Ever had one of them days?

…where everything goes from roses and sunshine to something much more akin to the southernmost drafts of northbound horse?

Photo by ASHISH SHARMA on Pexels.com

I never was all that great at geography, but something about all this just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve always been a lot better at getting a story told, I always thought. And the editors over at The Ocotillo Review and Kallisto Gaia Press seemed to think so, too, because they recently notified me that they planned to publish my fourth story from my Long Gone & Lost collection, which I’ll be turning in for my MFA here in the very near future.

I’m fairly certain that the two fellows from my story would know all about those ill tasting after effects I mentioned, however. They may be all fiction themselves, but they were indeed inspired by real life events in a real life newsrooms. Dave Kindred wrote about a few folks just like these two who, mere days after everybody was riding a high that only those who win six Pulitzers will ever truly know, them and most everyone they knew were given walking papers from their jobs. Sure they may be one of the best papers anywhere, but they would soon have to do so with half as many people. Trust me when I say this, but if that don’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, nothing will.

I read Kindred’s Morning Miracle two years ago now. He wrote about the world famous Washington Post, and how after one of their best years ever, editorially speaking, half the people employed there lost their jobs because subscribers had dropped off and Facebook could do for free what no newspaper ever could.

What’s that, you might ask, that Facebook so excelled at? Namely, creating a platform whereby complete strangers could hound and annoy people with enough asinine questions about the glorified junk they might have for sale at some point, that folks would actually give shit away–cars, furniture, boats, livestock, you name it–just so they don’t have to answer, yet again, what color that the blue 1985 Ford Tempo they had for sale might be, or what year model it was again, or what make of that model it was, or–did you say anything about what color it was? I forget…

But there at the Post, they threw parties one day. Couldn’t be prouder of how hard everybody worked to be just like a blood kin family. A few days later, they had security guards following people out to make sure they didn’t take a stapler that wasn’t theirs. They even fired some of the folks who won Pulitzers, I hear. They had to. They couldn’t afford them anymore.

Sadly, that sort of thing is still very much a reality for some of the folks I know well. In fact, newspapers are nothing like the bastions of economic security they once were. And sure, you gotta feel bad for the guy who tops his profession, only to be rewarded for his efforts with a layoff. But what if those employees–the ones the reader gets to know best–are complete and utter slacker morons?

I mean they serve a function, albeit, doing something I don’t want to do. Somebody has to, I guess. Or not. But how would that dynamic affect the story?

I wondered. So, I wrote. Wound up calling it “Forget the Alamo” (which isn’t near as heretical as it sounds to all my Texas purist friends. At least, I hope not, anyway). I can’t say much more about it, for now. Not until it publishes. They want first publication rights and all.

But that publication, run by Central Texans, not far from where I once lived, does make the fourth story from my forthcoming book (Long Gone & Lost) to be published, and its sixth actual publication (a couple have run twice now). Other stories include Mr. Man Candy (2x published), The Legend of Chunk (also 2x), and Lubbock 1974(1x). 

So far, anyway. For more on publications, visit the column to the right, just below the pictures, for more information.