Barn Again Book Trailer by Alan Good

I got called into my publisher’s office, which felt about like getting called into the principal’s office. They told me they wanted to do a book trailer for my memoir.

“What is that? Like a food truck for books?”

“A book trailer,” the intern’s assistant’s intern said. “It’s like a movie trailer but for books. You know, ‘In a world . . . where blah blah blah.’”

“That sounds horrible. I’m not doing that.”

“It’s in the contract. This is your chance to have some input. Otherwise I’ll have my indentured servant write the script.”

So I went home and knocked out a script for the book trailer:

FADE IN

EXT. INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION – SPACE

A shot of space. Now the Earth. We HEAR ominous piano MUSIC.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

In a world.

Zoom in to the United States.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Where serious authors.

Zoom in to New York.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Have to make movie trailers for their books.

Zoom in to a Barnes & Noble and a poster for Barn Again: A Memoir on the window. A gorgeous woman, tastefully but revealingly dressed, and a sickeningly handsome man are staring at it in awe and nodding their heads. They hold hands and skip into the bookstore.

DISSOLVE TO:

Green MPAA rating screen that appears before movie trailers. It looks just like the normal screen but announces that the book advertised has been rated V for VOCABULARY.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

And satire is impossible because everything is already a parody of itself.

EXT. DESERT – DAY

A gruff-looking man stands in the desert. This is JOHNNY BARNARD. He is disheveled with a scraggly beard. He wears a brown corduroy jacket and holds a bazooka.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

One man.

He aims the bazooka at the camera. We HEAR screechy high notes from the piano MUSIC. We see a succession of the BARNARD’s mug shots.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Will find a way.

Crashing dramatic MUSIC.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

To sell books.

INT. BOOKSTORE – DAY

The man with the bazooka, without the bazooka now, signs books for a horde of hungry readers.

EXT. ANYWHERE – DAY

An explosion.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Action!

EXT. CLIFF – DAY

A random person hangs from a cliff.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Adventure!

A bald eagle flies past SCREECHING. We follow it through the sky.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Alliteration!

The bird defecates and we follow its excretion down, down, down, to:

EXT. STADIUM – DAY

A deaf person SINGS the national anthem over a

MONTAGE

– A raging wildfire.

– An F-5 tornado destroying a town.

– A great white shark coughing up a shin.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

From America’s second-most dangerous writer. Comes the third-most anticipated memoir. Of the millennium.

– A sea star with its guts out digesting a crab.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Barn Again-gain-gain-gain. A Memoir-oir-oir-oir.

– An island of plastic in the ocean. Extremely dissonant MUSIC.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

  By Jonathan.

– A giant fish kill.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Barnard.

– Snow-capped mountains.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Junior.

FADE TO BLACK INSIDE A DOG’S WINKING ASSHOLE

I don’t think they ever did anything with it.

Alan Good’s writing has appeared in Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Bookslut, The Legendary, Atticus Review, and Word Riot. This piece is an excerpt from his novel Barn Again: A Memoir, a historical fantasy set in a parallel section of the multiverse in which agents still represent, publishers still publish, and readers still read literary fiction. You can follow Alan on Twitter, or check out his website.

Advertisements

Swans by Alice Walsh

When you slept I opened your chest, the sides of your rib cage creaked open to the wardrobe of you. I wove that thin silk through your beating. Threaded you to me – to mine. Then closed you. Kissed you shut. With warm oil I made the sign of the cross on your eye lids, throat, heart. When you woke you pulled me to you and said you had the strangest dream.

We two were. Together we twirled, entwined. I didn’t end, you didn’t begin. The rhythm in you played me. I tied you, untied you. Thumb twisted gentle at the notch of your neck. We searched each other. White cloths fell from us. Fire warmed the sweat on our skin, breasts, ribs. We feasted on flesh by flickering light – licking, sucking, suckling, salts, tears. We drunk the universe from the shallow pools of our bodies.

They stood still and silent looking at us with lust and disgust. We didn’t stop, couldn’t stop, writhed, contorted, grimaces demonic – flushed with ecstasy a two-headed Siamese banshee wailing. They chained us, hunted us from the underworld through the trapdoor, our feet never touched the ground. We soared majestically up and up and up into the ether milk sprinkle of stars. We didn’t look back. For the first time I saw your great wings open and swallow the sky. The chain hung down between us. You showed me the constellation of Cygnus, while the sun followed behind us

*

Too many things have broken for this not to happen, for this not to be what it is. The scenes and sequences needed to occur have crashed across our path with such ferocity that it seems impossible to refute this gorgeous truth. I am falling, falling into the feathered white breast of you. The ice the ice – it does not crack here, there are so many things I do not know about you. There are so many things.

I want to know all that you are, that you have been, I want to meet your every mistake walking backwards. Your treasured lost loves hidden in drawers, your small stacked heartbreaks placed between books. Will you go with me into that good night? Us two, dressed like bombs – we will go out like sparklers, the fabulous colours of our souls exploding across the navy of the night.

I have fallen into you, I have fallen further than I ever knew. I know now what I can become.

*

You became unchained from me, saying it wasn’t what you wanted. I kicked the shackle against rocks and stones, it would not break. I did.

Blood burned fabulous against the white of me. You couldn’t bare the sight. I watched you walk on water. I watched your vast wings open and close, open and close until you turned from a white star to nothing out there in the wind.

Then I wondered did we still see the same moon? Were my stars your stars? Your land was so different to mine.

Hope, suddenly a diminishing thing.

*

Even if you came back you would not be you. You undid me, still do. You are so much more than feather and bone. You are of the earth, water and air. Return me to my fire of hurt – unravel the stitching, peck out each suture with great care, untether your feathers from this. You were never mine to begin with.

Close your eyes now you cannot see me, this abstract fallen undone thing. Cover your ears now you cannot hear me sing sorrowful from across the stream. Kiss me for the last time, let that great swan song soar – you are not mine, you never really were.

*

You danced around yourself, so afraid to stand still and stop pretending to be so unafraid. Did you ever stop pretending?

The curves of your sadness were familiar to me. The day tattooed on the skin of your soul. I felt near to you when the needle kicked black blue on my arm. A song played, no one knew where I was – least of all me.

I could see the gather and unravel in you. You could see it in me too. We were both reaching. We were each other’s pins and buttons. We needed something small to stop us from falling apart.

In my Polaroid memories you click your jaw, smoke rings jump from your asshole mouth and drift through the air – the ghosts of kisses, all kohl and coolness. Your hair hangs down, strands caught in the brush of your eyelash flicker when you blink, two turquoise irises disappear behind thin veils of skin. I stop breathing until I see them again.

I am lost somewhere on the continent of your cheekbone invisible words come from your mouth the speech bubble bursts.

I bite my bottom lip and don’t hear a word.

*

What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

Your eyes are in my eyes.

You say I saw these swans once, two of them – flying across the blue. I heard them before I saw them. They were such a force, how they owned the sky. They made the most magnificent scene.

What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

Your eyes are in my eyes.

 

Alice Walsh lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. You can read more of her musings at alicewalshblog.com or follow her on twitter @al_icewalsh

The Space between the Stars by Joshua Sczykutowicz

A tree is beginning to grow from her mouth, branches and vines twisting and sprawling from between shining teeth and atop her pink tongue writhing. Small flowers, yellows and whites, pinks and blues erupt from reaching branches longing to touch a sky too far above to ever reach. They are unknowing, believing that if they could only sprawl an inch further — if they could just long for that black and purple sky, set atop sand-storm dunes and orange canyons of stone unending — then they could finally find their place in the midnight lands alone.

Roots are bleeding out of her now, feet crossed like a modern Christ in feminine form as her arms outstretch like branches of their own. Her eyes, shut serenely bear long lashes pointed down, lids facing upward to that same destination as branches desire. In space, she thinks, I will not need to see; blackness unending is all there will ever be.

She has not seen the stars in so long, despite their photographic glow reaching here now, candles amongst the flame that is the low-hanging moon above this desert nightmare that she will never want to leave. Light has failed to reach those eyes long enough for her to believe it will never return again. Steeped in darkness she no longer dreams of stars and marbled galaxies. Her branches will sprout and brightly colored blossoms will wisp away in winds she was never meant to grow within. As they fall, I will collect them, hands reaching into burning sands beneath to grasp paper-thin flower petals already drying, moist tissue between delicate fingers and caressing hands.

I hold her now, and hear her branches groan towards me, feel her roots try to wrap around and pull me in, not knowing a gardener can never truly connect to its growth. But I have not planted her, and to call myself a gardener is to elevate my position here, to lower hers to mere greenery and mindless life.
No, she set her feet in these sands; she waited for the fast and falling rains that pass for moments overhead, nurturing suggestions of life dissipating just as they are recognized. I am just an onlooker, a man who walks within a forest and stands before a tree he knows is more than him, something that was and will be long before and after he was either of these things.

If she could see into this forest of which she is the first to grow, she would not see her gently crossed legs like carefully drawn charcoal shadows, suggestions of shape, nor would her eyes fall upon the pale, pained arms holding the air above. She would only see the spaces surrounding, only know that there is so much emptiness, so much space unfilled.

It is her point of view I must defy, I know. I must cause revelation through action. If I water her planted appendages enough, if I brush her languid hair and wash her weathering skin as dust and sand turn to mud, trickling down her ankles entwined, then maybe the sun may shine through the moon strong enough to reach those shut eyes still. And she will know her blossoming branches, and she will know this beauty I admire.

I used to wish the sun could rise in these wastes. I used to look up at the sky and stare at the swirling stars and glowing ripples in the fabric lain atop this earth, and imagine that aching moon turning round once more and these rising canyons ahead casting their obsidian shadow over illuminated sands, and now I know it will never happen. I have learned the love of midnight; I have found the beauty in these spaces. I step backward and stare at her form before me, and start to see the space between the stars above. I know that amidst this black there exists so much light, if only her eyes could adjust to see.

Josh Sczykutowicz is a young author from central Florida. His work can be described as experimental, visual, alternative, dark and literary fiction His writing fixates on tone, mood, atmosphere and imagery filtered through specific points of view presented by layered, complicated and complex characters. His work has appeared in The Fable Online. He can be contacted at joshsczykutowicz@gmail.com

we think we know what love is but we don’t think it’s enough by Joseph Parker Okay

that was the night we were drunk and had sex and were still drunk afterward. let me narrow that down — it was the night you used the bathroom then came back and caught me looking at myself in the mirror. you made an irritated noise and said, “you’re always doing that.”
“i know — i’m sorry,” i said, “it’s just an insecurity.”
“well yeah, i know.” we decided to get back into bed and shortly after turning the light off you finished your thought with, “i just didn’t know you knew.”

there was that night we got drunk and somehow legitimately argued over a song from the black parade — you left so i went to bed. in the morning i woke up remembering fragments of the night before and tweeted an apology @you.

there were those other nights we were drunk and argued over other small things and sooner or later i would take a deep breath and ask, “are we doing okay?” you’d make an irritated noise, you’d say, “yes we’re fine — why do you always ask me that when we drink?”

i waited for you to connect the dots but the picture didn’t seem to come together until the night we saw kevin devine open for brand new at that outdoor festival — it could have been the fourth of july but then again it could have been any other milwaukee summer night.

afterwards we were drunk and arguing again but sobering up and burning out. it was obvious we’d been wavering atop some very high up and far away precipice for an unknown-but-drawn-out amount of time — i still remember how my stomach lurched the moment i realized we’d finally plunged over its edge. you might have said something passive-aggressive or you might have not said anything at all. i disappeared into the crowd and left you standing there.

Joseph Parker Okay lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s been worrying a lot about the sunrise lately. You can follow Joseph on twitter, or check out his site.

Sermon from the Church of Slashed Prices by L. Soviero

The great doors open with some of the other mothers in their Sunday best filing in dragging their children behind them. My little one, Lucy, skips ahead as I squeeze past a woman I’ve never seen before wearing one of those day at the race bonnets Queen So and So wears. Her husband, who I believe is on the board at my son’s high school, shouts from the parking lot to go ahead. He’s gotta talk to Jim about quick dry caulk. Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure he’s having an affair with that woman from my hair salon.

I shuffle past the check out, where the counter boys are setting up the registers for collections. Some of them pour the blessed bottled water into plastic buckets. A man in a gray suit dips two fingers in and anoints his forehead with the sign of the dollar. The intercom crackles.

My brothers and sisters,
there were times when you fretted over your next meal,
and in that hour of need,
we were there cutting down the prices!
Can I get a rollback?

I grab my cart from the train and push it by women’s fashion, not before I stop to grab an adorable little scarf that’s only $12.99. It’ll look great with the black sweater I got last Sunday.

And when you questioned the possibility of buying everything:
electronics, groceries, diapers, pet supplies, hunting gear and home furnishings
all in one house,
we eased your troubled mind by opening our doors to each and every one of your pitiful souls!
CAN I GET A ROLLBACK?

Over in frozen foods my neighbor is holding a bag of peas, and forgive me for saying, it would do her waistline some good to get more greens in her. Her daughter is behind her on her phone. I think they call them emus or something, but I swear I have never seen that child smile. She should not be alone behind locked doors.

And when others said nay to two Hellman’s Mayonnaise for the price of one,
We said down with your tyrants and demigods!
CAN I GET A ROLLBACK?

Lucy has made a little boyfriend. They’re playing peekaboo around the shopping cart. I have to pull her away to turn down aisle seven where we stop in front of the statue of St. Colgate. I kiss his feet. There are some skinny candle thingamajiggers in a glass holder near his statue that I use to light one of the votives. Lucy and I kneel with our heads bowed.

And when you walked the aisles
turning back to see only one set of footsteps smudged in the just mopped floor,
you asked, Why have you abandoned me?

I pray.

And we responded,
Child I never abandoned you.
When you saw just one set of footsteps it was because we were carrying you through the aisles all along.
Can I get a rollback?

I pray for my family and friends.

For all those, including my Momma and Daddy, who’ve gone to the great Mart in the sky.

For people all over the world who don’t have chicken this Sunday.

For those without an entertainment system to watch the football when their bellies are full.

But most of all I pray for the protection of our great country and the freedom it gives us, especially from those who would like to take it away.

Kaching.

L. Soviero was born in Queens, New York but now resides in Melbourne. She has never been and never intends to be affiliated with the Church of Slashed Prices. Read more of her stuff at Apocrypha and Abstractions, Hobo Pancakes and Postcard Shorts.

The Fancy Football League by S. Kay

Stadiums
Ms. Hilton loves to date football players, admiring their big muscles, but hates their uniforms and those beer-sticky stadium seats.

Dividends
Using some of her third quarter dividends, she creates the Fancy Football League for players and fans seeking a higher quality game.

Marble
She builds a marble stadium, decorated with gilt and crystal. Protestors decry elitism, so she sends them kobe hot dogs and truffled chips.

Salaries
The first team in the league is made of her salaried ex-lovers, paid by nondisclosure agreements. Rivalries still exist among players.

Gold Silk
NFL players make an exodus to the FFL, attracted by waterfall showers, organic towels, and stretchy gold silk pants designed by Ms. Hilton.

Tickets
The announcer welcomes a full stadium to the inaugural game, at $5,000 a seat. Many attendees won tickets in charity fundraising raffles.

Bling
In the sun, bejewelled helmets and gleaming pants make it impossible to look directly at the players. The field is glittery anarchy.

Jewels
After a season, the concussion rate is quadruple that of the NFL’s. Blinded players are hit so hard, gemstones chip off their helmets.

Sex
With too many medical lawsuits, Ms. Hilton is forced to shutter the league, but keeps the uniforms for her future boyfriends’ sex play.

S. Kay writes one tweet at a time. Her work has appeared in Nanoism, 7×20, Ex Fic, the EEEL, Monkeybicycle, and more. RELIANT, her debut book, is due October 2015 from tNY.Press tny.press/reliant You can also follow S. Kay on Twitter, or check out her tumblr.