If nothing else, this whole experiment is teaching me a lot about both planning and being flexible.
Towards the end of March, it was looking like my first small press project would likely release in April. When tax day rolled around mid-month, and I didn’t have a release date, I decided to go ahead and start working on another short story to publish this month.
The last two stories I started, Black Water and Broken Mirror, I quickly realized were probably going to end up full-length novels. Since I released the short story Belle Starr last month, I’ve had several people ask me to expand it out to novel length, or at least write more stories featuring Captain Shaen Morris and her ship, the Belle Starr.
So this time around, I decided to write something that was really, truly a standalone short story. No intriguing world-building that demands more exploration. No hinted mysteries that beg further clues. Just a short story, centered on a single character and a unique situation.
While I was looking for a short story idea, some geese decided to nest next to our front door at work. I don’t know what exposure you’ve had to geese, but they are not my favorite of God’s creatures. In fact, I may have warned one hostile, hissing water fowl that it was not too early in the year for me to freeze him for a traditional Dickensian Christmas feast.
I don’t like geese. But I love a good story.
A coworker told me about being chased by the geese, and how kind of terrifying they can be. Another mentioned Jurassic Park, and that thanks to these geese, he can now see how the scientist in the movie claimed that birds were descended from dinosaurs. They really are squawking, unpredictable little monsters.
The kernel of an idea began to sprout.
What if Mother Nature decided to attack a bad guy? Aside from geese, what kind of weapons could a local park throw at a hostile invader? I started seeing a funny fable in my head, steeped in physical comedy straight out of The Three Stooges. As I came up with wave after wave of natural antagonists, it occurred to me that they were starting to sound like a modern, humorous version of the plagues of Egypt.
Aside from being funny, it’s totally different from all my previously-published stories. It’s set in modern-day southern Indiana, at a park that probably will seem extremely familiar to my local friends. There are no clockwork devices, no alchemy, no spaceships, and no mythical creatures.
Just a sheriff’s deputy, a kindly Middle Eastern E.R. doctor, a small-time drug dealer, and some seriously pissed off wildlife.
So now, here I am ten days before the end of April, with a fresh new modern fable to share with you. I hope it makes you laugh as much as I did writing and imagining it. It tells the tale of a hapless wannabe rural drug kingpin, who decides to set up shop in the wrong place.
Right now, you can get it for free at Smashwords.
If you’d like to drop a buck in the tip jar, it’s $0.99 at Amazon.