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  • 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
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    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
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    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
    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.

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Saturday
Jun012019

Raven of the Sea

"I see you now."

I might be the stupidest man who ever lived. This is my delayed tribute. I never saw you, but I see you now.

When I wheel her onto the concrete platform behind the fence so she can look out on the cove, her head is like some piñata, loose upon a bundle of sticks, desirous of being hung and being beat. I will never hang it. Or ever beat it. I want her to drink the waters and the misted skies of the bay forever. I don't want to ever say goodbye. But she knows this and brays laughter like a crow.

"My damn voice barely works anymore, and you're a total prick of a man, and I know what you want, and I'll be damned if I'll do what you want right here and right now, you complete and utter…"

Though I tune her out, I am penitent. I barely flinch.

She always was a cursing virtuoso, a maestro of malediction.

A cormorant rises from the shallows like a fiend released in our world and spreads the sodden shawl of its wingspan as if we could discern some profane script inside its scope, then it drags its sopping body impossibly and barely airborne, mere feet above the waves. Inwardly I cheer, but I know that is gauche. What self-respecting lifeform shits and grubs in the shallows and the dirt before it can soar in a blink, and arrow like the dream of a spear? This cormorant. This cursed black serpentine jinx with dripping parchment wings. This ink-dipped oath. Not bat but not bird either.

If somebody says, "I can't do this anymore," that's the time to start listening. 

It's also true that if they say they're struggling, you listen too, but these, these are crisis words, this is the klaxon, the clamor of an alarm aboard a starship where everything's bathed in alternating crimson and black, and sirens blare. 

"Tell me how you are," I say to her.

"I can't… encompass it.

"Try."

"For you?"

"No. For you. And for her…" 

"Prick. See?"

A tide brings the waters in, tosses great boatloads of kelp on the beach like the tendrils of cephalopods, waxes so ferries can leave, wanes like a moondrawn thing. Tourists keep gathering on the heights, to watch, to listen, to smell this thing. This hermetic zombie thing.

Grief lies curled like a dead fern in my gut.

"Talk," I say. "It's your moment. I did you harm, woman, but here's your time to preach."

Like scraping molluscs from an antique hull. 

Then a silence falls on land and water alike, a birdless quiet, until at last she croaks out her testimony. 

"Right. You raggedy motherfucker. What did you ever want with me? With us? Like actors, you want us to drag our indignities like ruined limbs across the stage, explain away our shame… Wait. No. That isn't right. Reboot. Start over…" 

Her voice is a rasp on fibrous wood. Her flintlike sorrow moves from her eyes to her entirety. 

"Lookit. Imagine there's this vast mural painted by generations upon a stucco wall, each segment independent of the rest, great scenes of despair and dread, of busted dreams and the mockeries of hope. Leaving some alleyway trattoria, you stumble on it and you close on some small grey drama, something ugly or mean. Shocked, you look upon another patch of the canvas, equally tawdry, and you think the ugly is winning, but then you go to leave and something makes you turn around and you see the whole fresco and you gasp and you cry out and you finally stand mute, comprehending, and you see it's your life. All your life. And you…" She points a misshapen finger at me. "You were one of the shabby sections is all. Now cut the fence and tip this damn chair already, you gawking ungainly dipshit. Time to introduce this meat suit to the unforgiving rocks."

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