Flash fiction: The Monte Cristo Minnesotan

This is the short short story that I wrote for this year’s mn artists.org flash fiction contest. I wasn’t a finalist and don’t feel inclined to expand it so here it is:

The Monte Cristo Minnesotan

The first time he ordered a Monte Cristo she had thought the decision charmingly, mildly eccentric. That was their second date. Their first date had occurred while playing hooky from a conference for non-profits in St. Paul and had consisted of conversation and coffee, except he had ordered chai or Earl Grey or rooibos or something. She couldn’t really remember.

She had never seen someone eat a Monte Cristo before so when it came and powdered his fingers with sugar and coated his lips with grease and left traces of raspberry jam at the corners of his mouth, she still felt the charm, but beneath it detected an incipient childishness that both intrigued and repelled. Then, as their relationship progressed, came the Reubens, the egg creams, the ice cream sodas, several more Monte Cristos, and (leaving the alimentary behind) the Flaming Lips, cricket, the fiction of Pynchon, episodes of the Steve Allen Show (on VHS), a blue and white striped seersucker suit, vintage NES games, etc. Continue reading “Flash fiction: The Monte Cristo Minnesotan”

Liner notes for “Gentle Persuasions”

So if I am understanding things correctly, the fall issue of Dialogue has been printed and will be previewed at the Sunstone Symposium this week, and it contains my Dialogue debut — the series of five shortish short stories “Gentle Persuasions.” So not to torture those of you who won’t be receiving your copy in the mail for several weeks, but I promise liner notes in my author’s note, and I am a man of my word.

Okay, so part of why I do this is simple self-indulgence. But it’s also part of my project to demystify and interrogate the production, distribution and consumption of fiction and to document my own thinking as a writer and a critic. There are spoilers ahead if you care about such things. Not major spoilers, but spoilers. The good news is that if you purchase an electronic subscription to Dialogue, you can read the story (and all the other good content) as soon as it is posted. Continue reading “Liner notes for “Gentle Persuasions””

Short-short story: Sister Watson challenges the Elusieve Decapede

I had trouble sleeping last night and wasn’t in the mood for any serious writing in my head so I came up with a few phrases that then turned into a short-short story on the bus this morning. Fittingly, the only paper I had on me was a rather large LDS Church magazine renewal envelope that had been inserted into our September edition of the Ensign and was in my bag to remind me to do the renewal online. So I tore open the envelope and wrote on the blank inside and, yes, this is a first draft with a couple of edits done just now in WordPress, but I don’t see myself taking it further. It’s not much of a story, but it’s a first attempt at exploring some issues that I find fascinating and a little scary (and that I’m actually not all that worried about, because we’re decades away from them). ~Wm

The way she pressed on through his miasma of reluctance amused him even as he was baffled by her insistence that he must incorporate himself without delay for some outmoded buried alive ritual involving water and that it couldn’t wait for the next time he condescended to take on flesh (which would probably be never — 11 being a nice number to stop at) and yet he let her go on even though she was so annoying that he wanted to flick her away streaming layers of avatar behind her — send her packing back to her plane full of meatspacers with low budget rendering and didn’t the Mormons have money for better gear or maybe they had been too slow converting their physical holdings to virtual ones but he was too lazy to look it up and perhaps it took more resources than he thought to make their massive temple virtually unhackable (and my but how he still enjoyed that worn out joke — the only nostalgia he allowed himself these days) and maybe it would be amusing to toss a leg or two at it for another attempt and now he was kind of bored with the earnest tone and yet there was a certain gleam in her voice as though she though she thought she was getting through to him or maybe even making fun of him for letting his guard down and allowing her cheap filter buster to bring her through to his magestic presence because he was in a weird mood to see what the code would drag in and he even batted away a particularly nasty amoeba that had trailed in behind her and was about to swallow her and maybe he should just swallow her and really did they think that he was going to hand over ten percent of his processing power and didn’t she know that he had started religions with more adherents than the entire LDS — meatspace included — and yet he would like a peek inside that temple although maybe they hadn’t changed the ceremonies much since the last leak and still she rambled on and he could tell she thought this latest tactic was her ace in the hole but really why would he want to die on the off chance that he could become a god in some other ‘verse when he pretty much already was one.