For those of you who don't know, I just released a collection of three short stories called "Leftover Shorts."
Leftover Shorts was named that way because it really is a collection of leftovers: these are three stories I wrote because I liked the concepts behind them. None of these stories fits neatly into the two collections I’m currently working on, so they’re “Leftovers.” That doesn’t mean that I love these children any less but, like all strange relatives, they may need a little explaining. So here’s how I came about the idea for these three oddballs...
The Marshmallow War
Too often I see experienced workers and their body of institutional knowledge being ignored within organizations. So I had to make fun of it. I set the story in a Marshmallow company where the inexperienced new manager thinks that if a little of something is good (fluffiness) then a lot must be even better. This story is about how the mature workers resolve their situation through some not so mature (yet creative) means. When I re-read this story I feel like it has a slight Kurt Vonnegut feel to it, so I may have been reading some of his work when I was writing it. Let me know if you agree with the influence or if I’m imagining it.
I was definitely in a Tim Burton mood when I put this together. The premise is that we see all kinds of evil in something that we don’t fully examine - in other words, when we don’t look at it head on. The woman in the story sees witches in her peripheral vision. The images vanish whenever she looks directly at them and she begins to think that she’s going crazy. It doesn’t occur to her until the end that maybe she’s projecting her own bitterness onto these things. The story is set during Prom time (which it currently is right now!) because Proms have a very fairy tale nature about them. I thought it would be fun to weave this theme together with the fairy tale of the witches that the main character is creating in her mind.
There is an old folk tune called “MacPherson’s Lament.” The legend states that the criminal MacPerson composed his own lament (song of mourning) on the gallows right before he was to be hanged. I’ve updated the setting from old Scotland and put it in the more recent South. The main character, Billy Parson, is fodder for small town gossip and superstition based local beliefs surrounding when he was born. Billy, himself doesn't know how to interpret or whether to believe the superstition, but it still impacts the choices he makes in life.
So that’s the story behind the stories. Now please go purchase them for the low, low price of 99 cents. If you like them, recommend them to a friend. If you dislike them, recommend them to an enemy. Either way I’d appreciate a referral. Thank you!