Hi, friends and readers:
I’m pleased to announce release of my fiction anthology, Troubling Tales from Florida. The book includes six short stories and a novella, Man-O-War Cay. Some are stories I wrote a few years ago, while others were penned more recently. They all share a common thread: disturbed characters who aren’t too kind to the people they encounter. And all the stories take place in Florida, in whole or in part.
Hey, I’m a native Floridian, and this is where most of my fiction takes place.
This book is about 60,000 words, the equivalent of a full-length novel, and each story is unique. Here’s a sample:
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The Drape Man.
Copyright Jere’ M. Fishback, 2013.
The drape man still grips my hair. With his free hand he reaches into a pocket; he produces a folding knife he opens by pulling on the blade’s edge with his teeth. He holds the weapon—five inches of stainless steel and sharp-looking—before the tip of my nose. I keep glancing back and forth between the blade and the kitchen floor. His liquor breath and body odor stink worse than ever.
He whispers, “We’ll both go to the door, Justin. You will send this person away, whoever it is. Understand?”
I bob my chin.
He lowers the knife; he presses the flat of the blade to my crotch. He says, “I swear to God, if you try any shit I’ll slice off your dick and make you eat it. Is that clear?”
I shiver. Then I bob my chin some more.
He holds my forearm while we walk to the foyer. He stands by the part of the door with hinges. Then he whispers into my ear, “Open it a crack.” When he nudges his knife tip against my ribcage, he applies the slightest pressure, and I flinch.
Bryce stands on my doorstep. His bicycle lies upon the grass behind him. The chrome on the bike reflects moonlight. He wears slip-on sneakers, board shorts, and a t-shirt with the sleeves hacked off. He says, “What took you so long? I must’ve rung six times.”
I can’t look Bryce in the eye. I say, “I was in the bathroom.”
“I tried calling your cell phone; you didn’t answer.”
I explain how I left it at school.
Bryce jerks his chin toward the driveway. “Whose truck?”
“Some guy measuring for drapes.”
“At nine o’clock?”
I shrug while I study my bare feet.
“What happened to your face?”
He points to his own cheek. Then he says, “There’s a blotch right here.”
I touch the sore spot on my face. Then I shrug and lower my gaze again. “I fell in the shower,” I say.
When I look at Bryce, his forehead is creased. His eyes are narrowed and he searches my face. “Aren’t you going to invite me in? A martial-arts flick starts at nine-thirty.”
He takes a step forward, but I narrow the door opening; I leave just a small gap. I say, “I’m not feeling good; I’ll go to bed in just a minute, right after the drape man leaves.”
“So early? It’s Friday night.”
I shrug again. I can’t hold Bryce’s gaze.
“You should leave,” I say.
He takes a deep breath. Then he puffs out his lips and tilts his head to one side. He stands with his hands at his waist, frowning, for maybe five seconds. Then he says, “All right. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.” He walks to his bike and rights it. He climbs onto the seat, and then he pedals away in the moonlight.
The drape man whispers, “Is he gone?”
“Close the door and lock it.”
I do as I’m told. After the drape man closes his knife, he grabs my hair again. He takes me first to the kitchen, where he seizes his drink, and then to my parents’ bedroom. I tremble anew because I know what’s coming: he will hurt me and he won’t care when he does. I am nothing but flesh, raw meat to the drape man.
* * * *
Here’s a buy link if you have an interest in Troubling Tales from Florida: