It was one of the most pernicious fallacies, common the world over: old ways are best. But old ways can outlast their usefulness. Old ways can live on pointlessly in worlds that have no room for them.
i don’t know why i loved this story as much as i did.
it’s one of those “there’s just something about it” situations that’s a combination of just the right story and tone for my mood with a delightfully unexpected bottom-of-the-cereal-box bonus twist.
this story has such a nice build to it. you know that something magical is going to happen, you’re allowed glimpses into what it could be, but it’s mostly tease and shimmer – just a hinting flash and then a retreat back behind the more familiar setting of a bar on christmas eve, women waiting out the cold with alcohol merriment.
there’s an ominous overtone to it, but it’s just a scent on the wind – implicit rather than overt, and it flavors the story with anticipatory shivers as you wait for whatever “it” is to appear.
and when it does, it takes over and that familiar setting and the comforting din of clinking glasses and background laughter is completely obliterated and this new story stomps out and leaves you breathless and unsettled but also still completely turned on by it.
it’s definitely not for people who don’t enjoy flowery prose because there are many many moments where it goes too far into purpletown, even for me:
The air lost its lemon glitter, the dancing water dulled to a greasy heave, and the moon, not yet at its height, grew more substantial. Clouds gathered along the horizon, dirty yellow-white and gory at one end, like a broken arctic fox.
…Guinness black as licorice and topped with a head like beige meringue. I savored the thrust of rusty-fist body through the velvet glove of foam…
but i don’t even care, and neither should you, because this story kicks ass. and the second reading is even better than the first, when you notice how carefully certain words were chosen in the opening passages, and how they set these winking ironies in place before you even knew where you were about to be taken.
it’s just perfect. and i would LOVE to see this in graphic novel form, given the right artist. in fact, let me just law of attraction it right now – i would love to see a bunch of these tor shorts collected into a graphic novel anthology, illustrated by a bunch of different artists. and i would like to be in charge of all editorial decisions, while we’re throwing wishes into the void.
i will sit by the phone.
read it for yourself here: