Monday, July 13, 2015

"Animals," a Novella by Andy Henion, in Red Fez

Well. Now. Nearly a decade after my short story "Animals" ran in the now-defunct (but freakin' legendary) Thieves Jargon, my novella-in-stories with the same name is now live at Red Fez. How did a mere 700 words become more than 11,000? How did one story about an accidental hero become 16 stories and then one again (albeit a much longer one)? Like this.

The main character, let's call him the Angry Suburban Guy, stayed very much alive in my neurons. He's me in many respects, but also very, very different. I kept returning to him, writing a story here, a story there, even as I wrote my first book, The Devil in Snakeskins, a sci-fi western (and no, the two couldn't be any more different). Several more stories appeared in TJ, with others running in Shotgun Honey, Word Riot, The Molotov Cocktail and Litsnack.

Then it was done. I was done. But where to submit such a beast?

Red Fez
, that's where. Enter Chris Lambert, Fez fiction editor, and things were rolling.

I like it, said Lambert, but let's change it up. Let's run the stories in reverse chronological order.

Wait. What?

I'm not a reverse chronology fan. I like my stories in order, nice and neat. But I gave it some thought, toyed around with the piece, and wouldn't you know it ... Lambert knows his stuff.

Anyway, here's a passage from one of the stories, "The Boss" ...

I put the drill bit on the center of his hand and bore through to the workbench. There is only marginal resistance from the bone. It’s not until I’m pulling it back out that the boss lets out a yelp. He does it again, louder this time, and I smack him across the face and tell him to shut the fuck up, it was only a five-eighths. The boss runs around the garage holding his bleeding hand and looking for a rag or some such to staunch the flow. By now the toddler is awake and crying forcefully. I go to her and pick her up and hold her close, and together we watch the boss sprint down the driveway and left toward the party, where someone, my wife, probably, will have to drive his smug ass to our rustic little hospital.

And now, read the whole damn thing here.

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