• Endless Joke
    Endless Joke
    by David Antrobus

    Here's that writers' manual you were reaching and scrambling for. You know the one: filled with juicy writing tidbits and dripping with pop cultural snark and smartassery. Ew. Not an attractive look. But effective. And by the end, you'll either want to kiss me or kill me. With extreme prejudice. Go on. You know you want to.

  • Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    by David Antrobus

    Please click on the above thumbnail to buy my short, intense nonfiction book featuring 9/11 and trauma. It's less than the price of a cup of coffee... and contains fewer calories. Although, unlike most caffeine boosts, it might make you cry.

  • Music Speaks
    Music Speaks
    by LB Clark

    My story "Solo" appears in this excellent music charity anthology, Music Speaks. It is an odd hybrid of the darkly comic and the eerily apocalyptic... with a musical theme. Aw, rather than me explain it, just read it. Okay, uh, please?

  • First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    by Sybil Wilen, P. J. Ruce, Jeffrey McDonald, John Page, Susan Burdorf, Christina Gavi, David Alexander, Joanna Parypinski, Jack Flynn, Graeme Edwardson, David Antrobus, Jason Bailey, Xavier Axelson

    My story "Unquiet Slumbers" appears in the zombie anthology First Time Dead, Volume 3. It spills blood, gore and genuine tears of sorrow. Anyway, buy this stellar anthology and judge for yourself.

  • Seasons
    by David Antrobus, Edward Lorn, JD Mader, Jo-Anne Teal

    Four stories, four writers, four seasons. Characters broken by life, although not necessarily beaten. Are the seasons reminders of our growth or a glimpse of our slow decay?

  • Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited

    I have two stories in this delightful compendium of every 2012 winner of their Flash Fiction Challenge—one a nasty little horror short, the other an amusing misadventure of Og the caveman, his first appearance.

Networked Blogs



Places I Hang Out

A Different World

Are they fields or backdrops? Cornstalks, watercolor hills, the raw faraway throats of the assembling hounds.

You tripped on the edge of a ditch, dressed in your charcoal raiments. Fell to your knees along the rude shoulder of a quiet straight road. When I saw you, my first thought was why a nun would be alone out here in this place of silence, dripping sullied water, palms displayed, mud streaks your only stigmata.

The hunter is coming, with his dogs. 

I am your sister, your twin. I squat in a hovel, barely fed or taken care of. My dirt is in sedimentary layers, marking the eons of my degradation. I was taken from our village, where you and I played in our facsimiles of innocence, and the years passed like sutures in a wound: deep, stinging, sequential.

You are the river that keeps pace, that stays its course through millennia of strata thrusting upward and tells my ancient tale.


"I'm sorry."

"No, don't apologize. You are far more nun than whore. I am, too, perhaps." 

"My sister, I suspect it's not so stark a choice. But I don't want to dredge the past. I only want to love you and be loved."

"Easier for you to say than me. It is I who has to keep on paying. So many prices."

"What would you have me do?"

"Live my life as if it were yours."

"Is that possible?"

"Of course. Anything we imagine can become real."

"I can be the river instead of the rock?"

"Yes. Yes."

Did you crawl across the ankle-sharp cornstalks, the stunted remnants of our precious crop? Each year we move more soy, more sunflower. Pretty, yet the details become erased, the fine grain of things smoothed. We rip out the milkweed, even its roadside kin, oblivious to everything, the future, Lepidoptera attrition, the ruination of the monarchs. Make of everything a cipher. Too late, we get it. These are way stations we should never ignore. Did you make your escape?

Keep one eye on the distant hunter, an ear on the uncanny hollers and yowls. 

Hey, did you hear? You can get Innis & Gunn on tap in a bar on Government Street. Parliament dissolves into the backdrop of encroaching night, its outline a string of seasonal LEDs. Hot people lovemaking on the darkening lawn. Gawkers and passersby quietly thinning; tetchy draft horses dragging emptying wagons. Seabirds and crows scolding stragglers. The intimate lap of sailboats in this restful harbour. Sketchers and jewel makers disassembling, dismantling, heading for home. Red buses parked for the night. Replicant England folding into its counterfeit footprint. 

The lovers leave sweat outlines like crime scenes. I feel like an implosion. Down by deceptive waters, the frisson of thwarted love.

Where are you, Sheryl, and your prettier sister, Helena? Are you lost in Astral Weeks, listening to glory snared in amber? Bawling over the love that loves to love. The love that loves to love. While the gale howls over fallow fields and flattens the cornstalks. The love that loves to love. Say goodbye to all of that, to Madame George and Boy George and George Michael, and how we hitchhiked ourselves from Miami, FLA, shaved our legs, unfurled our litany of fags and freaks, made it all the way to NYC, hopelessly transformed. 

I offer you Rayne and Paige. The darkest, brightest, maddest, and sanest of twins. 

Or perhaps we should come at this from a different angle first. Picture a young David Lynch with his parents—late nineteen forties, early fifties—while they do business in some musty bank in Spokane or Boise. For a couple seconds, his parents take their eyes off of him and he wanders to the side of the bank where a hefty wooden stand filled with deposit slips hugs the wall. Young David is three or four years old and feels the urge to climb it, so he does exactly that, gripping the raised lip of its edge and trying to pull himself up. An innocent, even delightful moment in midcentury America. Norman Rockwell America. But that innocence is also his and everyone's downfall, in a prelitigious America where some article of furniture is not secured to a wall to prevent what happens here from happening. He hangs from its edge and it tips, and it's fashioned of dense and heavy wood—such good quality back then—so when it falls on him it crushes his throat and neck almost instantly. Thus one family enters the dark garden of grief, and thus the world is deprived of Eraserhead and Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive. On such random pegs such despondent coats hang.

But again. Twins. Rayne was told he was a boy and Paige a girl. Or was it the other way round? They spent decades in conflict with the world on something this elemental. Were you ever told your eyes were blue when you knew they were chestnut? That the world is flat when you endlessly sail its arcing horizons. Paige rained rage on all and Rayne filled pages with wrath, until they wrangled the word and then bent the world to their will and became Pain and Rage, brand new transgender superheroes for a world still not ready. Non-binary twins, a paradox.

"Did you see the man?"

"Last night was so quiet. Did something happen?"

"Nothing happened. The dismal man walked by."

"I want to live in a different world. One in which the dismal man doesn't walk by."

"He was holding something in his right hand."

"Holding what?"


"I want to live in a world where the dismal man isn't holding something."

Someone faraway is firing up power tools, and the last ever dog bays doleful, and a deep threnody resounds from the mouth of a cave like the world's final jeremiad. A man screams, "You don't know me!" and runs into a busy street while dousing himself with gasoline and flicking a Zippo. Two women emerge from a shallow lagoon and mutilate each other with the shells of razor clams. A baby dies alone on a soiled mattress. Worlds are annihilated by a supernova. 

The hunter has arrived, and his eyes are screaming. 

"I want to live in a different world."

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

Well written like so many of your short stories I just want to continue reading!! Unfortunately they come to an end. Love your poetic style.

June 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Antrobus

Who is this, using my name? You are in the UK and using Three as your ISP. I'm just curious. Why not post under your own name? Why use mine at all?

June 9, 2017 | Registered CommenterDavid Antrobus

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Kettering | Main | Sister Matins »