Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Speaking of Zoetrope

This story will show up in Magnificent Mistakes:

"Endangered Species"
(Zoetrope All-Story: Extra, February 2001)

For the book, I've tightened it in spots, of course, and loosened it in others.

Not my style, usually, but...

The sweetness of this is so...:



It's perfect here at the end of another decade. Enjoy.

e.

I Still Love This Story

In 2000, I guest-edited two issues of Zoetrope All-Story: Extra. The first of the two stories I published was Bob Thurber's "Blue Light," which opens with this:

My father was up, pacing in the shadows. The whole house was dark except for a hall lamp. Through the archway I saw the red dot of his cigarette floating above the piano. I took off my shoes and hooked the heels on the shoulder strap of my bag; I shut the door softly then headed for the stairs. I was wearing one of Mom's summer dresses and I had dribbled tequila on the front; I didn't want to get into anything over ruining old clothes.

"Not so fast, Missy."

I wasn't moving very fast or very well. With my hair pinned up off my neck, I suddenly felt chilled to the bone, and a lot less steady than I'd felt getting out of Robert's family mini-van. Robert was a child. I was a two-time college dropout dating a high school junior on the basketball team and the whole town knew.

Dad moved into the light, but I kept going.

"Hey. Whoa. Hold on a minute."

I slid on the tiles. My bag fell, both shoes went flying. He got to the stairs before I did, stopped me from tumbling head-first into the rail. He straightened me up, held me awkwardly beneath my breasts a moment; then he made himself big and blew smoke at my head.

"Inside," he said.

He guided me two robot steps in the right direction, but when he took his hands away, I turned back. I frowned at his feet. He was barefoot like me.


That opening hooked me the moment I first laid eyes on it, and it has held me ever since. I must have read "Blue Light" twenty times. It remains among my favorites of the decade.

You'll find the rest here.

And you'll find more from Bob Thurber here. He was one of the most handsome and talented and generally well dressed undiscovered fiction writers of our time--and he may still be, for all I know.