Eric Shay Howard

Bad blogger. Complicated. Gay.

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How It Happens To People – Short Story

How It Happens To People Artwork - water and fire

Here is this week’s short story, “How It Happens To People”. If you like my fiction, please check out my fiction collection, Crushes, available on Amazon in Print and on Amazon Kindle.

How It Happens To People

I didn’t believe him. I should have. If I had, I wouldn’t be here outside the house, fire hissing through the cracks in the front windows, the smell of burnt salt and birchwood choking me whether I breathe out of my mouth or not. The firemen were hosing down the house, drenching what used to be one of my favorite places in the floaties of the local water supply that we all got good grades to escape. It was Jeff who was the most paranoid when we made it out to UC, always checking his glass for metals and speckles. It’s the city life for us. It wasn’t like him to look back. Why then he decided to use this old house to store his excess instead of a temperature controlled storage building, I’ll never understand. I remember Mom complaining that gas was over a dollar growing up. It took a full tank to get out here.

It hit me while I was watching the blaze. What I would give to get in there and pick out a few of his pieces before the intricate carvings of paraffin are all melted into one collective pool. I knew it hadn’t happened yet. The tall fireman glanced over at me from time to time, putting his thumb in front of his eyes, turning his head sideways. I know better than to go in. Besides, it’s all connected, everything goes back, everything ends how it starts, and all that shit Jeff would say. It would be true of the candles, if it wasn’t already.

Little explosions inside caused the firemen to jump back quickly. They asked me if I knew what was in there when they arrived. I told them I was, or I would be. Pumpkin carving tools were all that was left when it was done. I took the keyhole saw as a souvenir and took a picture with my phone to give the accountant. Until the floaties inside us drip into a puddle, brother.

Works Cited: Title is inspired by a line in Secret Window (2014), a film based on a book by Stephen King.




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Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA Summer Residency, 2022. Photo by Ben Keeling.

I’m Eric Shay Howard and I’m a bad blogger. I’m also an author. I live in Louisville, Kentucky and work at a law firm.

I’m currently a graduate student in a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Lately, I’ve been blogging about that. I also have a Master of Business Administration and have completed a few certificate programs in Human Resource related studies. Occasionally I blog about business and other MBA-related things. Blogging about my day, bad dates, or package delivery issues are also not out of the question.

I wrote a fiction collection called Crushes and self-published it because sometimes I just like to push buttons and see what happens. I think this book is pretty alright. It’s no In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, or Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino or anything, though. But buying a copy helps me out. Feel free to leave a review on Amazon as well.

crushes by eric shay howard fiction collection book cover

I’m an Amazon Affiliate and occasionally post affiliate links to products in my blog posts and throughout my website. I always disclose these links, just so there’s no confusion. There’s more information about this on my page about my privacy policies and disclosures.

If there’s ever any confusion about this feel free to drop me a comment below the post in question, or you can email me or reach out to me through my social media. Other contact methods are here.

Eric’s bookshelf: currently-reading

The Silkworm
tagged: currently-reading
Words of Radiance
tagged: currently-reading
The Cloven Viscount
tagged: currently-reading
Dark Rise
tagged: currently-reading
The Gunslinger
tagged: currently-reading
tagged: currently-reading
Mistborn: The Final Empire
tagged: currently-reading

My Curriculum Vitae

You can view my full CV here, and bits and pieces of it are on my About page. A short summary of my educational and professional accomplishments are below.


Bluegrass Writers Studio Emerging Writer Award Finalist, 2022

Western Governors University Capstone Excellence Award, 2022

University of Louisville Creative Writing Scholarship Award, 2015


Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Bluegrass Writers Studio, Eastern Kentucky University, 2024 (anticipated graduation date)

Master of Business Administration, Western Governors University, 2022

Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Louisville, 2017


Designated Project Manager (Project Management for the Non-Project Manager) Certificate, University of South Florida, 2023 (anticipated certificate program completion date)

Workplace and Personal Wellness Foundations Certificate, University of South Florida, 2022

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate, University of South Florida, 2021

Credly Badges

Blogs and People I Like

Here are some other blogs and people that I like to read or keep up with. The order is arbitrary because I started out going for alphabetical order but then got busy with classes or something so now sometimes I just rearrange them for no reason.

Equipment Test! Podcast Artwork

I made a really bad podcast over the summer called Equipment Test! because I bought a microphone. But if you like really bad podcasts, you can listen to it here, or find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other places.

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