Drink to Me

I’m going to plead a remodeling project and the tricky install of an A/C unit, but I am a little short of hours at the moment. So here’s a piece of flash fiction for my time slot. Hope you enjoy. The illustration has nothing at all to do with it. I just like to remind myself every now and then that the book exists.

 

 

 

 

Drink to Me

“’Drink to me only with thine eyes’ said the Bard. Metaphorically it’s a lovely thought, but he didn’t mean a word of it.”

“Neither do you,” she said. “That’s your third stout.”

“No need to count, my love,” he said. “They used to do that for tax purposes, you know. Count the number of inns and alehouses and taverns. That latter is derived from the Roman word taberna, which meant—”

She shut him down. “A retail shop of some sort. Yes, I know. What I don’t know is why, when you’re in your cups, you feel the need to mansplain so much.”

He shrugged. “Could be worse. Some people are mean drunks.”

“That is mean. Or at least annoying. I was the classics major, not you.”

“Or right. I forgot.”

“Which is another thing. Drink makes you forgetful.”

“Which is entirely the point, at the risk of mansplaining again. ‘The world is too much with me.’ A little forgetfulness is a blessing. I’ll also point out that this only occurs until the immediate effects wear off. Studies show that moderate drinking helps maintain cognitive function as we age. Or as the old saying goes, ‘A man’s a fool to drink before the age of forty…and a fool if he doesn’t afterward.’”

“Worth a try,” she said, pouring herself another glass of zinfandel.

“That’s your third,” he said.

“’No need to count, my love.’ And if you bring up alehouses and obscure Latin words again, I’m cutting you off.”

“You say I’m in my cups but I’m merely pleasantly buzzed. Stone drunk is off the table. I learned my lesson in college.”

“Likely the only one you did learn. But I assume you’re referring to the Belinda Barrows incident? Making out with your best friend’s girl? Not cool.”

“The blessing there is I don’t remember any of it.”

“Maybe, but it’s not as if you didn’t hear about it. As I understand it, the entire episode was repeated to you in lurid detail at least once a week until you graduated. If we’d been dating at the time, I’d have killed you. You’re lucky Kurt let you off with a warning, and only because you were drunk.”

“Luckily I wised up and went after you.”

“That was almost a compliment. So color me almost flattered. Besides, you never wised up. You only developed a little taste. I mean, Belinda? Seriously?”

“That wasn’t the tequila shooters. I plead hormones. I mean, back when I had them. ‘In the spring, a young man’s fancy’ and all that.”

“You also tend to quote poetry, though you barely read it and don’t write it, and if it wasn’t one you had to memorize in English Lit, fuggedaboudit.”

“I already did. The stout is working.”

-The End-

©2020 Richard Parks. All Rights Reserved.

Senior Moments

I couldn’t call it a “senior moment,” singular. It went on too long. Last week I had a lovely fan post from a long-time reader. She was a big follower of the Yamada books but here was referencing characters in a short story that was a particular favorite of hers (Yes, I’m looking at you, Yoko).

One problem—I had absolutely no memory of that story. Yes, I’ve written a lot of stories, but not so many that one (me) would think I could completely forget one, even to the point that I was starting to believe that perhaps she was mistaking me for the author of someone else’s story.

Awkward.

I miss grep. I even miss Win98, in that one regard. There was a “search inside” function built in that would allow me, as with grep, to search within every single story file in my catalogue to determine if, indeed, this one was one of mine or not. And yes, I know there’s a way to do that in Win10, but it’s a colossal pain in the butt. If this happens again, I’ll look for grepwin or something similar. But I digress.

There’s something about writing that most of you already know. Sure, everything you write comes out of you. An experience looking for meaning, an image, a train of thought you’d like to derail, whatever. At the same time, it’s a lot like channeling spirits. You’re not always sure where it comes from, even if, intellectually, you do know, and when it’s done, it’s a separate thing from you. You go on to something else, until the next time. If, in the case of a series, there is a next time.

Which is why I thought I was done with Lord Yamada, or rather he was done with me. After The Emperor in Shadow, the story arc was wrapped up and that was that. Only last night I wrote a new Lord Yamada story. Granted, it was a piece of flash, but I’m thinking of expanding it to a proper short story, at least. There’s enough “there” there. So you never know.

As for the story I couldn’t remember? Something finally clicked, and I pulled it up. “The Right God,” from RoF August 2004, reprinted in my second collection, Worshipping Small Gods.

Took me long enough.

Story Time: The Penultimate Riddle

Today’s Story Time is from the August, 2005 issue of Realms of Fantasy, “The Penultimate Riddle,” later included in Worshipping Small Gods, my second ever story collection.

“The Penultimate Riddle,” like several of my stories, is a love story at heart. Sort of. Or maybe it’s about someone drawn to a mystery, because aren’t we all? Or maybe something else entirely. Make up your own mind. I’m still working it out myself. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean I understand it.

As always, today’s story will remain online until next Wednesday, May 2nd. Until then, contemplate the mysteries.

Story Time: Kallisti

Maybe I’m a Discordian* at heart. Also an Animist with a little Buddhism and Southern Baptist thrown in. None of which is a contradiction when we’re talking about chaos/disorder in general, which is probably why, of all the Greek Gods, Eris, Goddess of Discord, has always been a favorite of mine, if one could be so presumptuous as to pick favorites among mythical deities without inviting at least a metaphorical thunderbolt. One shouldn’t take such things lightly, after all. There are all sorts of thunderbolts.

I’ve written two stories featuring Eris. A revisit of Eris’ role in the Judgement of Paris,  “Kallisti” was first published in Realms of Fantasy back in 2002 and later reprinted in the collection Worshipping Small Gods in 2007. With the passing of Realms the second remains in my files until the right market appears. Or until I lose patience and do it myself. Probably even money on which occurs first.

 

Standard Reminder: “Kallisti” will remain online only until next Wednesday, November 1st, 2017.

*Discordianism. If you’re not an old-school fan, Google is your friend.

 

Taking Inventory

I’m not sure if this is a blog post or an inventory report. Recently I’d been thinking of planning a new collection. Not that I’m ready just yet; my recent forced hiatus has put me a little behind where I’d like to be, production-wise. Yet when I started looking over my oeuvre, so to speak, I realized, for a great many of my stories, I didn’t necessarily remember if it had been collected or not. I usually did, but not always, and even then not always where. It occurred to me that this is the sort of thing I should know, that it was kind of and certainly at least potentially important. Even my own Bibliography was incomplete. Clearly I needed a better system than my faulty memory.

So, on a morning when I really should have been working on the trim in the mudroom, I was instead feeding story data into an Excel file. Every story collection I’ve done, whether print or ebook only, what stories are in each, and the publication year. All by way of making sure that, when I look at an individual story, if I need to I can quickly look up if, when, and where it’s already appeared. For instance, I’m already thinking of what story to put up for the next Storytime, but one I was considering as an original turned out to have appeared in one of the collections. It had completely slipped my mind. That’s the kind of thing that could lead to severe embarrassment, if not worse.

There are already some duplications, though they’re of the sort to be expected. Aside from their first magazine appearances, some of the Yamada Monogatari and Eli Motherbaugh stories had appeared in earlier general collections before being gathered into their respective character’s collections. I know to some of you out there this falls under the category of “High Class Worries,” but when you’ve published over a hundred stories, that’s a lot to keep track of even without considering reprints, and keeping track of everything is part of the job and I’d been neglecting it. This should get me back on track, but while I’m pulling this data together I may as well share some of it. Listed below are all my collections to date, together with the year, including major collections, special collections, and chapbooks.

The Ogre’s Wife: Fairytales for Grownups, Obscura Press, 2002

Worshipping Small Gods, Prime Books, 2007

On the Banks of the River of Heaven, Prime Books, 2010

Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris and Other Stories, Canemill Publishing, 2011

Ghost Trouble: The Casefiles of Eli Mothersbaugh, Canemill Publishing, 2011

The Devil Has His Due, Canemill Publishing, 2012

Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter, Prime Books, 2013

Two for Christmas, Canemill Publishing, 2013

The God of Small Troubles and Other Stories, Canemill Publishing, 2014

The Collected Tymon the Black, Canemill Publishing, 2017

 

The four done under Prime Books  imprint I consider my “major” collections, as in larger and more complete. Those listed under Canemill Publishing are the ones I take upon doing myself, for whatever reason. For instance, “Deal with the Devil” stories are pretty old-fashioned and there aren’t many markets for them. However, they’re fun to do and every now and then I wrote one anyway. So I put them together in The Devil Has His Due just to give them a home. Because I could. Two for Christmas, likewise for Christmas stories, though those are the only two I’ve ever done.

For this week’s Storytime I plan to have an original. Now with my story list up to date, I can be reasonably certain that it really is one.