Archive for ‘Story’

December 5, 2011

Scooter Champion

by nkwilczy

There is a small boy, too young to have a concept of long division, who rides his scooter on the sidewalks of my apartment complex. I do not know much of the context of his existence outside of the scooter, from which I must constantly pull my dog who is convinced that there must be something unnatural to the smoothly gliding mechanism. His name is Tyler, Erik, or something else appropriately ethnic, corresponding to the pale hue we share, another thing to set him awkwardly apart in the slum where we live.

But I do know him to love his scooter, lightly gripping the handles while guiding it into graceful leaps at all hours of the day. On rare occasions he falls, and on those occasions I have heard him complain to his mother, a slight hint into his home life is that I only see her alone, that he needs pads and after a brief moment where I shared his childhood passion so intensely that I considered going immediately to provide those pads I wondered instead if it would be better for him to go without, and learn the hard lesson of never falling.

In that moment I found myself imagining a future for this boy, scooter champion, doing all the greatest tricks and aerial acrobatics that have not yet been imagined for his machine. I am old enough to have seen skateboarding rise from idle play to multi-million dollar industry, and I hold out hope that those like him will hold on to their passions and see them through to new and unimagined heights. And for him to be a great, to be a pioneer among his peers, he will have to learn the lesson of never falling.

When I was his age it was poetry for me. What I loved was words, and in them I found my ability to smoothly glide forward with the wind at my back. The path, some might say, of least resistance. The place where I could slide unencumbered, be they idle thoughts or no, into a satisfying conclusion, bringing to my own face the sort of wanton smile I see on his when he lands a jump.

I wondered, later, in my own idle time, whether he would keep with it. Would he be a master of his art, obsess over the form, spending years and years riding that scooter in his dreams until the temptation to live out those fantasies becomes too much to resist? Or will he whittle his life away in compromise, living day to day, trying to flee from the things that hurt him and serving the things that threaten him?

When the bills are due and obligations must be fulfilled, when we are angry and alone, it is often too easy to forget about the things that first lit our souls. But life is short, and we will only have this chance to enjoy them.

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February 25, 2011

Query Letter

by nkwilczy

So, in case you’ve been wondering, I’ve been quite busy lately. But just to put something up this represents like the fourth draft (the first two of which were disastrous, it’s a learning process). I would like to invite criticism, if it is there to be had then feel free to comment it in or tweet me or email me, whatever you’re in to, I’m openminded. And now you have an idea of what I’ve been up to, with my one track mind, when I am too busy to blog.

Dear Agent X,

The Upright Citizens are devoted to cleaning up their town by any means necessary, and for this small town biker gang that means firebombing the grow houses of the local marijuana farmers. Rob, a retired enforcer and veteran of the drug war in Mexico, has been running the town for years as a corrupt narco fiefdom. He has been paying off the police and hiring dozens of people to generate electricity on stationary bicycles and to work with the plants and deal the drugs throughout neighboring states. There are businesses to launder the money and multiple grow houses in the foreclosed buildings that dominate the rotten core of the ghost town.

As the motorcycle gang tries to retake their streets, the town quickly spirals into constant violence leaving everyone paranoid and isolated. In a place where nobody can tell what is right or who stands for what anymore soon there aren’t any options but to shoot back. As the attacks escalate one of the drifters who has worked on the Farm since its inception, a former crack dealer who long ago gave up his identity, launches a plan for vengeance to permanently shatter the balance of the town, and destroy any hope of coexistence.

I have been writing for many years and among the wide variety of short stories I have produced, several have been published in electronic magazines. From flash fiction, on the website Apathy is Easy to Ripper, an alternate history piece published in Changing the Times, a British Ezine. Upright Citizens is a 50419 word literary commercial fiction about marijuana prohibition, terrorism, and the senseless and divisive ‘culture war’ perpetuated by self righteous upright citizens of all political ideologies. It is filled with scenes of arson, drive by shootings, and the quest for peaceful and prosperous coexistence. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

nkwilczy

January 6, 2011

Southern Nights

by nkwilczy

This one probably isn’t going anywhere, I’d say it’s a safe candidate for the blog.

Southern Nights

     The Spanish Moss always looks so sad to Toby, dangling from branches.

     “Where’d he go?!” he can hear from the shadows where he ponders   the moss. Toby knows that the whites of his eyes can give him away, or the flash of his teeth. He keeps his mouth shut and he squints.

      They have torches, there are torches all over the town casting away the shadows and exposing anything that might deserve their rage.

     Toby isn’t even so sure why they’re so angry. He can’t help who he is, he was born this way.

     “We’ll burn him alive!” they shout out in the square. Toby should not be close enough to hear that, he shudders a bit from behind the shed in the shadows where he hides.

     To be fair, well, to be more than fair, Toby knows he isn’t a particularly good slave. Though he doesn’t feel too bad about it, and it certainly doesn’t seem to warrant this sort of reaction to him. He just doesn’t like the sun, he sews long robes to keep the sun off of him, he hides indoors whenever he can. He is crafty and wily and stays out of it. So they call him lazy, they hit him with whips, they take his clothes.

     And now this.

     He has heard stories at night that somewhere in the North a man might be free, but Toby has also heard stories of witches burned at stakes, of Cherokee and Sioux marched afield. Toby is not an optimistic man he doesn’t even believe in a better life, but he is crafty and he is wily and he has stayed alive.

     At night Toby can do anything though. At night Toby collects stories from the other slaves. Sometimes he will talk to the same man a dozen times, just to make him say it. Just to force his mind away from the plantation to some other fantasy realm. A northern or western land where people can be free, back in some parent or grandparent’s half remembered fantasy of Angola or Mali, wherever they wished to go but would not venture to alone, even from leaky overcrowded shacks.

     At night Toby is everywhere on the plantation, at night he knows the quality of meat that the plantation owner has fed to his dogs, the various squabbles of indoor slaves. At night Toby has been known to charm stories even out of the whip-crackers.

     Toby does not tell stories, he speaks in questions. To get anything out of the whip-crackers is a simple matter of flattering them, they are fools for themselves and to those who will listen they will pour out the heart and soul of their people in their stories.

     But any friendliness evaporates the next day when the owner is riding his horse about the fields insisting that Toby is just being lazy and needs a damn good whipping. And what the hell was with his robes, the only, Toby would not repeat the owner’s word, he had ever seen who was scared of the sun.

     At night, when Toby feels invincible, when he can convince anyone to divulge anything in him with his patient, attentive nature and soothing voice, Toby has not even considered escaping.

     Perhaps that overstates it, Toby has considered escaping. Taking wing into the night and fleeing as far as he could, but he always knows that when the sun comes up he would be no better off. So he collects stories, he sneaks into the woods and captures small game when the whip-crackers are placated and sleeping, he offers it up in exchange for stories back in the slave camp.

     At night Toby is fast and quiet and can stand nearly astride a deer for minutes without alerting it. His movements are all imperceptible and sudden.

     He hopes it is enough to save his life tonight.

     Because they will burn him, right in the square with everyone watching. Because they don’t understand, because they’re scared. Toby understands, he is scared too. He forgives them.

     There is a torch coming closer to where Toby is hiding, he can see the light around the corner and he shudders. It is all or nothing now.

     The fire meanders around the other side of the building before pushing the door open. Toby rotates around to the back and peeks around the side to see if anyone else is coming.

     There is only the one torch, the others light up down the street and through the square.

     Toby takes a deep breath, if he wants to be out of the sun tomorrow, and if they are looking for him he’d best be, then he will have to leave soon to find a place to hide.

     The torch bobs as the man steps out of the shack. Toby exhales.

     A sharp wind suddenly gusts through the street, torches everywhere are dropped, in front of the shack it simply extinguishes with a quick muffled flapping. Up the street there is panic and screaming as torches clatter down the road as though they had a mind of their own.

     Toby reaches his arm around the corner quick and grabs the man, yanking him suddenly behind the shed. The man opens his mouth to protest.

     And all that comes out is a slight gasp and blood as Toby digs his long canines deep into his neck. The vampire watches the hair on the back of the other man’s neck bristle up in terror before slowly just fading back down. The body slumps down behind the shack.

     “I am sorry,” Toby says. He does not blame them, they were born the way they are the same way he was born the way he is. The other man says nothing in response, only tilts and slowly falls to the side.

     And a bat takes wing into the night, hoping to find a place to hide by daybreak.

December 14, 2010

Andean Night Monkeys

by nkwilczy

http://twinenterprises.com/the_fear_of_monkeys/issue_eight/index.htm

In it you will find a wide variety of fascinating political writings. I liked the Doomsday poem, personally, but I also contributed ‘And Justice for All,’ an extremely short story. I don’t know what to say about their labelling system, my intention was never that a cleanup crew would be seen as legitimate law enforcers, it was just about a critical mistake and panic and the inevitably dirty and unjust consequences, but I guess I’ll let you decide for yourself.

November 16, 2010

They are Trying to Build a Prison

by nkwilczy

Seven and a half hours before I turned twenty one I was pulled over for smoking a blunt in my car. I had eight more blunts, if they had been measured it would have come to a small, but safe, amount under the half of an ounce that is decriminalized in North Carolina. They were never measured, I had my registration in hand when the officer came up to my car. Since the glove compartment was locked (thank YOU Jay-Z) and the roach of my previous blunt was somewhere far behind us in the middle of I-40 the officer started grasping at any stem he could find, an empty plastic baggie (to prove, incidentally, that “all the weed is gone”), my traditionally terrible balance, his inaccurate assessment of my driving, he decided to use these things to make a case for a DWI. At that point those seven and a half hours were a big deal, and handcuffs jingled on my wrists as we rode into custody.

Before dumping me in a holding cell he asked me the time. He had taken my phone so I initially responded with “You tell me.” But he insisted.

“5:13,” I told him. I had been smoking a 4:20 blunt when he pulled me over and I had a good estimate of how long his shenanigans had taken.

When he checked his watch I was a minute and a half off. I like to think that he had a look of sudden understanding, as though he suddenly knew that I wasn’t actually inebriated at all. But then I was in the holding cell.

The holding cell in Alamance county had a couple of disgruntled guys who made a lot of noise on the telephone to their girlfriends or bondsmen but were otherwise quiet and as antisocial as the situation seemed to warrant.

A portly older man, the sort of individual that we refer to in the south as a “good ‘ole boy,” told me a story about his own processing. Specifically how he had found a handful of assorted and nondescript pills in his pocket at some point before he was searched and had taken the first opportunity to swallow them all in one gulp. I do not know what he was charged with. His eyes bugged out. The top of his head was bald, haloed by long white hair.

I spent a couple of hours talking to a very frightened Mexican boy, a fifteen year old who had been apprehended at a traffic stop on his way to Wal Mart for driving without a license. He told me that he was the primary English speaker in his household and that his mother would not be off work before seven o’clock.

The older gentleman rocked and moaned in the corner. The other inmates yelled at people who could get them out and glared at everyone else.

At seven o’clock, as the boy predicted, he was taken further into processing and I did not see him again. He had voiced a LOT of concern about being deported.

For my part I was not hauled off to county prison or to Mexico. I sat stubbornly in the cell for a full six hours until I was willing to call my parents and admit what had happened. The older guy rolled his eyes and his face went all pale. I assumed he had a prison break scheme involving an overdose until his daughter arrived to bail him out.

The standoffish types, a rainbow of bitterness and self-righteous rage, came and went, yelled at bondsmen, yelled at their families, and spent the rest of their time glaring sullenly at everyone else as though they had a shank, or were contemplating rape.

I couldn’t tell you if that little boy got out. I don’t know if his mother risked the trip to get him out or could afford the bail. I don’t know if the American Immigration system won another of it’s gruesome victories. I admit that I have spent no small amount of time wondering about it since, but it never mattered because I could never have helped him.

August 27, 2010

Deleted Stories

by nkwilczy

I’m sorrry to have taken down Exceptionalism and Do Unto Others, but I have my reasons.

Whether or not it is required I still think that if people will go so far as to publish these stories  probably ought to do what little I can to send hits their way. Exceptionalism can be found starting next month at the online magazine Fear of Monkeys. They will also be offering another story of mine in their Spring edition.

Do Unto Others can be found already on the website Apathy is Easy in the section titled World Within.

I’ll replace them later with better stories from the depths of my portfolio.

July 1, 2010

Get Ahead

by nkwilczy

Yes, this blog will be a source of Flash Fiction. Deal.

Get Ahead

Nick Wilczynski

He drives like Luke Skywalker would have, with clean turns and a supernatural sense of what other drivers are thinking and how far they’ll go to keep their place in their lane. I feel like Wedge or Biggs must have felt in the passenger seat watching him nail sand rats with a blaster while he roared across the desert and through the canyons on his speeder.

He makes three lane shifts, barely glancing over his shoulder. He finds tiny holes between cars, if you aren’t tailgating he’ll cut in front of you before swerving off the road altogether and running against the bumpy strip they put in to remind sleepy drivers to stay on the road, it grinds loudly as he drives on it. He says he does what he has to, he wants to get ahead.

The radio says, Foreclosed homes in your area… cheap.

The cops are the ones who drive like lunatics is what he claims, they can just do whatever they want. He says he’s seen them flip on their sirens and swerve into the oncoming lane just to avoid traffic or to run red lights. He sees them swerve from lane to lane to ride up and tailgate other drivers to intimidate them.

Neither one of us wears a seatbelt, and he drives faster than the signs advise.

Everybody cuts each other off, taking their lanes, trying to find a way to get ahead faster.

Foreclosed homes in your area… cheap.

There is traffic all of the sudden. Moving into a foreclosed home, I wonder how I would feel cannibalizing the poor and evicted. But nobody cares about how they would feel about it; everybody just wants to get ahead.

All the cars are piled up here, honking and yelling, giving each other the finger, all trying to get into each other’s lanes and cut each other off so they can get ahead. A cop puts his lights on behind us and pulls into the oncoming lane to drive up and see what’s going on.

There is a man in tattered clothes on the side of the road, wandering up and down the street looking helplessly at the line of angry cars. He has a sign written on soggy cardboard that just says “Handouts please.” Nobody helps him; they are all too busy trying to get ahead. Perhaps they’ll buy what used to be his home; I hear it’s cheap nowadays.

Some sort of accident happened up ahead. Accident is exactly the right word, nobody means to hit anything with their car, but it happens and no matter how bad it is, afterwards everyone still has fingers to point. As the traffic eventually creeps ahead we can see the deep dents in both cars, someone had run a red light it seems, breaking obvious rules probably while they were talking on their cell phones and not paying attention to the fundamentals. Cops won’t stop them, won’t ask them to play it safe, they’re too busy just trying to get ahead themselves. Passing the accident he glances over as I buckle up, before he does the same. Flashing lights are everywhere, and with the intersection so blocked up almost nobody is getting ahead, one car at a time squeezes past the yelling, angry drivers and the police doing their best to keep the situation under control.

The radio cuts to commercial. Foreclosed homes in your area… cheap.

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