I spill the popcorn after complaining about Berry spilling it last time, which is what I get, he says. I spend too long outside in the hall talking to a man in joggers with a ring on his right ring finger. When I get back with a new tub, I try my best to catch up without Berry’s help. When the movie’s over, I say it was alright. Berry says it was worse than the last one. We get dinner at an all-night cafe on Bardstown Road. Berry asks which beers they have on tap. I ask which hand is the hand you’re supposed to wear a wedding ring on. Berry looks at me with his eyes wide open, his oval mouth at a diagonal, then back at the menu. The waitress smiles and shrugs as she turns away with empty glasses on a stack of brown trays. He tells me she was single, dude. I say I’m not asking about her. Berry looks around the cafe and asks me about different women. By the time we leave the hookah lounge upstairs, he’s under the impression that I like husky girls who punch in place wearing headbands. I run with it for the next ten years.
If you like this short fiction, please consider buying me a $3 coffee.
I’ve been reading more. Well, I’ve been trying to make myself read more. I feel like I read a lot, but most things I read take the form of submissions and manuscripts and advance reader copies of things that I can’t really talk about here.
I’m Eric “Shay” Howard, author of the forthcoming fiction collection Crushes.
I went with my full name for my writing because Eric Howard is a common name and I figured there’d be another Eric Howard out there, probably in some other industry, growing potatoes, plowing snow, brewing beer, or what have you. I googled Eric Howard for a while and couldn’t find anything, but I still went with Eric “Shay” Howard because my middle name gives my name that little kick it needs to be memorable. Well, that and it’s my website domain and my social media handles.
In the process of getting Crushes ready, I’ve finally discovered another Eric Howard, one who writes books.
Last year sometime, just before I graduated college, I started writing a novel. A novel about ninjas. I focused more on character. The ninja part was just sort of a way to keep me writing when I got stuck; I don’t really know a lot about ninjas. Well, the thing is, I sort of finished it. Well, a version of it. I put it away for a while, then when it came time to edit, I sort of lost interest in the characters and its world. Basically, it sucked.
You follow Juliet into the office lined with bare black bookshelves. She sits in the red velvet chair beside you, the white in her eyes as big as grapes. You wait with her, turning your head around the room, searching for books, any books at all.