This is the first of quite a few entries that are pre-programmed via the magic of scheduled entries to appear while I'm on vacation. Likely I'll be updating about the joys of being in Houston and New Orleans, but I didn't want to risk skipping a Short Stories 365 day by virtue of, oh - as a random example - having had Rob Byrnes pour the wine and thereby being incapable of reading at all, let alone writing a post.
So. Hello from the past!
And, speaking of too much wine...
"The Cocktail Hour," by John Morgan Wilson
This story, from the Saints + Sinners New Fiction from The Festival 2011 collection, is a definite favorite. A man receives a call from a former lover, and is asked to visit. He has defeated the demons in the bottle, but the demons of a former lover are harder to exorcise. When he meets his former lover's new partner - a heavy drinking writer who is a local bestseller - the alarm bells begin to chime.
But even a bad feeling can be buried under hope for the future. Fantasies can be spun to make everyone feel better about the lies they're living. This story tangles and twists, and the dark sense of foreboding pays off beautifully. I loved where this tale went (and ended) and my hat is off to John Morgan Wilson for packing all that manipulation into one small short piece.