"THAR SHE BLOWS"
Brian got swallowed by a whale. Mom’s gonna be pissed.
And she is pissed, then worried, then grief-stricken—until the garbled phone call from her teenage son, alive in the whale’s lungs. Yay!
“Impossible!” says the cetacean expert. “Traumatic delusion,” says the psychiatrist. “You’re nutso,” says her Ex.
Mom: Okay, I’m crazy. But how do I find this one particular whale and get my son out?
Brian: How do I survive in this spongey dark hell— without video games?
This story weaves the concurrent travels of Brian and his mother—from the suburbs of Los Angeles to the Norwegian Sea (where whale hunting still happens). Twisted into their improbable journeys is an Eskimo State Trooper, an eight-year-old girl abducted by her dangerously unstable father, a mutt Pinocchio, and Brian’s message-in-a-bottle.
Smart, imaginative, pretty, you’d think at fourteen Abbey would be over her shyness. She can talk with Mom and Gram and Dad (when he phones), but with anyone else she’s speechless. On the isolated Carolina peninsula of Exclamation Point, the whole dang town sees her as a silent weirdo. Abbey’s summer is crawling until Gram reads the sand-runes and prophesizes, “Death, Murder, Sex, and Adultery.” Finally something exciting!
Abbey goes where she shouldn’t, deduces what she shouldn’t, and —to the threatening stranger she’s named Cowboyboots —opens her terrified mouth to say what she shouldn’t. She discovers the blood, the boat, and the ghost, family secrets and deadly plans. Despite her fear, she acts with unexpected bravery, risking everything to save a life. Now, at the top of the lighthouse on Point Island, Abbey has no escape. The room is in flames and Cowboyboots is busting down the door. Looks like those murder and death predictions will happen to her.
Told with humor and humanity in Abbey’s unique voice, Exclamation Point, despite sand-rune fortune-telling and what looks like a ghost, is firmly rooted in reality.
When Amelia collapsed in the doorway
and Chris called out "Oh my God,"
I ran in from the bedroom.
She was spayed out flat
and had no heartbeat,
but for a few seconds
her eyes were still with us.
I kept repeating
"Good dog. Good dog,"
knowing that she understood it
and knew it as praise.
When I’m dying
I hope someone will lean close
and hold me
and look into my eyes
and repeat over and over--
if not something just as powerful,
SHORT STORIES TO READ NOW:
Read my short story "Suicide Watch" in the September/October issue of The Magazine for Fantasy and Science Fiction! Read an interview about the story here.
"The Wild Grass"
is in The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory available on Amazon.
"After Christmas Turkey"
Short story in HOLIDAY HELL issue fromBlack Heart Magazine.
"Summer of Hope"
Short story in Black Heart Magazine.
"Old Dog, New Tricks"
Short story in Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine Number 5.
Short story in Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine. Number 5.
Short story in Gone Lawn.
“Dining Alone on Valentine’s Day”
The winner of The Furious Gazelle’s first ever Valentine’s/President’s Day contest goes to Susan Emshwiller. If you haven’t read her story yet, you should do that now.
Short story in Independent Ink Magazine. Number 13.
Do It Yourself Poem
This poem may
fall apart in 5 years.
I didn’t construct it
or consult with
I just put it up
for the shade.
Writing the Beast
It’s kind of like--
You go after a wild or frightened beast.
You dart around,
anticipating its moves,
cutting it off.
You corner it
and try to rope it.
You yell and demand it “COME!”
as it rears — eyes rolling.
You may capture it
(or eat dirt)
yet you won’t necessarily get to write/ride.
if you sit on a rock
with your back to the beast,
doing other things,
the big animal will
slowly come up behind you,
nuzzle your ear,
and tell you its stories.