Cherryville was a booming factory town in the ’50s. But now all the factories have turned to rust. The once plentiful manufacturing jobs have moved overseas, and Mitch and his friends in the small town of Cherryville have few prospects for their future. So when Mitch and his friends discover a valuable secret left behind in an old factory, he hopes his luck may have finally changed. But in a town where everyone knows you by name, secrets are hard to keep. And the greatest secret of all, a dark secret from Cherryville’s past, might be waiting for them to uncover.
And here’s the opener:
We were four fools, Don, Vic, Lisa and me, smoking grass down by the old Newmann Furniture factory one Sunday afternoon. It was late May and the sweet lilacs and honeysuckle perfumed the air. They promised the deep glories of summer, soft cooling rains, languid days in Lisa’s arms, blissful skinny-dips in the lake under the holy glow of the Milky Way. Newman Furniture was the pride of Cherryville in the ’50s, or so my mom liked to say when she drank too much gin, which was always. But nature had since reclaimed it. Newman Furniture had become a rusted out shell, like dozens of factories in Cherryville, each a tombstone marking our nation’s slow descent into irrelevance. Weeds poked up from cracks in cement poured half a century ago. In a few decades there’d be nothing here but forest.
I don’t know why we crawled through the fence. What was another empty factory? We’d all grown up in Cherryville. We’d cut school together and hid in the shadows of a million rusted walls and smoked Luckies and swigged cans of piss, a.k.a. Meister Brau, we’d smuggled in. Maybe we were just stoned, but I like to believe the factory was calling us.
You can read the rest of the story here.
In which I answer some questions you may or may not have.
Is this a self-published short story?
Why, yes, yes it is.
Is it an original or a reprint?
This story has never before been in print or online.
How long is this story?
7800 words, give or take. In other terms, a 15-20 minute read.
Why did you self-publish? Why not send to a traditional market?
This story isn’t quite right for the usual genre markets I submit to. But it’s too genre-y for the lit markets, so…voila.
Wait, are you saying those markets rejected this story?
Actually, I sold this story once to a crossover lit/genre market, but it never appeared. The publisher accepted the story for publication and held on to it for three long years before they ran out of money and the story never saw the light of day. Rather than do that again with this story, which is neither this nor that, and so hard to place in a market, I decided to self-publish.
Wait, did you say, Amazon?!?! I thought you felt _______ about them.
I’m still concerned about having only one company dominate the publishing marketplace. However, as an author it’s important, especially in this climate of changing models, to take advantage of all opportunities to get my work before readers, and it would be foolish to avoid such a large market as Amazon. In other words, it’s low-hanging fruit.
So you’re self-publishing now?
For now, I’m only self-publishing “One Spring in Cherryville.” This is ultimately an experiment. If it’s successful, I may self-publish more.
Great cover! Who designed it?
Thanks! I designed it myself.
Anything else you want to add?
Only that it’s getting kind of weird talking to myself.
Yeah, it kind of is.
Um, see you later?
Not if I see you first!