Short Stories 365/298

“A First-Class Passenger” by George August Meier from Diverse Voices Quarterly Volume 6, Issue 21. Available to read for free by clicking: http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/first-class-passenger/

Full disclosure: I have a story in this issue.

I enjoyed this story just as much the second time I read it as I did the first. There’s a twist at the end, and while I remembered that there was one, I did not remember what it was. Therefore I got to experience it again, which was fun.

The main character has just boarded a plane with his wife. They have seats in first-class, something they had to use all their airline miles to manage. He’s looking forward to the experience when a boorish passenger in loud clothing enters the plane. It becomes a game of wishing he will keep going, keep moving. Of course the other man sits in first-class, too. Of course our hero becomes obsessed with his every move, to the great irritation of his wife. The twist at the end isn’t the world’s most surprising but is said to be based on a real event, and should make you stop and think.

Short Stories 365/297

“Emily Theory” by Safwan Khatib from Diverse Voices Quarterly Volume 6, Issue 21.

Full disclosure: I have a story in this issue.

The narrator’s father works in the coal mines of Elkins, West Virginia. His mother is a housewife. He is a fifth-grader, and his sister Emily is a little older. She moves around their house without uttering a word, and he theorizes that she is actually the devil. He’s stunned to realize his best friend doesn’t share that opinion.

The end of the story is rather strange and I confess, I am not entirely sure what is supposed to be happening. It almost doesn’t matter, though. The language draws you in, the pacing is brisk, the voice strong. I’ve read it three times and all three times I was thoroughly engaged. I’m just not sure what is supposed to be going on with the dad, why the mom does what she does at the end, or what she may be about to do next.

The nifty thing is, it’s available to read for free here:

http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/emily-theory/

So, what do you think?

Interesting side note: I went looking for clues online and discovered that the author is very young, just seventeen! He’s had several stories and poems published, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Happy Photos and (More) Good News

First, two pictures that should bring some joy to a heck of a lot of people I know. Taken at Half Price Books & More, Louisville, KY.

Sorry they are askew. In the short time it took to snap these few pics I managed to attract not one but two curious/alarmed employees. I think they thought I was some sort of Westboro type. I de-escalated the situation by doing what I almost always do, in any bookstore or library – I grabbed a few books that looked especially interesting and sat down cross-legged on the floor in the aisle to peruse them.

And then I bought them.

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Now for (more) good news. There’s been a lot of it around here recently. I’m in a daze.

A story I wrote called “Odd Man Out” will be included in the spring issue of Diverse Voices Quarterly, due out possibly as early as the end of this month.