Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Samples

Excerpt from my short story “Unusual Circumstances”:

So what can I say? There’s this girl. Isn’t there always? It’s just one of those bizarre, guttural things that can’t be explained by scientific means—well, it probably can, but that’s not the point. All I know is one day the Deli had a new employee, and the next day I started feeling funny. You know the sensation, the squishiness that starts in your legs and moves up through your groin, storming your lower intestines by force until your stomach feels like it’s being devoured by a horde of razor-toothed butterflies. That kind of feeling.

I work at a small unaffiliated grocery store. Actually worked would be the proper term. Damn these tenses. I’d been working there for several years—not really playing politics or buttering up the right people—just working. Somehow, despite my aversion to leadership positions, I wound up as the produce manager. Eh. It was pretty much the same old bullshit: Special order Ms. Harper’s star fruit. Put the shiny happy apples on top of the bruised ones with a bad credit. Be extra nice to the gold-card hippie clientele. It was a living.

Otherwise, my life was uneventful. I would traipse down to film trivia night at the Traveling Salesperson or hit up a random show. Working nine to five, I’d developed into quite the weekend warrior. I also had a penchant for sneaking out of a relationship before the check came. Once any hint of that things-are-too-good sentiment started to tingle up my spine, I would disappeared like hail in July.

Anyway, that was me, fuzzy dice dangling from the rearview mirror of life as the world flickered by. At least until Jana served me a vegetarian gyro.

Technically, her name was Juanita, but she called herself Jana. She was one of the few people who could actually get away with nicknaming herself. Of course, she nicknamed herself when she was young enough that nobody understood there were nonsensical rules about not nicknaming yourself. So she was…

Travel blog entry:

Searching for the underground eddies of Memphis–the aging spirit of rock and roll flowing on subsonic currents–carries me far away from the downtown hustle and bustle of Beale Street. According to locals, though brochures claim the delta spirit resides in Beale Street’s old music halls, the gritty sounds now leak from hip bars freckled across the city. The blues now echoing from Beale Street are hollow, drowned in a sea of lurking collegiate drunks and white, middle-aged blues man-wannabes.

Published short fiction snippet:

On the bright side, if there is one to this situation, at least the location has a certain post-modern charm. Here we are sprawled across steel composite hood, surrounded by concrete and metal, halogen lights humming melodies above us, traffic lights painting a Technicolor glow around us as the final auburn rays of sun breach the horizon, caressing our slight frames. For one brief moment nature’s beauty frames humanity’s abominations, before abandoning us to our nocturnal technocracy. There’s a certain poetic ring to this moment. Christ! I sound like some sad-sack jerk off who wears fresh-printed ringer tees of old products and watches reruns of TV shows no one ever liked so they seem ironic; someone concerned with their hipster quotient. No, I take it back. I sound even more cynical and pretentious than the lot of them. Here I am, looking for poignancy in a parking lot. I have no right to mock anyone’s need for happiness, their need to make a connection. That kind of thinking pulls me down into a Schadenfreude undertow.

Also, take a look at some of the short fiction on my blog.


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