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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
    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
    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
Jul062019

Bright Are the Stars

Seagulls cry like brushstrokes across whitewash. Like ravens gulping at a landfill.

Peripheral. I watch you walk away.  

I like the Beatles a lot, but I don’t love the Beatles. I mean, I probably should love the Beatles. They were the soundtrack of my childhood, in many ways. I’m the right demographic: white, northern, English, old. Memories brimming with cobblestones, smokestacks, and rag-and-bone men. But I love so many bands ahead of them. Not sure why. Even though “And I Love Her” is one of the greatest love songs of all time. And “If I Fell,” too, a near-perfect melody wedded to the most genial and incisive of lyrics: “Cause I couldn’t stand the pain.” Sometimes I take my old Martin acoustic out of its case, all neglected and ashamed, with its patina of dust, and I play “And I Love Her,” those tiny Spanish hammer-ons and pull-offs on the A and D strings, and I’m reminded how demonstrably I should truly idolize that fucking band, and I wonder why they’re not quite at my pinnacle, how they’re the unwinnable K2 to my other more haughty Everests. 

A whole lot of hard day’s nights and plenty of yesterdays, you might say.

Well, that kind of happens. 

Like, why did Samantha become a memory of a sunrise and a sunset while Astrid stole my entire skies? How am I here not there? Why is there something instead of nothing?

Wait. Let me backtrack. Or forward track. Or sidetrack. This is how I want to meet the first aliens we encounter. I want to tell them, “This is the world that treasures Keanu Reeves.” What do you think? Honestly, that covers it all, the genial superficiality of celebrity culture and the sweetness of being risibly, brittly human and plausibly zenlike on this rocky, watery spaceship amid our dopey fixations. 

Astrid might argue. She always argues.

It’s never black and white… unless you’re a panda… or an orca. 

We stole a boat in the shadow of dawn and made for the coast of the forest of the spirit bear, the low sun streaming squadrons of light through the supplicant cedars into the inlet, a pod of orca undulating in the dips and troughs of the gentle sea, spraying golden veiled forests of misted breath as they moved in the waters, breath after breath like the softest of bellows, the rhythm of the rush and the echoing hush, their sinuous profiles sleek as the tender Pacific swells, oleaginous, serpentine, categorically and thoroughly home.

“You were right about one thing,” said Astrid, her cracked lips barely apart.

“Never,” I said. 

Her sea-wracked face was honest and in this moment especially erotic. Her straining for words made them precious.

“No, you were. I used to laugh when you said these things, but I’m not laughing now. These things were wrong, and you called it.”

“I call lots of shit. Can’t seem to help myself. And most of it makes me look like a tool.”

“Not this. These beauties should never be have been taken from their families and made to do tricks. It’s so clear now. How did we not know?”

“We think everything we do is normal. There’s no normal.”

“Huh.”

“I know. Hardly profound. But sometimes I see anomalies within the standard. Nothing was ever arranged so we would be here, now, doing these things. Nothing was meant. We can stop. We can always stop.”

“It’s quite possible I underestimated you, boyfriend.”

Maybe I underestimate her too. Astrid. Bright meteor. Starchild. 

The modest span of a woman’s back, the valleys alongside the ridge of her spine. The twin dimples poised above her hips, low as crescent moons in the sky of a modest planet, soft encounters by a glancing visitor. Do you have any idea how long I’ve needed that? It’s all a fad, every minute. If we live it, we love it.

If she goes now, I’m burned by the world. 

I loiter in the umbra of her night. 

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