New edition of The Not-Podcast Thing

Wherein I talk about how I personally go about finding fiction markets, I read a bit of the current novel-shaped object, and my cat yells at me.

I like doing these, and I like Soundcloud, but I think I may need to move to a different host. At some point I’m going to run out of space.

As always, please give me things to talk about if you want me to talk about about anything specific.

The text of the excerpt I read is under the cut.

– – –

Samir Ghani dodged the first punch but failed to evade the second. Pain exploded up through his jaw and into his skull, a spike of pale light stabbing into his temporal lobe and spidering out into the rest of him. He was sure he felt his teeth crunching into the inside of his cheek; he tasted blood. Someone was screaming, a wet and gasping sound. He had an awful suspicion that it might be him.

So much for a quiet evening.

Not that he really should have expected it. But one found oneself hoping, no matter how much one tried to restrain the impulse.

The punch had dropped him down to one knee; he rolled and tried to scramble away, the world doubling and lurching around him in a dim, warped image like a scene underwater. Was he under a table? Something was towering over him—a table, a person, flesh and furniture, and there wasn’t always the finest distinction between the two.

He was aware of other looming shapes, possibly animate and possibly not. He was aware of flashing lights, bass that thumped against the outside of his skull in time with the blood thumping against the inside. He was aware, even through the haze of pain and noise, of the sensation of being watched—on a large scale. The bar had been crowded when the fight began; he remembered that, even if the beginning of the fight itself was now as fuzzy and indistinct as his vision. The bar had been crowded, and every one of those people would welcome a free show. So they were probably the people he sensed watching him. And they were probably benign.

For now.

And then the shape looming over him took a heavy step forward and he was sure that at least one of them wasn’t benign at all.

“Take it easy, man,” he slurred. His lips weren’t being responsive. He swiped at them and his hand came away in a glistening smear of blood. Again, he tried to move backward, and his shoulder-blades struck an obstacle—rough edges, exposed brick. The wall. “You win, okay? Whatever, fuck it. You win.”

“Yeah,” the looming form rumbled, laughed a sound that was only a deeper and louder rumble, and then something like a sledgehammer slammed into Samir’s gut and the world faded out for a while.

When it swam back into focus he was in the air. For a moment he was simply confused in a foggy kind of way, blinking swollen eyes and trying to make sense of gravity, airflow, movement and the raucous cheers all around him. Then he got it, and the hard tug of his shirt under his arms helped. He was being lifted bodily up, held and turned around the room, displayed like a fucking trophy. Which he supposed he was. All those cheers, like rocks raining against the inside of his head—benign now?

In that they weren’t actively trying to hurt him. And what a low, sad benchmark that was.

“This is what fucking happens!” the looming man-thing was yelling, his voice rumbling over and under the noise of the crowd, the bass underpinning everything. “This is what you get!”

Then Samir was flying.

He expected it. That didn’t make it easier. The ceiling of the bar was strung with garlands of red lights, hung with crimson paper lanterns, and the whole room dissolved into a sickly red blur as he hurtled backward. It would have made him sick if he had stayed airborne longer, and he was almost thankful for the flimsy pressboard table that took the impact of his weight and then collapsed under it, pulling kinetic energy out of him and swallowing it down, glass shattering as it all hit the floor. He hoped that what he felt pooling at his back was just spilled beer. He didn’t think anything besides the table and the glasses were broken. Not as bad as it could be.

A kind of mantra, really. The chorus of his entire life. Not as bad as it could be.

How much longer might that be true?

Whatever. Perhaps judiciously, he passed out again.

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