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Guaranteed or your memory back

Dan Strauss, like any other guy, wants to make his girlfriend happy. So when she insists on him buying a real physical book to read for the summer (the kind with paper and glue for binding the cover all together), he doesn't hesitate. He finds himself in an unusual New And Used Bookshop with a clerk unlike anyone he's ever met. Before he walks away with a book he believes will do the trick, the clerk makes him an unforgettably odd offer: If Dan doesn't like it, he can return it in exchange for a different memory. Guaranteed.

Controversial Themes in Writing

Earlier this summer I had announced on social media that I was writing a neat short story. It had mostly come to me fully baked, but I had to take a break from it for over a month and now it’s almost October and I’m just about to publish it online as an ebook. The ending came to me right as I was meditating before falling asleep. I knew two things. 1, it was a much better ending than the original and I would change it in the morning when I woke up. 2, it was absolutely controversial.

This got me to thinking about the fact that we live in a world where the new taboo is sharing too much of oneself, unless you’re famous in which case you’re often rebuked for not sharing enough. This short story is as far away from political as I could get it, which isn’t difficult to do with the kind of imagination I have. And because it's me, this short story has a definite supernatural element in it.

I’m willing to bet that many of you who read this, if you participate in social media at all, want to share your views as publicly and vocally as you can, and then refrain. Because to be open about your views leaves you just that; vulnerably open. Open to whatever it is that may come your way, in the form of praise or blame, rebuke or shaming. And so we’ve learned to take pictures of food and give witty updates. And if you’re not a social-media maven or near-denizen like many of us, congratulations; you probably aren’t sure how to communicate in that condensed and flattened format. You might prefer the human touch, and I’m with you. You may scream at your television or tell your closest confidant what you really think. At least you have an outlet, which is great.

For the writer, his or her prose (or non-fictional letters and books) serve as his or her voice. That’s me, in a nutshell. The written word often suffices. Teaching as I do in the healing arts also suffices for the voice that I think is buried in each of us. I’ve learned to let my inner voice do some talking through the medium of art. Art has the magic to embellish (highly) and create distortions that don’t get to occur in our shared waking reality. That’s why I love writing it. 

This is all to say that the new short story is not to be taken literally. Usually you see some kind of Copyright notice with words similar to this: “All incidents, characters, locales, and businesses are either coincidental or products of the author’s imagination.” That is a neat way to say, “This stuff didn’t happen, but it could. It didn’t happen to me, and it certainly didn’t happen to anyone I know. It’s written for your entertainment.” And while said entertainment is assuredly dark, let me remind you that the dark is a process of uncovering the light beyond it. That’s partly why I write what I do. This short story doesn’t give any answers, leaves you with a sour taste, but that’s the point. And the point of this, I guess you’d call it preamble, is to forewarn you as such, and give you plenty of room to decide whether you want to read it or not. If it’s not your thing, believe me I won’t be offended—just don’t read it and accuse me of saying nothing first. 

Guaranteed Or Your Memory Back is one of those fictional stories that is meant for mature audiences.

Enjoy, and let me know if I did my job properly or not with your review.