Crossroads: Ultra-short Stories of the Absurd

Contemplative, at times harrowing, and often darkly humored themes are explored in eighteen Kafkaesque tales. Topics include civilized wars, an argument for why kisses are logically impossible, how a town dealt with the pandemic of butterflies, detachable hearts, forbidden fruit, and the outcome of climbing ropes suspended from skies.

This was my first go at (self-)published fiction. As a short story collection, it itself is short, having a word count of under 12K words. It’s comprised of stand alone stories from my first attempt at a novel: a stream of consciousness interweaving the protagonist’s memories of a forlorn, year-long romance; his various thoughts on existential matters; and his nightmare-like dreams; all of which he was experiencing on a single night while deciding if he should take the plunge and ask the girl he was infatuated with out on a date.

Though my first try was not a success, I do have ideas for another, hopefully more maturely developed, novel—one whose plot unfolds within a distant, global, utopian society. The subject matter of this second novel, however, is far more audacious in scope than my first attempt—too much so for my present tastes. Still, writing it is always in the back of my mind.

For those interested, “Crossroads” can be read and downloaded in multiple formats at Smashwords, a self-publishing platform, free of charge. Following is an excerpt from the short-story collection:

Forbidden Fruit

A God decrees prohibition of his own fruit’s flesh. The incomprehensible rationalization: that you should resist obtaining that for which you’ve been preprogrammed to seek.

Sitting with your back against tree, you now contemplate the forbidden knowledge that lies just within your reach—an unfolding of the spirit’s battles with temptations never before felt.

Afterward, there’s the glimpse caught of a tiny worm’s severed organs still swirling from within an eaten apple’s core: the digestion of nutritions tainted, and an ancient serpent’s dreams now traveling through a human’s newly reawoken soul. Former ignorance becomes tattooed with bitterness at wisdom’s arrival, and then the onset of dire needs to comprehend, to truly see, and to eat flesh from the offerings of—at least—just one more apple.