Call for fiction – Summer 2007 edition!

Summer’s here: the sun is shining, the kids are playing, the West Nile mosquitoes are hovering in clouds of death. For many, the Summer is a time for travel, whether it is to a far off location or just to one’s “happy place”.

At Local Color, we asked our readers to send in their stories about travel. We left the interpretation of the word “travel” to the discretion of the authors.

In response, we got Grays by Christian Verotik, a journey through the relationship between us and our alien overlords; Kelly L.’s Wayworn City, a trip through the remains of a past age; and J. Robert Novak’s (I Believe in) Travelin’ Light, in which the narrator prepares to venture far from home.

These stories can be found here.

We’d like to thank the contributors, and to remind everyone that we are always accepting fiction, as well as essay submissions.


In Fear of the L-Word

By Christian Verotik

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is several years old by now and was developed in Verotik’s writing group. He’s kept it to himself, but felt ready to reveal it. I hope you like it as much as we do. — Charlie)

They live in a glass house, with a floor made up of stones, but they need not fear. It works well for the woman, for she does not like to be the one to throw objects of reality, and she does not fear him, for he knows better than to throw his stones in their house made of glass. Continue reading

How I Feel About Missing the 1970s and Living in 2007:

by Christian Verotik

Living inside here isn’t always easy.
You can touch me, but I will not feel.
Scrape your hands on blistered wood.
The burning flames of ember waves in the night,
Calling the siryns out from the sea
For copulation, decapitulation, or simple extrenouations.
In here all sperm leads away from uterine walls
And into blood chasms of omnivorous termites.
Using clacked mandibles to exert influence over hardware.
Radiological bisects building corrugated genetic dissolutions.
No, it’s not an easy life, but it keeps one busy.
Gesticulations of the masses towards words made of metal,
Your hearts are iron, your brains rusted copper, your bodies candle wax.
Melted baby fat mixed with aerosolized acid medication
Used to treat what ails a dying soul breed.
Viruses in the base of our skull causing sentient awareness
Overuse of antibiotics creating lower intelligence.
Bread box houses to hold the maimed, cannibal lights in every room.
Do you know who lives alone with you?
Canjoled Aribeastry beings from quadrants outside your minds,
Impeached upon the world tree of Belgium and sanguine loss.
And, in the end, stomach ulcers and embolisms of sex, this is why
Why I’d choose the life of a wood louse over the dreams of sullied albatross.
It’s a garbage receptacle for the souls of the Jewish dead,
The legacy of Hitlerian economic philosophy taught at Kent State by discredited Yales.
Metaphor mixed my in head loose alighting saladiptious marketed cornerstones.
Jimmy Carter is a used shoe salesman in my refrigerated wedding.
And you, you, always for you…..stoneglasshouses and Napalm babies.
The Me would come later and never end with shopping carts full of uranium.
This is the face of Love in the Garden of Pines.

Mitral Valve, Prolapsed

(Intro: a very personal poem from Christian. If you know him at all, you know where this comes from. – CK)

Bring back my lover to me.
The creation of pocket universes
to hide your pain;
Creating a world of bitterness,
Unhappiness, and the hopeless-
Helpless to find your way back
From where you were first banished.
Bring back my lover to me.
They say your sanity is the first thing to go
Dizziness and a pain in the neck.
Tethered to reality like a moth on a single string
Tugging, pulling, roiling through your mind-
Thoughts of disease, decay, loneliness.
Abandoned with your own self,
And I know I don’t make good company.
Bring back my lover to me.
Is talking to oneself really so strange
When no one else can hear? A land of the deaf and dumb.
If I could tell of the shaking, the aching
The busted brain and the limping step-
And the heart. Beating a rhythm too jaded to dance-
“Alone!” it cries. Night miseries.
No, this is not my world….
My life? Bring it back to me!
Too blinded by clouded waves of grain to see
It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken.
Now, there’s nothing left but weak shells
Without a sea of people. The crowds make my wave break.
Bring back my lover to me.
Coagulated blood and pills to make you bleed
if you’re lucky. While my number is thirteen.
Twenty-one to live, twenty-five to die. A roll of three.
I miss you all, but I miss Her most….
One more and bring back my lover to me.

The March 2007 Call for Fiction

The March 2007 Call for Fiction entries are posted! We’ve got some great stories: contributer Christian Verotik sent in Two Lovers, about the meaning of true love; new contributer Gen posted Routine: Loss and Gain, about, well, loss and gain; Publisher, editor-in-chief, and all around nice guy Charlie Kondek wrote Top Shelf, another meditation on loss; and editor-in-chief J. Robert Novak gave us Intervention, a tale of God, Nintendo, and Dungeons & Dragons.

In the next day or two, a few straggling stories may be posted, so keep an eye on this page.

And now, the March 2007 Local Color Call for Fiction entries!

The Second Child

By Charlie Kondek

Fatherhood changed my life. I think we use that phrase a lot, about all kinds of things that happen to us, without ever really considering the gravity of an actual, life-changing event. We feel our lives are changed, that we are different people, when we hear certain music, see certain films, read certain books, have certain epiphanies. We recall them later in florid, inflated memory; “I remember exactly where I was when that happened. It changed my life.” But we do not fully experience the vertigo of a life-changing event until we have really fallen down that well. Fatherhood changed my life. Twice.

Continue reading

The Great Adventure

Words and images by David Barnett

(Intro: A cheeky, witty travelogue from a writer we really need to hear more from. — Charlie)

* * *

GreatAdventure Ah, the summer of 2005 — what a time to be alive that was. A few months prior, I finished my tenure at the University of Wales, Cardiff, studying Journalism, Film, & Broadcasting. My lifestyle was a dynamic mix of sleeping, eating, and pornography, and yet, I wondered was there something more? Well, dear reader, there was. You see, I can’t say I live in a terribly diverse cosmopolitan locale. A day out around here usually means going around the shops, going to the cinema, or feeding the birds, tuppence a bag. No wait, that’s Mary Poppins, but you get the idea.

Not that life in Wales is boring, you understand. Endless shops, endless fields and mountains, and ah! singing coal miners, I’m reliably informed. I’ll take the moral high ground for a novel change and not draw attention to the sheep jokes often made about us, though. I’m often reminded how beautiful and peaceful it is, but quite frankly, its charm has long been lost on me. Like the average black hole, you come to Wales, but you never leave, or so that was the case for the majority of my life. Apart from one dire school trip to France and brief family trips across the border, I had never really ventured anywhere on my own. The shocking truth of a geek in life experience deficit mode.

On top of it all, I was in the midst of truly wondering what I wanted to do with my life, a dilemma that was killing my initiative in seeking gainful employment. Oh sure, in theory, journalism sounds like a great career where I could just type at a keyboard most of the time and think to myself how great it is that I’m serving the public. Heck, that is the prevailing rationale of a lot of those who do it; problem is they don’t really. So, life was uneventful even more so: no schoolwork, no actual work, what’s a guy to do?

So, I got thinking; dangerous, I know, but I had to risk it. A grand journey: I would explore locales of great repute and esoteric spots of hidden delight. By foot, by wheel, and by rail, I would explore these Great British isles on a journey where I would grow into the man I am: steadfast, tireless and moronic to the point of spectacle. Suffice to say, it didn’t really turn out that way; it didn’t turn out a fraction of that way really. But this be the tale I tell. Continue reading