Just sold my short story “Dead Man Watching” to Not One of Us, probably for the #45 April issue, though it might end up being in a different one. “Dead Man Watching” is kind of a ghost story–I seem to write a lot of those–and kind of a love story–though not a happy one. It began with the image of a man seated at a kitchen table, staring at the world through his own transparent hands, and it developed from there into the story of a woman who can’t let go and the man she can’t let go of.
He watches TV. He reads. He does both at the same time, the same amount of fractured half-attention given to each, until he’s sure that nothing from either medium is sticking, and the TV goes off and the book goes down and he sits in his coldness on the sofa, listening to the traffic through the open window. They had picked out this apartment together. He remembers that. This was going to be their home, and now it is, but he thinks that might just be because they don’t know what else to call it.
He goes to the window and looks down. City pavement, people walking, cars and a garbage truck making its way up the opposite side of the street. Dogs barking on leashes, two at once, tangling up with each other. He remembers walking outside, walking with her, simple pleasure never appreciated at the time. He often wonders, these days, if she had thought this through at all. He wonders whether anyone told her to stop, think, just think about what this means, just really think about it.
Maybe she had. Maybe, from the depths of her pain, she had thought it through as well as anyone ever could have done. And maybe that’s why he still doesn’t blame her.
I’ll post when the issue is available for sale–single current issues can be bought individually–but subscriptions are also very reasonable and very worth it. It’s a zine known for putting good work out there; it’s not uncommon for stories published in it to be selected for Year’s Best anthologies, etc.
This is another one that’s been waiting for just the right home; I’m glad I finally found it one.