Thursday, March 8, 2012

Charley Pope's "Permanent Online Chapbook"

My dear friend Charley Pope just made this website, What the Dead Say, containing eight works of flash fiction--well, only eight so far. Charley calls What the Dead Say a "permanent online chapbook," which I can only hope means that we're in for more of these shiny bullets of magic.

These stories are a good loud laugh for the doomed. The first story is a description of Hell in which the damned just have to hang around and smoke pot with a total bummer Satan, a separate, lesser Hell for people who just "couldn't hold up in the real world" (try telling me that Hell isn't a real place). In other stories, we find a tollbooth operator who poops babies, a Godzilla sized baby--there are an unusual amount of giggling babies who appear mysteriously.

But we get some hearty slices of reality to go with the magic. The second story (unless he decides to move it), "The Women from His Country," is a snapshot of an old man at a bus stop talking to the young narrator about love--"One minute they’re delicate and sweet," he says, "and the next they’re burning your house down"--followed by a snapshot of that young man going on a first date. "Haywire" is a 58-word story about all the alarms going off in a city for no apparent reason, appropriately alarming, reading as if the author woke up startled from a dream and immediately wrote it down. Which, in a way, describes the overall aesthetic of the chapbook.

And so, to follow the motif, a beautiful bouncing baby book is born. Not only do you get to read this book for free, but when you finish reading it, don't worry, because there will be more book later. Seriously, bookmark this.

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