Her shoe tapped to an invisible rhythm. I looked to see if she had earbuds in. You know, trying to look without making it obvious you’re trying to look. Five silver hoops piercing her left ear, one thin barbell. No earbuds. The music was locked away inside her. She held a worn volume in her hands. The spine was ragged, pages taped desperately together with the cover torn away. I wanted to...
There was glitter on his hands. “I should punch you in the mouth,” I said. I didn’t know if he would hear me. Television. 3 am. Beer. Outside rain hit the pavement with a hiss. “Oh, yeah?” he said. He had beautiful, big eyes. He aimed them at me, but they didn’t quite focus. “Yeah,” I said. I took a swig of my beer. “Yeah, I should beat you...
Rose was slowly taking shape on the canvas. She had a chin, but no nose. She had breasts, but no nipples. She had ears, but they were too, too delicate- mere nubs of color. She had hands and she had fingers, which were splayed like bursts of paint. Her neck had the right arch. Her body the correct line. Her skin its true hue. Eric’s water was muddy with color. His wine glass was nearly...
Abra's Tattoos - part 1
On Monday, walking to school, a boy Abra didn’t know approached her and complimented her tattoos. She needed to look down to check what they were. On her left bicep was a flock of birds in flight. On her right forearm was the word “explore.” The ink was faded and old. Both could use touching up. Abra said “thanks” and asked what his name was. She didn’t care,...
Abra's Tattoos - part 2
At lunch, Abra avoided her classmates’ gazes. She sat in front of the wide cafeteria windows with her earbuds in and her music loud enough to kill the universe. She watched seniors in the parking lot get into their cars. She studied their gaits. They used to seem so old to her, but now they were like overeager children who hadn’t yet mastered the movement of their legs. The glass...
Jack pried open the door with the “no access” sign. That part had gotten easy with practice. Kara was full of giggles beside him and clung to his wrist with both her hands. When the wood cracked, she whispered “shhh” and looked over her shoulder. “Uh oh,” said Jack, “did the police catch us?” “Nooo,” said Kara as if the question required...
“Ugh,” said Rose. “Can’t you say you hate me instead?” “What?” I asked. Her body was suddenly tense under mine. “Don’t do that. Don’t you goddamn lie to yourself like that,” she said. I brushed the hair away from her eyes, wanting to recapture the mood. “Well, then,” I said, gently, “I hate you so much.”...
Insomniac, part 1
Insomniac: Whole story, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 Tariq checked the clock. Again. He watched the red, glaring digits as 2:59 became 3:00. He stared at the ceiling. Light from the street lamps outside leaked through tiny holes in the window shade and speckled the room with oblong, amber shapes. Tariq squinted and the shapes seemed to become swarms of tiny insects, crawling over each...
Insomniac, part 2
Insomniac: Whole story, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 The night was icy. Tariq’s breath was like fog and he regretted not putting on gloves. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his pajama pants and squeezed his shoulders up to his ears to protect his neck from the cold “Just walk,” he told himself. The streets seemed naked without the daytime crowds. Tariq...
Insomniac, part 3
Insomniac: Whole story, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 Centre St. Grace Ave. Columbus St. Sunset Ave. Covert St. Lynch Pl. Penn Circle. Keep St. Bleecker Ave. Tariq had to struggle to keep up. He knew the street names, but in his head they were a jumble and he couldn’t remember how one connected to the next, where each connected with the street that came before it. All around...
Insomniac, part 4
Insomniac: Whole story, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 Tariq was euphoric. He felt like his flesh was steel. Proudly, he held the broken boards at his side as he strode down the white line in the middle of the road. Vaguely he attempted to retrace his path, but his attention was inward. He imagined himself calling out challenges to the sleepers in their beds. He envisioned a coliseum of...
Insomniac, part 5
Insomniac: Whole story, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 Tariq’s alarm was an insistent buzz. The sound was shrill and terrified. He batted at the clock and it went silent. Outside the window, Tariq could hear the sputtering of a bus and the chatter of school children. Blue light seeped around the window shade and through its tears. The room was too bright and Tariq’s eyes felt...
Three verses to a song about Ariadne
Hopefully I’ll be posting a short story (titled Insomniac) sometime in the next day or two, but until then, here’s a tiny excerpt: That Dionysos / He gave me a twirl / He told my master / “Go without the girl!” Well Dionysos / You’re the god of wine / My man can’t do it / Without any twine. Dear Dionysos / He gave me a crown / Couldn’t get to Olympus /...
A Deleted Scene
I’ve been working on something a little different… on and off… for a few months. It tells about an insomniac who wanders out into the city at 3 AM. I just cut a chunk of text that spun the story in the wrong direction, but I didn’t really want to toss it out. So I’m saving it here… for my sake -SM Tariq liked to think of the city in terms of bubbles. It was...
Note: This has some explicit bits. -Shawn When Iris told me the story about how a speeding BMW killed her childhood pet dog, Pickles, I said,”Oh, that’s awful. You must have been devastated.” But I was distracted wondering what she would look like with her wrists bound to my bedpost and red welts across her ass. I imagined her moans. I imagined her pale breasts. I imagined her...
Maria tried to listen to the priest, but she found herself instead transfixed by her grandfather’s casket. The wood was dark and polished so smooth it shone. The lid was open, but from where Maria sat in the pew, she couldn’t see her grandfather - only that the coffin was lined with something that looked like white velvet. The church was mostly empty and Maria knew no one. It had been...
When Liz got home, she found Eric flinging books out the window. He had a stack of them by his feet and, though he threw them one at a time, there was nothing ceremonial about it. He said,”hello” and asked if the worn copy of The Fellowship of the Ring was hers. He said he couldn’t remember. She set her work things on the table and went into the bedroom. The top two shelves on...
“I should go,” said Diana. She watched the full moon out the window. It reflected in the puddles on the street. The rain had stopped and the clouds had moved on. So much for weather reports. They predicted the storms would continue into the morning. “Oh, Magic,” said Arthur. “Did you suddenly get shy?” He nuzzled the naked skin of Diana’s hip. She had...
Note: This is vaguely explicit. The first thing I noticed was how spartan Mira’s room was. The walls were bare and the paint was peeling in the corners. A black sheet had been duct taped unceremoniously over the window. I thought about making a joke. “I like what you’ve done with the place,” I could say. I didn’t. “Close the door!” yelled Mira. She lay on...
A Burt Original
Danny sat on the shore outside his grandfather’s house and stared across the lake. The sun was setting. Or maybe rising. Whichever it was, it was bright and orange above the treeline and cast an amber glow over the water. Danny had given up smoking when he was 20, but he found himself now with a cigarette in his hand. He always smoked in his dreams. Burt reclined on the shore beside Danny....
want to fall in love
“…want to fall in love?” After a morning trying to keep up with Lin, I lay flat in the rocky path, staring up into the white sky. But my head snapped up at her comment. Between crumpled breaths, I asked, “What was that?” Lin sat on her pack like it was a stool. She looked at me and wrinkled her brow. “I said,’I want to fall in love.’” I...
“I used to believe in all kinds of stupid crap.” Ben turned on the high beams. They illuminated endless tawny cornfields. The road still seemed swallowed by the black night. Ben glanced at Petra. Her leather jacket lay atop her like a blanket. Its arms dangled limply across her lap. Ben looked for an expression, but her face was veiled by hair. He returned his attention to the road....
from my profile on a dating website. Some of it is not accurate. I was born the eldest son of the royal house of Moldavia. My birth, in ceremony befitting my future title, was attended by numerous foreign dignitaries, emissaries, missionaries, and apiaries who all brought secretaries laden with princely gifts: golden ostriches which laid chocolate eggs, fearsome Scottish knights mounted atop dire...
Every Night, the Worst
The date was shit. All night they’d prattled about politics and music and their families and growing up in small towns, but all Petra could think was, “I once stuffed a clove a garlic in my father’s mouth so I wouldn’t have to hear him scream when I put the torch to him.” She lingered at the cute painter’s door and waited for him to invite her in, but he just...
“We should have an hour. We’ve got to do it fast, though.” Lisa’s movements were quick, assertive. She opened drawers, rooted her hands through socks. Edgar lingered by the door. He tried to look busy, tried not to watch Lisa as she crawled under the bed to search. Mostly he studied the framed photographs on the walls. They were crooked and edged with cobwebs. They...
too much eyeliner, audio link →
My short story, Too Much Eyeliner, is read aloud on the podcast, Telling of Tales, by the excellent Magnus Hølvold. http://tellingoftales.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/13-too-much-eyeliner-shawn-main/
Another Dirty Story
“When did it stop being about sex?” “It’s always been about sex,” Cailin said. She had her hands in my pants and her head against my chest. The TV was tuned to the news. The anchor discussed a celebrity’s promiscuity. “It’s like the world went sterile.” Her fingers wrapped around my balls and teased them. The gesture was more playful than...
Savior of the Anukalii
“Good night, mom! Good night, dad!” I yell down the stairs. I brush my teeth. Wash my face. Floss. Time for bed. There’s a green glow under my door when I get to my room. I turn the knob. The door swings slowly open. Three aliens hang on the air in the middle of my bedroom, floating like a child has drawn them crudely across reality. They have tiny rag-doll bodies and giant heads...