BOOK NEWS BOOK OF BIRDS RUNNER UP LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL
Moran Press is proud to announce that Book of Birds, the stunning debut novel by L. M. Bryski, was awarded runner-up in the General Fiction category at the Los Angeles Book Festival. There were hundreds of entries and I couldn't be prouder that Book of Birds placed 2nd out of all those wonderful submissions.
Congrats to L. M. Bryski - and full speed ahead to the release of the second edition of Book of Birds in the coming weeks.
I only have a few of the original edition Book of Birds in my possession. If you wish to secure a copy of that beautiful book, comment or message me on social media. Thank you to all the readers that have supported Book of Birds.
You can also order via #Amazon - the first edition will be available for the new few weeks. Click HERE.
NEW POETRY BY GABRIEL RICARD LINDA'S ADVENTURES AT THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Linda had finally conquered her fear of living, laughing, and loving, and she had finally gotten over becoming a head without a body in the parking lot of the Applebee’s where everyone from work disappeared to from 6 to 11 most nights.
These things happened naturally, Dozens of angels joined a doomsday preppers cult as a means of protest, and as a means of coming to terms with the fact that Linda wasn’t that special.
So why did they all care so much?
Linda is weirdly aware of all of this. She still says she knows what’s going to happen on her 62nd birthday, which is what, four years off from next week?
That’s also why she’s been a smoker since age nine, or why she hasn’t used 1, 3 steak knives minimum to kill her coworkers at the Applebee’s behind the mall where her high school boyfriend would shove his hand up her skirt. Always at the movies. Always waiting four, five tries before giving up.
She didn’t kill him either, but he’s still the principal at the high school her son would have gone to, if she had ever gotten around to being forced to have some children.
Linda is waiting for her 62nd birthday, but she also acknowledges that even when you know everything that’s going to happen for sixty-two years, you still have to work through a few thousand anxieties.
No one tells you that, when you’re nine years old, hiding from someone else’s parents, and looking for a place that will let you do that for as long as necessary.
No, no, no, they just tell you about your future, and then they disappear.
Presumably, they head back to being an absolutely forgotten fixture at winter yard sales throughout Nashville, Tennessee.
Or whatever people like that do with themselves.
Linda knows a lot of things, but she doesn’t know a thing about that.
They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!
The President of the United States has declared that the media is the enemy of the people, calling all publications that dare to disagree with him fake news. These tweets and statements made at his rallies are nothing less than a direct assault on the first amendment of the constitution.
Labeling the media the enemy is the tool dictators use to control media and squelch all dissent. This is what Trump is attempting to do in America, going so far at one of his rallies to intone:
"Just remember what you’re seeing and what you're reading is not what’s happening." Donald Trump, July 24th, 2018
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” —George Orwell, 1984
The crux of Trump's message: Believe only me and not the lying, fake news media, which after all are the enemy of the people. Trump wants you to only believe him and sources that serve as propaganda mouthpiece to his brand of nationalism and tribal politics.
I will stand for the first amendment and condemn Trump's attacks on the constitution.
The media is not the enemy of the people and these are utterances of a would be tyrant.
When pushed by reporter Jim Acosta (of CNN) to clarify whether or not the press is the enemy of the people, Trump spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, would not utter the words. Watch the clip below.
CNN's Jim @Acosta repeatedly asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to say the press isn't the enemy of the American people. She didn't.
Trump's continued attacks on the free press and refusals of his spokespeople to denounce the rhetoric has led to angry confrontations with the media at rallies and events. See the pictures from Trump rallies and the anger directed at the 'enemy of the people'.
It's not enough for Trump to attack political opponents, both Democrats and rival Republicans. To achieve the absolute power he desires, which is at the heart of his endless admiration for the dictator Vladimir Putin, he must frame all detractors and dissidents as enemy of the people.
My message for the President:
I oppose you. I dissent with my pen, my press, and my voice.
I will not be silenced as an enemy of the people. I am of the people.
Many of us oppose you. And we will vote this November.
I urge all of you reading this post that oppose - exercise your first amendment rights by voting. Stand against all candidates that support Donald Trump and his attacks on the free press and the constitution of the United States of America.
Click the image below to learn about how to register to vote in your state or go to https://vote.gov/
*note - this story was the first appearance of a certain character in many years. it led to a transformation of my fictional world and i present it without further commentary
A pretty young lady wearing tight fitting pink shorts and a white blouse with a small backpack over her thin shoulders descended the escalator towards the lobby of the casino, running a hand through wavy blonde hair as she looked about her, eyeing the shops and lights. She gripped her phone and stepped into the flow of humanity pushing its way along the walkway, shiny insistent machines lining either side of the yellow floor. Pausing at a display, she looked at designer handbags, and there, eyeing the new dresses of summer, while she kept checking her phone for messages.
The people pushed her as she looked in the windows, at the goods, the tattoo parlors, the blaring bars with girls dancing on the stage. The push of energy led her outside the casino, onto the street, where the vendors hawked stolen goods and cheap tee shirts of the city. The heat and light of the early afternoon assaulted her eyes, making her wish for a hat. She pulled sunglasses out of her pocket and put them on before continuing her walk. The sounds attacked her ears, a blend of music and voices as the smells of food and perfume invaded her senses. She stood for a moment, near a booth offering tacos and two-dollar margaritas when she heard the voice.
“Hey you,” the voice intoned.
She spun round to face a man seated at a table. She gasped as she saw his scraggy beard that sprouted crazy from his face, long and wild. His long, shiny brown hair set off his fierce brown eyes, which seemed to bore into her pale blue, delicate eyes. She took a step towards him, to escape the traffic. She noticed the sign above his head.
STORY FOR A DOLLAR
The sign had no other adornment and was hand painted on rough cardboard. She did not understand and looked back at the man trying to take in his crazed appearance. She saw a scar below his left eye run down into his beard and disappear into the untrimmed hair.
“I will tell you a story for a dollar,” the man said. His voice rang deep and penetrated the noise of the street. Turning to each side to see if people watched she saw nobody paid them any attention. She took another step and looked at the table in front of her. The man held a tablet computer and watched her. Removing a crumpled dollar from her pocket, she placed it on the table. The man put the tablet down and grasped the dollar, shoving it in his pocket in one motion.
“What story do you wish to hear?” he asked. Shifting her weight from one foot to the other, rolling the arch of her foot upon the sidewalk, she considered his question.
“Tell me how you came to be here.” she asked.
The man frowned and tapped the screen of his computer for a few moments. He sighed and continued tapping on his tablet, but glanced up at her, his brown eyes once again on hers.
“I do not wish to tell that story. I can tell you many others, stories of war, love, adventure, but not about myself; that story wouldn’t interest you. Perhaps I can tell you a story about dragons?”
“No!” she exclaimed. “I’ve had enough with dragons. I want to hear your story. I paid my dollar and I want to hear!”
The man stared at her, incredulous, a hand stroking his beard.
“Let me see,” he said, tapping again at the screen.
“The story is on your IPAD?” she asked.
“No, no,” he laughed, turning off the tablet. “Checking the stock market. Sorry to keep you waiting. I will give you a story.”
He pointed to a plastic folding chair at the end of the booth and indicated she take a seat. The plastic felt hot against her skin as she sat, keeping her eyes trained the man. After she crossed her legs, she nodded for him to begin.
“There was a dragon in love with a princess,” he began. She stamped her foot in indignation and glared at him in anger. “I’m just kidding.”
'I spent my youth amid the splendor of wealth, but safe to say, I did not please my father with the choices I made from such an early time in my life that by my 18th birthday he made it clear that in order to take possession of the money set out for me, I had to marry and stayed married. Those are the basic facts. I told my father that I wanted to marry for love, not for his money. I vowed to spurn his money and his judgments of me and moved from the luxury of home to picturesque Warwick.'
“Excuse me,” the girl cut in quickly. “You’re from Warwick?”
“Why, have you been there?”
She looked at him, as if trapped in thought, but otherwise didn’t respond to him. The man shrugged and continued.
'In Warwick, I took a job waiting tables and rented an apartment. I settled in for an ordinary life, far enough from my father so that he might not interfere, but yet close enough to rub my peasant lifestyle in his face. I stayed to myself, working on my stories and otherwise going about the business of living said ordinary life. I dated a few times, but each time the relationship got serious, the truth of my birth and circumstances conspired to bring the connection to a fast end.
Indeed, how do you tell someone you are dating that you chose poverty? How do you tell them they can win the lottery by marrying you? Ten years passed in this fashion. Relations with my father grew worse until such time he refused to talk to me until I married.
I did not see my father some years before I took a trip to NYC to give a reading of my newest short story. I debated not going at all, seeing as I didn’t have the money. How can one justify a trip that costs more than the publisher gave me for the story in the first place? The night before the reading I crashed at my childhood friend’s apartment after getting ripping drunk in Providence. He told me I had to read for my fans.
‘Fuck my fans.’ I muttered in my drunken turpitude. ‘They don’t pay my rent.’
My friend slapped me and told me I had to go and promised to drive me to NYC personally in the morning. It happened that way too, which disturbs me more than any other thing I’ll tell you in this story. I knew him for 25 years.
We made the trip to the city in good time; somehow both avoiding traffic and the need for bathroom breaks even though I drank a good deal of water to help my hangover. I’ll spare you the ordeal of hearing the details of that afternoon and skip to the good part, the reading.
I was not the featured performer that night; I won’t have you think more of me than I am. I climbed the three stairs to the mini-stage, eased myself behind the worn podium and opened my notebook to begin.
I felt nerves, nervous, sweat beginning to form under my arms as I stared and got lost in the crowd. Indeed, it was a crowd. The bar was packed to the rafters and I seemed to recognize most of the faces in the room. They are here for me, I remember thinking. I stood mute for some moments, panic beginning its stealthy run up my legs and spine, its tiny fingers gripping at my throat. I heard voices yelling at me, encouraging me, trying to lead me into voice.
I forgot the story I was there to read and when I looked down at my notebook, the words failed to resolve into sentences.
‘Help me.’ I said quietly into the microphone. Dead silence met me, stares and stone-cold dead silence.
I felt a pain in my mind as the eyes bore down, waiting, the impatience dripping from their eyes.
I opened my mouth, not having the slightest clue of what I was about to say.
The man stopped and looked at the girl, a visible pain in his eyes. He rubbed his temples and reached under the table, pulling out a bottle of scotch.
“I can't give you more story than that for a dollar," the man said so quietly it nearly evaporated in the heat of afternoon.
The girl grabbed his hand as he attempted to pour from the bottle in front of him.
“Tell me what happened that night,” she said in a voice that felt like a whisper upon his ears.
'At the very moment I began to speak I saw her. I saw her in a blinded rush, blonde curls showering over the pale skin of her face, her thin neck adorned with a small diamond necklace. The simple fabric of her plain black dress rustled in the air of the bar. Yet, she stood angry, her arms crossed violently across her chest, with one of her small pretty feet slightly in front of the other in an aggressive posture. Her blue eyes yelled at me to continue. I gathered my strength, a bit of liquid courage and spoke.
I can’t remember a single word of the story I created that night. Yes, I say created, for the words I spoke were newborn and fresh to this world. I spoke in a blinded rush and hurried to find inspiration, which, to thank the gods, came swift and sure to my aid. Words followed upon words and I created on that summer night in NYC. When I finished the crowd met me with a dizzying applause. I walked off the stage in a daze and sat on a bar stool, ready to drink myself into oblivion. After the barkeep set a drink in front of me I could feel a presence next to me and I did not have to look to know it was her. She smelled like apricots and I felt her lean in close to me, placing her lips against my ear.
‘I want you to read stories to me all the days of my life.’
The room spun around me and my skull threatened to split open at her words.
Thank you for taking time to visit Moran Press.
GET A CUSTOM EDITION ELLA PAPERBACK
If you enjoy the stories and poetry and wish to support my small business, click the image below. Thank you.
I've offered special editions of my books in the past - where I hand write a short story in the blank pages of the paperback. Now, I want to take it to the next level. Readers can now get a Custom Special Edition or Ella or Server with the short story of preference - selected from fiction posted to Moran Press.
Listed below are the stories available for the Custom Special Editions.
George woke later than usual, the sun of late morning pouring in through the windows into his eyes. He rolled off the bed and pulled on pants before walking on numb stiff legs into the living room. Though still in the grip of recent sleep, he began his morning routine with practiced deft movements, one hand clutching the television remote, the other turning on the faucet to let the water run for coffee. He clicked on the television and while he listened to a man’s voice announce the morning news, he prepared a breakfast of eggs and toast.
He cracked an egg into a bowl as the coffee began to drip and the wires inside the toaster began to glow.
America once again enters peace talks with insurgents
George watched the television for a moment, catching a summary of the top stories of the day, intoned by a man of middle age with gray patches dotting dark brown hair in a voice devoid of emotion.
Bombing continues against suspected enemy strongholds with a reported twenty-three dead and some hundred more injured. Military sources denied reports made by a local TV station accusing America of targeting civilians, namely a hospital on the west end of the city, which stands in ruin at this hour, a target of a missile strike.
George gathered his breakfast and coffee and settled down in front of the television. He placed a notebook next to his plate, ready to finish the work left from yesterday, which he began each day after hearing the news. As commercials played, he looked about the room, seeing the empty space and bare carpets, the light in the room coming through three large windows facing the street.
For the third consecutive day troops armed with automatic weapons and riot gear patrolled busy subway stations during the rush of workers arriving to work in the morning commute. The armed patrols guided the new arrivals through a series of metal detectors and other apparatus, which the spokesman from the local National Guard office said were to detect explosives and other manner of weapons of mass destruction. The measures slowed the morning commute to a crawl of humanity, which crowded through the temporary check points, all other routes closed off by ropes and tape.
“I’m sure we will have to carry travel permits soon enough,” George said, shaking his head with displeasure as he sipped coffee. He ate the eggs and toast without butter or salt, having forgotten to purchase these items at the market. He ate the tasteless meal, filled with a growing anger as he listened and watched the television.
George clicked off the television, his attention drawn to the windows looking onto the street. He stood and walked closer to see, against the belief of his eyes, the sky filled with fluttering black objects. He opened the front door and made his way down the steps to get a better view and the objects resolved into black rose pedals. He picked one off the ground, feeling the softness against his palm as he ran a finger over the black pedal. He looked about him, seeing neighbors on porches and pedestrians on the sidewalks, not one of whom gave a sign of notice to the phenomenon. As a café across the street, a man stood in a doorway smoking a pipe.
“Did you see?” he yelled at the man, who wore khaki shorts and an olive green tee shirt. The man stared at him, smoking in silence. George looked up at the sky, which blazed of hot blue summer, the phenomenon at an end. He stood silent and still in the middle of the street for some moments, shocked further to see no evidence on the ground of what he has witnessed save for the single black pedal in his hand. He dropped it to the ground and watched it vanish in to the tar of the road.
George returned to his work with little success, the fact of his being the singular witness plaguing his mind. The rest of the day passed in a haze, his mind trying to comprehend the apparition of the morning. Before turning in for the evening, he made a note in his journal about the event.
He did not sleep well and woke several times covered in sweat and remaining in bed until late morning, later than the previous day, the hour of noon fast approaching. He jumped from the bed and dressed, a feeling gnawing at him that if indeed the event occurred again, he might have missed it. He ran to the windows, looking out into the sunshine and clear blue sky, not a single pedal to be seen. He remained for some time, waiting and watching.
George gave up waiting and began his routine, breaking the silence of the room and starting coffee on the stove. As he listened to the news, he watched the sky, waiting.
A suspicious mushroom shaped cloud appeared in the city of _____ North Korea yesterday, prompting leaders around the world to decry the pursuit of nuclear weapons by General ____ and bemoaning what seemed to be a secret test performed by the North Korean government. A spokesman from General _____ office denied the accusations of the existence of nuclear weapons. United States war planes struck points in ____ overnight, claiming the lives of twenty-eight people, according to sources. In a related operation, American ground units engaged the enemy in close gun battles, which were reported to be fierce in some locations around the city of ____. A military spokesperson said a significant number of insurgents died in the battles, leaving American forces in control of several key sectors of the city. The spokesperson predicted the complete annihilation of the enemy in coming months.
Outside, George saw the first of the rose pedals begin to fall, with greater density and frequency than the previous day. He went outside and stood on the porch as the pedals fell, looking around as he did yesterday to see whom if anyone gave notice. The same man stood in the same spot smoking the same pipe, this morning watching George.
“Do you see it, sir?” George asked again. The man waved at him, as if to suggest impatience, and turned to enter the café. “Wait.” George yelled, crossing the street at a run, a few pedals sticking to his chest. The man waited for George to reach him, a hand resting on the door. “What is it you want?” the man said in obvious annoyance. “Did you see the roses, the black roses?” George asked. “You are crazy,” the man replied and entered the café without waiting for a response. George turned and walked back to his apartment, more disturbed than ever, his mind twisting and turning in various directions. “Am I the only person that can see?” he muttered as he shut the door. He did not attempt to work that day or evening, preferring to sit motionless on the couch, with his eyes closed until well past nightfall. He made a note in his journal before preparing to sleep, underlining the sentence several times.
Something is going to happen
George passed through a sleepless night, filled with anxiety and a growing dread about the day to come. When the first rays of morning began to break the darkness, he got out of bed, legs weary from lack of sleep. He took up station by the window and watched while the television gave dire announcements of the day. Hours passed as did a repetition of the day’s headlines, without a repeat of the phenomenon. Noon and a total of five hours spent at the post by the window came and went, his legs burning with fatigue.
The news crawled onward, again and again.
North Korea possesses nuclear weapons. America marches into Iran.
George saw the first pedal of the day fall. He opened the front door, but remained within hearing distance of the television.
An explosion rocked lower Manhattan, leaving many dead. A riot begins in south central Los Angeles, heightened gang tensions giving way to an eruption of violence. Thousands of Mexicans rushed the border overnight in protest of recent rhetoric by American politicians, leaving several border guards injured. Puerto Rico declared independence from the United States today. The symbolic announcement made by liberation party officials followed firework displays around the country and protests at the American consulate. In quick order, China, Russia and North Korea declare war on the United States. The President offered no comment, but promised a response within the hour.
Black filled the sky, pedals falling in great numbers and intensity. George watched the man with pipe pointing at the sky, his cries bringing several café employees onto the sidewalk.
George looked to the sky, the pile of roses at his feet growing, the light of early afternoon fading. He saw a great darkness descending, covering the entire sky with terrible speed. He hears, first singular and then with greater frequency, fell screams pierce the air, moments before a blinding flash of light and deafening roar rip the horizon.
PURCHASE ELLA OR SERVER GET THIS STORY ADDED AS BONUS CONTENT HANDWRITTEN IN THE BLANK PAGES
The bird-tongued President goes to his favorite fast food outlet. He orders baloney sandwiches for his retinue of court jesters. While pigging, editors of
The Onion give him his daily briefing. As the rest of the planet laughs at his Presidency, all the scientists are not happy.
The President notices something making his nostrils flare. He raises his small hand for the waiter to come, yelling, "Why is my pickle so little?" The waiter, trying his best to suppress his laugh, says, "Sir, the guy who prepared your baloney sandwich is psychic. He knows it, sir, even if you deny it."
The fuming President opens his mouth and discharges fire like a flamethrower, reducing the poor waiter into ashes.