Necklace

Originally entered in one of LitReactor‘s Flash Fiction Smackdowns (January 2013), which I won three Two Dollar Radio books with. Here it is, stapled to my site for free for your pleasure or ridicule or whatever.

Necklace
by Kelby Losack

Johnny waddles his fat ass across the playground, hands in his Wranglers like he’s some hot shit cowboy. I’ve always played the Indian.

Anyways, he walks up to Sally, and let’s just say Sally and I have shared the same glue bottle in art class all week. I haven’t asked my brother yet, but I think that means we’re dating.

Johnny starts pulling on Sally’s pony tail and laughing. All her friends are the chicken shit Barbie type, and all my friends are imaginary, so I have to take matters into my own clenched fists.

I run and jump-kick Johnny, but he’s a fatter fuck-bucket than I thought and I fall in the sandbox. He face-stomps me and I spit out blood and teeth.

I turn over and kick the lard-butt shadow standing over me square in the nuts. The other kids gasp. The fat shadow stands silent.

“What?” Johnny asks the crowd. Stupid.

I say, “Ha! Johnny has no balls!”

The other kids chant “Johnny no-nuts!” and his fat-ass shadow runs away crying.

I pick my teeth out of the sand and stand up. I don’t bother brushing myself off.

I look at Sally. She looks away. She picks up her peace sign backpack and walks inside as the bell rings.

I won’t ask my brother, but I think that means we broke up.

Oh well. The teeth in my hand are baby teeth, no biggie. I’ll put them on a necklace. I’ll wear it at school.

Review: THE OPREE LEGACY: Book 1: The Promise [L. Anna Lenz]

So, I was asked to review this book. It was interesting reading with a critical eye, which I typically only do if a book sucks, in which case I feed it to the tentacled monster under my bed. This book did not suck, thankfully, and my critical eye was actually shut most of the time because it sucked me in. Anyways, here’s the review.

The first installment of L. Anna Lenz’s Opree Legacy kicks off with a prologue that will leave you gasping. Characters, small children, die mercilessly the second you start to care about them. The world in what is looking to be an epic sci-fi series is mythical, desolate, hopeless, and intriguing at the same time. Throughout this novel, I felt dread for the characters for the environments they inhabited, but at the same time, I kinda wanted to check these places out.

And the characters. Damn. That’s where Lenz is strongest, crafting characters we instantly feel something for, whether it’s compassion or spite or a mixture. And there are A LOT of characters in here. Sometimes it gets confusing with how fast the story progresses, but that’s not a huge complaint, because the breakneck speed at which Lenz launches her first title in a series as well as her debut novel is part of what makes the pages almost fly away from turning them so quickly.

However.

There are several occasions this feels like a first novel. Not like that’s a bad thing, it is what it is. But it still seems Lenz is trying to discover her voice, the way the delivery goes from describing scenes in one chapter to just exposition dumping in the next. One scene, a flashback setting up a mother-daughter relationship, I felt would have been much stronger if the scene was simply described instead of the characters’ thoughts and feelings being spelled out for us. At the same time, this is a first installment in a sci-fi series already chock full of myth and legend and species and worlds completely unique to this story. For its sheer unique quality alone, this is a series worth reading. I can’t wait for the next one. Despite some flaws, I’m hooked, and I believe the series will only get better from here.

Buy it here.