Search
Browse
  • 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.

Networked Blogs

 

 

Tweets
Places I Hang Out

Entries in Prince (3)

Friday
Aug112017

When Gulls Scream

When my girl left me and went back east, I drove many hundreds of miles of my own. South.

Long before Canyonville even had a chance, I pulled into a darkening asphalt parking lot horseshoed by conifers, hearing the cannonade of surf against rocks, and I signed in to a room with an ocean view. The owner, a handsome woman with short black hair in a bob and wide sargasso hips, hinted I might find solace in her oceanic murmurs and clefts, and I did consider it, her warm specific impetus of comfort. But I never acted on it. Actual solace being too distant and all. 

That first night, after hearkening to the eternal clamor of the tide, I beheld the sunset, the dripping red sun like some internal sac dropped into an autopsy pan. My rosy camera finger stutter-sifting forensic traces.

Plastic glasses brimming with cheap red wine. Slipshod guitar work. I slept on the narrow balcony, folded into motel bedding, torches marking the cliff top trail below. Eighties Prince strutting on my laptop. Grainy silhouetted couples passed and gouged more pieces from my dark-starred heart. Whispered and clasped hands. I could see the sugar arc of their fingers, imagine the shadowy settlement of their terms, the endearing angles of their lips and eyebrows, their poise, their tone, their doleful, gentle music.

As the surf replayed its nevermore loop, hell's agonal gasps, I watched the gaping moon, frozen out there in the solar wind. Cadaver blue and alone.

The first time solitude outshines us, it makes some quiet vow to ratchet up its bone-grip.

That ring tone. Asking, "You there?"

FaceTime. Fuck. I could have ignored her, but my prison was my grieving skin, my gentle heart, was never not.

"Here. Yeah. Hey, babe."

Shadowy faces moving and grimacing in doltish middle grounds. Aging white folks. Farmer's omelets and rye toast and bottomless coffees in white mugs, Perkins and Denny's, peanut butter and strawberry jelly arrayed in racks, thumbsized. Iowa fields and South Dakota billboards. Sioux City, Sioux Falls. Illinois sunset. Faraway lightning. Liver spots. Trucker hats. Angry as fuck. The drastic ghosts behind all this.

"You did the left coast road trip without me."

"I did."

Pause to hear the sussurance of the night surf. The quiet inhale, the concussive rage, the hissing backdraw through mineral-brown teeth. The whole defiant coast is a wide and diffident mouth.

Lighthouses faking something. Partial corpses. Zombified. Useful in some surrogate time now gone. 

"How could you?"

"Was always gonna do it. And woulda done it either way."

"I'm mad at you."

"Yeah. You broke this. Broke me. There was no us when I started."

Seabirds claim their quotas of night right before the crows wake.

We traded more words. Reminisced. About fireworks seen from a balcony. Even tried to wring something winsome from this jilted Fender, until…

A great blinding shear off the coast, somewhere near the horizon, sliced across the night, stupefying light so pure it's easy to forget the wretched bastard cacophony to follow.

And you saw it onscreen, knew it was your immediate future, light-speed nigh, the moment I tried to say I still cared, the moment love posed triumphant, when a gull screamed, at the frozen blazing moment of my erasure. 

Friday
Apr282017

Refugee Songs

There's something deep in the dripping forest that's darker than anything else in this world. You'd best pray you never find it. 

A beach shaped like a razor clam. A vulvar shell like a lover's wild promenade. Beads of moisture and salt.

"Don't look for it. Promise me."

"One day I'll find you. I swear."

They tellin us we gotta meet up wi' a lady named Fleur De Lis. That funny. But it what they tell us. That Cajun French or summin. Know what that mean in English? Flower of the lily. 

Fingertips oxidized brass smell. Grooved smokin' abraded calluses. An undersea cable drama. 

Because you're always there. Spitting lore and ill-judged bromides: "You might win some, but you just lost one." A hill you might not want to die on.

"You might not find me."

Her bland face was sexual the way a cheap motel is sexual. Dirty. Cut-rate. Worn. But you stay the night anyway. And suddenly it's no longer about sex but about adherence.

"I'm sorry, Mikey."

About loyalty. 

"I saw you up there earlier. A girl with a voice like yours should never apologize."

Cover all the deserts in geometric panels. Spin a million offshore blades. Panels, blades, desperate boats, great cedars. Components of the flag of the refugee nation. 

Have you ever felt bad about something, wished you could take it back? Downtown, a hawk roosts on a ledge thirty stories up. Calm and pitiless. In its mind already sorting bones. 

I am sobbing. I never sob. I haven't seen a honeybee in five years. Must I compose a requiem for all that's lost? 

"Yes. Yes, you must."

"But why me?"

Haole. Cracker. It ain't about whiteness, it a human thing. You have an advantage, you take that advantage. Majority will run with it. Don't matter, though I won't. No one will notice, or if they notice they won't care. Ditch that nigga. Cowardice is the febrile line running through the arc of the human story—thin, hot red, and moist with shame.

We're blinded on the Gaza Strip. We see red. We see sand. We see night. We're just guessing. Not guessing: imagining. The daubed wheel of trillions of stars turns glacially overhead. Christmas music, choral, sweet, as warm as the brandy that ignites the fruit pudding. 

Sing along.

"How can I sing when my teeth have been obliterated, my lips torn ragged?"

"Try."

Grasp my outstretched hand, take it, feel its hot sweat. My England is like an underground brook, bubbling beneath a brittle mantle. Aching with want, ghosted by yesteryear. Its heroes and heroines, its Arthurs and Robins and Boudiccas and Guineveres. Its Sids and its Nancys. Rule Britannia my flaming asshole. I love you. I fucking adore you. A disoriented child slips from a chalk cliff, and the ripples engulf the world. 

The truth? Rags become riches almost never. 

Bowie's gone. Prince too. That sly old Canuck also. Starmen waiting in the sky? The crack in everything? How about earthmen and women prepare to put in a shift? Help turn this clusterfuck around? The Provos said it: First we take Mountbatten. We ourselves. The dead will always dance, the sisters dispense mercy. I can wait a long, long time before I hear another love song, comes the echo through that crack in everything.  

"Stop now. Don't walk away."

"I'll do what I have to."

Rags of green fluttering in the storm's death rattle. Pulsating clouds. Black remnants, dark marvels. Come here. Yes, you. I think you're beautiful. No, don't turn your head. Walk don't walk. Sing for the bones, compose hymns for the migrants. "Be joyful—though you have considered all the facts."

A girl meets a boy in middle school. They clutch each other, astonished. Share eerily similar playlists. Someone else plays a song by Journey. They think it's corny, both secretly loving it, the part about the small town girl living in a lonely world, but they also go down to the fleet river during the snowmelt and listen to Springsteen. Laughing and crying both. Waiting to hear the inky coyote wails from the other bank. Or hoping to see the visceral curl of a sturgeon outliving us all as it wrings all liquid from the world, lustier than the river that birthed it, writhing, squeezing, scheming.

It's a midnight promise, a moment of traffic and ambition, a howling voice on the flat side of pitch, everyone arriving in their Chargers and Mustangs, primed for a conflagration, drenched spectral, emergent, let down by the truth of the world, that its best moments are almost never announced, its secret dreams rarely if ever proclaimed. 

Friday
Mar172017

Los Irish

This short tale is only a small part of something larger, I'm hoping. Oh, and happy St. Patrick's Day. 

__________________________________

It was a scene right out of Chandler, except I'm no gumshoe. A rain-soaked back alley at night, distant neon smeared abstract by the tireless storm. She wore Docs and a faded cotton dress, some reptile print. Gators or iguanas or some shit. Close-cropped hair and makeup-less. Celtic eyes dark as oxbow tannin. Her dress in the downpour so thin she might as well have been naked.

Without a shred of lechery, I said, "Nice Brazilian."

Despite her instant "Fuck you," a corner of her mouth twitched in a phantom smile.

I passed her the thin package wrapped in plastic film and she slid it under her dress, smoothing it carefully against her lower belly like a newly expectant mom.

"If I'd known, I'd have brought a raincoat."

"Not a chance, mister."

"I meant an actual raincoat."

Again she smiled. Cursed at me without malice before leaning forward and whispering three words in my ear and then dissolving into the night.

"Yeah, bye, Sinéad," I called after her. Did I tell you I have a puerile sense of humor sometimes?

It earned me one last well-deserved "Fuck you," and I could almost see it trailing off like cigarette smoke and rejoining the shadows—tragic, arch, and funny, like its source.

Nothing compares, indeed.