To Die For

Had a quick cameo in Creative Workaround's 2017 submission to the 48 Hour Film Project. Our film won four local awards: Best Film (3rd Place), Best Cinematography, Best Genre Mashup, and Best Location.

The Immortality Cube

[The follow is a drabble, or 100-word short story.]

There's always that one friend who sticks to the group like a discount sticker on a used book, and who is tolerated by necessity because any removal might leave behind a sticky residue. Among Skye, Keith, and Kim, this was Lames, whose Mom had long admitted to being high when she tried to write "James" on the birth certificate. When Skye, Keith, and Kim came upon the Cube, without hesitation they excluded Lames from the Pact. And they didn't care years later when, at Lames's 89th birthday, he glared bitterly at their youthful bodies. They could wait a little longer.

Flash Nonfiction - Honest Seafood

My sister will not eat seafood. She is a brown-haired, brown-eyed girl, all inherited from my mother, and she is picky, an inheritance from no one. Or perhaps a suspicious ancestor—maybe the caveman who ate the poisoned mushroom?

We (the boys) are wide, sandy, blue-eyed beasts. We'll eat anything, be it a bagel or small dog. It's that cavalier attitude Mom rewarded with meals that stretched the definition of food. She was not the best cook, and sometimes pizza would be recast as "lumps," or toast as "carcinogens with a side of yeast." Nor was she the most honest about ingredients. She wanted us to eat, after all.

So, Sis found herself in a constant state of seafood consumption. She'd eat tacos and realize afterward: "These were fish tacos!" She'd eat red beans and rice to discover soggy shrimp.

My poor sister. She's had more sushi than a sushi chef.

"With Meditation on a Happy End," a Description of Chief Inspector Henri Moreau

[Translator's Note: Moreau's autobiography was published posthumously by his grandson in 1892. I've done my best to translate Moreau's vinegary, poetic tone from the original French.]

En 1889, dans la ville d'Arles

My life has become a flutter, flutter, flutter of paperwork as if clouds of inkwet moths are constantly flying around my office. If only these papers shared the moth's predilection for leaping into the nearest flames, I would have more fuel for my fireplace and a little less clutter. But this is my punishment for ambition; for wanting to add "en chef" beside "inspecteur." Now I have an office overlooking the Rhône, where I can work above the clatter of the streets, where I can interview my agents over a slow pipe and wine. I have never been unhappier.

Sam Spayed, Private Eye

It was the kind of day that made you want to lie around and wait for a belly rub. A breeze was slinking about the neighborhood, and the welcoming scent of McAlister's Pet Friendly Kitty Chow was wafting through the window. But I had to be on my paws. Trouble could come scratching my door at any minute.

So I sat at my desk, playing with the blinds, waiting for my nine lives to run out. On my desk were a few toy mice and a ball of yarn I'd bought at a flea market to relieve stress. Whatever effect the yarn was supposed to have was being negated by the fleas. I used to have a pot of catnip, too, but I gave that stuff up.

That's when she sauntered in. A domestic long-hair, although tame is the last word I'd use. She was a tall bowl of milk, white and fluffy with cream on her shoulders like she was wearing a second fur coat. Soft blue eyes. The type of dame you wish hadn't been declawed.

"You stalking anybody?" she asked.

"No," I purred. "You got something for me, or are you just looking for the litter box?"

"I might have something," she said, cool as a calico. "See, there's this fancy cat I've been nuzzling. And he's gone missing."

"You check the pound? Maybe he rubbed someone the wrong way?"

"Mittens always keeps his address on his collar. See, he's forgetful sometimes. I'm afraid something's happened to him, Sam." Her whiskers twitched pathetically and I was string in her paws. She went on to describe her plaything. A Himalayan long-hair, blue-gray, googly eyes. Not the sharpest claw on the paw. More like the type who'd run out of an open door and drown in the pool.

"You armed?" she asked. "This might get fuzzy."

I opened a drawer and pulled out my Ktaxon 5mm laser pointer.

"So you'll do it?" she said luxuriously. "I should warn you, I can only pay in Purina."

"Salmon?" I said. "Or Chicken and Liver?"

She looked sheepish: "Chicken Gravy."

"Hmm." I thought about it. To be honest, I would have hissed my mother out a window for a spoonful of Meow Mix. "All right, I'll be your puss-in-boots."

She rubbed against me in appreciation. “Thank you, Sam," she said. "Now, please, find my Mittens."

Technical Details - Roco

[A few technical details about my novel. You can read a sample here.]

Regarding the Novel

Title: Roco
Genre: Modern Fantasy (Native American & Norse Mythology)
Target Audience: Teenagers and above.
Age Range: 12+, although it's YAF, I think twentysomethings would enjoy this, too.
Word Count: 50,000+
Author: Desmond White
Project: Modern fantasy is a popular genre right now, and my book comes at it from an interesting angle: a squirrel turned into a human! Plus, I'm going to catch those nostalgic Animorph fans.
HookA squirrel who's been turned into a human must rescue her friend from an ancient order of snakes who inhabit (and control) people's bodies.
Synopsis: Roco's mother, Nutsour, filled their warm, comfortable nights in their drey with stories about ancient squirrel heroes outwitting all sorts of nastiesfrom hawks to foxes to eagles to bears. One day, the opportunity for adventure presents itself when a human girl on the run (and slowly recovering from a poisonous bite) hides in the Crown, the squirrel's hill-village. The girl, who can use spellrunes to perform feats of magic, is able to communicate with the squirrelsand soon contracts Roco to be her sentry in exchange for bits of a granola bar. The girl saves Roco's life when the squirrel is attacked by an owlan act that reveals the girl's position to her pursuers. Now, Roco must rescue the human girl from these mysterious enemies (which look like human beings but smell like slithering things) on an adventure that will pit her wits, and her mother's stories, against ancient monsters and mages. Roco's story becomes even stranger when a "helpful" ancient spirit, in ironic jest, turns her into the most powerful creature on the planeta human being. A human girl, in fact.

Regarding the Author

Bio: A high school teacher who writes when his students aren't looking.
Platform: Prose, Personal Blog
Education: UCSB College of Creative Studies (B.A. in Literature); HBU (Master of Liberal Arts)
Writing Style: Poetic, Concise, with a snap of Snark
Hobbies: Playing & Designing Board/CardGames; Reading & Discussing Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Old Books; Doting on my Wife and her two Evil Cats
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
Age: 27, going on 28 in August
Twitter: @desmondwrite