(Again, let us hope the title becomes reality.)
A few months back the really great folks at The Red Penny Papers took on a story from me that I worried would never sell. It's weird, which can be good, but it is also very sad, which folks tend to avoid. The story, "Pins and Needles, Silk and Sawdust," is a strange little ditty centered around life and death, the afterlife and undeath.
The tale takes place in a mortuary, late at night, focusing on Mark, a medical examiner pulling an all-nighter thanks to a heavy workload. On the slab we have Mr. Hammond, the local school principal and well known hardass, dead from a rotten heart. Already sewn up and done for the night we have Richard, free soul traveling musician and overdosed drug addict. Still wearing the dress she died in and covered in her own blood, we have Karen, the little girl with big dreams--or rather dreams of a big story. As Mark speaks with the dead, we begin to wonder who is the lion and who is the scarecrow, and if we might all have a little tin man in us. Before the end we are assured there is no place like home.
Yes, I am unashamed to say the story takes a page from the Wizard of Oz. Everything from glaring references to vague slips that only those intimate with the tales will sense or appreciate. The shaggy headed traveler, the patchwork girl, the heartless leader, they are all there for the reading. Even the title is from the original text. Allow me to share.
This is where the wizard gives the scarecrow brains:
So the Wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and took up a measure of bran, which he mixed with a great many pins and needles. Having shaken them together thoroughly, he filled the top of the Scarecrow's head with the mixture and stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place.
And here he gives the tin man a heart:
So Oz brought a pair of tinsmith's shears and cut a small, square hole in the left side of the Tin Woodman's breast. Then, going to a chest of drawers, he took out a pretty heart, made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust.
Much to my delight the story ran in the Spring 2012 issue of The Red Penny Papers. I was so tickled they liked the story, combined with the fact I just really love this one, that I was moved to record it. As you may know by now, I have been working with a fine fellow to produce an audio version of my novel, The Cold Beneath. Chris Barnes has been just a blessing, he really has. In this case, he took my reading and mixed it with magic! He added music and effects and made it into something very special. Upon this product of passion and talent, I decided it needed more than just an audio link. I took it and ran it together with some images and a few hand drawn title pieces. (I'm not much of an artist, but I can manage "drawn by a six year old" without much trouble.)
Without further ado, here is the end result. I hope you guys like it. Be sure to visit the youtube page and like it if you can. And leave us a comment! Thanks!