[Oops: I FORGOT TO POST THIS WHEN IT MATTERED]
NEWS ITEM #1:
My story THE GAME is now on the stands in PRISM MAGAZINE (51.4, Summer 2013). The story follows two young professors who try to look for the meaning of life at the bottom of a cup of boggle dice. This issue also features a squirrel in a little boat on the cover and a wicked story by our good pal, Erin Frances Fisher entitled “Last Concert—Luzon, Philippines”.
Here's an excerpt from my story:
And then it’s been months and months and we’re playing the game every single day like normal, regular guys play poker, or like we used to play chess. Even though he never calls it the game, Brad talks about it like that’s what it is, and no longer speaks to the grand cosmic meaning behind any of it. He still hasn’t brought his wife and kid here, still hasn’t saved up enough, and they often have long, painful conversations on the phone. I know she’s a reasonable, caring person, but I can hear her screaming on the other end sometimes. When I hear it from behind his bedroom door, I have to put on a record, or else take a walk through the trailer park, go buy a newspaper or a hotdog at the canteen.For months it’s just him and me at the Formica tabletop, smoking pipes, growing our beards out, talking about our days, our lectures and students. And, of course, tossing the dice. Our conversation pausing long enough for us to work out that we have to find a bridge (UNDRA BRDGE PLEASE). Then it’s us talking about department heads and how hot Jane the secretary is, except we’re standing under the causeway we drove to, rolling dice on the hood in the pouring rain as traffic goes past. Every now and then something comes up and pauses the normal flow of things, slows down the pace of the game. Make it seem like less of a game, or more than one. Lots of rolls would produce idiotic, impossible non-actions like ALWAYS BEETS TITS or SIMPLE CORD PAGE PUG FENCE. But every now and then it would get heavy. Something like WINSHIELD SHATTER BAT would make us have to consider how far we were going to take things, and who else we were going to include—as a victim—in our hobby. We’d have to decide, sitting in our cramped little office, which car sitting in the parking lot was going to get it. Was it better to smash a new car, or one that was already falling apart? Or one somewhere in between? Or a totally random selection? And where were the security cameras, anyway? Before he took aim at the Don’t Drink & Drive Community Shuttle van, Brad noted: It’s amazing how much your answer says about you, you know? Once you really commit to actually doing it? Another time, months later, we roll NOW HURT EECHOTHR and have to decide exactly what hurt each other means, what the gravity of a wound would have to be for it to work. Though this language is a bit disconcerting, “working” really just means we could move on, that it would prompt another roll of the dice and we could continue. This was an unspoken rule—we both had to be satisfied with the outcome for us to continue. That night the department chair comes by our office, and we talk to him with bleeding hands behind our backs, eight staples each (to match up, we figure, with the sixteen letters that made up the phrase). We are, as we usually are at this hour, drunk.
|"Good" Will Johnson|
NEWS** ITEM #3: I'm reading with my good pals Chris Donahoe and Trevor Corkum, along with Short Fiction Boss and Personal Hero Amy Jones in support of Amanda Leduc's new book MIRACLES OF ORDINARY MEN at the Company House August 17th. I'm hosting the event, which means 1) I'll weave together insults and compliments about each writer to seem detached and aloof but really I'll be nervous and excited 2) I'll get really drunk and reveal upsetting/disturbing stories about my past/self to people who don't even know me,have no tolerance for that sort of thing, and don't even know how to take it 3) I'll be really hung over for work but will have probably had real, sincere interactions with different human beings for the first time in years, so it'll at least be worth it.