>My story “The Pickle” is now up at the online fiction site, Beat to a Pulp. Check it out and leave a comment to let me know what you think. Many thanks to David Cranmer for publishing it! Here’s the opening:
I guess you never think about how you got to where someone’s got a shotgun pointed at you. At least not until after it’s over, if you’re lucky enough to survive it. It’s just you and that big, fat barrel, and some jerkoff pointing it at you. Everything else just kinda goes away. I don’t know how long I sat there staring with my mouth open, a couple seconds maybe, though it seemed longer, then reality came back like a massive head rush. The rain hammering the roof of the van, the guy yelling at me, and Bryan about pissing himself in the seat next to me. Sometimes I laugh a little when I think about it. Usually I just try not to remember it at all.
I wrote this story last fall in a short fiction workshop I did through the 406 Writers Workshop here in Missoula. It was actually the first bit of short fiction I’d written since high school. I’d done a couple other things during the workshop, but they were chapters from novels I was working on. This one was different, which makes it kind of special to me. The night before I wrote it, I was at a reading featuring Austin writers Annie LaGanga and Bill Cotter. They made us sit in a circle, then each read a little bit of their work. Next, they had everyone at the reading — maybe 8 or 10 of us — tell a story, or share a game, or whatever came to mind, with everyone else. It was a lot of fun. When my turn came, I had been toying with this story idea, and basically made it up “in the oral tradition” and unleashed it on these guinea pigs. Those there didn’t seem to know if it was real or not, and it went over very well. So I dashed home and wrote it out. Of course since then it has been modified and tweaked with a little bit, but it isn’t much different than the original story I told. That was fun.
I hope you like it.