Dana Johnson, "Hot Pepper"

Talking back to mean ol’ Uncle Smiley will only get you thrown out the house, and it won’t stop the jump rope for too long.

(from Break Any Woman Down)

Cleverly told and charming in its observations, this story feels like one of those remember-the-time bits of nostalgia the way a child likes to tell them. Short on facts, heavy on description and scattershot in detail. A good read. Not an uplifting adventure, but most short stories aren’t. I can read that Steve Almond story everyday. A web site like that has even less appeal.

* * *

I didn’t read a short story yesterday because my poor laptop — homebase for I Read A Short Story Today, battle-scarred, trackpad-busted, broken-speakered, shift key-missing, memory-tapped, warranty-expired, battery-soft, debt-causing, sometimes-crashing, heavy-as-hell, dissected, rebuilt, bulky, dirty, scratched up and worn down outlet for everything I’ve wanted to write in the last three years — finally gave up the ghost. Or became a zombie. Whatever you call it when the screen conks out.
I’m thinking of selling t-shirts, an idea I always liked, to make some money to buy a replacement. Green. Pale green? This on the front: I read a short story today. No dot com. Nothing on the back. Just words. If I could keep the price around $10 or $12, would anybody buy one? I need a plan.

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