Story fourteen in my short story collection, Girlfriending, is a flash piece called “Crapshoot.” A young guy is out for an evening and meets a girl he hopes to hook up with. Buys her some drinks. They talk. It’s all going well until her friend encamps next to her at the bar. How do the dice roll for our hero? Read “Crapshoot” to find out.
The thirteenth and title story of my short story collection is “Girlfriending.” Archie Descamp learned welding from his favored professor in art school, but the realities of life find him using his skills with the welding rig repairing machinery at the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. Archie is a master welder and team leader at work, but he is socially insecure and inept. He lives with his kitten, Gloria, and longs for a relationship with a woman. His quest for a girlfriend is humorous and tragic. He is a character you won’t soon forget.
Story twelve in my collection, Girlfriending, is “Red Sky.” Kit’s wife, Jayne, has moved out. It is pre-dawn on a cold winter’s morning, the day the court order states she can come to remove possessions both she and Kit agreed to. Kit is morose, angry, hurt, sad … but ready. When a sheriff’s deputy shows up ahead of Jayne’s arrival to “keep the peace,” Kit is blindsided. Read “Red Sky” to find out where the story goes from there. You will be as surprised as Kit.
“Interview,” the eleventh short story in my collection, Girlfriending, is a flash piece of fewer than 500 words. A man and his wife are seeking a house cleaner. With the wife unavailable, the man is tasked to interview an applicant. The seemingly mundane event becomes larger in importance than this gentleman could ever predict.
Girlfriending is a collection of stories depicting people beginning, ending, or finding their way through some type of romantic relationship. Some funny. Some sad. Some bizarre. I wager you’ll like them. I don’t have the copies I ordered yet, but the collection is available on both Barnes & Noble’s and on Amazon’s websites. Ten bucks. Still waiting for someone to put up the first reader’s review. You could be that one!
The tenth story in Girlfriending, my short story collection, is a story entitled “Clicking.” Jack is newly divorced from his boss’s daughter, so he lives in a rented trailer with his dachshund Cox, and is adjusting to his new employment as the overnight man at a funeral home. An alluring woman, Dustyanne, moves into the trailer next door with her brother, Scotty. Scotty returned from Afghanistan with a closed head wound. He looks like an NFL lineman, but has the demeanor of a five or six year-old child. Dustyanne moved to this trailer because it’s close to the VA hospital where Scotty attends daycare. Jack has an eye for Dustyanne. Can he befriend Scotty and find happiness with Dustyanne?
“Clicking” was published in Cigale Literary. You probably don’t subscribe. Read it in Girlfriending and find out what happens. You may be surprised.
Ninth in the lineup of stories in Girlfriending, my short story collection, is a story called “Altering Terms.” For those of you who read my novel, I think this story will be especially interesting. It is, however, a stand-alone story.
Difficult Lies, my novel, was written from Vic’s point of view. All we know about what happens in the novel is what Vic knows. As in life, there is plenty that Vic, and the rest of us, don’t know about what transpires.
I wrote “Altering Terms” to find out for myself what motivated Roxanne to initiate an affair with Vic. Is she just a slut, as some readers have said? What caused her to “go after” a married man? Everyone has reasons for what they do. Having a good reason for doing something wrong doesn’t justify the act; but uncovering the reason can explain it. Read “Altering Terms” and find out what motivated Roxanne, a character I especially enjoyed creating and getting to know.
The eighth story in my short story collection, Girlfriending, is a flash (498 word) piece called “Reflection.” Eric, a minimum wage busboy who barely makes ends meet, spots money at the feet of a beautiful girl on a subway car. The money must be hers. He can’t see the denomination, but even ten dollars would make his life easier. Conflict and resolution drives a short story. Which off-ramp will Eric take?
The seventh story in Girlfriending is “Arrival,” an interesting catastrophe/apocalypse piece. I always admired the way Anthony Burgess used invented language in A Clockwork Orange, so I decided to give it a try. In my story, Zac meets Annie at the lobster tank in the seafood department at his local Kroger Store. People begin dropping like flies, and Zak figures if it’s the end of civilization as he knows it, he wants to go out with a ‘super-glam’ like Annie. He hatches a plan to do just that; a plan that involves the lobster Zak names Kurtz. Stay with it, and Zak’s internal lingo will grow on you.
I hope you enjoy reading these shameless promotional pitches as much as I enjoy writing them. Challenging to write a tease that gives an idea of where the story goes without telling too much. Or too little.
“Believe It” is the sixth story in Girlfriending, my short story collection. It’s a great revenge story, with a terrific female protagonist, Paige.
I’ll leave the story description at that, but here’s an interesting (I hope) sidelight. My original manuscript opened with the following quote:
I and the public know
What all school children learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
–W. H. Auden
Chilling, isn’t it? And it was the perfect lead-in for my story, but my publisher was squeamish about using it, fearing we would have to pay for the rights. I don’t think it would be an issue, but when someone wants to publish me, I listen and agree to any requests I feel are reasonable. So the quote is out, but I got to tell you here. Gosh, hope Auden’s “people” aren’t reading this.
Anyway, you’ll love Paige. She rocks!
The fifth story in Girlfriending, my short story collection, is “Speed.” “Speed,” at 496 words is a quick, but satisfying read. A woman is interviewed by a man at a speed-dating event. Their interplay, and the result will amuse you.
Speed is one of my published stories. It found a home in Microliterature, a literary magazine featuring ‘short-shorts,’ or ‘flash’ fiction.