Monday, February 24, 2014

Author's Notes: "The Thing About Ray's Smile"

I often find myself writing a story without any idea where it will land.

(I really wanted to type "end up" but the dangling preposition really burns my eyes.)

"The Thing About Ray's Smile," recently published at Black Heart Magazine, is one of those stories. I had the idea for an image, a really cheeky teenager, and one of my favorite stories, T. Coraghessan Boyle's "Greasy Lake," blended together to tell the very short story of--

Okay, spoiler alert. Read "The Thing About Ray's Smile" first, please.


--a teenager who makes  a really dumb decision and it costs him his life. The bad decision? To throw an empty beer bottle at a boat full of what he thinks at the time are kids from the local junior college. That image--the bottle arcing through the air in slow motion--comes from a moment in high school when a buddy of mine tossed an empty glass bottle (only root beer in our case) against the side of a building as we cruised past a police car. I feared we'd be pulled over, but weren't. In Ray's case, the result was worse.

"The Thing About Ray's Smile" is unclassifiable. Yes, the end is horrific, but it isn't horror. It's not a crime story, either, even though a crime happens. Literary? Okay. Maybe. It's definitely dark and I enjoy the word play. It's the kind of story I enjoyed writing even without a clear landing in mind.

Thanks to Laura Roberts and Black Heart Magazine for given "Ray" life...



Ciara said...

Ah, this story was spontaneous and fresh. Though ultimately cadavorous, but you get the point. I found the rain and granite visual unique and potent; I became lost in that little world before I could continue. Also, I admit with shame that the regression from a innocent prom gave me a few chuckles. I'm glad someone directed me here. Keep it up!

Daniel Powell said...

Nice piece, Aaron. Those seemingly innocuous moments that one can't take back are the true heart of horror. We all have regrets over the stupid shit we did when we were kids. The only difference between us and Ray is that we didn't end up paying that terrible price for it.

Nope, they weren't college kids...