The last two years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month… you can see the list for 2014 and 2015 in the comments for this page. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.
Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year.
Today’s story, for day twenty five – Running Away In Place, by Brandon French
Read it online here:
Today I felt like a modern short story from an online literary journal.
And what we have here is a very California piece of short fiction. It contains some very serious themes – sexual abuse, incest, hopeless fatal cancer, early onset Alzheimer’s, transsexuality, the sins of the fathers… and so on – but all this is tied together in a structure of movie reviewing. It’s especially California because the movies are all big hits – a New York story would include obscure foreign and experimental films.
The climax of the story is an homage to “Touch of Evil”… “So let me just say one more thing about my friend Bryce –- if you’ll be kind enough to imagine some gorgeous black and white lighting, a tinkling piano, a corrupt and bloated sheriff lying dead in murky water and Marlene Dietrich in a jet black wig” followed by a famous quote.
It’s an unfair world, but still one that pales in the light of the silver screen.
I’m a screenwriter so I know you can’t create a character who is a pretty good guy for most of the story and then you find out he raped his grandmother, or ate his dog, because people will say no way, I don’t believe it, not credible. But the truth is that people who do bad things aren’t usually walking around with wild hair, death’s head tattoos, and Charlie Manson eyes. So when you ram into their shadow, it’s like hitting the side of a mountain on your Harley, and then wandering around like your head snapped off and you can’t exactly see where it rolled.