Monday, August 18, 2014

"Birth of a Sidekick" available on Amazon

A few years ago, I started reading books in the Western genre, and I thought it would be fun to create a cowboy hero who would go from town to town to right wrongs, bed bad guys, and shoot maidens fair.  I came up with the barest idea for the character, and suddenly thought, "What if he had a kid sidekick, like Batman, Captain America, Green Arrow, Aquaman, the Human Torch, and (once) Indiana Jones?  They could have a series of adventures together, wherein the little boy becomes a man!"  I absolutely LOVE the idea of the child sidekick, and will make no apologies for it.

The story I wrote, "Birth of a Sidekick," was the result.  It's not really the first story in a series (though Big suggested I could write more), and it's not a true Western.  But it's something I wrote that was a bit different from everything else I had written, and I decided to put it out in both text version and audio.

I sat down and recorded the whole thing . . . and then left it there.  It sat for months, gathering virtual dust, and went nowhere, just like everything else I create.

But no, I mustn't think like that.  I must put out my stuff, give people at least the CHANCE to read it (or listen to it, if they prefer).  And so, here it is.

I was lucky enough to get some pretty impressive cover art by David Krummenacher (above), and if I could somehow employ him to do art for every one of my stories, I'd put out . . . well, probably one or two.

Link is here: at Amazon and at Smashwords.

It took a couple more weeks, but here's the link to the audio version on Audible:  I performed it myself, and I'd appreciate it if somebody out there buys it.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

R.I.P. Spink and Williams (and Smith)

I was driving today, and the radio played "Your Love" by the Outfield.  It reminded me that I'd never written anything about the passing of John Spinks, who was the guitarist and songwriter of that Eighties band.  Many years ago, I had a roommate who was a huge fan of that rock group, and it must have been a formative influence on me, because, well...

John Spinks died last month (of liver cancer), and went largely unnoticed and unheralded.  The band, despite having several memorable songs that played in my childhood, peaked with their first album in 1985, and it was all downhill from there.  But it would be nice to hear them on the radio again . . . or my computer.

Heck, I think I might do that right now, as background while I type.

After getting home, my nephews were watching ALADDIN, which Disney Channel was apparently marathoning.  That was a second reminder, that I said nothing about the death of Robin Williams.  It was kind of amazing how hard that hit so many different people, and I'm sure the cause of his death greatly influenced that.  That someone could be so manic, boisterous, and funny could also be haunted and miserable enough to take his own life seems like a contradiction . . . or maybe it doesn't.

To be that high, one has to eventually come down, and I can't imagine what it would be like to try to be "on" all the time the way he was.  Williams was--at least when I was in college--the funniest man on the planet.  Watching the guy in interviews or on red carpets (or in his stand-up or on "Comic Relief" specials) was almost exhausting.
Nevertheless, he was able to achieve a very eclectic career.  He was able to balance making family films like JUMANJI and JACK (yeah, I said it), animated fare like ROBOTS and ALADDIN, dramas like DEAD POETS and GOOD WILL HUNTING, broad comedies like GOOD MORNING VIETNAM and DOUBTFIRE, and dark adult stuff like ONE HOUR PHOTO and INSOMNIA.  And he made time for really bad movies like TOYS, R.V., and FATHERS' DAY.  And NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM.  And POPEYE.  But hey, I digress.

In looking over his filmography, I am reminded that I've never seen THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, AWAKENINGS, or MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON.  My friend Jeff asked me which of his movies I watched to honor the man (apparently this was a worldwide observance this past weekend, that I was not aware of), and maybe I can catch one of those.

My father despised Robin Williams, from the 1970's on, and like a lot of things, Child Rish Outfield suspected that if my father vocally hated something, then I ought to give it a look.  Kind of makes me wonder how many Ke$ha albums my own children would own, if I had any.

When I heard of Robin Williams's passing, I immediately thought of the last movie I'd seen him in, WORLD'S GREATEST DAD, where he's a father whose son chokes himself to death with a belt.  Eee.

But after that, I guess I thought of WHAT DREAMS MAY COME.  I had a very profound experience with WDMC, and it's private enough that I hesitate to share it here.  I was in a dark place at the time, and I appreciated that film in a personal way (I also walked out of the theater with my friend, seeing what I thought was an empty soda cup sitting in the snowy parking lot, so I decided to kick it.  To my surprise, it turned out to be completely full of half-frozen Sprite, and both of us were completely drenched in it, which made for an interesting drive home).  Needless to say, Williams had a huge body of work, from "Mork and Mindy" to THE BIRDCAGE, and it is a gargantuan loss to the movies, and the English-speaking world to say goodbye to the man.

So hey, carpe diem . . . if you get a chance.

Rish Outfield

P.S. Also, in preparing this blog post, I just found out that Dick Smith also just died.  Smith is a legend in movie makeup, especially in Horror circles, and is best known for this work on LITTLE BIG MAN, AMADEUS, THE GODFATHER, and of course, THE EXORCIST.  He was a great innovator, introducing the concept of prosthetic pieces and layers, and it's sad that in this digital age, those kinds of wonderful physical transformations just don't happen anymore. 
I do wanna mention, though, that his work in THE HUNGER (with David Bowie) is the best old age makeup I have ever seen in a movie, and is never mentioned by anybody ever.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mirror Shard Post-mortem

Yeah, well.  My tale is finished, out there for all to see.

Big finished his story ("Doctor Claw") here:

Bria Burton finished her story ("Little Angel Helper") here:

And, to my surprise, Katherine Inskip also wrote a story ("The Catch") here:

Algar Van Cluth is still struggling with his.

I think I explained (apparently, falsely) how this story came about.  Big and I have both written stories based on the same claw machine premise.  He finished his earlier than I did--which is fine--and is probably on to his next story project now, which is also fine.

What I didn't say was that, about a month back, I went out to eat at a restaurant with my sister, my niece, and my two nephews.  By the doors, they had, ironically enough, one of those machines that smashes pennies into keychains.  No, it was a claw game, with all unironicalness.  And my nephew begged me, my mom, and my sister for quarters so he could play it.  I tried to explain that they eat people's money, and that they look easy but are really hard, and that he'd be throwing it away, and that Jodie Foster doesn't like men at all, but that Tom Cruise and John Travolta do. 

But there was no reasoning with a seven year old, and he insisted that he'd seen a guy win big on there, and he could win just as easily, if someone would just trust him with half a dollar.  I believe my mom and sister both contributed twenty-five cents each, and the boy ran off to waste it on the game . . . and won.

He just won a little rubber ball, which probably only sold for fifty cents in a store, but he sure was proud of proving me wrong.  And of course, by the same time the next day, he had both lost the ball and forgotten it ever happened (until the next time he saw one of those bloody machines).

I believe I originally planned on the brothers coming to the convenience store three times.  The little brother was supposed to win the first time, then the big brother won something small, and on the third day, the big brother was supposed to have tossed away a fortune trying to win something again.  But I lost interest in the story rather quickly, and it ended up being a) just the two visits, and b) plenty long with only that.

The story turned out to be similar--too similar?--to a couple others I've written where someone finds a magical item and becomes fixated on it.  I like that kind of story, and the kind of open ending this one went with.  In a way, though, it was a truer writing exercise than the last one was because "A Lovely Singing Voice" had already been written once, and this tale was wholly written for the blog.

So, look: "MagiClaw" is not going to win any awards.  It was meant to be short and amusing, and I don't know that it achieved either.  But I had a conversation with Big about it afterward, and it's possible I wrung the best story I could out of the premise.  I dunno, maybe somebody like Josh Roseman or Will MacIntosh could create a gem from this particular chunk of gypsum, but there is one moment in my tale that I like quite a bit, so I don't consider it a total loss.

And as far as that goes, I wrote it, I finished the damn thing (which has started to be par for the course on my writing of late), and I shared it with other people.  And that, good sir (and madam), is an actual triumph.

Rish Outfield

P.S. As before, feel free to let me know of any typos or grammar/structure problems, and I'll fix 'em.  But the "irregardess" has to stay, I'm afraid.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Broken Mirror Shard - Day 10

So, the story is done.  And it sure ain't great.  But that doesn't mean I shouldn't have written it.  You learn something by every new experience, every job you have, every time you get fired for throwing a pencil.

I have done a tad of revising as I went along, so the word count is way off by this point, and there was a bit earlier on that I had to change, but here you are, the last section.  Thanks for reading!


            They approached the MagiClaw.  Stewart thought of valuables hiding in there—treasures untold—and decided he would be happy with just more text messages from naked classmates.  Either one would be mighty nice. 

            But what he got was nothing, just more disappointment, more near misses with prizes he only glimpsed for a second before they disappeared, never to show themselves again.  His quarters ran out, and he found himself mad at the machine, mad at himself, and made at Anthony for having won and still being ahead of the game. 

            Customers came and went, all being rung up by the smiling boy cashier with a girl’s name.  Stewart was mad at him too.

            Anthony took over.  The lights blinked and the claw started moving. 

            Stewart stopped watching the claw and started watching his brother.  Anthony’s little hands were tight on the joystick, gripping it as though his life depended on it.  He had a wild look in his eyes, and Stewart suddenly understood what Adrian the Clerk had been getting at. 

            When Anthony—who was practically the swear police—muttered the f-word when a Transformers toy dropped from the claw’s grasp, Stewart realized it was time to go.

            “Hey, Ant, it’s we’re done, okay?”

            “What?” snarled the boy.

            “One more and we’re gonna go.”

            “No, no,” whined the boy.  “You said we could do what I want today and I want to do this.”

            “We have done this.”  Stewart sighed.  “Come on, man.  You’re almost out of money by now.  Let’s quit while we’re ahead.”

            Anthony snorted.  “Oh, I lost that twenty a long time ago.  This is Mom’s money from the back of the spice cupboard.”

            Stewart stared at his brother, hoping that had been a joke.  Anthony always walked the straight and narrow, so much so it was embarrassing (and angering, when Mom would ask why Stewart couldn’t be more like him).  But this was a completely different kid.  “Okay, then.  We’re done.  No more quarters, no more games.”

            But Anthony had already dropped a second quarter into the machine, and the lights were blinking as the claw started to move.

            “Come on, you . . .” the seven year old breathed, calling the MagiClaw a name so dirty Stewart himself would pause before saying it.

            The claw moved above the treasure trove, opened, and Anthony lowered it down.  The claw rose again, and it had something in its grasp: a piece of white and yellow cloth.  It was a shirt, apparently--not a clean one—and the boy muttered “the hell?” as the claw returned to its base and released the shirt into the trapdoor.

            It was some kind of sports jersey, or had been in its better days.  It seemed ragged and used, and at first Stewart was afraid to touch it.  But Anthony made a dejected sound, so Stewart reached into the trap door and pulled it out. 

            There were marks on the white fabric, and Stewart suspected someone had cleaned a locker room with it, maybe used it for a baby’s diaper.  He expected it to stink, but it had apparently been dry cleaned recently, because it still had the ticket on it.

            “I don’t get it,” Anthony said.

            “It’s a football jersey,” Stewart observed, turning it around to see a 75 on the back.

            “It says Greene, but it’s white,” Anthony pointed out.  From his tone, he felt pretty ripped off.

            “It might have been white once,” Stewart began, “but now I’d say it’s—”

            “What have you got there?” the nosy clerk asked.

            They looked over.  Adrian the Clerk was watching them over his register.  Stewart considered saying something mean like ‘Something 100% none of your business,’ or ‘Your mom’s underwear,’ but instead held it up with one hand.

            “Whoa,” breathed the clerk, and to Stewart, it sounded like he was being shown a topless photo of Claudia Espinoza.

            “What?  What is it?”

            They both went to the counter and the clerk held out his hands with excitement.  “It can’t be,” Adrian said.

            Stewart was hesitant to give him the jersey, at least till he understood what was so fascinating about it.  Upon closer examination, the dry cleaning tag turned out to be an auction tag.  Authentic Coca-Cola 1979 “Coke and a Smile” commercial shoot jersey, Sotheby’s New York.

            “I don’t understand.  What is it?”

            “No, you wouldn’t,” the clerk said.  “You’re too young.  I’m barely old enough.  This kid gave Joe Greene a Coke and Joe gave him his sweaty jersey.”

            “Gross,” Anthony said.  “Who’s Joe Greene?”

            “It was a commercial back when they meant something.”  The clerk imitated an excited child’s voice.  “’Thanks, Mean Joe!’”

            “Who’s Mean Joe?”

            “He was a football player, a defensive lineman from the Steelers.”

            “Football is lame,” Anthony said, but the wheels were already spinning in Stewart’s head.

            “So, this jersey is famous?  Or, at least, famous to old people?”

            “Yeah, to ‘old people’ like me, this is like the Holy Grail of jerseys.”

            “What’ a Holy Crail?” Anthony asked. 

            Stewart ignored him.  “So, this is worth something?”

            “Yes, surely.  I don’t know how much, but, at least a couple of—”

            Stewart interrupted him, never knowing the clerk was going to say ‘grand.’  “What will you give me for it?”

            “Me?  Well, you’ll get a lot more if you go to an auction house, or just list it on eBa—”

            Stewart hadn’t been born yesterday.  “Nahh, if you think it’s so great, you buy it.  Two hundred bucks.”  Stewart knew he was pushing it, suggesting a dirty old jersey from the Seventies might be worth hundreds of dollars, but the clerk seemed way interested.

            “You’re serious?” Adrian the Clerk asked, seeming suspicious again, like when they’d told him to double check the twenty.  “Two hundred dollars?”

            “Okay, if you don’t want it . . .” Stewart began, taking the ancient shirt away from his grasp. 

            “Oh, I guess I want it.  But you drive a hard bargain.”  The clerk grinned big, finding this all funny for some reason, and pressed a few buttons on the resister.  It slid open.  Adrian counted out two hundred dollars in twenties and tens.  “Look, Spencer, was it?”

            “Stewart,” he corrected, but tensing.

            “You’re ahead now.  Go outside.  Buy a girl you like a seashell necklace or a dreamcatcher or something.”


            “Because girls like that stuff.  Enjoy the rest of summer.”

            Stewart put his hand out.  “Okay.”  He traded the gross old jersey for the money, and clutched the bills tightly in his hand.  He wondered, for some reason, if he’d gotten Anthony’s twenty from the day before in that stack.  “Thanks.”

            “You too, kiddo,” the clerk said to Anthony.  To Stewart, he said, “Take advantage of sunshine and youth.”


            “Because neither of those things last.”

            Anthony nodded, Stewart stayed poker-faced, and both brothers turned to go.

            They passed the MagiClaw, sitting there, all mysterious-like.  Who knew what bounty still lay inside, concealed by that infuriating black partition?  Stewart fought the urge to kick the machine, but settled for flipping it the bird.

            They emerged into the sunny late afternoon, surprised to see how long the shadows were getting.  People were coming home from work, families were heading out to dinner, romances were just about to blossom.  Stewart had some cash in his pocket, and a story to tell. 

            He patted Anthony on the back and went to unlock the boy’s bicycle from where they’d stashed it.

            “Stewart?” Anthony said timidly.


            “Is two hundred dollars a lot of money?”

            “Yes.  No.  Sort of.”  He thought he knew what his kid brother was going to ask, and he decided he’d share some of the wealth.  It was only fair.

            “It could buy a lot of quarters, though,” the boy said instead.

            “Uh huh,” Stewart chuckled, glancing behind them at the convenience store.  “I was thinking the same thing.”

the end
Words Today: 1314
Words Total: 5974

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rish's story "Lighthouse View" on Horror Addicts podcast

Somehow, this is the fourth year in a row I've entered the Masters of the Macabre contest, a short story challenge over at Horror Addicts dot net.  They provide an overall theme for the contest, and those participating are given three variables that have to be in the story. 

This year, the theme was Creature Feature*, monster stories, and my three variables were: (Story) Location: Lighthouse, Item: Camera, and Creature Origin: Volcano. 

I actually started writing the damned thing right here on my blog, in the first (was it only the first?) of my live-blogging exercises.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I was contractually forbidden from publishing the story anywhere for a hundred days after the contest, and it couldn't have appeared anywhere previous to it.  So, I had to halt the blogging after the first page or so, and I'm still a bit bummed about that.

So, my tale tells of a young woman who comes to a lighthouse to interview the old man who lives there, but also hoping to get footage of the monster that supposedly emerged from an underwater volcanic eruption somewhere off the coast.**  She starts the interview, and then hears a noise from outside the lighthouse . . .

It should come as no surprise to you that my first version of "Lighthouse View" was way too long, and had to be cut down considerably.  Then that version had to be stripped down to be turned into an audio version.  Then that version had to be fed to piranhas, which removed any and all flesh so I could fit it into the time frame necessary.  When will I ever learn?***

Here be the link:

I don't know how good the tale is (or was before I machete-ed it).  As it stands, only Gino Moretto (and hopefully soon Renee Chambliss) has read the full story.  But it was fun to write (I went to a restaurant with my notebook and basically forced myself to reach the end before I could leave), and is yet another tale I'd never have come up with had the contest not suggested it.

There are five contestants in the challenge this year, including Solomon Archer, Ricky Cooper, Stephen Kozeniewski, and D.J. Pitsiladis, who (also) enters it every year.  I can't say whether mine is as good as theirs, or that you should go over there and vote for me, but I've lost every year previously, and it hasn't yet discouraged me.

Funny, that doesn't sound like the Rish Outfield I know.

Albrecht St. Neal

*Which is a much better title for my story than "Lighthouse View," but just like "Last Contact," it'll have to wait until later to be called that.

**I just discovered that another contestant, Solomon Archer, was given Oceanic Trench as his creature's origin, which I pretty much used in mine.  Whoops.

***I will run the full story on Ye Olde Rish Outcast one day, and have already done the episode for it.  Be warned.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Broken Mirror Shard - Day 9

I told Big I thought I might be able to finish this soon, and I was surprised to hear that he's already finished his. He really is doing good writing work right now, which is encouraging to me, because if he gave up on this, I certainly would have as well. As it stands, I am glad this story is a short one, because I am finding it difficult to care anymore.

We'll have to talk when it's over, but I'm not exactly thrilled with the way it's going, and once it's finished, I fully expect me to describe it--as I do all my completed tales--as "not a great story."

But the work waits.


            The clerk yawned.  “You understand that the only way a machine like that makes money is if people spend more to win a prize than the prizes are worth, right?”

            Anthony shook his little head.  “But I got money from it, and Stewart got a piece of paper with boobs on it.”

            The clerk opened his mouth, puzzled, then simply asked, “Who’s Stewart?”

            “He is,” said Anthony, gesturing.

            “Okay, it’s all luck then.  I don’t know.”

            Stewart got an idea.  “Hey, if I gave you fifty cents . . . would you play the game?”

            The clerk squinted at him.  “What?  After you’re gone?”

            “No, right now.”


            “Because I’m not having any luck with it.”

            “You got some gum.  And you won ten bucks out of it yesterday, right?”

            “That was me,” Anthony said proudly.  “And it was twenty.”

            “Irregardless,” Stewart said, “I can’t get it to give me anything.  Will you try?”

            “You really want me to play it?”

            “Yes,” both boys said at the same time.  It was almost creepy.

            “Well, I guess so,” Adrian said, and stepped around the counter.  He glanced back at the cash register, just in case this was some elaborate ruse to get him away from the money there, but both boys were following him.

            Stewart handed him fifty cents.  “Here you go.”

            “And if I win something . . . what?  It goes to you?”

            “Yeah,” he said.  Then he reconsidered.  “No, we’ll split it.”

            “Alright, but if it’s a Chevy Tahoe, it won’t do you two all that much good.”  He smiled when he said it, but the smile faded when neither one of them laughed.

            They followed him to the MagiClaw and he almost inserted one of the quarters, then stopped.  “You know what?” he said, not to them, but to himself.  “I shouldn’t do this.  I’ll just hang out behind the counter.”  He handed the coins back to Stewart.  “Here you go.”

            “Come on,” Stewart demanded, and this time he was the one who sounded whiny.

            “You know . . .” the clerk began, but never continued.  He just walked back around to his cash register, and glanced away from them.

            For some reason, that caught Stewart’s full attention.  “What?”

            “Well, not for nothin’ but . . . it’s a nice day outside.  You shouldn’t be cooped up in here.”

            “Why do you care?”

            “’Cause I am cooped up in here.  Last week, I saw a girl I used to know, wearing Daisy Dukes.  And I just had to watch her walk past.”

            “What are Daisy Ducks?” Anthony asked, stupidly.  But Stewart was curious too.

            “They’re short shorts.  A rare sight nowadays.  You’ll understand soon.”

            But Stewart already understood, and wanted to tell the clerk about Claudia Espinoza and her glorious text message.  He’d never see something like that or something like her if he managed to master the toughest skate trick, win the lottery, and save the world, all on the same day.  He wanted to tell him that he hadn’t believed in anything for a long time, let alone magic, and now, for the last day, he’d been looking at the world differently.  With wonder again, like he had before Dad left, before Anthony was born.

            But this clerk was just a guy, a stranger, and Stewart couldn’t tell a stranger those things.  He couldn’t even tell his little brother.

            He handed over another five.  His last five.  “Quarters, please.”

            Adrian stared at him for a moment.  Then he opened the register, not glancing down.  “Listen, we’re running low on quarters.  I can only give you two.”

            “No, you’re not.  You’re just saying that.”

            “Maybe.  But I’m doing you a favor.  Just two bucks more, then go out into the sun and be young, enjoy the day.”

            “You have to give us quarters,” asserted Anthony by his brother’s side.  “We can tell your boss.”

            “Tell him what?”

            “That we wanted to buy something and you wouldn’t let us.”

            “Right.  Like beer or smokes?”

            Stewart gritted his teeth.  “This isn’t like that.  We’d tell him you wouldn’t serve us.”

            The clerk nodded.  “Hey, aren’t you the kid who tried to pass me a phony twenty yesterday?”

            “What?” Anthony asked, his eyes widening.  “You told me it was real.”

            “Ignore him, Ant,” Stewart said.  “He’s just being a . . .”  He nearly said, ‘prick,’ but a small voice told him not to, that he could get kicked out, banned from the store like Head was.  And that would not be good.

            “A what?”

            “A Yoda.”

            The clerk narrowed his eyes.  “A Yoda?”

            “He was in Star W­—” began Anthony.

            “I know who that is.  But what does that mean?”

            Stewart explained, “It means somebody old who’s full of useless advice.”

            “Hey, Yoda was not useless.  He . . .” The clerk sighed.  He seemed a little disgusted, a little angry, but he produced the quarters and pushed them in their direction.  “Spend on, boys.”

Words Today: 828
Words Total: 4649

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Broken Mirror Shard - Day 8

I took a bit of time off from the blogging.  Not much, but enough to make me not want to continue doing it anymore.  I guess I need to hang out with other writers to recharge my motivators (and inertial dampeners), and I didn't get together with Big to talk about writing or podcasting this week.

I will at least try, though.


           Indeed, the next day, after feeding the ducks at Shinooginah Pond (of all activities), Stewart and Anthony went back to the Stop N Go for refreshments—chili dogs, this time—and a friendly pull of the claw.  The store employee was the same as the day before, and the MagiClaw sat exactly the same, although the baseball was gone.

            Anthony dropped fifty cents into the machine, managed to claw a watch, but lost it before it reached the trapdoor.  He shrugged it off, and let his big brother try.

            Stewart put quarter after quarter in the machine, but he kept coming up empty.  Once, the claw came up out of the covered space, a tattered comic book in its grasp.  It was a Superman comic, with the superhero holding a green automobile over his head.  Before it slipped from the claw’s grasp, Stewart saw the words ‘Action Comics’ at the top.  Then it was gone.

            “Holy crap!” Anthony exclaimed beside him. 

            “I know, right.  I can’t catch a friggin break.”

            “No, no, that book—that comic—that was the first Superman.  It’s, like, worth a zillion dollars or something!”

            “Yeah, right,” Stewart chided, but he did remember hearing on the news that an old Batman issue went for a thousand bucks or something in an auction recently.  It might even have been more, but Stewart hadn’t really been paying attention. 

            Stewart fed two more quarters into the machine—his last two.  This time, he won!

            A pack of gum, he won.  It was a pack of grape Bubblicious, and he cursed under his breath.  “All that for a pack of gum.”

            “I like grape.  That’s really good gum,” Anthony offered.

             “I’ve spent, like, six dollars—it better never lose its flavor.”

            He couldn’t let it go at that.  He went to the clerk to break more bills into quarters.  “You know, you’ve spent a lot on that machine,” observed the employee.

            “Yeah?” Stewart retorted, almost surly.  He wasn’t angry at the cashier so much as the damned MagiClaw.  It taunted him, teased him, kept pulling its goodies away from his grasp, like a drunk girl at an after-prom party.  Anthony had gotten bored of the game after a while, and had been talking to the guy (Adrian, his name was).

            “I’m just sayin.”

            “He said the machine is cursed,” Anthony told him. 

            Stewart looked at the man. “What?”

            Adrian leaned a bit over the counter, coming closer to tell them a secret.  “Nobody knows where the machine came from.  The boss ordered an ATM, and that came on the same truck, but not from the distributor.  And even though I’ve never seen anyone come into to stock it . . . it’s always full of prizes.”

            Stewart blinked.  “No joke?”

            The clerk cracked a smile.  “Sure, it’s a joke.  I only work three to eleven, so whoever stocks it comes in before I get here.”

            “But, it is magical, right?” Anthony asked him.

            The clerk shrugged.  “That’s just its name.”

            “He told me before that a kid won a pickup truck with the game,” Anthony tattled.

            “It’s true,” the clerk said, his face serious again.  “The claw pulled a Chevy Tahoe out of that thing.  It was amazing.”

            Both brothers stared at the clerk with growing awe.  “Really?” Anthony whispered.

            “No.  Of course not.  How would that even be possible?”

            “You’re not very funny,” Anthony growled.  Stewart couldn’t have said it better himself.

            “Fine.  But there was a guy here, like, two hours after you left yesterday, who got really excited when he was playing it.”

            Stewart too had gotten really excited, only afterward.  “Why?”

            “He said he got a certificate out of it that said he’d get full custody of his kids.”

            “What does that mean?” Anthony asked.

            “It means he got the kids in his divorce,” the clerk explained.

            “No, what does ‘certificate’ mean?”  And Stewart couldn’t tell if the boy was joking or not.  If he was, he decided he didn’t know his little brother well enough, even after seven years.

Word Count: 673
Word Total: 3770

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Rish Performs "Of Men & Wolves" on Far-Fetched Fables

In the time since starting the Dunesteef, I've tried to accept any and all invitations to do voices in podcasts or audio dramas that come my way, even though I've really got to stop.  Soon.

I'll be frank witcha: I didn't like this story at all when I read it through. First off, I thought Gary Dowell, the editor of the then-forthcoming Far Fetched Fables podcast, was crazy to have sent me this story to narrate, a first-person tale of the newly-widowed wife of a barbarian.   The tale was called "Of Men and Wolves," by An Owomoyela, and I discovered that the main character wasn't exactly a woman (or exactly a man either), and wondered how I would pull it off (not to mention pronouncing the name of the author).

But I recorded it, doing my best to deliver an androgynous, accented performance, but also to bring some emotion to the table, and I'll admit that there were a couple parts I thought were pretty okay. After that, I had to edit the recording, and it was then that I picked up on some nuances and language craft that I hadn't appreciated before. By the time it was done, I thought "Of Men and Wolves" was a pretty high quality tale.

You can check it out over at and judge for yourself.