I was sat in front of the TV, messing about on my laptop, drunk as hell after finishing off half a bottle of whisky in an attempt to kill a cold. And I was thinking about shorts being like three minute pop songs (not an original idea – I first saw the reference on James Everington’s blog). I was also thinking about how on earth you would go about marketing short fiction or presenting it on its own outside of a collection.
The result of my drunken pondering is 7″ fiction. I’m going to trial the idea at some point and try giving away a few copies to see if it works. Basically, each one will consist of two pieces of flash fiction – 300 words or less – one presented as an A-side and the other as a B-side. I’m going to print them in a small booklet with the front and back covers featuring a graphic like this one here. Then the booklet will be put inside a paper or cardboard sleeve, just like the ones you used to stick your old records in. Brautigan used to do it with poetry – single page lithographic prints; or the printed seed packets of Please Plant this Book. Yeah, ok, it isn’t 1968 anymore, but if you can’t mess about with stupid ideas just for the hell of it then the world would be a duller place.
Anyway, this is the first A-side. It’s a Shame About Evan Dando:
Then I kissed her, and everything unravelled. The world changed shape; the component parts of my life flew apart and reassembled into something else, something unrecognisable. We knew it was wrong and we didn’t care. I’d had enough of being the person everyone expected me to be. She was tired of being alone – with three kids and a best of Al Green CD.
‘I don’t think I can keep doing this.’
We were lying in bed, the sweat drying on my chest and shoulders. I leaned over and switched off the music. The slow, stroking rhythms of Massive Attack cut out, right in the middle of a nasal rasp by Tricky. Her oldest daughter had just been in the room – the one that was only four years younger than me.
‘For god’s sake mother, I’m trying to sleep. It’s disgusting.’
We hadn’t been noisy. Sometimes the very idea of something can pound more loudly in the ears.
‘She’s right. This isn’t going to work.’
I said nothing. If I had just ten percent more of the right kind of charisma, I might have persuaded her. As it was, I peeled back the sheets and pulled my clothes on. It was starting to rain as I reached the front door.
‘What about your records?’
The last glimpse I had of her was at the top of the stairs, ten feet and fifteen years away.
‘You can keep them.’
I lost Protection, I lost Heart Attack and Vine. I forgot about The Lemonheads.
The B-side isn’t finished yet, although I do know it’s going to be called Instrumental. I’ll stick it up when I’ve done it. Watch this space, if you can be even remotely arsed to do so…