Monday, August 5, 2013

Short Story: Relativity

Today’s post is gonna be a short one but a good one (aren't they all good ones? Yes? YES? …Please just humor us) because we’re very busy writing right now. You see, even though we usually write comedy novels, we’re working on a collection of macabre short stories that we're going to release next month. And to celebrate the release, we’re going to hold a killer signing at Mutiny, our favorite Indie book store. We’re in the process of applying for the liquor license, but we plan to hold “Have a Beer with a Local Author” day, in which we encourage all of our local friends to stop by, have a beer or three, and hang out with us while we sign some books.

And yes, that's a full day of drinking. We imagine the day will progress like this...

9 AM:

9 PM:

For our local friends, we'll keep you posted on date/time. But in the meanwhile, here's a (very) short story from the upcoming collection that we're happy to share with you today. Enjoy!

Relativity

          I've been sitting in this chair for 20 minutes now, staring through this window, wondering if they can even see me.
          I can see them. I can see Macy Stadler, fidgeting with those delicate housewife hands of hers, next to the flabby fat-roll she calls a husband. She’s always looking at those hands. I wonder if it’s hard for her to look Bill in the eyes, ever since the handsome neighbor boy came along. She tells Bill he’s quite the handyman, and her appliances break a lot when Bill's not home. Little Jeremy’s very good with his hands, I hear.
          Now, I don’t think Bill’s stupid. I think he’s just got his priorities out of whack. For the past six months he’s been too wrapped up in dollar signs and imaginary numbers to see the pain his wife is in. I wonder if he even realizes his daughter isn't there.
          From this window, I can see Stella, too. So many people have been stuffed into this tiny brick room, and so too is Stella Leonard. Look at her; eyes pouched, watery from vodka and age. Dolled all up in her moth-eaten Sunday best, she’s almost the spitting image of her sister. 
          Stella has nothing, but you can find all of her possessions at various pawnshops across the city. Her sister is to thank for this—that, and an itch for cocaine that just couldn't ever seem to be scratched. Stella’s always denied that her sister’s had a problem, but if you ask me, the problem wasn't coke or pain killers or sleeping pills. It was that Stella just didn't care enough... Not until it was too late, anyhow. Not until I intervened.
          I can also see Father Andrews. He’s leaning his soul on his thick black book like a crutch, but no amount of praying is going to keep him in the good graces of the man upstairs…unless, of course, the Almighty’s got a soft spot for shepherds that like to prey upon the youth of their flock.
          Father Andrews clears his throat and flops open his Bible. He’s not on the other side of the glass with the rest of them. He’s standing two feet away, looking down at his book of words, jabbering. Even he doesn't dare see me.
          The only one who can see me is Letty, out there, crying. That lustrous light is gone from her eyes. She’s angry with me. Disappointed in me. I want to tell her, my beautiful sister, that the blackness in her heart won’t be there forever, but she’s being ushered out of the room.
          All of them are watching me in this chair, thinking about the daughter they lost. The sister they lost. And yet, Macy Stadler’s just going to go back to the arms of handyman Jeremy. Bill Stadler’s going to go back to his imaginary numbers. Stella’s going to go back to her vodka and her denial. I wonder if their chairs bind them the same way mine binds me.
          Before throwing the switch, a hood is placed over my head, but it doesn't matter. I don’t need to see them, and they don’t need to see me. They can’t even see themselves.

Cheers and stay classy, folks,
Brandon and Bryan

Music: Van She
Beer: Deschutes Mirror Pond


68 comments:

  1. Ooof, creepy! And the beer thing is a great idea - especially if you're providing the beer!

    ReplyDelete
  2. When you get drunk you can speak in Wingdings!?! I'm jealous.
    The story was great. I was getting a real Rear Window vibe from it until the great twist at the end. Well done. Good luck with the signing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a "gud book" indeed, just as the sign on the desk indicates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like to brag but we've got a pretty savvy marketing team* behind us.

      *us

      Delete
  4. I would so like to be there to watch all the drunk people at your signing. Good ploy - I bet you can talk them into a dozen books, one for every member of their family.
    The short story was great. All of those people were monsters in their own way.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That story was beautifully dark. Great little twist at the end that I didn't see coming. That's whetted my appetite for your new book.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You know I love stories with twists like this at the end! I can't wait to read an entire collection of them. I wish I could be at the signing. Good luck and I hope you actually get the liquor license!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The liquor license isn't the hard part. The hard part is getting drunk people to buy our books without thinking. No wait, that's not hard either. This should actually be pretty easy (for once).

      Delete
  7. Oh, boy-oh! That was a damn good ending to the story! You guys are masters at administering shots of philosphical genius... ness. I don't know. "Awesome story," is what I'm trying to say.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Everything needs pictures. Berenstain bears is classic literature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you buy the book there's a great (and unnecessarily graphic) drawing of the execution.

      Delete
  9. I love the story, great twist! Looking forward to reading more :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wait... Comedy and now macabre stuff?

    I look forward to the romance novels! or the puzzle books. Your puzzle books are going to kick butt in 2017.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, we actually have kicked around the idea of writing a romance novel that doesn't suck (after all we've had to say about Twilight and Fifty Shades being verbal abortions)...

      As for the puzzle book... we'll get back to you.

      Delete
  11. That story ended with a jolt alright!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "This execution sponsored by Jolt cola. Nothing gives you a Jolt like Jolt cola!" BRZZZBRRRZZZZ

      Delete
  12. >>... From this window, I can see Stella, too.

    I yell to her, but she can't hear me. Hard of hearing, ya know?

    "Stella! STEL...LA!"

    Hmmm... Reminds me of something, but for the life of YOU, I can't remember what.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    POSTSCRIPT:
    Beer: Deschutes 'Mirror Pond'?

    Re-Hmmm... Has Old Soul seen my comment? Just an odd coincidence? Or just more proof that great minds drink alike?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we were originally going to have Marlon Brando as our death row inmate, but he kept mumbling the words and no one could actually understand the story...

      And yes, great minds do indeed drink alike.

      Delete
  13. wish I lived close enough to you to go to that signing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. haha! Wish I lived closer so I could come have a beer with you. Although I don't really drink beer. I'll come do a shot while you drink a beer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Have a Shot with a Local Author"... yikes. I think we'd make it about 1 hour in before we had acute alcohol poisoning.

      Delete
  15. hahaha oh that is a great marketing ploy, you can fleece the drunks. If all the stories are the same quality as the short one above should be a great book too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least after all of our customers wake up still half-drunk and hungover the next day, they'll have something really awesome to read (and their money will not have gone to waste) ...

      Delete
  16. Brilliant idea to get 'em liquored up to buy some books!!! That customer already looks three sheets to the wind.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very macabre! Good luck with the intense writing....just resurfacing myself!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love a good story with a twist :). Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Replies
    1. Yeah I hate when alcoholics show up to an execution.

      Delete
  20. I loved the short story guys and I love the idea too although you lads will be so drunk near the end! I just realised that the brain made up the word brain too and now I'm severely stumped.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I really thought for most of the story, the narrator was Death. In a way, I guess I was close.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Is Brandon speaking funky Snow Crash languages? Cause, well, if he is, something need to be done. Probably to him.

    Man, y'all are writing faster than I can keep up with your stuff! bah!

    I want to come to the signing...:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're only a plane trip away. Who needs work and family and prior obligations?

      Delete
    2. No one, but someone does need money. :P

      Delete
  23. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of...well, I didn't really cry but I did laugh. The characters in the short story seemed real to me and sad...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Makes me wish I was in (or around) CO and could stop by... But alas, Canada is a ways away.

    Good luck - and great short story!

    ReplyDelete
  25. You excel at it all, humor and darkness. This was powerful, and the story (until the end) reminded me of Hitchcock's Rear Window (one of his best, in my opinion). Great work!

    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great Short. Silly post. 'Have a beer with a local author', should bring em out, but it's your storytelling and writing ability that will keep em. I especially like the title. I've been working on a blog post titled 'FAE's Theory of Relativity'...go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not about your theory of executions, is it?

      Delete
  27. Wow, that's creepy. I didn't see that coming.

    Wish I lived closer to go to your gig! Very cool to set that up though.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great story. It's a good thing they didn't pay their electric bill because now you can have a part 2. (Hint hint)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's nothing. In part 3, Vin Diesel jumps his Supra off an aircraft carrier.

      Delete
  29. Great flash fiction! Good luck at your signing. Drink a beer for me :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think the scene you set up is quite powerful. Very cool diversion from your humor stuff. I like both. Still...the idea of looking though the glass seeing how the people look but not knowing if they can see back. Totally creepy thinking about a sack going over ones head. AAAGGGGGHHHH

    ReplyDelete
  31. That is a great (very) short story. Love the twist. Good luck with the beer signing. I mean book signing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Congrats on the new book. Whether you would take it as a compliment or not but this and "vortex" story reminds me lot of Jeffrey Archer's short stories collection, the perfect murder and all that. Call me weird but I like Jeffrey Archer stories.
    And do they really use that black cloth for death penalty? Isn't injection easy way to go? I wouldn't want any killer hung or killed in a painful way in front me. Then I may have to feel sorry for them, which no one wants that is not closure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never read any Jeffrey Archer so I'll have to get back to you on whether I take this as a compliment or not. ;)

      The electric chair is actually still an option for inmates if they don't want lethal injection. In January of this year a guy actually chose to die that way because he didn't want to go "lying down."

      Mostly, though, electric chair executions were common in the early 1900s up till about the 60s, so even though the story doesn't really say anything about era, it probably takes place in the 50s/60s. The biggest indicator of this is that all of the spectators are not on their smartphones playing Angry Birds or shooting vertical video of the execution to upload to World Star Hiphop.

      Delete
    2. Spot on about angrybirds and video upload. With these gadgets everyone is a journalist, photographer, revolutionist, and a detective.

      so if you haven't read Jeffrey Archer you need superman to turn earth couple of decades back to transport back to that time period to truly enjoy the novels. I remember during my preteen and teen years my ambition was to come to Chicago and get Sidney Sheldon's autograph, and post teen years when I read those same stories - I couldn't understand why I loved those stories.
      Seems like I am not the only one one my friend was complaining that his GAP Madonna cd he bought during those days made him doubt his financial choices when he listened to that 10 years later. He also wished that he had gotten a free jeans with that CD.

      Delete
  33. I speak a little wingding. I believe Brandon said, "Thing word is ... like ... thing too. You write it down on ... thing."

    That story was a real kick in the gut. Nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should come to the signing, then. After about 5-6 beers Brandon's going to need a Wingdings interpreter.

      Delete
  34. woah I have goosebumps! that was so sad, maybe I shouldn't have read it before work.

    congrats on the new book, also can't wait for the "meet a local author thing", you should get a webcam so we all can join in drinking..yes

    I mean what is local these days, right?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hold that book signing sometime between the 8th and the 14th, so I can go!

    I enjoyed that short story. I'm always impressed with really short stories that actually tell a whole story and wrap it up very nicely at the end, because I certainly cannot do that in less than 40,000 words. Because I ramble. Like I'm doing right now.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  36. I loved it. At first, I thought he was Death, as a character. But then, the electric chair. UGH, so good. Well done, well timed.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Woah. I love that story. I wasn't really sure where it was going at first, but as I've said many times, that's what I love about your writing. I don't like predictable stories and you two ALWAYS come up with something unique and amazing.

    You two must have been in a violent mood to pick the electric chair though, instead of the needles that are used now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having it end with him peacefully drifting off to slumber as a man delicately injects a needle into his arm just doesn't have the same effect, though, does it...?

      Delete
  38. That's intense! Loved it. As for a meet and greet with booze! Yes please! Great idea.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh, I wish I lived closer to you guys. I'd love to crash your book signing. I'd drag in all of the people I know who would do anything or go anywhere if beer is involved/promised to them. (the list is long, lol)

    Great little snippet of writing here. Very haunting. Loving the punch that last line gives.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Short, but deep. VERY well-written.

    Also, try not to get so drunk that you end up learning a foreign language.

    -Barb

    ReplyDelete
  41. I like how drunk Bryan seems very high. I also like this short story, I was starting to dislike these people when bang, aw snap everything turns and feels better. In a dark way.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Do they even still use the electric chair? I thought they swapped to the more ethical lethal injection.

    ReplyDelete
  43. wow! love the beer & book signing! did i already buy a book? oh well i'll buy another anyway...

    and the short story was excellent, last thoughts...
    great!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Excellent. Excellent. I really liked this. The story just crept up, with that slow realization that marks the best stories like this. Great.

    ReplyDelete
  45. This blog is very useful information for me and guidance. California VIN Check.

    ReplyDelete