Banjo, OK

I have a new and previously unpublished story featured at Spillwords.com entitled ‘A Tourist Guide to Banjo, OK. It’s different from my usual fare, so I hope you pay a visit. Thanks again for all your support.

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Almost the sexiest man in my car

An updated autobiothingy

A thing that will never happen:

I’m standing at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter says: “I know you’re a good man, George, with your charity work and that to-die-for profile, but I’m going to give you a pass. ‘Batman and Robin’? What were you thinking? And bat nipples? Dude!”

And I say, “Sorry, St. Peter, but I’m not Clooney. But don’t worry about it, I hear it all the time. Easy mistake.”

and the gates swing open.

***

Okay. A daydream. No one’s really going to mistake me for George Clooney. I’m a short bald guy with black-framed bifocals, and waist-deep in middle age.

People Magazine will never proclaim me “Sexiest Man Alive” or even “Sexiest Man on My Road”. Maybe “Sexiest Man in My Car, if Rod Stewart Isn’t Playing on the Radio.” Or “Sexiest Man in a 16-year-old Subaru on My Road, at 7:30 in the Morning. On a Tuesday”.

Clooney drives, what, an ’06 Econoline? Pfft… close enough.

But do I care?

No, not really. Sort of. But no.

I’m a writer. (George has screenwriting credits, but please give me this, okay?) I write novels, mostly, but other stuff, too. Poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and more!*

*maybe not be more*

So what? you say. Everyone’s a writer these days. Even Woody Harrelson! You can’t swing a dead Pokemon without hitting a writer.

Yeah, but, umm….

When I’m writing, I can be anyone I want to be: a swaggering pirate, the King of Nebraska, a shirtless painter with paint spatters artistically spattering his painted chest with paint. Indiana Jones (no, wait, that’s another story). I can be anyone. So why not Sexiest etc.?

Because I’m humble. Truly.

I can’t market myself as a sexy, come-hither writer because eventually I’d have to produce the evidence. Not that appearance has anything to do with success. Look at Stephen King. I love the guy, but come on. Still wearing those T-shirts from your Rock Bottom Remainders days, Steve?

But I digress, because that’s a fancy word I can use when I forget the point I was trying to make. (It’s in the dictionary, I checked.) Image isn’t everything. I have nice blue eyes and I can wear a Wal-Mart hoodie like nobody’s business (see above photo, the one without the bat ears. No, the OTHER one).

So sexy? Why not? And furthermore–

Honey, can you PLEASE scrape the chicken crap off your shoes before you come in?”

Yes, dear.”

Sexy!

(Batman photo copyright by Warner Brothers Studios. Steve photo copyright by wife Angela)

Honey…

Honey, she whispered in her charcoal voice,

The dog ate another squirrel, there were guts on the porch. Someone cut the brake line of your Ford, and the IRS called, they want to know if that’s your real name. Something’s wrong with the TV, we can only get Nick at Nite, the babysitter has Trump bumper stickers on her Subaru, what do we do now? We have an ant infestation under the kitchen sink, the cat’s pregnant again, and I lost the MasterCard somewhere between the couch cushions and my ex-husband’s apartment (don’t ask). And your sister emailed me, says she’s not really your sister, she’ll explain later. The town manager dropped by, said we might technically be living above an Apache burial ground, the basement’s flooded and I think I smelled gas (can you check?), Oh, and your mother called.

My mother?

In sickness and in blah

 

blah and

It’s been a morose few days, with very little writing or editing accomplished. We (and by ‘we’, I mean my wife and I, not the imperial, ‘Franz, bring us our seltzer water and pour it down your trousers, as we are inadequately amused’) …

Where was I going with this?

Oh, right. We’ve both been under the weather for the past week. Not quite nausea, not quite coldy…. just a gray sense of ‘blah’. That, and Monday was our 14th wedding anniversary and we almost forgot it. We endured a celebratory but unenthusiastic leftover turkey dinner sans leftover pie, and danced the dance of Imodium to the rhythm of rain flooding the front porch. And by ‘dance’ I mean fell asleep in front of the TV. In sickness and health, right?

We are not amused. Eventually, we’ll get our groove back and laugh about this. I supposed we’re now officially an old married couple. And I think the traditional gift for the fourteen is seltzer water… the gift that keeps on giving. Won’t she be surprised.

What’s in a name?

Since moving to Virginia almost eight years ago, I have never heard my surname so mangled, maligned and misspoken. Granted, it’s not a common name around here, and spoken with the varying Southern accents — from Hillbilly on up — I usually answer with a shrug and a gentle correction. Sometimes even my first name is misspelled, which happens. I don’t know which of the two is more common — Steven or Stephen. People I correspond with on a daily basis at work, through email, often spell it Stephen, even though the proper spelling is in each and every signature of each and every email I send out. But never mind. Call me Steve and we’ll be fine.  Continue reading “What’s in a name?”