Happy Halloween, you lovely people. Welcome back to my world of audio fiction. I’m thrilled to release Roadkill. This has been a long time coming and represents a fresh start. The last several years have brought many challenges. To be honest, I’m amazed to finally be getting back on the horse. Thanks to everyone who has provided support along the way. The list is long–but you know who you are.
Here we go, folks. Hope you’ll stick around for the ride. More stories to come.
Artwork by Neil Aschliman
Impressing Marla was like sucking his own dick, something Paulo didn’t really think was possible, but he would keep trying at it until he either broke his neck–or succeeded. Fortunately for Paulo, he was more talented with a welding torch than he was flexible. Who said that glorious day would never come when he would move her? Today could be the day, he thought with his grease-stained hand wrapped around the cool, brass door knob, but then he wondered if he was just a fool in love. Lost in the moment of hesitation, he let his fingers slip away from the handle and tugged the key loose, courage retreating. His eyes flickered up the length of darkened art gallery corridor, to the paneled ceiling above him, and then to his feet.
“Never mind,” he told her, cursing his chronic self-doubt and the weight of Marla’s eye’s that ultimately forced his own back up. His heart always fluttered when their eyes met.
I am a cliche.
“I want to see this piece,” she said. “Paulo. I’ve never seen you so excited.”
“I just,” he said, fumbling for the right words. “Your sculptures, they are really amazing.”
“Chicken bones and wire, Paulo,” she said dismissively, “But thank you.”
If you don’t try this now, you won’t have another chance.
The thought paralyzed him and he focused first on her pale hands and then the dark wool skirt that the hands rested upon. He wanted to push that skirt up over her slender thighs–past her delicate hips. Staring, he imagined her hands atop his, guides helping him climb her skin. When he lifted his eye to her face, he caught her frowning.
“It’s late,” she said, breaking the silence. “Perhaps you could show me some other time. I have to be somewhere soon.”
Because that was the deal with Marla. She was important and always had somewhere to be, unlike Paulo, who never had anywhere to be. Her rigid posture and her constant glancing at her watch telegraphed her thoughts: I’m better than this. I’m better than him.
Quickly, he stabbed the key back into the lock and twisted hard, acting out of fear that his only opportunity was slipping away. Much like the moment, his opus wouldn’t last forever.
“It will just take a second,” he said and pushed the door open. “I promise. Just a second. I want you to see…since you’ve been such an inspiration to me.”
“I’m flattered,” she said, but Paulo didn’t believe her. “That means a lot.”
He stepped into the dark studio trying to not be mad at her for feigning understanding and gratitude. He didn’t want to be angry with Marla, but was having a difficult time quelling the urge to slap her. She followed behind him and he took a deep breath, expelling it slowly and the frustration with it. Once she was inside with him, he closed door, submerging the studio into complete darkness.
“What is that smell, Paulo?”
“Just another second,” he said and fumbled on the floor, cursing under his breath until he found the plastic remote. He pressed the power button.
Beside him, Marla gasped and at the sound Paolo’s sullen features came to life with a rare grin, the smile nearly splitting lips that were chapped from hours of toiling in the wind and rain the night before.
“I…” she spoke but her voice faltered.
He turned and admired her expression, her face frozen in a mask of awe, eyes wide and her mouth a silent ‘o.’ Just as he had always pictured her.
Marla’s lips were a perfect circle.
“The dirt,” he pointed at the piles of brown earth spread across a mattress-sized, illuminated box.”That is the real dirt. I saved some.”
Above the dirt piles, hanging from a black, metal frame that reached to the ceiling was his masterpiece. The vulture, it’s likeness intentionally crude, was welded from rusted strips of metal that Paulo had found at a nearby scrap yard. The beast clutched a rotting cadaver in it’s large talons, funeral clothes shredded to soiled rags by Paulo’s own skilled hands. The body had been so stiff when he’d unearthed it that he had to break bones and sever muscle to create the effect of limp hanging. The work had been overwhelming, but he considered himself lucky for finding a body in the right state of decay on the first try. He inhaled through his nose, pleased that the smell of his vomit and sweat had all but faded away.
“It’s not real,” Marla said and he took it as complement, self-doubt fading for the first time in his life. He turned to her, sure their first kiss was imminent, but she was backing away with her hands covering her mouth. Marla was revolted and Paulo struggled to comprehend what was happening, but he could not.
“Your chicken bones inspired me to do this,” he said in a last ditch effort to make her understand, he didn’t want to be angry with her again, but if she didn’t understand… “I call it Dead Scavenge Dead.”
She screamed, the note long and warbling.
Paolo put his hands over his ears.
Post Gig Low Down–Parallel Wine Bistro 1.24.2014–http://www.notjustadad.com.
Goodbye, Crouton Mountain–fight the fight to get fit on http://www.notjustadad.com.
It’s a devilishly cold January night and I’m listening to the wind howl outside. In the orange glow of the parking lot lamps, the wind throws the snow in all directions. I’m thinking hard while I watch the flakes. Hell, I’ve been thinking hard for months now. And after digging around old podcast files, old stories–items from my imagination scattered about as much as the snow whipping by my window–I’ve come to a final conclusion. I’m starting over. It’s high bloody time. For twelve months, really more than that, I was mired in the shit of existence. 2013 was the longest year of my life.
I survived a divorce.
I learned (mostly) how to live without seeing my girls every day.
But through the pain and sleepless nights, somehow I have discovered how to live again.
I’m back at the beginning in a lot of ways. My subscriber numbers have dwindled from tens of thousands to mere hundreds. My current works are as scattered as my thoughts. All that being said, my drive to create and put something out there for even one person to enjoy is fully renewed. I still have many stories to tell and I know in my heart that people will listen–if even just a few of them. The biggest question for starting over, at least in my case, is where to begin. I have three novels on the shelf and many more short stories. I have an entire Fiction in Five series waiting to be podcasted. I have #MUG. It is as much exhilarating as is intimidating.
The bottom line is that I will make it happen, come hell, high water…or snow. There is no better time than right now. I have all the support in the world to do this and I’m done making excuses. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So stay tuned to philrossi.net. Things are going to get lively.
I’m back, people.
Could you really imagine a future without Walmart? That was the impetus for an unlikely scene this morning. Walmart and restroom sponge-bathing. Saucy stuff. I cooked up another batch of words today and getting them onto the page was a little easier than yesterday. Though, my plan for an early morning start almost backfired. There was some chaos and some near-disappointment. Bottom line is I just need to wake up thirty minutes earlier. I’m happy to report that my socks match but I’m not wearing any under wear so it’s pretty much a draw. I still had enough time to get the words in before the whistle blew. Just barely. The real problem was–I could have easily kept going. Now that I’m a day in on the new project, the gears are really spinning. This is heartening because I didn’t think I’d still be able to make all the wacky connections that us writerly folk make. There is hope!
New project word count: 1000
In recent months, I’ve been telling friends and family that I don’t feel like a writer anymore. A writer writes, after all, that just hasn’t been happening–sorry to say. Sometimes, life throws us a curve and sometimes that curve ball hits us directly in the face, breaking a cheekbone and sending a few teeth flying to the asphalt. My money-maker has seen better days. Despite the universe’s intentions to slow me down, I have resolved to not give up. To that end, I got up early this morning (thank you time change!) and sat down in front keyboard. I’m not going to lie, it’d been so long since I’d assumed the ‘writer’s pose’ I was a little uncomfortable. I immediately began to think of ways I cold procrastinate. Was I still hungry? Maybe I needed some caffeine first. Drop and gimme twenty! Yeah–I can be clever when it comes to killing time. But then I spoke one simple phrase.
“I *will* write.”
I had no clear notion of what I was going to write, but just that I had no choice. I stood at the crossroads of now and never. Never meant giving up and to my core I didn’t want to do that. Suddenly, my fingers were moving and, there was poor, sweaty Arnie digging his own grave trying to figure out if he was going to be eating dirt or seeing the sun rise again. The timer was set for thirty minutes–I didn’t want to over-extend myself–and for thirty minutes I wrote. I wasn’t concerned about plot. I wasn’t concerned about grammar. It was about filling the page. The end result was a scene that didn’t suck and rediscovery of an almost forgotten feeling of exhilaration. Bottom line. Even if your cheek is stinging from fate’s left hook, don’t give up on your passions. They will ultimately get you through the mess.
My goal here at PhilRossi.net is daily entries that will chronicle my journey back to being a writer. It all starts here.
New Project word count: 500.