Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark...Reloaded: "I Wish I Was A Pretty Little Girl." Yes, THAT Tale...

     She is so pretty, thought Leslie.
     Lean, with just a hint of the woman she would become—if he let her—starting to show in the slight curvature of her tiny hips, and the bud of her nipples gaining uneasy prominence on breasts eager to bloom, jutting forth under the thin fabric of her pink t-shirt. 
     Leslie remembered his first feeble attempts at transformation, and the sweet pain clothespins like deliciously pinching clamps had brought to his nipples.
     “When is my mom going to be here?”
     Leslie reflexively gripped the little girl’s hand, and immediately loosened it, trying not to appear any more suspicious than he was sure the circumstances seemed.  He glanced at his watch, then down the empty shoreline.
     He could see the place they needed to be. It wouldn’t be long now.
     “Twenty minutes,” he said, his voice cracking as if whipped by the potent lash of the wind. 
     After bringing so many pretty little girls here before, one would think Leslie’s nerves would be calm, but they were a complete blender-spun jumble.  He placed his free hand on the flat hollow of his abdomen, gently massaging, as if that would quell them.  But the anticipation and the possibilities still made him anxious, as it had always made him anxious. 
     He wished he was a pretty little girl.
     Memories, like sea shells scattered along the beach—some perfect and polished as if by the ocean, some cracked or broken by their sea-bound travels or the clumsy feet of negligence—shuffled through Leslie’s mind, distracting him, while a mad congregation of gulls fluttered in disarray in the distance. 


So begins this deep, dark psychological trek through the frozen mind of our protagonist, Leslie, a man whose mindset was derailed at an early age, never to move beyond the event that helped shape the person he became...which was not the person he wanted to become; or, more so, helped him realize the person he wanted to become...  

Ideas come from anywhere/everywhere.  A drive to Half Moon Bay in California, a flashing thought of a conical shell with an arm jutting out of it, flopping about on a beach.  

A song by a band called Brighter Death Now, "I Wish I Was A Little Girl," tweaked in my head as a good title for a story, with no story in sight.

The desire to put you on guard immediately, as featured above, noted in the description of the young girl, leaning into places most people might want to ignore. the story developed, the odd asides tossed in, the brain remembering a clip, P.J. Harvey on Leno shaping into this weird addition.

     Leslie remembered seeing the alternative pop singer, PJ Harvey—a woman, but very much still a pretty little girl and so petite—on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno sometime in the early 1990s.  After she had sung a song, just her and her guitar, appropriately stripping it to the bare bones, she sat down for her five minutes of interview time with Leno.  Leslie remembered thinking Leno a jerk, not even asking questions of worth, like: “What’s it like to be a pretty little girl, even though you are not a child anymore?” and “What could we all do to become pretty little girls?”  No, Leno, the ogling buffoon always on the lookout for a crude rejoinder, had slavered over the fact that PJ Harvey was raised on a farm, and she’d had a hand in castrating the bulls.  This ignominious fact had become the focal point of Leno’s whole interview.  Wasted time, when so much more important information could have been gleaned. 
     But the thing about the bulls, about tying rubber bands around the testicles, had made Leslie think in ways he had yet to perceive.  It was a start or, rather, it was a continuation of designs never fully realized—meandering and vague internal propositions re-ignited after such a long delay.  It was something Leslie could work with.


And then...taking it all down a road less traveled, the road of surrealism, horror nipping at the edges, but the finale is dreanched in surrealism and the incomprehensible possibility that if you are human, no matter the implications of that first sequence, the purposeful discomfort, you might just be feeling sympathy for Leslie's downfal, no matter what Leslie is...

One reviewer, the estimable author/editor, Gery Huntman, confirms my perceptions:

"A powerful piece. It's hard to be original as a writer, writing from the POV of a serial killer. Smith succeeded. Again, the protagonist had a horrendous, nightmarish life leading to the current events. An explanation as to why this particular person became a monster - and convincingly. This story set me in uneasiness from the first few sentences. A child being led somewhere by a clearly disturbed adult - one of the hardest things to read about if Smith chose to follow the path of describing murder in gory detail. And yet he didn't. This story isn't about love of violence, rape, sex, or some bizarre blood letting. This is about the man who wants to be something else. The uneasiness generated from the start was a masterful stroke, allowing the reader to be unbalanced from the beginning, and then throughout the story. The ending was apt and horrifying, and almost makes one feel sorry for the killer."

I like it when readers really 'get' the stories.  ;-)

So, that's the final 2nd round promo run-through for my collection, The Dark Is Light Enough For Me, available online at many distributors, the most prominent being Amazon (most of the sales have been via Amazon).  I hope you check this blog post, perhaps skim backwards for more of them, and are tempted to buy the book.  I'm quite proud of it


It will not be the only one.  Already there are designs developing in my wee head for a second collection and, beyond that, getting the novels out.  I'm working on a long piece that, if finished soon, could become the centerpiece for that collection.  We will see.  There's a lot on motion, a lot of ideas and, within my rarely resting mind, gameplans, things taking shape.  More on that soon.  

Are you ready?!

Here's the cover of The Parasitorium: Parasitic Sands, the anthology in which this story originally appeared.  A quality anthology at that, if you can still find it.  



  1. this was a good blog and got me from the start...:)

    always enjoy you blogs, JC

  2. Thanks so much, Mimi. I appreciate that you read them and enjoy them. More soon! ;-)