Some day the teenagers in this cheery story are coming back in a novel or a series of linked stories. Until then, here they are in all their discontent. Fiddleblack has published some terrifying stuff (Clive Barker included). This story isn’t really horror, unless bored teens prone to violence and home foreclosures in California scare you (they do me). And skateboarding. There’s skateboarding in this one.
This story came to me in 2002 as I was driving between Milwaukee and Madison during my stint as a Ph.D. student at UW-Milwaukee. On dark nights I could see Orion’s Belt through my driver’s side window. My father had died the year before and looking at the constellation always made me think of him. I’m still not sure why, but I’m happy my grief came out this way.
I love flash fiction: reading it, writing it, teaching it. I’m very pleased Juked, one of my favorite online sites, published this one a few years back. And once you hit a certain age, most Americans have an opinion on high school reunions. This idea sprung from a reunion of mine quite a few years back.
Just the title of the online literary journal Story/Houston refers to two of my favorite things: stories and Houston. I am so grateful “Uncle Dixon” is in their archives. It couldn’t have landed in a better place. Thanks, always, to the editors there and to my fellow attendees at Oxford American magazine’s writers summit in the summer of 2011 who were the first audience for an earlier draft.
I don’t write speculative fiction very often, but Clarkesworld was kind enough to take this odd little story a few years ago. I grew up reading Ray Bradbury, so I’m always humbled by writers who can do fantasy or science fiction or just plain weird really well. Clarkesworld has been a consistently good site for those writers and I’m proud to be listed among writers far more accomplished than I’ll ever be.