First Story: “A Night in the Tropics” by Jeffrey Ford
The first bar I ever went to was The Tropics. It was and still is situated between the grocery store and the bank along Higbee Lane in West Islip. I was around five or six, and my old man would take me with him when he went there to watch the Giant games on Sunday afternoon. While the men were all at the bar, drinking, talking, giving Y.A. Tittle a piece of their minds, I’d roll the balls on the pool table or sit in one of the booths in the back and color. The juke box always seemed to be playing “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin while I searched for figures, the way people do with clouds, in the swirling cigar and cigarette smoke.
Jeffrey Ford is an American writer in the fantastic genre tradition, although his works have spanned genres including fantasy, science fiction and mystery. His work is characterized by a sweeping imaginative power, humour, literary allusion, and a fascination with tales told within tales. He is a graduate of Binghamton University, where he studied with the novelist John Gardner. He lives in southern New Jersey and teaches writing and literature at Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County. He has also taught at the summer Clarion Workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers in Michigan. He has contributed stories, essays and interviews to various magazines and e-magazines including MSS, Puerto Del Sol, Northwest Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Argosy, Event Horizon, Infinity Plus, Black Gate and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
You can see more at http://www.well-builtcity.com/
Second story: “The Blue Magnolia” by Tony Ballantyne
Bogart stands before the bar, Hepburn is serving drinks. Cary Grant sits in a chair nearby.
“You’ve got to choose.” says Grant, his eyes hard.
“I can’t! Not now!” says Hepburn, shaking her head in despair. Bogart lifts the shot glass to his lips and knocks his whisky back in one. You can tell by his stance that he resigned himself to this moment long ago. He pulls back his sleeve as if to look at his watch, but his eyes never leave Hepburn’s. Hepburn’s dark, wide eyes, filling with tears.
“Hell. Is that the time?” he murmurs. “I’ve got to catch my plane.”
He turns to leave.
Tony Ballantyne is the author of the Penrose and Recursion series of novels as well as many acclaimed short stories that have appeared in magazines and anthologies around the world. He has been nominated for the BSFA and Philip K Dick awards. His latest novel, Dream London, was published in October 2013 and was described by the Financial Times as “… as strange and unclassifiable a novel as it’s possible to imagine, and a marvelous achievement.”
Tony is currently working on the follow up, Dream Paris, due to be published in September 2015. Due to popular demand, he has also recently begun working on a series of short stories set in the Recursion universe. You can find his website at www.tonyballantyne.com.
Third story: “Tomorrow Tea” by Laurel Winter
Anzy woke me. “Try this,” she said, putting a cup to my mouth just as I exhaled a dream breath. Too hot, but my mouth barely noticed. Summer, I tasted. Being young. One of the wild cousins of mint. Sun filtered through green leaves.
“Oh, yes,” I said, gulping down as much as I could before she took the cup away. She never let me have a whole cup of any tea. Just tastes, so I would never be satisfied. A good taster is never satisfied.
Laurel Winter grew up in the mountains of Montana and attended a one-room country grade school with 12 to 25 students in grades 1 through 8. She then went 30 miles one way on the bus to Absarokee High School, where there were 33 in her graduating class. Since then she’s acquired an eclectic education, including credits in English, physics, and psychology from Montana State and numerous writing and art classes. A number of high school literature textbooks contain “egg horror poem” and she’s hoping her novel Growing Wings gets a baby sister this year. Her current passion is playing poker. You can visit her blog at laurelwinter.blogspot.com
About the Narrators:
Pete Nixon is a full time mailman, father, and husband. He edited, produced, and (partially) narrated “Green Eggs And Horror”, which is a horror short story anthology inspired by Dr. Seuss stories that can be found at GreenEggsAndHorror.com
Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head. He looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, but hastens to add that it was not his idea.
With a background in theater and an English degree that didn’t lead to teaching or full-time novel writing, Kim Mintz turned to the persuasive arts known as sales and heard multiple clients say, “You have a great voice. I would listen to you all day!” Finally, she decided to marry these skills together and enter the world of professional voice acting. Employing a wide range of voices and expressions in commercial and narrative work, she contributed to the financial, travel, and health insurance industries, utilizing clear, direct articulation. She is currently expanding her repertoire with audio book passages by exhibiting a range of emotions, including warm, sultry, cheerful, sarcastic, and many others. She is also working on scripts with her writing partner for animated projects to which she hopes to give a voice. For more information, please visit her website at kimmintzvoiceactor.com.