Month: December 2010

Please Be Advised

The flash fiction anthology Rose City Sisters, run by my friend Paula Johnson, accepted another story of mine. It’s titled “Please Be Advised.” You can read it below, or on the Rose City Sisters blog. The story features John Laughlin of San Andreas Fault. I created this story from an excerpt of a novel I’d started while still practicing law . . . in what seems a lifetime ago.  In any case, here it is.





John Laughlin sat in his 43rd floor office, staring at the blinking cursor on his computer screen.  He had started a memo and had typed, “Please be advised, my last day with the firm will be . . .” But he only got that far.  He was a fourth year associate hard on the partnership track at a corporate law firm.  He could see his future and didn’t like what he saw.  It was pointless to work, he thought, defending corporations.  At the same time, he worried that might just be an excuse, a way of not admitting that he just wasn’t tough enough to succeed. This wasn’t the first time he’d started this memo.

He was interrupted by a knock on his door.  He put his computer to sleep as Patrick Gillis, a first-year associate, slipped inside without a word or even a glance in his direction.  Gillis immediately turned around and pressed the door closed behind him.  In one hand he clutched some documents so tightly that they had become creased.  After the door was shut he turned to John.

“Do you have a minute?”  Gillis stood with his neck stretched forward and his tortoise-shell glasses perched on the end of his nose.  Over the last six months he had lost ten pounds due to stress.  His forehead was as creased as the documents.  Suspenders held his loose pants.  John used to feel sorry for Gillis; he had since come to see him as just a big pain in the ass.

John shook his head.  “I’ve got —”

“This will only take a second.”  Gillis drilled John with an intense, beseeching stare.  “What do you know about real estate?”

John sighed.  “Nothing.”

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in Flash fiction, 0 comments

Food, Sex, Danger

Susan Weinschenk is a psychologist with a book (Neuro Web Design: What makes them click?) and a website (What Makes Them Click). On the website, she is running a series of articles entitled “100 Things You Should Know About People.”  As of this writing, she’s up to thing number 47: “People Value A Product More Highly If It Is Physically In Front Of Them.”

Thing number 11 is entitled, “Why You Can’t Resist Paying Attention to Food, Sex, or Danger.”  In the article, she explains that humans have three brains: a new brain, a mid brain, and an old brain.  The old brain is the one interested in survival.  So its job is to scan the environment and ask, “Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it?  Will it kill me?”  I don’t know if all scientists agree with this assessment, but it’s a fun read.  As are many of the other things we should know about people.  Here is a link that brings up all of the article titles.

No message here from me.  Just pointing out some fun reading.

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in General, 1 comment