The Greatest – Fiction

So I’m in Chicago and I wasn’t able to post this Friday because free WiFi is hard. Also, I’m still not satisfied with this story but here it is anyway. I might rewrite it one day. I’m posting it as is because consistency is important, I guess.

Update 4:15 PM 12/12/17: So I’ve had a few days to recover from my trip to Chicago. I got busy with planning my trip and didn’t have the time to give this the story the attention it deserved. I kind of want to give this story a rewrite, so I’m gonna go do that now.

*

Kurr sat at his desk between his partners’, Logsdon and Ball. Kurr read reports. He drank coffee while he verified alibis in the reports. He reheated his coffee in the microwave three times that morning while he found business names and homes with the listed addresses on his reports. He sighed as he drank his coffee and typed his progress in the reports.

Logsdon and Ball were on the phone that morning. They chatted across Kurr all morning. Logsdon and Ball looked half-dressed, in untucked buttons ups off the rack at JC Penny’s and faint gray stains scattered all over their navy pants, their hair curly, funny, like they’d just rolled over out of bed and come to work that morning. Logsdon and Ball were young. Logsdon and Ball were not used to getting up early in the morning.

Having made it to noon, Logsdon and Ball flipped a coin. Ball called tails. Ball bought lunch. When Ball returned to the floor with a white bag that smelled of onion rings, Kurr locked his computer and followed Logsdon and Ball on through the desks, down the hall, past the cubicles, and to the right. Ball set the bag on the biggest table. Kurr stopped at the counter and poured black coffee into his world’s best singer mug. When he got to the biggest table, Logsdon and Ball had already eaten half their burgers.

 

“Your food’s getting cold,” Logsdon said.

“Fine, got my hot right here,” Kurr said.

“You use that line on all the ladies?” Does it work?” Ball said.

“Damn it, Ball. Burgers again?” Kurr said.

“Payer picks. That’s the rule,” Ball said.

“Loser picks,” Logsdon said.

Ball threw an onion ring at Logsdon. It hit him in the nose. Logsdon squished his lips against his nose, unrolled his sleeve, and wiped the oil off with his cuff.

Two by two, the seats at the small tables around them filled. A brown haired man in tan corduroy pants and a white button up stopped and looked under their table.

“Still got both shoes, Ball?” the man said. Ball looked at him with no expression. The man laughed and moaned and went on down to sit with a dark haired woman eating a candy bar.

“These people never let things go, do they?” Ball said.

“They will. Just have to wait it out,” Kurr said.

“For how long?” Ball said.

“Long enough for someone else to do something stupid,” Kurr said.

Kurr heard his own tone and put his burger down. He looked around at the others, the duos. The lean man at the table next to him ate his salad with his partner across from him. They laughed at each other. They texted on their phones. They ate.

“How much more you got, Old Man?” Logsdon said. He chewed as lettuce hung out. Mayonnaise splattered up his glasses. Logsdon wiped his frame with his cuff. The mayonnaise smeared. Logsdon chewed on.

“Only about half way through,” Kurr said.

“We’re gonna be here all night,” Logsdon said.

“You’re welcome to help, you know,” Kurr said. Logsdon made his eyes small.

“I’m following up on leads for the Brown case,” Logsdon said.

“No, you’re having a goofball match across my desk with Ball,” Kurr said.

“I’ve been on the phone all morning,” Logsdon said.

Kurr set his burger down. He moved his world’s best singer mug over to the corner. He folded his hands and placed his wad of fingers on the table.

“Don’t you guys get sick of it?” Kurr said. Balls topped chewing his fry. Logsdon took off his glasses and cleaned his mayonnaise smear with his shirt tail.

“Sick of what?” Logsdon said.

“Sick of not being taken seriously around here,” Kurr said.

“People take us seriously,” Ball said. He looked over to mister corduroy pants a few tables down. Mister corduroy mimed a runner while sitting in his chair.

“Help me, help me, the bad guy stole my shoes,” mister corduroy said. He laughed, threw his hand down toward the big table, and went back to sipping from his foam cup.

Ball ate the rest of his burger. Logsdon continued to rub his glasses down with his shirt. Mister corduroy pants ran toward the door. “Help, someone, my shoes, my shoes.”

Chief Mueller walked in. Mister corduroy pants straightened his back. Logsdon put his glasses back over his eyes. Mueller went to the counter and poured himself a coffee.

“Afternoon, chief,” mister corduroy pants said.

“Marmon,” Mueller said. He stirred his coffee with a red plastic stirrer, tasted it, and added more sugar.

People left their seats and threw their garbage in the hole near the sink. Logsdon and Ball stood up together.

“Back to it,” Ball said.

“Back to the phone,” Logsdon said. He looked at Kurr as he spoke. Kurr remained seated until they left. He watched Mueller as he stood and drank and stirred. Mueller turned and caught Kurr with his eyes over his world’s greatest seaman cup. Kurr approached him after the room emptied.

“Sir, could I talk to you for a bit?” Kurr said. Mueller stirred and nodded.

“What’s the problem, Kurr?” Mueller said. Kurr watched his feet for a minute.

“Am I being punished?” Kurr said. Mueller gulped his coffee and sat his mug down on the counter.

“What do you mean?” Mueller said. Kurr folded his hands and held them to his navel.

“You putting me with Logsdon and Ball. Are you punishing me?” Kurr moved his right foot further to the right, then back to the left.

“Why would you think that?” Mueller said. Kurr moved his right foot forward and then backward.

“They’re the youngest detectives in the department. Everyone else is partnered up and you have the three of us together. No one respects them, which means no one respects me,” Kurr said. Mueller pinched his chin. He came close.

“You don’t like your partners?” Mueller said. Kurr looked down at his feet, tapped his toes forward, backward, then planted his foot back down.

“No, sir. I think it would be best if I could put in an official request form,” Kurr said.

“Kurr, let me tell you something. You are more than welcome to put in that request, but I won’t accept it. You’re with Logsdon and Ball. That’s the way it’s gonna be. You’re with them and they’re with you. I want you three going everywhere together. Every desk assignment. Every case. Every day. If there’s ever a time someone doesn’t see you three together, I want people to think it’s fucked up that you’re not all there. Kurr, Logsdon, and Ball. That’s the way it is,” Mueller said. He patted Kurr’s shoulder, picked up his coffee mug, and filled it with soap and water from the sink.

Eric Shay Howard is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Louisville, KY and is the editor of Likely Red Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like his Facebook page.

A Bad Tweet About My Writing Process

This week, I’m preparing for a trip and reading A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.

I’m supposed to be making sure I can find warm clothes for the trip, but instead I’m reading Fredrik Backman’s novel, A Man Called Ove. This is one of the novels I’m making myself read this year. There are also a few more. I’m also very much aware that it’s nearly the end of the year. I read so many novels my final semester at the University of Louisville that I had to take a break from reading novels all summer and fall. I won’t get done reading this novel before next year, so we might as well go ahead and say it’s the first novel I’m reading for 2018. It doesn’t matter. I have to plan a trip.

 

My trip is Friday. Well, it’s Friday at 6am. That means I have to basically be ready Thursday night. So from Thursday through Sunday I will be on a trip. That’s what I’m trying to say. My trip is for business. Well, personal. Well, I’m making it business. Okay, more personal I guess. You know what, it’s both. It doesn’t matter. I’m going somewhere to do things.

I have other goals, too. I tweeted them.

 

I sort of regret tweeting this. I don’t like talking about my “process”. First of all, it assumes anyone is even asking. Also, while the tweet is basically true, I don’t like the illusion that I’m consistent with my writing process. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING about my writing process is ever consistent. I also regret the typo in the word “weeks”. So, by the power vested in me by my English degree from the University of Louisville, I hereby declare this tweet a bad tweet. I’m not deleting it though, because nothing matters anymore, anyway.

Back to Backman and coats. And writing, of course.

I’ll see you all Friday when I post this week’s short fiction. You can see an early draft if you support me on my Patreon page.

Here’s last Friday’s short fiction story, “The Arrangements of Bird Men”.

fredrik backmans a man called ove novel and a coffee cup

You can contact me using my contact form, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and like my page on Facebook.

Seven Stories Into My Second Fiction Collection

I did it again. My entire weekend was spent typing up drafts of new stories. There are a lot of cop and crime stories again this week. I also started a short fiction Patreon page, because money. Then, I sat down Sunday afternoon to put together the poll for which story to post to my blog, then I stopped. I know which story I want to post to my blog.

I’ve decided that I need to make my own decisions about which stories to post on my blog, because I should be able to make my own decisions about my writing. I’m a grown ass man. I was using my Twitter followers as a crutch. Totes. No more. I am self sufficient. I can do this.

So, about my Patreon page.

Updated: 7:15pm because I’m so indecisive.

So, here’s how I’m starting out doing my Patreon stuff. At least, probably. I’m still working out the kinks, but basically, patrons get to read my short fiction early.

For $1 a month (which I call my First-Come-First-Serve patrons, because it’s my page and it doesn’t have to make sense) you get access to early drafts and junk and stuff of the stories that I’ll post to my blog every week. Although, keep in mind that some of these drafts will change many times before they’re finally posted here on my blog. I do a lot of rewriting. Like, a lot.

For $3 a month (or my Everything And Then Some patrons) you get the $1 stuff, plus access to an exclusive short story only for patrons every month. That’s right. I’ve been busy, getting stuff all planned out and what-not. These versions of these stories will be pretty close to done, though I always reserve the right to change shit, because as I’m sure you’ve figured out, I have a hard time making decisions.

I don’t know if this will work or not. Probably not, but I’m doing it anyway because internet.

More stuff down the line, too, but baby steps.

So, this week with my writing, there’s more cop and crime stories.

There’s a story about a cop who hates working with his partners. There’s also a story about a band of misfits who break into one of the biggest companies in the city to hack, crash, and burn it. You’ll know which story is going to get posted to the blog on Friday if you support me on Patreon for $3 a month, because I’ve posted the early draft of that story on my Patreon page (emphasis on early draft).

You might see the other story if it ever gets published in a literary journal or magazine, or if and when my collection gets accepted for publication. In the future, I’ll also share some exclusive fiction with my patrons, but, like I said, baby steps.

Yup, that’s how this works now. Decisioned.

I’ve also posted this poll to my Twitter, because old habits die hard.

Like I said, I like polls. They’re interactive and people will do them on Twitter because they’re quick. I’d like to keep doing a poll about something every now and then. I guess I’ll have to get creative.

I also wanted to share with you my newest rejection letter.

This rejection is from No Tokens. I don’t know if it’s a standard rejection, a higher tier rejection, or a personal rejection. I can’t tell anymore. I suspect it’s a little bit of a slightly higher tiered form rejection, meaning it got past the first round at least. I say that because, in my experience, anytime a journal says to send something else, it usually means they liked what they read.

Also, I’m going to Chicago on Friday. Don’t ask. I’ll tell. Eventually.

And, if you missed all the energy I put into trying to get you to become my patron at the beginning of this post, here’s my Patreon page. Please support me if you like my fiction and want to keep reading more of it.

And, here’s last Friday’s fiction story that I posted on my blog. I really like it. Hope I didn’t set the bar too high with this. Genuinely concerned.

You can contact me using my contact form, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and like my page on Facebook.