Multiplex Fandango - By Weston Ochse

The Short Story

The short story as a medium is both terrible and beautiful. A good story is like a sharp blade. It’s a swift thrust to the chest. It’s a slow cut to the arm. It’s a pinprick on the cheek. It stings and bites, and when the blood gets to flowing, we feel the warmth of it.

Hemingway can hurt you like that. He can slice you with a perfect sentence, or in the case of “Hills Like White Elephants,” he can push the blade in so slowly you don’t even feel it until it’s too late.

Ray Bradbury wields a nasty blade as well. Beneath the exterior of this jovial aging Californian resides a bona fide serial killer of the status quo. My expectations were forever skewered when I read “The Sound of Summer Running” and was introduced to Douglas Spalding, Royal Crown Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Tennis Shoes, and the idea that summer is a time of eternal magic. I’m still searching for those shoes.

Joe Lansdale is a literary samurai. His dojo is the page. His two-fisted katana swings completely eviscerated my sense of what should be when I read “Night They Missed the Horror Show” and “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks.” I didn’t know such cuts could be made. Frankly, I didn’t even see them coming.

There are so many other professional knife throwers: Flannery O’Connor with “Everything that Rises Must Converge;” James Baldwin with “Sonny’s Blues;” Charlotte Perkins Gilman with “The Yellow Wallpaper;” Tim O’Brien with “The Things They Carried;” Sherman Alexie with “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven;” and Thomas King with “Borders,” to name but a few.

I’ve stood against the wall while each author hurled their blades, slicing me so many times I’ve lost count over the years. I don’t even bandage my wounds anymore. Instead, I stitch them with dental floss or bind the edges with staples. My skin now doubles as a literary road atlas, a Rand McNally version of the Illustrated Man, able to share what I’ve read with others by merely pointing at an elbow, a wrist or a rib.

Yes, I’m lucky to have been cut so many times.

I’ve been the fortunate target for their hard-won enterprise.

And yet there are so many more short story masters I’m waiting to be cut by. These are but a few. So for all of you I’ve named and for all of you I didn’t name, thank you for teaching me the wonders of the short story blade.

Thank you for cutting me so well.

Thank you for cutting me so deep.

Now it’s my turn to staunch the blood and cut for a while.

Weston Ochse

Tarantula Grotto

Sonoran Desert

June 2010



Thanks to my friends, readers and fans. All of you have inspired or helped me in some way especially those of you there in the early days of the cabal, like Doug Clegg, Brian Keene, Paul Legerski, Tim Lebbon, Mikey Huyck, Jamie Lachance, Kelly Laymon, F. Paul Wilson, Adam Niswander, Mike Oliveri, Wrath White, John Urbancik, James Futch, Feo Amante, Joe Nasisse, Drew Williams, Carlton Melnick, Maria Alexander, Rain Graves, Matt Schwartz, Ray Garton, Tom Piccirilli, Michelle Scalise, Jack Haringa, Simon Clark, Chris Golden, and Jim Moore. Last but not least, thanks to Ed Lee for his mentoring throughout the years, who I am certain is still flipping me off for that miserable death march across the hills of San Francisco.

Posthumous thanks goes out to Dick Laymon.

Thank you Shane Staley, Larry Roberts, Roy Robbins and Jonathan Oliver for publishing my work throughout these years; likewise to Denise Dumars and Bob Fleck for representing me.

Thank you to Norm Rubenstein for being a true fan, friend and editor and to Joe Morey for believing in this project.

Most off all, thanks to my wife, Yvonne Navarro, for being that spark of desire behind every thought, word and deed.




Joe Lansdale and Ray Bradbury



By Joe R. Lansdale

Here’s the scoop fair readers, and those among you who are not fair, but are the ugly ones, you know who you are. I have made a general plan not to write introductions any more unless they are to my own work.

This is not because I think I’m above it, but due to the fact that I have now been writing and selling for near on forty years, and have been a full time writer for soon to be thirty years, and I‘m feeling a little short in the extra time department. I have tried to