A Confession from your Problematic Fave

Y’all.

I have a terrible confession to make.

Most of my Yeah, Write entries have been not just funsies flash, but, I’ve been experimenting on your readers.

This has been a little bit of a long long con.

I’ve long held the theory that a lot of what makes us not read particular genres isn’t necessarily subject matter or levels of say gore or terror but, in how it is presented. I’ve known people who refuse REFUSE to read anything that looks even pulpy or horrory or romancey because EW I don’t read those genres.

My experiment has involved presenting the reader, you- a thing that is either snugly or loosely genre fiction.

I have given you noir, fabulism, horror, quiet horror, slipstream, Non Western style literary fiction etc.

This week for yeah, Write I presented Lovecrafty fiction. Specifically, it was the quietest of Nyalathotep stories. Folks liked it. A friend of mine asked if it was from my archive of ideas for short scripts.

I was trying to satisfy both the literary reader, the quiet horror and on another level the Lovecraft nerd.

Here is what I did.

One of the hallmarks of Lovecraft (racism and fuckery aside) is the language he used and the names of things. Working from both memory and some resources like this website, I took some of his favorite words and used them in modern contexts:

The Gibbering Loon.

Somewhere deep inside his antediluvian self,

ululations

The next Lovecrafty clue was in how I referred to the mysterious Vivian.

When he lifts his face to look into her eyes, he sees, he sees the secrets of the Sleeping, Dreaming Gods and the black notice of the Outer Gods.

References Lovecraft fans know well.

I also decided to make her unmistakably Black. I have had an ambition to use Blackness in these Lovecrafty stories in a way that heals that particular wound for my inner baby nerd.

And Vivian herself tells us who she is:

“See inside me, I am the Crawling Chaos. I am reborn. Be mine, Detective St. Pierre.”

We Lovecraft dorks know what the Crawling Chaos is without having to invoke the name Nyarlathotep.

What interests me more, is that folks who I know aren’t necessarily Lovecraft dorks, got the terror.

Folks from Yeah, Write and some others I’ve spoken to have not totally understood, but y’all understand without the need for the genre restrictions that might make your eye as a reader skip it because, horror.

I have always believed that how we’re presented with things matters deeply, perhaps more deeply than a lot of folks like to think of themselves, as to how we take in and appreciate a thing.

As a reader, this is just human nature. I don’t think it is good or bad, it just is. And we can recognize it and make the decision to do something else. Read POC, do the year of no cis hetero White male authors.

As a creator, I’ve found that because this is where I live. In these inbetween places. In a place where I just write the shit. Trying to squirm around the constraints of genre work, has played a huge role in my development as a writer.

On one hand it does make it harder to get published sometimes.

On the other, I get to engage in Quiet Horror and sneak into your brain or your bed and live there for a bit.

Ultimately, as an artist the latter is far more satisfying to me personally.

It feels better for longer when someone says, I was thinking about this thing you made for three days.

I also get the satisfaction of representing what I’d like to read.

I get to fully plumb the depths of my own brain without worry or feeling like because I am writing X genre, I must do X thing.

I’m considering my experiment to be successful.

I am writing what the fuck I want to write.

Sometimes I have readers who feel it.

Sometimes I have readers who are like, I don’t know what the fuck is happening, but I’me with it.

I’m into it.

So now that you know what I’ve been doing, I hope you come back to see where else I go.

Thanks y’all.

Thank you for helping me get to this place, I’m eternally changed and grateful.

I was going to do a shout out list, but it got too long. Y’all know who you are.

 

 

 

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Yeah, Write #269- A Rookie No More

A Rookie No More

by

Shannon Barber

“The fuck is this?”

One of the two men frowns, the other smiles and leans over to kiss the smooth brown cheek of the Black woman sitting on a pussy pink couch.

“Viv, this is my new partner, Detective Nathanial St. Pierre. Nate this is Vivian.”

Nate offers his hand and Viv offers hers ready to be kissed. He does so and shifts uncomfortably. Something about her big eyes and accent he can’t place makes him uncomfortable.

“What you want? I have shit to do. Drinks?”

Both men shake their heads.

“No thank you mi amor. I need your skills and the rookie needs to learn. Usual fee, we’ll meet you at The Gibbering Loon.”

Viv looks up at Nate, her large eyes unblinking, Nate resists squirming barely. She smiles and dismisses them with a wave.

In the car Nate starts bitching right away.

“Man Martinez, this bitch better be worth it. Something is wrong with her. She some kind of strawberry? And tonight? What is the Gib-“

Martinez chuckles.

“Shut up. Just be ready. I’ll pick you up at 9 and wear black. We gotta look nice to be out with Vivian. Don’t fuck this up with your bullshit. Now let’s get lunch.”

Martinez dresses carefully, black linen long sleeveless tunic over butter soft leather. While he lotions his big brown, heavily tattooed arms, he imagines Vivian stroking his skin with her long soft  fingers, can almost hear her huge deep laugh. He drapes himself in her favorite medallions. There are four each with a likeness of her in various forms. Yes, he feels fine.

Nate is not so careful. He pulls on a pair of black pants and a slightly too small black button up leftover from his waiter days. He waits for his partner, storing up his gripes. He hates being subordinate to Martinez. He’s so smooth with his whole Latin lover schtick.

Martinez arrives driving his matte black 300 and Nate hates him more.

“Well, I guess you tried.”

“Fuck you. What are you trying to be?” You look like Fuckin Blade.”

Martinez laughs and pulls away from the curb, he says nothing else.

The Gibbering Loon is the kind of place you wonder about when you drive by. The black facade is plain and almost seems to brood. At night it comes alive, beautiful and strange people ease in and out past a single black door.

Inside two headed bats and faceless sphinxes hold court from the walls and corners, Nate stands, nakedly gaping at everything.

“Listen, I worked hard to cultivate this. Don’t fuck it up, rookie.”

Nate can’t understand how he hears Martinez’s words above the din of laughter and music. Somewhere deep inside his antediluvian self, some unutterable terror rears itself up and cackles and makes great ululations of protest. The fear pops a sweat along his bald head, he wants to run.

 A few drinks in and Nate is outside of his body and fear. His mouth smiles and when he sees Martinez fall to his knees he follows suit. Vivian emerges from deep shadows clad in yellow silk and clearly naked beneath the thin fabric.

Nate feels his body rise, he feels it walk towards her open arms and lay his cheek against her dark breast. When he lifts his face to look into her eyes, he sees, he sees the secrets of the Sleeping, Dreaming Gods and the black notice of the Outer Gods. He understands.

She holds him softly and whispers in his ear.

“See inside me, I am the Crawling Chaos. I am reborn. Be mine, Detective St. Pierre.”

Nate breathes in the tenebrous darkness of her, he is hers.

She leaves him and Martinez is there, grinning his smooth grin.

“Somos hermanos. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Detective St. Pierre nods.

“Somos hermanos. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

###

Flash Friday- Smutty edition.

I have had a hell of a week. So how about some smutty flash fiction to start the weekend?

I have a terrible and wonderful love/obsession with Vagina Dentata.

Here, have this little dreamy piece about it.Next week, I’ll do a sample from my writing classes I’m working on featuring this piece and an exercise.

Enjoy.

Gia’s Secret

I blame my loudmouth roommate for this entire situation.

When JJ got home from her date with Gia.

I heard her say-

“Goddamn Gia is a toothy cunt.”

I think that is what she said. I don’t know I was too busy being drunk and low key in love with Gia.

What I heard was-

“Goddamn Gia has a toothy cunt.”

Had I not been so drunk I would have understood.

I was drunk because I had just broken up with my girlfriend and upon hearing that my roommate was going on a date with my crush I did the sensible thing. I bought an enormous bottle of cheap wine and took the couch.

JJ stopped to lean over the couch to look down at me.

“You should call Gia and ask her out on a date. She is way more your type than mine. And you should probably go to bed. You’re really drunk.”

I don’t remember JJ putting me in bed or stripping me. I do remember her taking my bag of chips away and putting a bottle of water on my nightstand.

After she left me, I lay there turning over the idea of Gia in my head.

My cunt started to burn, I felt the blood moving, my lips swelling and wanting to be touched. I waited, thinking about JJ’s comment.

“Gia has a toothy cunt.”

Toothy cunt, toothy cunt. I closed my eyes and pictured her fine, lean brown body. I’d seen her naked before. Shit, I’ve seen almost all of my friends naked. We have stripped together, tricked together, been photographed together. Yet, I could not remember if I had seen teeth or not.

Gia is sleek where I am not. She is muscled and tight, catlike and androgynous in a classic kind of way. I wonder if she still has that precision trimmed bush, verdant in a tightly controlled way that is beyond sexy. My fingers move between my own thighs as I imagine the topography of her cunt.

Are her lips dark like the ones on her face? Do they have that petulant mean curve, do they fold soft and wrinkly as wilting fern fronds? Could I get them to swell and spread with just one finger? Just one finger dragged slowly just where they protrude, just a tickle. Just enough to promise more but not enough to deliver.

I saw myself with my face between her strong thighs, dipping my tongue into the crenulated secrets of her cunt before peeling her lips open to tickle her sharp secret teeth.

Eyes closed I imagined dipping my tongue just inside her, just enough to feel the slick of teeth on the tip of my tongue.

Unwise as the desire might be I wouldn’t recoil from the slick smoothness, I would smile against her. I could almost taste her, feel her lithe, muscular body twisting, warning me of the danger to come.

Against the backdrop of my closed eyes, I tried to paint her, lips full and dark, slick and revealing the barest sliver of deepest wet red. Wet as a screaming mouth full of danger.

I’d want her fuck hungry, ready to devour me whole.

I neared orgasm the world grayed out around me, I must have passed out because I woke up with a fuzzy mouth and my hand wedged between my thighs.

I couldn’t remember coming or not, but I did remember vivid dreams of a flash of teeth, old ivory buried inside hot wet red.

The beauty of my fixation is that I have a date with Gia tonight and I hope to come home tongueless.

 

Yeah Write #266- Beautiful Pit Vipers

Beautiful Pit Vipers

Through the blood of my Mother I am Thai. I have her round moon face and nasty disposition. My Father gave me his dark brown skin and gap toothed smile. I wish I was sweet like him, back home, he always greeted every other Black man he saw with arms wide open, a big smile and a “hey brotha, how you doin?”

Everybody loved my Daddy. Even them boys, the ones who hung out drinking tall boys all day. When something good happened to them, my Daddy was the first person they told.

My Mama on the other hand. Most everyone in our neighborhood gave her a wide berth. Daddy always said we were his jungle vipers. His brown spotted green pit vipers, nocturnal and deadly. He never knew about The World, even when it came for him. He only knew that my Mama taught me to fight the way she learned to fight.

Mama taught me the same Muay Thai she learned. Hours outside kicking saplings, Mama with me at the gym barking at me,

“Elbow, like axe! BOOM! CHOP! KNEE KNEE KNEE!”

At home, she would wait until Daddy left for work or just elsewhere, and we would sit together in our training area in the basement. We sat cross legged on the cold floor, knees to knees, eyes to eyes. She taught me the ways and hows of The World. She hypnotized me with her low voice.

“We do not give quarter. We are made for bringing death. We will protect the Innocent, like your Daddy. Okay?”

I always said yes ma’am. Or screamed wild as any beautiful pit viper should, “YES MAMA!”

Now I’m alone.

I’m sitting in the basement of my parents house with their ashes cradled in my arms and tears streaming down my face.

The World took them.

For that there is no forgiveness, I will take no quarter.

The World will learn.

I get my shit together and stop crying over their ashes. I get the house closed up tight, mirrors covered, furniture sent to neighbors and friends. I get my weapons and head out into the night to find a Door and walk out of the world until The World bleeds, as I shed tears.

The world will forget us. The World will wish it could.

###

Yeah Write Entry #263- Down Home

Down Home

by

Shannon Barber

Mama said I’d know when the time was right. She skipped all the magical menses bullshit and woowoo sparkly nonsense. She sat me down and told me straight.

“I can’t tell you one way or the other if you got the gift or not. If The World wants you and you got what it want, it’ll call. Stop worrying about it and go do them dishes.”

I waited until I was thirty goddamn years old. I had accepted it. I would not be like other women in my family that way. I did not have the magic.

Two weeks after I turned thirty I felt it. I saw the Shadows gathered in the corner of my living room and I felt the heartbeat of The World. I felt the pull, I felt the need deep in my belly. Lower than lust, deeper than need, it pulled at the marrow in my bones.

The World did not call me home as I thought it would. Not my real home at any rate. It called me home to a swamp full of dank nightmares and thin places. When the air touched my skin, that is when it all really happened.

“Sss, errr, esss, ood. Mmmmm.”

The first voice came on the first current of hot wet air, the rest joined it in a susurrus of hissy, sibilance that I felt on my arms. I felt the little silky summer dress lifting away from my body, I felt them as silken paws of sensation.

“Stop.”

I signed desperately. The World, may have been speaking, but it did not listen. These were not things of the world and my body wanted them. I wasn’t speaking to them, I was talking to me.

My body opened to the voice of The World as it had never opened to any lover. My skin craved subvocalalizations that thrummed against me as if my skin was nothing more than the thinnest thing between air and something full of liquid and fit to burst. I was broken. Naked and brown in a hot swamp thousands of miles away from my Mother and on my knees.

I heard none of it. I felt it in the waters of my body, I felt fricatives devouring my cunt and the plosives I yearned for exploding against my eyelids and the tender flesh at the nape of my neck.

The World took me more completely than any lover and touched me deeper than any God. It called me to touch me with fingers made of language I will never hear.

I don’t know what it means. This was not my Mother’s calling.

I am the living secret of The World. I am deaf to the world and my body feels the true voice of The World and I don’t mind. I’m no Mage or Warrior, no Beholder or Scrivener. I am only a Secret.

The World wants me and it will have me.

###

Yeah Write #262- A Sweetness and A Light

A Sweetness and a Light

by

Shannon Barber

She looks too small and fat to be what she is. In a film she would be lithe and lean but busty and wearing a torn crop top to expose an expanse of taut belly. She would be sexy and sweating just enough to make her clavicles glisten.

She is not.

He sees her in Kevlar and in a wide stance, holding two swords. There is an instant of pure dark silence before her body becomes a whirling howling declaration of death. Her hair is in cornrows, her feet in steel cap boots and he can spot the snake of wires coming from her earbuds, she is one of those girls.

She is magnificence in movement. Her foes, slithering gibberig things that aren’t even spitting distance of humanlike fall screaming and bleeding. He could help. He is a Mage and could conjure like his Mama taught him to, call fire and earth to help.

He won’t.

He has seen the others like her. They fight like nothing matters and go into battle with theme music and fingernails strengthened with acrylic and silk and filed to lethal points. He’s even seen them in their red bottoms and cocktail dresses, he’s seen them carry their broken and dead sisters out of The World.

She stands in the middle of a muddy puddle of ichorous blood and strange spongy body parts, her face is spattered with blood and when she looks up, her burning eyes find him where he hides.

“Who the fuck are you?”

Before he can declare himself, she hits that stance again, leading with the sword in her right hand, her upper lip curled. He’s terrified and aroused, he can feel his face flush as he raises his hands and steps out of the shadows.

“I’m not your enemy. I was only waiting to see if you needed help. I’m a-“

Her swagger makes his cock stir, she is on him examining him before he can go on.

“Mage. I’ve never seen one of you up close. Shouldn’t you like, glow or radiate light or some shit?”

Up close he can see that her eyeliner is still flawless.

“I can but don’t most of the time. Sidus like to eat us, but if we’re dim they can’t see us properly. You are amazing. I um, you-“

He stammers and when she grins, one deep dimple pops her round cheek and he can see that her light doesn’t just manifest as a reaction to The World, it comes from inside her. He sees that there is fresh red blood on her arms and her kevlar looks battered. Behind them, a door opens into a night he does not know. The Doorman stands, smiling at them.

“Best get on through children. Show me your talisman.”

She pulls a gleaming Susan B. out of her pocket and The Doorman stands aside, his door thrown open onto a tropical night so dark the Mage almost loses the track of things inside his own vertigo. She takes his hand.

“Come on Mage. I’ll show you something great.”

Hand in hand, they emerge next to a dirt track someplace warm and dark, she stops in a pool of moonlight and pulls him close.

“You ever fuck a Warrior?”

Poor Mage, with all the power in his blood, the power of seduction eluded him. Yet, there she is, the beautiful bloody Warrior grinning at him. This his Mother and her Mother’s didn’t prepare him for but his Daddy had.

“Not yet.”

 Someplace in the jungle, she stands before him stripped of her Kevlar and clothed only in her battle scars and dimple and those glowing eyes.

She is small and fat. Her brown body marked with stretch marks and scars and scratchy tattoos, she stands straight and proud and so beautiful he wants to die. The person who was bright, beautiful death and untouchable reaches for his hands and puts them on her hips.

Here, she is bright, beautiful life. She is the Mage and he is, what is he now?

What is he now?

###

Yeah Write #261- Starveling

Starveling

By

Shannon Barber

As the bass drops she walks out on stage unsmiling. Her gaze floats as she sweeps her long braids off one elegant brown shoulder. She spots her mark easily, a mousy White boy looking at her bouncing breasts with lust heavy cow eyes. She undulates like a snake to the slow, heavy beat, watching him lick his lips as her breasts drop heavy and full from her loosened bikini top.

She gives him a sly look while the DJ does his thing. Money appears as she turns her back and bends over. The mark offers his meager cash shyly, she crawls to him. Her mouth is glossy carmine invitation, her big black eyes full of promises and the certainty that he is the one.

It works. It always works. As her number ends she watches him skitter to the ATM as she gathers her cash.

She’ll make him wait while she freshens up.

“Lia? Girl there is some White dude out here with his rent waiting on you.”

She blows the house mother a kiss and waits another two minutes.

Of course she’s right, he’s waiting with a fist full of cash. He follows like a puppy when she turns to walk into the dim confines of VIP. She watches his Adam’s apple Bob as he swallows hard.

“So, uh, what’s your real name?”

She smiles and drops her silky chemise on his head.

“Shhh “

She moves against him, letting the ring in her left nipple flicker against his lips. He sighs long and from deep inside, his lips drop open in wait of succor.

Two songs and she’s naked. Glorious and dark in the low light, his fingers telegraph desire as the tap and clutch his thighs. When she takes the last of his cash and lets him rest his flushed face on her belly for a moment, she knows.

“Meet me out back in ten minutes. I’ll be done for the night.”

She disappears again, smiling. Making rent is nothing but eating, yes, eating is always the real reward. Eating is why she left The World. She is no Sidus or other beast gibbering in the darkness. She is different. She is always so hungry.

She learned to drape herself in the sweet flesh that draws her prey. She finds the bars and strip clubs and other dark corners where a man gone missing from the ragged edges of polite society is no worry of the world. It is merely a function of the darkness the world denies.

Twenty minutes later she finds him waiting, trembling and full of the idea that he has at last found the one.

“My name is the thousand names for pain and you will learn them all. I am your death, come love me.”

She waits as he decides and his body leans into her.

As they walk away, she murmurs her thanks to the world and the darkness it denies. Tonight she will eat. She will eat.

###

PS,

I’ve missed y’all and The World. If you’re curious the song that inspired this is this Massive Attack cover by Sepultura.