”
THE WRITING DISORDER
SYNOPSIS: What would you do to keep the human race alive? And what does being human really mean?
LITTLE RED WAGON

“Moving Heavy Objects”
STORYSOUTH
SYNOPSIS: A son tries to forgive his father for being so distant.
MOVING HEAVY OBJECTS

“Asking for Forgiveness”
MENACING HEDGE
SYNOPSIS: When the land yields nothing but abomination, how does family change, how do we survive? Long-listed for Best Horror of the Year.
ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS

“Gandaberunda”
SHOTGUN HONEY
SYNOPSIS: What happens when evil finds a young boy, an ancient creature, the signs all ignored?
GANDABERUNDA

“Sugar and Spice”
WEEKENDER
SYNOPSIS: A father comes to terms with the fact that his innocent daughter is growing up, and isn’t quite so innocent any more.
SUGAR AND SPICE

“Tinkering With the Moon”
GOREYESQUE
SYNOPSIS: When a little boy misses his father, he’d do anything to reunite with him.
TINKERING WITH THE MOON

“Bury Me Deep”
THE BIG ADIOS
SYNOPSIS: Out in the wild west, there lurk shadows and dark deeds, all done under the blazing sun for God and all to witness.
BURY ME DEEP

“Love Letters”
CEASE, COWS
SYNOPSIS: The things we do for love are often very destructive.
LOVE LETTERS

“Flowers for Jessica”
MAYDAY MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: How far would you go to bring your loved one back from the dead?
FLOWERS FOR JESSICA

“The Fix-It Man”
BLACK HEART MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: When a man falls apart, disconnects from his wife and son, what gesture can he make as he disintegrates?
THE FIX-IT MAN

“Something’s Broken”
FLYWHEEL MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: You fix it if you can, whatever’s broken. Because once somebody else picks the pieces up, once somebody else fixes it—it’s no longer yours.
SOMETHING’S BROKEN

“Vision Quest”
SURREAL GROTESQUE
SYNOPSIS: When a violent car accident takes his family, one man starts having visions.
VISION QUEST (ISSUU direct)

“Charlotte Sometimes”
ZOUCH
SYNOPSIS: Charlotte needs to escape sometimes.
CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES
[Sixth place winner of the Zouch Lit Bits Fiction contest]

“Jimmy Five Ways”
PUNCHNEL’S
SYNOPSIS: A wife, a son, a mistress, a partner and a man named Jimmy—five ways.
JIMMY FIVE WAYS
[One of the five winners of the Punchnel’s Hard-Boiled Down Noir Fiction contest]

“The Handyman”
CONJECTURAL FIGMENTS
SYNOPSIS: What makes us human and what makes us inhuman?
THE HANDYMAN (ISSUU direct)

“Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave”
METAZEN (Defunct)
SYNOPSIS: When something tragic happens, do you stay or do you leave? Sometimes you stay for a long time, only to realize that leaving would be less cruel. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
TWENTY REASONS TO LEAVE AND ONE TO STAY

“Love Letters”
CANNOLI PIE
EXCERPT: “It started with the paper, tearing it apart into little pieces, pressing it into tiny balls and popping the crumpled words into her mouth.”
LOVE LETTERS (ISUU direct)

“Daybreak”
STEPAWAY MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: Sometimes you walk away from it all. Or maybe you’re walking towards something. Either way, be complete in your transformation.
DAYBREAK

“After She Has Gone”
SHOTGUN HONEY
SYNOPSIS: When she takes it all, and you’re left with nothing but despair, what do you do? Suicide is an option—and as you wander the woods in search of a tomb, the darkness speaks to you the truth.
AFTER SHE HAS GONE

“Splintered”
PANK
SYNOPSIS: In real life, there are paths to take, sometimes you have a choice, some times you do not. In this adult “choose-your-own” ending adventure it’s up to you whether or not to be parnoid or to trust, to be innocent, or just a fool.
SPLINTERED

“Three Mistakes”
WORD RIOT
SYNOPSIS: Sometimes that’s all it takes, three mistakes to fall from grace, to lose it all, and maybe realize too late, that you had a pretty good life.
THREE MISTAKES

“Maker of Flight”
CHIZINE
WINNER of the 2009 “Enter the World of Filaria” contest
SYNOPSIS: In this contest, we were given the challenge of adding to the vivid and futuristic world that Brent Hayward created. In 1000 words, you were to find a way to insert a short piece of fiction that could stand alone, and also add to the world of Filaria. In Brent’s words:“That was a really nice piece you wrote, and in my head now it’s somehow forever tangled up in Filaria.”
MAKER OF FLIGHT (no longer online)

(A number of other stores are no longer available as the websites and publications have since gone under. I have removed them from this list as they have disappeared. Gone are: Opium Magazine, Colored Chalk, Cause & Effect, Nefarious Muse, ChiZine’s Chiaroscuro, Cherry Bleeds, Troubadour 21, Carbon-Based Lifeform Blues, Leodegraunce, Metazen, Emprise Review, Conjectural Figments, Beat the Dust, Thickjam, Circa, The Dying Goose, Parable Press, Revolt Daily, Penumbra, etc. RIP. )