Monday, February 25, 2008

The Blogiversary of Cormac Writes

Last Thursday was this site's First Blogiversary or birthday if you will. I have another blog that I've done everything I could to distance this one from, because they had conflicted each other and they still do. The other blog as they say, is for "shits and giggles." So when I wrote a story and posted it over there, no one wanted to read that because they were searching for the usual irreverence.

Conversely, it takes away from fiction if the posts above and below them are quite silly or just plain nuts. If I were to make an analogy of the two blogs, David Letterman and Charlie Rose can guest on each other's shows, but you won't see either of them borrowing too much from the other, stylistically-speaking.

So February 21st, 2007, I reposted all the stories that I had from that blog, up on this one, as well as other stories that used to be on a flash fiction site. My grandmother had just passed and I was looking for a way to channel the grief. I don't think there could've been a better way to do just that and I put a lot of that sadness away, right here in these pages.

I apologize because I was going to post a new story, but I am playing a rather busy game of deadline mumblety-peg and I am losing fingers left and right, as I type this.

So if you've made it this far into this post, I thank you and I thank you for your readership. Hopefully I have entertained you with what can loosely be called "writing" and I can do an even better job in the future. Either way, come on back and I'll do my best not to disappoint.

Cormac Brown

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Watch Me Grumble

The San Francisco Chronicle asks two authors, "what's the best book you've read that features San Francisco in it?"

I guess neither Anne Lamott nor Jack Boulware have heard of Dashiell Hammett.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"A Swing With A Certain Miss"

I used to say the right things; they would just come to me. Some people think that they are God's gift to mankind, not me. I am a person who considers himself lucky and it is very rare when I have had the opportunity to make my own luck.

Our relationship was tenuous in that I was just happy to say something that would make her smile now and then. Honestly, some days I could do no wrong. I could read the phonebook and she would just bust out laughing.

I'd make some offhand comment about barely surviving another day at work and she would laugh like I was a combination of Mel Brooks and Eddie Murphy in their prime. It was wondrous. It was a beautiful thing, though not so much for me, because I was always wondering just what it was that I did or said right. Eventually I grew confident, but not cocky because that would signify that I actually believed that I knew what I was doing and deep down; we both knew that not to be the case.

I didn't catch lightning in a bottle and to be honest, just what the hell would anyone do with lightning in a bottle? They would probably get killed trying to harvest it and I don't care how big the bottle is, it wouldn't hold or contain a bolt of lightning anyway. See? She would've been howling on the floor over that observation and me? I recognize that to be just as flat and dry as the floor of Death Valley.

At some point though I couldn't tell you when, I said the wrong thing and as far as I'm concerned, that is my true calling in life, for I seem to do it so well. When exactly did I said that wrong thing and what exactly was wrong about it, was just as equal of a mystery to me as to when I had actually said something right. I never saw the downturn; I just noticed that she laughed less, though I had attributed that to the complications that were going on her life.

Maybe she got sick of me, hell, I would've gotten sick of me too, if I had based a relationship on someone making me laugh and they couldn't deliver the goods anymore...a platonic relationship or not. Our last few conversations consisted of me calling her on the phone and her giving me curt or clipped answers, like someone that was cornered by "60 Minutes." Maybe that's what I should've done, shown up with a camera crew and asked her questions like "what was it that you found funny about me?" and "am I humor serial killer? Because you sure are acting like I made something inside you die."

After a couple of phone calls that almost froze me ear solid from the cold conducted through from her end, as well as emails that were even more terse, I just gave up. I thought we could still be friends, but if I couldn't say anything right anymore, what would be the point? We would just be in a room, me imploring at her with my eyes while she looks at everything in the room but me. No thanks, I could do that with a photo of her so she could get on with her life and I could suffer in private.

I wish her the best, I really do. And beyond that? I hope that she communicates with the next guy every step of the way through their relationship. Because if she chooses to continue down this path? She'll wind up as lonely as me, but slightly less enlightened as to why.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Do You Have The Post-Valentine's Day Blues?

Do you have the post-Valentine's Day blues? Well just be thankful that it's not 1929 and you're stuck working in a certain little garage in Chicago, because then you'd really have something to be sad about. Other than telling you to "toughen up, you wussy!" Try reading these stories here or here. With the exception of that Cormac character's drivel, there's not a dog in the bunch. Good solid fiction with enough twists and turns to at least temporarily distract you from your love-related woes.

Oh, and you'll never win her heart with a stuffed emu. So you have no right to be sad because it's all your fault.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Benton is a broker though the commodities that he deals with aren’t necessarily traded publicly. His specialties aren’t exactly illegal, yet they are rarely acquired through legal means. Most of the merchandise that he deals with, the public never sees, though some they do: the tabloid pictures and adult videos.

Some of these items were submitted by the owners in a misguided attempt to gain more publicity, but most were turned over by disgruntled employees and enemies of the former owners. So Benton is on the speed dial of many publicists and agents, or eventually they desperately seek his number out.

This arrangement also has created a lot of enemies for him; note the spray-painted “Fucking die, Bent-on, die!” on the side of his McMansion and the same phrase burned into his lawn, albeit misspelled.

Oh, shit, the alarm is off. Common sense would tell anyone to call 911, but Benton can’t risk the police because more than likely, someone is trying to steal their property back. Benton goes back to his Porsche for his gun. As he goes through the front door, he notices that the only lights on, are the ones not connected to the timers. The next thing he notices is a picture covered with rose petals.

Benton picks it up and sees a beautiful pair of immaculate female feet with toes painted bright pink and the words “follow the trail.” He tilts his head as he gazes at the trail of petals that go into the living room and beyond. Benton tucks his gun in his waist and follows the rose-covered road. The petals zigzag up the front stairs and they stop at the landing, right before a picture with shapely calves and the caption, “you are on your own, now.”

He decides to check the guest bedrooms first and he enters the closest one. There is a picture on the bed of a distended belly, bearing the caption: “you’re getting cold.” Benton checks the closet and under the bed to make sure that no one is there, then he goes to the next guest bedroom. He is greeted this time with a picture of a morbidly obese stomach with stretch marks and cellulite, and the caption: “colder still.”

There are no pictures in the guest bathrooms or linen closets. Benton creeps down the hall towards the master bedroom and in there, he shudders: on his bed, there’s a picture of decaying corpse and the caption “coldest yet.” He checks every hiding place in there and he goes down the back stairway.

In the den, Benton gets another shock because the painting that was hiding his safe and the safe’s door itself are wide open. He checks his safe and sees that it’s completely cleaned out, save for another picture and this one is of a slim woman barely covering her breasts with her right arm. This one’s caption reads “warmer.”

Benton is livid and he bites his hand to stifle a scream. He had over two million in bonds, valuable memory cards and photo negatives, as well as the master DVDs that hasn’t been turned over yet for production. The sound of his treadmill running in his exercise room gets his attention, but it doesn't lessen his rage as he runs in there. This time he has his gun out, though there is no one to aim it at. On his treadmill is a picture that seems to be a continuation of the last one. It is the same arm and breasts taken from further back, this time accompanied by slim hips and a thong that just barely covers the thinnest Isosceles of a Venus triangle. This caption read “warmer still.”

The quick whirl of his blender brings Benton into the kitchen and in his wide open freezer is another picture. This photo has the breasts bared and he's baffled because they look natural. This caption said “you’re getting hot” and he agrees, because he is about to blow a gasket.

“You’re red hot” says the woman behind Benton as she shoots him twice. He tries to place her face as he falls to the tiled floor, he guessed from the body in the pictures that she was one of those MTV celebutantes and now he is certain. She was on one of the DVDs, though he can’t remember if he has the sole copy.

As she walks away, he mutters “the joke is on you; your fifteen minutes were up a long time ago.”

Patti Abbott and Aldo Calcagno asked writers to post stories in the spirit of Valentine's Day. According to The Rap Sheet, it had to be 750 words or less and I snuck it in at exactly that.