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Rejection 119

Peter Slapnicher

something else with only one human ear Before the new submissions policy for Thieves Jargon was posted, I saw that they were looking for holiday stories. I sent in a story set at Christmastime. It's told by a teenage boy who's listening to his aunt tell his mom about how she wants to divorce the boy's uncle. It ends with the boy walking his aunt to her car and then seeing a man on the street with only one ear.

I was a little sad I didn't hear back from the teen hearth-throb, himself, Matt DiGangi, but Andy Riverbed sent back a twisted response which might have been even better. In the email, he promised not to hurt me, but I've got a knife taped to my calf now, just in case. The rejection, itself, was in an attached document in which he continued the story where I left off. For a few moments, I was like, "Huh?" and then I realized what he was doing. And then I was like, "Oh man, this story I wrote must be really bad," but then I thought, "No, it's just not right for Thieves Jargon and I sort of knew that when I sent it, but they wanted holiday things and I had one, so I sent it anyway."

So the decision I have come to is that I am honored that Andy Riverbed would take the time to write such a finely honed last paragraph for my story. I present it to you here:

“Kid,” he said and I looked. “You making fun of me, you little punk?” He grabbed my hands and pulled me, his dog barking. I was scared, so scared I stopped thinking of video-games. I wondered if Zia could save me and when she did, if she’d carry me home while I floated on her breasts. I had a boner and the old man knew it. “So I excite you, boy? Is it the hole where there should be an ear?” The dog had wrapped itself around my legs and I fell to the cement. “I’m liking the looks of you each second I spend with you,” he said. “You stupid little boy. You going to spend Christmas with me, down in the shed.”