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S+ories and media

Nightblooming (full story)

"The dudes are severely elderly, these Nightblooming Jazzmen. They wear white belts and bow ties, polyester pants pulled up high. Our angle is we’re old, they say. So you have to dress the part if you’re going to be our pulse, drumbo." [Read more at the Paris Review.]

Ultraviolet (full story)

"Carolyn, the chair of the Humanities Department, followed him out into the bitterly cold day, the air like iced metal pressing against the flesh. This act of solidarity was expected, given that Richard was her dean, and her secret husband—their three-year-old marriage concealed to dodge accusations of favoritism." [Read more at Post Road.]

Headlock (full story)

"Before I was to leave for the war zone, I was given the option to have an experimental collar installed. The collar was designed to discourage beheadings." [Read the full story]

Fear of Drawing (full story)

"'Some things are still done the old way,' he said—a reference to his earlier days as a dealer, maybe. Or maybe it alluded to an even “older way,” maybe the way of the Old West, when territories were carved out by more brutal means. I wondered about my own well-being then, thinking maybe his world had gotten too far out on the fringe for someone like me—a man worried about holding his modest academic position, a man with esoteric anxieties, a fear of drawing, of all things. " [Read the full story]

Black Moon (novel excerpt)

"There was some blood when they drilled, even though they had flapped the scalp. Felicia was ready with gauze, quickly sponging off the area. The drill’s high-pitched whine filled the room. A wisp rose from the contact point and Felicia couldn’t tell whether it was mist from the liquid coolant the drill expelled or bone dust. Before long, there were two nickel-sized pieces of skull in the tray and two openings, like a peephole for each eye, in Kitov’s skull. They could all see his brain under the lights—a slick, pale coil of fat worms, thinly stained red." [Read more at The Good Men Project.]

The Right Feel (full story)

"I’d weave through tables of the hotel restaurant, cross the lobby and duck into the nearest elevator. I would randomly choose a floor and, when the doors parted with a ding, set out down the endless corridors, scanning for a door that hadn’t been entirely shut, or had even been propped open by someone waiting for a visitor or room service. If I found one, I would simply walk in." [Read more at The Nashville Review.]

This Town We're Going to has Its Own Birthday Song (full story)

"There used to be five of us. Only one departed, yanked suddenly out of his skin, but that was enough to make us nothing; yes, five minus one can equal zero in the voodoo math of the music business. Turns out he was the one who made the songs. He was the songwriter. We just hung ornaments." [Read more at Konundrum Literary Engine.]

Placebo (story that became the novel Black Moon)

"At this point, he was the only sleeper he knew of in the vast city. Certainly there were others, but they, too, were most likely keeping their abilities secret. Sleepers had been harassed, held away from sleep by resentful pot-banging neighbors. One man had his head shaved while he slept on a commercial flight. And a woman who had climbed up into a tree to sleep fell to her death. She had been discovered by her sleepless husband who, in a rage of exhaustion, brought the tree down with a chainsaw, then claimed he only meant to wake her." [Read more at Redivider.]