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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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Entries in Hurricane Katrina (2)

Friday
Apr142017

Levees of Sand

Somehow desolate, he woke to the sound of the distant surf. Low tide. The harsh sporadic gossip of seabirds. 

Open windows had left the room cool in the early morning. Light streamed in ghost layers of airy sediment through the gauzy drapes, which undulated in the salt breeze.

Shivering slightly and scanning the room, Eric had to work at recalling where he was. Recumbent, he smoothed the thin sheet that covered him. Took in the light cyan walls with their tolerable paintings of driftwood and dunes. The beach house. Of course. In which case, he had no memory of how he'd gotten here.

A herring gull outside the window shrieked a volley of spiteful laughter, startling him into a gasp. As if his unsettled dreams had pursued him into the vigilant day; dreams that murmured, The ocean is like the movement of blood through a living heart; we tune it out until the moments of consequence

He struggled to remember a French adage he'd once read about hangovers, something like "My eyes aren't opposite their holes." Accurate or not, it felt right. Every time he moved his head, it took his brain a few bilious seconds to catch up. Like he was seasick on shifting sand.

Removing the sheet, Eric stood on shaky legs, trying to contain the swimming pain in his skull. The usual drifting tang of the sea stirred his guts, his mutinous senses queasily alert to the underlying decay of a billion rotting fish corpses. He barely made it to the small en suite, heaving a warm sluice of watery scotch into the pink maw of the clamshell sink. 

Only then, when he looked up at the mirror, did he see the bloodstreaks like warpaint on his face.

***

With age comes not so much wisdom as perspective. We realize it's all built on something. Colonnades, piazzas, rialtos, domos. The Ponte Vecchio. Dikes and levees. Fifties-model Chevys and Buicks scurrying like vivid beetles along the Spanish colonial streets of Havana. Built. Pasted over. Like posters on walls. Layers. Sediment. Dreamed of again and again in infinite ways. On sand or on bedrock or on water. Bourbon Street. The Bridge of Sighs. The ephemeral is no less momentous than the permanent, because really, there is no permanence. The ephemeral is the now, where we stand. Live there. Live here. 

***

Somewhere, perhaps the last song ever heard on earth, Louis Armstrong sings "St. James Infirmary." So cold, so sweet, and so fair.

***

One part of Darla, half of her upper torso, lay on the wicker loveseat. Another bisected the open doorway to the sandy deck, a small crab moving unevenly in the ruins of her skull. Layers of sand had caked the coagulate rivers of blood. In all, she was in three pieces. At first he thought four until he realized the dripping horror on the glass top coffee table, amid the paraphernalia of an ill-judged, foolhardy night, was the remains of his unborn child who would remain forever unborn.

Shot glasses, crack pipes, and ornamental swords. Beach detritus, abalone, kelp. All driftwood looks like the bones of the world. 

A fraudulent life of counterfeit strength had brought him here, to a place where all his daddy's purported billions meant less than nothing. The ferryman had demanded payment over four long decades and Eric had ignored his entreaties, even laughed in his stoic face. But not now. He wasn't laughing now. Now that payment was long overdue, and the shifting sands of power had begun to slip through, like someone gut shot and trying to hold in their viscera.  

***

What is this? Who are you? What kind of people can walk on by? Do you see the bodies floating in the filthy water? The people with their signs on the roofs? You remember the poor, the tired, the huddled, right? Did you once make a covenant with these people? Are you not obligated? Is this not your mandate? Or is our humanity lesser when placed beside your own? Go, then. Pass on by. You'd best pray your gods ain't the judging kind.

*** 

He used her phone—the one with the precipitating text—to make a call, and then left the house. Headed for the beach and the incoming caress of a gentle tide. Everything gone. Love. Family. A future. Everything. He felt he should cry, but his body sustained its arrant rebellion and even tears wouldn't come.

The yielding sands were soft beneath his feet. He stepped barefoot into the clear waters of this once-bright world, and the merciful waves closed in. 

Friday
May132016

Goodnight, Crazy Horse

No matter the setting, this is a world in which people cry all the time. You can walk along a fifties street, between barber poles and angle-parked lime-green Buicks, and everyone you meet is bawling. A man passes you and you notice an eye inside his eye, a full blinking eye nestled in his iris, and it too is crying.

You pass a clothing store and watch as women brush each others' hair, unmindful of the handfuls that come unmoored. A hotbed of scalpings. The idea it might be a front for a murder room occurs to you late on. Someone screams in back, a torn sheet of bright, eventful metal.

You keep on walking, as if the bomb had never dropped. Like Hiroshima in its shadow realm still emits light.

The street reflects shards of partial smiles.

Interlude: there was a Daft Punk instrumental early in the gray-dawn millennium playing somewhere, from the album Discovery, I think—I didn't see a jukebox, but maybe I was missing something, as I often lose track the later the day gets, and this was early evening and a sun was setting, not a sun but the sun, which only meant that our planet was positioning itself so that the horizon, from this perspective, was painstakingly rolling upward relative to the massive gas giant over ninety million miles away that we could nonetheless see and feel warmth from, which always stuns me when I remember to dwell on it, which isn't that often given the distractions of life down here, all around us, all the drugs and fucking and melody and screens and words and fights and sadness and rage and oddness. Wait. Where was I at? Oh, the Daft Punk music. It was great, it worked so well with the streaky sky and the sudden onslaught of birds, the tiny iron flocks, the gunning of gleeful engines, the lovely open conduit above the mundane, the relentless chatter and the awful quiet. Beauty doesn't always steal in on especially acceptable feet.

Also, remember this: take the weapons of your enemy and make them your tools.

We're going to walk along the pier, and as we go we'll feel the splinters beneath the soles of our feet while herring gulls cull sounds from the air, sucking in the caws and squeals as the fishermen move slowly alongside the shore, all the while backgrounding the sheer insanity of a body transfixed and transformed and dangling like the ripest of fruits above the great headland over a happy valley, in turn above the massive swoosh of the Victorian bay.

O Snowdonia. My cherished Cascadia.

The great tragedy of life is this: by the time you've lived long enough to figure something pertinent, nobody's interested because you're suddenly irrelevant.

The sun is edging toward down, but still a ways from doing so, and the dogs in the 'hood are surly and loud for minutes on end, and a neighbor fires up his Harley for a second or two, seeming to enjoy the clamor for clamor's sake, and then is gone down the exurban trail, coughing and roaring, while the dogs complain. Soon, one of the gods approaches and asks if we are okay with sundry horrors and scares and we say, "Sure, fine, let's do it"; and the very ends of the trees are swole-green, just the ends, like candlefire lime dripped in gold, and we lie back thinking of low gravity viables, dreaming of something rare; a warm squiggle within a lost icicle.

And I crawl home, gang-raped by grief.

It's the time of the women, the rise of the kohl eyes, the whole ascendancy of the sweet holes, the swing and arrest of the breast, the estrofest of the crest of a third or even a fourth wave, a celebration of something "knock-kneed and all-bright," of desire, bridal murmurs in a secular church, of something inside and shifting, the uterine lurch and lifting of our hopes...

It's now quite possible I don't know what I am.

I begin to run through the alley, or is this a canyon, or maybe a bayou, and at first it hurts, with my lame thighs dragging so slowly behind where my mind has aimed, but as the muscles twitch in their slow taffy environs, nevertheless, I roll into the Iowa detour, beam at the measureless fields of nodding yellow heads, read dubious quotes by Crazy Horse, bow to the buffalo, buy-in to America's dreamlife, gyrate to Kind of Blue, plot intricate vengeance for the Clutters in Kansas, stop off for a gas station hoagie, blurt my own god's honest truth, meet and half-love the devil at the wharf, burn all my Santeria-meets-zydeco Bourbon Street trinkets. The Big Easy. You fuckers are lazy. You did a heck of a job, Brownie. Mission fucking accomplished. Memories of east Texas. Truck stop waitress. Fuck right off, all a y'all. And truly goodnight, alligators.