Short Story Of the Day – A Screaming Sky (found poetry) by Bill Chance

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Swedish Edition of Gravity’s Rainbow

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#67) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

I enjoyed my  FOUND POETRY  experiment with Moby Dick the other day. –

This is where you take a page of text and remove words until what is left is… well… something… something different. I decided to use another passage that meant a lot to me… the opening of Gravity’s Rainbow. I decided to not try and make it make sense – just pick words that looked interesting. One difficulty was that I am so familiar with that passage I kept reverting to its original meaning.


A Screaming Sky

It’s all theatre

lights above girders and glass

A spectacle

Velveteen smoke escaping in puffs

Vibration poising

Feeble sheep out of time

drunks, derelicts belong to salvation




Speeding through downtown

Faces knotting into rotted loops

Wood smells of winters when

coral-like lonely absence

brilliant dawn passage

Absolute Zero

Secret cities break down for a broader highway


It is a judgement from which there is no appeal.


The opening scene of Gravity’s Rainbow


Sunday Snippet – Night Guitar (opening scene)

This week’s snippet is the first scene from the worst short story I’ve written in the last few years. It’s so bad I should simply delete the files and get on with my life, such as it is, but I haven’t done that yet. The mere existence of that pile of silly randomness bugs me like a hangnail and I can’t help but pick at it. I’ve taken it apart and am editing some of the parts that might work sometime and trying to create a creaking framework to hang everything on.

And because I am just too damn tired to come up with anything worthwhile this evening I give you what I’ve written for a opening scene so I can humiliate myself and you can wallow in some shallow schadenfreude before you click away.

Night Guitar

Copernicus Mayhem was the lead singer and guitar player of the band Sweetmeat Valentine. He made damn sure nobody called him anything else. The name his parents had chosen for him was Doug Chandler. But nobody called him that. Not any more.

“Oh, come on Copernicus, please, pretty please, let’s go. I wanna go,” said Serena Twist. She was his West Coast girlfriend, and that was where they were, so she was his girlfriend.

“Oh, babe, I’m beat. This is the first three days off I’ve had in a month. Let’s stay here, the suite’s big and nice, hit some weed, soak in the tub.”

“Hit some weed and soak in the tub? That’s all you wanna do. I’m bored. I’m bored. Let’s go.” Serena had switched her voice into her high sniveling mode – like fingernails on chalkboard. Copernicus knew that he would be giving in, but he wanted to hold out for a minute or two. Have to keep up appearances. He had a sliver of pride left – or he hoped he did.

“What kind of stupid concert is this anyway?” Copernicus asked without any intention of listening to the answer.

“It’s classy. It’s classical. This composer, Tyrone Page, has done a new symphony. It’s never been performed before. You’ve been invited and I want to go. It’s a humongous honor.”

Copernicus had heard of Tyrone Page though he had never actually heard his work. Page was a mystery, an enigma, nobody knew who or where he was.

The scores of Page’s works arrived on the desks of famous conductors at random intervals. Copernicus wondered why he had never heard anything written by the infamous mystery composer… then he remembered. Page never allowed his stuff to be recorded. It had to be heard live. And though the composer was hidden, his lawyers weren’t. Nobody dared put the sound down on tape, or disk, or anything else.

Copernicus was interested. Now, he actually wanted to go; intrigued. It had been a long time since he had felt intrigued.

“Ok, ok, If you want this thing so much, I’ll go,” Copernicus said. “But I want you to call Skinner and make the transportation arrangements. I want a stretch this time, no van. And I want some weed in the car and a bottle of Maker’s Mark. And plenty of ice.”

“Sure honey, I’ll set it up. Thank you, Thank you.” Serena seemed truly grateful.

“Yeah, you do that. And Serena? I’m gonna be hungry when we get back. I want some good room service this time. Not that usual stale crap. Oh, and please change. If this is a big deal like you say, I want you to wear something… something shiny.”