200 CCs - February 2016

ironsoap

Volume 1, Issue #2

February 2016

Vajra Chandasekera • Georgene Smith Goodin

• Jinapher J. Hoffman • Clive Tern

plus Nolan Liebert


200 CCs

Volume 1

Issue #2

Editor-in-Chief

Paul A. Hamilton

Copyright © 2016 ironSoap.com. All writing and photography is the property of their respective

authors.

Cover photographs by Paul A. Hamilton.

200 CCs is an anthology of microfiction, collected monthly. Inquire online for submission guidelines.

http://200ccs.ironsoap.com/

Follow on Twitter @ironsoap.

Images accompanying each story are provided via the Creative Commons license as follows:

• pg 4: Ron St. Amant — https://www.flickr.com/photos/ron_stamant/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

• pg 5: Darwin Bell — https://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)

• pg 6: David Power — https://www.flickr.com/photos/instantjefferson// (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

• pg 7: Steve Loya — http://www.steveloya.com/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


the draw

Editing: Creation Through Curation

I’m new at this editorial gig. Maybe it’s gauche to

admit such a thing, but I don’t have a lot of

interest in feigning professional competence for

the sake of appearances. I’ve tried to make this an

educated undertaking, but at some point overpreparation

kicks in. I’m more of a dive-into-thecold-pool-headfirst

kind of person anyway.

What has surprised me the most in the past couple

of months is how the creative process is very

much alive in this endeavor. Which, in retrospect,

should not be such a surprising thing. But,

hindsight aside, my preconception of the work of

editors was largely one of accounting. Tabulation.

Sorting, clinical correction, collating, the sorts of

things a fussy person with an eye for aesthetic

might enjoy but which the freewheeling creative

person—focused solely on fabrication of the new

from the nothing—might find dull.

And yes, sure, those elements are present in

the endeavor. But then they all center around

the freeing, inspiring joy of bringing stories to

people. So they feel less clinical and stodgy

than they might if we were dealing with, say,

corporate financial records. Or something.

But more to the point, there is a creative

element inherent in the work. Because it’s not

just selecting submissions and dumping them

on readers. It’s looking, in some cases, for the

pure potential inside a piece of writing.

Not all markets tell writers whose submitted

stories are close but not quite to consider

fixing some issues and tyring again. I get that

maybe such a thing is viable only for the very

small market. But as of now it’s an integral

part of what I want to do with 200 CCs.

Because writing is a very mechanical part of

storytelling. Or, perhaps, writing is one

mechanical option available to the story

conjurer.

When I think of it this way—that I’m

looking for the conjured stories—it’s easier to

see the language as malleable, to avoid asking, “Is

this a beautfiul piece of writing?” And rather ask,

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“Is this a beautiful story?”

Writing can be shaped, but the story must be

excavated from pressed experiences and ideas.

Even microfiction comes not from putting one

word after the other (despite what Neil Gaiman

may say, though I believe he’s referring to the

specific act of writing, not the broader act of

creation) but from linking ideas and conveying

them through the writing process.

This is the essence of collaborative creativity,

then, because as an editor I need to see the story

behind the words, the telepathic projection of

those concepts from the original conjuration. But

then to find the best, most honest way to convey

that requires a careful, imaginative experiment

in meta-narrative. Discussing the means to

reveal the author’s story—particularly when that

author and that editor are relative strangers—

is peculiar and exciting like little else. The

closest I’ve ever experienced prior is roleplaying

games where the story unfolds via a

careful give-and-take between game leader

and game player.

As with the gaming version, the strange

alchemy when it’s really working is potent

and highly addictive.

What results, if all goes according to plan,

is a version of the story—that great and

almighty abstract we as writers and editors

pursue with a sinful lust—which appeals to

the greatest audience. Or at least the

greatest audience most desired by the venue

in question. The representative sample of

that audience, at first, is the editor and

writer themselves.

The goal is to find something that makes

those two partners happy.

And when we’re happy, dear reader, our

only possible hope is you will be as

well.

—Paul A. Hamilton


Going Home

by Clive Tern

Sienna's boots left holes in the soot on the street of her childhood home. The smell of rot and decay

wasn't overpowering, but it was there.

Voices unheard for over two decades echoed in her ears; 'Ma, he threw a rock at me!' 'Sienna, it's tea

time.' 'If you kiss me, you'll see stars.'

While the voices played inside she looked at the devastation, and continued towards her destination.

Number sixty-seven used to have a blue door and white net curtains at every window. Now it was a

ruin. The door and windows were broken through, the roof was tumbled down. Instead of bright

cleanliness it wore a suit of grime.

"I'm home," she thought. "For the first time in twenty years I'm home."

Home. The word echoed through her, disrupting the memories by fragmenting them into shards

which meant nothing, but cut her soul until it bled.

Coming here had been pointless, an exercise in whim to demonstrate power. Still, what was point of

authority, if you didn't abuse it a little?

She unclipped a beacon from her belt and tossed it through the broken doorway. This would be the

epicentre of re-terraforming. Humanity could come home.

Clive lives by the sea in rural Cornwall, England, and writes short stories and poetry. He has been published by

Zetetic, Pidgeonholes, & The Quarterday Review. Occasionally he blogs about finding writing tough at

www.clivetern.com.

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The Valentine’s Massacre

by Georgene Smith Goodin

I'm on Fourth Street when the radio cackles. Active shooter at the middle school. My heart boings. The

wife and I made Jimmy go to the Valentine's dance.

I throw on my siren and flip a bitch. Cop's prerogative. A perimeter's being established when I screech

into the parking lot.

"What've we got?" I ask the captain.

"Whack job with a crossbow." He motions the SWAT team into place. "Jimmy in there?"

"Yeah. Violet?"

"Yep."

A succession of clicks, guns being cocked.

The hostage negotiator uses a bullhorn. "Lay down your weapon and come out with your hands up."

The gym door creaks open. Out comes a guy sporting a diaper. His chubby cheeks rival Jimmy's baby

pics. His curls are angelic.

"You've got this all wrong," he says.

The SWAT team hauls him off while the rest of us clear the building. All we find is a toy bow and arrow.

The kids slink out in a disorderly line, sulking instead of relieved.

I run to Jimmy. "Glad you're okay," I say. "Anybody hurt?"

He nods at Violet clinging to his arm. "I think she needs a doctor."

"I'm fine," she says, starry-eyed, and strokes his face.

Georgene Smith Goodin's work has appeared in numerous publications, and has won the "Mash

Stories" flash fiction competition. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the cartoonist

Robert Goodin. When not writing, she is restoring a 1909 Craftsman bungalow with obsessive

attention to historic detail. Visit her blog (http://georgenesmithgoodin.blogspot.com/), or follow

her on Twitter, @gsmithgoodin.

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Pa’s Boat

by Jinapher J. Hoffman

I wade into the water. The boat drifts out further—out of my reach—forever. It's still on fire, the flames a

beacon for lost hope. Ma grips my shoulder, pulling me back.

"But, where is he going?" I ask her.

She kneels down and pulls the tips of my fingers to her mouth and kisses them.

I wipe tears from her cheeks. "Don't worry. Pa said he'd always come back."

She pulls Pa's tags from her pocket and puts them around my neck. "Not this time, baby." She kisses my

forehead. "Not this time."

Her head nuzzles into my shoulder and I stare past her at the empty pasture.

"Ma, where is everyone? Aunt Linda? Cousin Tim?" I pull away from her. "They should be here. Shouldn't

they? They should see Pa off."

Ma trembles. "Not every hero makes a crowd, baby." She tugs on my hand. "Come on, let's go back to the

house."

I shake my head. "I want to watch him go."

She turns away. She always turns away.

Pa is a blazing dot against the horizon. I reach a hand out, grasping at the flames, but my palm is left empty

and the boat is gone.

Jinapher J. Hoffman is the Founder and Writer for her self-named blog (http://

jinapherjhoffman.com/aboutthewriter/), author of the YA Dystopian Thriller Twenty, Co-Founder

of Incipient Productions, Scriptwriter, Director, and a current student in Orlando – obtaining a

BA in Creative Writing for the Entertainment Business. She’s had some of her short fiction

published with 101 Words, Slink Chunk Press, and Flash Fiction Magazine. In her spare time,

she is a DH Designs model, cat lover, and attempting to consume less coffee.

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Týr/Fenrir (UST, Dubcon, Squick)

by Vajra Chandrasekera

They (find you out and they) make you do it.

You (have no option but to parley, to) put

your cock in the wolf's mouth one last time, to

be dwarfed on the great tongue. The teeth

prick. You grab handfuls of fur (as if) to fuck

the mouth that will one day eat the sun but

you (throw your head back because you) can't

meet his piss-yellow leer. Your balls are (cold

and) burning tight, and whether (or not) you're

flaccid only you and the wolf know.

They begin the rope bondage while you look

the grinning wolf in the mouth, in the eye.

(The rope chafes: the root and sinew pinch,

the beard itches, the spit and silence irritates.)

You're waiting for that first gloaming of

suspicion, the twilit moment when (it all goes

sour and fast and hot, and) the war ends, peace

in your time, ceasefire in yellow and red seeds

seeping into the earth to be ploughed by

downed swords. You're waiting to be found

out again.

Later, when they tell this story, they'll (think

they're taking pity on you when they) say it

was your right hand.

Vajra Chandrasekera is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. If you liked this, you should also try his

stories in Flapperhouse (http://flapperhouse.com/2015/03/10/the-rud-yard-fiction-by-vajrachandrasekera/),

Grievous Angel (http://www.urbanfantasist.com/latest-sci-fi--fantasypoetry--flash-fiction/new-flash-fiction-theres-a-vampire-dragon-in-the-world-tree)

and

Three-Lobed Burning Eye (http://www.3lobedmag.com/issue24/3lbe24_story2.html).

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y Nolan Liebert

We talk about love like we know what it is.

Dopamine and serotonin and pulse upon

pulse, the way we measure the distance and

the strength of our longing. But there

is more to it. That is why we tell

stories, write sonnets, and sing songs.

February brings forth jewels and

chocolates and singing telegrams.

But we forget that love is more than

some bond that exists between two

people. We try, again and again, to put

words to something wordless.

“Going Home” talks about the love of a

planet, the love of the past, and,

unsurprisingly, the love of home. In an

increasingly divided culture surrounding

the changing ecology of our planet, this

is incredibly important to recognize.

Why don’t we talk about our home and

the world that sustains us in the same

way we talk about a partner or a lover?

Why don’t we talk about making up

with the soil and the sky? There is a

nostalgia to this piece that makes one

wonder if they are seeing the future stare

back at us in judgment.

The love of our children, but also their own

young love is touched on by “The

Valentine’s Massacre”. We forget what it

was like to be ourselves from ten or twenty

or thirty years ago. We forget what Cupid’s

arrows felt like when they pulled us closer

and closer across the perfume-riddled floor

of the gym. When we are young, we don’t

worry about our parents the way they worry

about us, in the caretaker sense, in the

policing sense. We don’t talk about the fear

and the risk that weigh love down, and we

wonder why people get hurt so easily.

“Pa’s Boat” talks about the love of family,

and also the how it continues when part of it

is severed. By putting a traditional funeral

rite in a modern context, it’s made plain for

us that something lives on, even after we

surrender or sacrifice the artifacts of the

departed. The things become tethers

in the same way that living

memories become still-frames. We

have all lost someone and there are

no words for describing the way

that grief drills to the core of

something deep inside us and twists it.

We do not feel the same loving a

memory as we do loving a person, but

we keep trying, because it’s still love,

and the lost need it as much as we do.

the plunge

Hero worship and the love of myths,

legends, and how we deify someone

are the tip of the iceberg we meet in

“Týr/Fenrir (UST, Dubcon, Squick)”.

What happens when our idols fall?

Where is the line drawn between our

perception of someone and the reality

that we try to ignore? We spend a

lifetime building our own image,

multiple lifetimes sustaining the idea

of others, and for what? A love of

history? A love of what could have

been? A love of what once was? These

idols become our guilty pleasures, and we

shy away from talking about them, but if it

is love or was love, then why do we not

meet another’s gaze when we talk about it?

There are lessons to be learned from the

image of this fallen hero, and we have to

look at it if we are to be taught.

There is love everywhere, but it must be

sought. Can we categorize or itemize or

create a dichotomous key to dissect it? No.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying

to see it, especially in unexpected places.

We need to talk about love like it’s more

than an emotion, because it is – it’s a way of

living.

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Acknowledgements

A great many people are owed thanks for their support and contributions to this issue

of 200 CCs. Whether through donations, submitted work, signal boosting or just

encouragement, the following individuals were instrumental in helping me bring this

thing to life. Many others not mentioned here were also invaluable in their support. I

thank you all.

G.V. Anderson

Mickie Bolling-Burke

Nancy E. Brown

Vajra Chandrasekera

Ralan Conley

Jeremy Cook

Georgene Smith Goodin

Thom Hall

Mike Hawthorne

Lisa Heidle

Jinapher J. Hoffman

Kevin M. Jackson

Lancer Kind

Martin Lariz

Violet Lariz

Nolan Liebert

Jim Milligan

Bob Moulesong

Aaron Nascimento

Shannon Nascimento

Dave Noble

Jeanne Owens

Ella Peary

Melanie Rees

Jason Rief

Nina Shepardson

Clive Tern

Natalia Theodoridou

Lisa Vooght

George Wells

And, of course, my wife Nikki and our daughters, who provide the spark to keep

pushing.

To help show your support for 200 CCs, visit http://ironsoap.com/200-ccs/support/

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