If you’re unfamiliar, I’m part of The Deceptionists, a creative writing podcast that covers a number of different aspects of the craft of writing. While I wasn’t part of the recently recorded “Fantasy” episode of The Deceptionists genre writing series, and I hadn’t selected “Fantasy” as one of my writing prompts, but a funny thing happened during my daily commute. I had written a rough piece for my Sci-Fi prompt, and I started to think: “What would I have done with Fantasy?” That’s the way things go for me sometimes—inspiration hits when I’m done with another deadline. It’s that curiosity without the pressure, the what would I have done if…? Continue reading “Fantasy Fiction: The Tailor and The Knight”
So, I’m looking to revamp the blog and hopefully dust it off and get some more current content on here. The truth is I’ve been very busy with Wormwood: Revelation and various other creative projects, and this blog is really sort of a portfolio for fiction at this point.
However, I can announce that my newest short story, “Monkeyshines79,” has been published in the latest issue of the online PDF ‘zine, Grok. This is a geek culture magazine that focuses on essays and fiction for the nerdier among us. 😉 The theme of issue #6 was “avatar.” I conceived and pitched a short story to the editors, which they accepted. I then went about writing the short story. I do like the short story, but it’s unusual for me because it’s one of the first ever prose pieces that I pitched first, THEN wrote. It’s a Twilight Zone type of a story, so it’s all about the twist, and it was an interesting writing experiment to come up with the twist and then have to write everything correctly in order to play the twist and make it work.
This story originally saw print in Transfer #75, Spring 1998
By David Accampo
Leroy leaning on the black iron gate, Leroy owes me forty dollars. He’s thin as a lamppost, bent over, brown skin faded. Shit, I mean look at me. I’m black, white, everything, all mixed up, he tells me, thin arms outstretched, scant black hair curling up his forearms. Why did Leroy tell me that? When he asked me for ten dollars yesterday. Didn’t have any milk. No milk for the kids. His breath was sharp and hot, the metal tang of malt liquor. Hey, can I come in for a minute? I want to ask you something. I’ll pay you back as soon as I get my check. Disability check only comes once a month. Leroy scratches the brown weave of his hair under his baseball cap. Once a month marijuana smoke drifts across the cement courtyard. Leroy’s blue eyes waver when he talks about his newborn baby in the hospital, Her…her heart can’t beat on its own, they got her hooked all up with tubes and wires and shit. But I asked the doctor, you know, ‘cause me and Debra smoke a little pot on occasion, but that’s okay, the doctor was saying that it ain’t ‘cause of that. Can I use your phone to call the hospital? We don’t got a phone right now.
In the courtyard, Pablo paints the door to the apartment next to mine. Bright blue. The police busted it open when they arrested the last tenants, a swarm of black-and-yellow jackets buzzing through. I heard the shouts through the paper-thin walls, heard the stomping boots, heard the door frame splinter. I turned the volume on the television down and listened to the voices, sometimes loud and raw, sometimes low and firm. Pablo’s shiny skin is striped in blue. You let Leroy into your place. I wouldn’t do that, man. He and Debra got a problem with the crack, if you know what I mean. Pablo likes me because I pay my rent, even though its always late. A fading shaft of daylight plunges down the center of the courtyard, down past the iron railing of the second floor, illuminating gray concrete, an overturned tricycle. I think he’s checking your place out, I think he’s casing it. Robert, in #16, got robbed when he was out of town. I think it might have been Leroy. I mean, I heard about the baby, but I never seen it. I didn’t even know she was pregnant, did you? The Washing Woman carries a wicker basket across the court. I’ve never learned her name, but she is always doing laundry, jeans and shirts and socks draped across the railing, drying in the column of sun. The chubby white girl in a plain yellow dress smacks a soccer ball against the mud-streaked walls until her mother cracks open her door. Get in here! Now, you little shit! If you don’t get in here right now, you’re going to be SO fucking dead! The gate creaks on its hinges as Milo walks in, home from work, his coveralls smeared with paint and primer and plaster and dirt. He hums a tune, jingles his keys, and opens his mailbox. Pablo says, Hey, and Milo tips his hat to us and climbs slowly up the stairs. Continue reading “Apartment House Blues”