One of a kind evocative creative fiction for those who enjoy thoughtful, edgy stories that provoke reflection upon our shared human condition
If you like odd and insightful fiction that prompts you to think about the world and the empire of beautiful contradictions that make up the human spirit, then you’ve arrived at the right place.
Thanks for taking a look. Enjoy, leave a comment, and sign up to catch a notice in your inbox when another gets published. Yours in solidarity, Victor David
P.S. I've also started a Substack for my fiction pieces. You'll find some here, some there, some in both places. If you sign up on Substack, you'll get stories directly to your inbox.
Night. He pushed the old car hard for the shipyards. Missed an onramp out of San Fernando, dropped onto the streets of Van Nuys. Rushed when he could down the carchoked boulevard. At stops his redlight brakefoot edgy, eager to free the engine from its idle.
Crime scene ahead. Ambulance, stretchers, sheets. He took a hard left on Magnolia, ran deeper into the body of the night. Cop said driving too fast but we’ll let it go this time. A shared forearm tattoo. Brother both victims of the same wargod pressgang that flew home so damn many coffins.
Right there inside the hall of Senators full of meat and presented to the cameras that pick him up and shoot a verdict of his face out to the world sits Mr. Stuart Alexander to testify before the political dinosaurs that will soon hobble out and question his beliefs and practices in the hope that they may stay relevant within their shrinking constituencies and maintain on their juiceless features the captivating glow of a television spotlight. Young Mr. Stuart Alexander, accustomed to getting what he wants, doesn’t fear the senatorial relics that teeter on the brink of extinction. The world belongs to the fresh.
Do you see us? asks Senator Erstwhile, chairman of the committee and grandfather to at least three dozen boys and girls who have unfortunately inherited his fryingpan face and his overactive eyebrows.
You are barely visible, says Stuart Alexander. On the edge of worthlessness and sooner gone better.
I was talking to the cameraman, says Senator Erstwhile. We still rule the world.
A bell in the distance is always a bell and not yet a death knell as you grasp brambles and branches for a ration of natural guidance and consent to a series of red streaks they grant as stigmata on your forearms and hands.
You are not an abandoned spirit, rather one of many pilgrims who follow a related road, a path scratched on a map with sticks and hard blood that carries you to another garden door.
Laura stood in the kitchen, stared out at the neat rows of brown houses.
Morning. Gray sky. A knock on the door.
“Sign here.” A clipboard. A letter.
She closed the door, held the letter, looked at the sender, set the letter on the table, went back to the kitchen, stared out at the houses. A light rain fell.
The day moved across the sky. The gray remained.
At dinner, she told Paul. His face stayed stone. “We better read it,” he said.
His beliefs are living beings, Holden says, talking about himself again. At first they fall as impoverished angels into his eyes as dawn paints the window reddish. Then they lather his daylight with hard thoughts of who should receive a suggestion of death and who a short sentence of life. They tumble into the crevices of his doubts, clamoring with their sharp edges of how he must rise and admire his administration of justice.
What's that? I say. You're not a great god, not even a mayor or a teacher. Only a failed novelist.
True, he says. But we all have more inside.
Give me more coffee, I say to the waiter. He bows and retreats to the kitchen.
It wasn't always like this. Before the world rolled clouds across the sky faster and made clocks our masters, we rode from one end of our neighborhood to another on bicycles, playing the pedals like drums. We pounded rhythms with a ferocity that thrust phantoms from our dreams and gave them flesh.
Holden clears his throat. Do you remember how we loved Antonio?
Most reindeer have a rather dull nose, dark brown or boring gray, but Rudolph had a very shiny one. Therefore, the rest of the pack laughed about it, called him names, kicked snow in his face. Like quite a few humans, they didn’t much care for creatures unlike themselves.
They were good with Santa, however. He was mostly jolly, not a reindeer, and most importantly, the big boss. Without Santa, the reindeer wouldn’t have a respectable job, and no comfortable place to hang out.
For years, Adam counted the beans. Each morning, at eight o’clock sharp, he took the pot from the cupboard, placed it on the countertop, withdrew exactly eleven raw beans, and placed them in his hand.
The beans were smooth and variegated, like small eggs of a beautiful bird. It pleased Adam to look at them for a moment before putting the eleven in one of the plastic bottles he always found in the alley next to his house. Eleven, he liked to say, because it is the only number that resembles the betrothed as they approach the priest. Some said that this was the number of times Adam had been in the mental hospital, but they were simple people who had never witnessed the marvel of a grasshopper’s face.
As a bird I would gently fly high above buses and those who mount sidewalks on a hardline damp day of waging war with office chores and bills to pay – but I’m a mere creature of arms and legs, and cannot reach an alien heaven from this Avenue of Saints. I’m stranded on the far shore of salvation.
On this street James and Julie and I are in the rain, our cardboard roof tapping the same slow hymn I remember from when I was a simple victim of family pain that thrust me from a home into the cold.
Once this city rested on a heart, but now it’s broken and spent. Some few lucky grabbed a good life by the throat and squeezed it hard with their coffee delight and the freedom of another birthright. And oh, how they do fast-track their feet when they pass, never sleepless at night of what would happen should they not make the rent on time.
A 10 p.m. streetlight cracks through the store window, casts mirrored letters on the floor, shines the shoes of three old strangers in line with a bag of chips or a bottle of seltzer for a Thursday night of bingo or some other senior fun when the bell above the door sounds and Baz Osborne, tall with 19 short years of life enters. He carries a gun.
“Everyone down,” he says, waves the gun in the air. “Please.”
Erkin Polat, owner and night shift clerk with a cloudy beard, starts to drop.
“Not you,” says Baz.
Marcus Benson, second in line, retired parole officer, speaks up. “Just a minute, young man. I’ve got a bad back. I can’t get down on the floor.”
When I got off the plane in Astrakhan, the airport terminal was completely deserted. It was about 1:00 a.m. and I had expected few people but this degree of emptiness was a little unsettling. I followed the signs – they were in both Russian and English – down the corridor to the customs office. Nobody was at the counter. After I called out once or twice without success, a woman came in through the door I had entered, walked behind the counter, and approached me.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I just arrived,” I said. “I’m here to get my paperwork processed.” I laid my passport and travel documents on the counter, slid them over.
She rustled through the papers for a moment. “Where are you coming from, Mr. Bloom?” she asked.
They say you can’t turn back the clock, but Hector knew better. At night, as he moved from building to building, window to window, to observe unfolding secrets of ordinary people that hid behind their curtain cracks, he always encountered a peculiar sensation that started in his calves and moved into his upper chest. It reminded him freshly of life when he was a young boy which, outside of these excursions, he could never fully grasp.
These glimpses gave him goose bumps. They needled a dream closer to reality, a dream that people would one day stop hiding their true nature, expose themselves for who they really were, soft bellied up, like frogs on a science table. It wasn’t aberrant to dream, Hector would whisper to himself from the shadows, only deviant to pretend to be pure.
Caleb lived in the shed. “Boys live in sheds,” father always said, a scarred man with one good eye, “live in sheds until my god says when.” Father was unschooled, rigorous, and committed to the shape of his faith.
Caleb was twelve years old. Sometimes on a cool night he stuffed leaves in his pants. Mornings, he cleaned his teeth with fingers in the creek after father unlocked the chains.
Mr. Stone put his drink down. Someone had knocked on the door.
“Yes?” It was a girl, about nine years old.
“I like your house,” she said. “May I come in?”
Mr. Stone nodded. She came in. He closed the door, went back to his study. The girl followed.
“Would you like a drink?” asked Mr. Stone. He pointed to the whiskey bottle on the table next to his chair.
“Sorry, I didn't mean…I thought for a moment you were…”
Morning breaks the window open, sets sunlight to shatter on the floor, the scorpions to scatter. They run for walls, but Jordan climbs from bed, his dream head raw, brooms them to the door.
A young boy appears, still untouched by caution, a child who never had a fall he couldn’t master or a creature from which he couldn’t run. His name is Ethan. He climbs in through the window when the sun creates the trees each day. “Good morning, Mr. Jordan,” he says.
Man walks in, sees a body, steps over it, grabs a bottle of water from the cooler, steps behind the counter, dials the phone.
“Don’t ask how,” he says, “but I just witnessed a parting of ways. This earth, that life. 700 block, liquor store. I’m out of here.”
Spread the Word
This is a list of currently available stories. I'll be adding a new one every week. Tuesday morning. Sign up on the mailing listto get notified. Also, see my Substack.
- Terminal Los Angeles
- Inside The Hall of Senators
- A Strong Path Of Roses And Rocks
- Duty To Conceive
- The Passages of War and Sickness
- Rudolph Moves Up in the World
- The Price Of Obsession Is Madness
- Far Birds Above The Avenue of Saints
- Baz Tries Crime First Time
- Final Arrival
- Secret Watchers of Other Lives
- Kill The Man or Kill The Messenger
- The Crying Girl
- Mid Afternoon Crime in Allegory City