Ray Carns


Short Stories

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Short Stories

"Some Kind of Debt" "Reception" "Another Incident"

"Some Kind of Debt" received Third Place in the Short Story category of the 2009-2010 Maricopa County Community College Creative Writing Competition.

"Some Kind of Debt" was published in 2010 in Passages, the annual publication of the winning entries of the Maricopa Community Colleges' Creative Writing Competition sponsored by the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (mcli), District Fine Arts Programs, Division of Academic and Student Affairs.

The link above will take you to the pdf on the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction site.

"Reception" was published in Issue 01 of Bourbon Penn in February 2011.

Click on the above link to go to the Bourbon Penn site.

"Another Incident" was published in Issue 14 of Epiphany Magazine.

The story is no longer online.

"Some Kind of Debt" is a story about loss.

"Reception" is about mental telepathy, three versions of the same woman, and waffles.

"Another Incident" is a story of excuses and truth.

Excerpt from "Some Kind of Debt":

Del Cobb looked at the stack of bills on the desk. No matter how he added them, adjusted the dates of money in and money out; there was no way the numbers balanced.

“You have to do something, Del.”

“I don’t know. We’ve racked up some kind of debt this year, what with the vet bills and your hospital stay. I’ve done the math every way I know how. All we’ve got left is land and this house, and no one’s loaning or buying.”

“I don’t want to lose our house, Del. Not our home.”

“I’ll go over it again, Audra. Maybe I missed something.”

“It’ll work out, Del. You’ll find something. I know it.” She squeezed his shoulders and went to the kitchen.

Rain came down hard for the second day. Arroyos swelled with water from the eastern mountains, strong currents rushed to meet other waters in the San Pedro River to the southwest. A film of water developed on the saturated ground, rippled over gravel, around vegetation, undermined stones. From the kitchen window, Audra watched a snake, king or rattler, she couldn’t tell, swim cross-current, looking for higher ground near the corral that once held their horses. The land for miles had been her grandfather’s, then her father’s and now hers. With each generation their holdings had shrunk, and now…

Audra leaned forward over the empty sink, elbows locked, arms bracing her body. She dropped her head and her shoulder length hair rocked forward on either side of her face. A tear burst on the stainless steel. “I’m not going to cry. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not.” She pulled herself upright and turned, resting against the sink. She wiped her cheek. The refrigerator condenser kicked on. She looked at the decorated door: kindergarten drawings, photos and magnets. Years before, it had been her drawings, her photos adorning the fridge. Now her things were boxed in the attic, replaced by those of a new generation. Audra went to the table, closed the box of Mini-Wheats and cleared the breakfast dishes, carrying them to the counter by the sink. In the distance she saw a break in the cloud cover.

Excerpt from "Reception":

I’m sitting in the chair in the corner of our bedroom where I’ve been sending telepathic messages to Elyse, my wife, since one forty-five. I’m concentrating very hard.

“What are you doing?” she asks, head buried under the comforter.

“Sending you telepathic messages.”

“Dan, it’s three thirty. I’m not receiving. Go to bed.”

I send three more messages before I crawl into bed next to her. She radiates warmth. I send another message, my forehead two inches from the back of her head.

“Go . . . to . . . sleep.”

I turn off my transmitter and roll over, my back against hers.

At three after five I wake, groggy from a night of transmission and little sleep. Elyse is already out of bed. I hear metallic noises. Elyse is either putting pots and pans away or fashioning something out of metal—perhaps a steel pie pan in the shape of a bear trap or a one two-hundredth scale copper jello mold of the Empire State Building.

I enter the kitchen after I shower and dress, eager to see what she’s made.

“How do you want your eggs?”

“You really weren’t receiving, were you?” I look at Elyse in her pink angora robe and slippers, holding a carton of eggs. “I have to go.”

She puts the eggs back in the refrigerator. “Don’t forget your world globe,” she says as I head out the door.

Excerpt from "Another Incident":

to be added.

Bourbon Penn Issue 01 on Amazon.

Bourbon Penn Issue 01 on Blurb.

Bourbon Penn


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