Eric Shay Howard

Bad blogger. Complicated. Gay.

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Replacement Parts – Short Story

Replacement Parts - Short Story Artwork - French Horn

I hope you like this week’s short story, “Replacement Parts”. Typo hunters are welcome. If you like this story, check out my other short stories that I post on Fridays. You can also buy my fiction collection, Crushes, if you’re into that.

Replacement Parts

I dropped the fifty on the white countertop and eyed how round my middle was in the bell of the French Horn on the stand by the register. I’m sure it really wasn’t, but I could almost see the jiggle when my arm hit my side. It was how I always imagined I’d realize I was fat, when the time came for it. I never guessed through a musical instrument exactly, but a funhouse mirror, maybe a trophy case, or something like that. When Tom came from the back with a ziplock back of bubble wrapped pieces, and exchanged the fifty for a twenty, Matthew must’ve felt his skills were needed.

“Every time someone loses one, you have to buy four?” Matthew switched from a smile to a pucker in-between the oversized chews of his bubble gum. Matthew cleared his throat and looked from the counter, ending on Tom with his chin down and his eyes up.

“Most people don’t lose these,” the man said. He looked at me. I had just watched myself through the brass as I poked my belly.

“Don’t you have to take these off to oil them?” My partner looked at me. When no one else talked, I picked up the twenty.

“It’s fine, Matthew. Thanks, Tom,” I said. The man behind the counter nodded as he squished his bottom lip with the muscle behind the other. I started towards the door with my box of valves. Matthew walked after me. When the bell dinged and the door shut, Matthew whispered to me on our way to his Honda Accord.

“Too much? That’s what you meant right? I can be too much sometimes?” He said. We crossed at the crosswalk. He put his hand on my back. “I just thought it would be like picking up a pick at the guitar store.”

“It wasn’t like that?” I asked on the other side of the street. He pulled his hand away. I went to the passenger door. When he got closer to the driver’s side, my door unlocked. I caught my reflection in the car window, my belly stretched thin this time. My head wrapped around a scratch in the glass, as tall as the storefront behind me.

“No, it wasn’t like that,” he said. He smiled before he went down to his seat. I watched my eyes in the mirror hanging on the visor until we got back to his place.




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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, I suppose. 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

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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