Pieces of Barry on a Coathanger


Contrary to what the title might imply, our beloved attorney Barry Schafer is not dead.  Strips of his flesh do not currently dangle from a coat hanger.  He’s alive and well and, as you know, about to unleash Hell upon the city of Louisville, if anyone is left alive for Book Two at all.  No, “Pieces of Barry” is an old short story.  Today I’m experiencing a little nostalgia after receiving a message from Matt saying he’d dug up some of the old recordings from the band we formed in high school and

uploaded one to Soundcloud.  That got me thinking about all the time I used to spend holed up in my attic-space bedroom cranking out short story after short story, only breaking to strap on a bass guitar and go make terrible noises with my friends, who were much better musicians than me.

Ceramic gun art by David Hellman

Recent work by David Hellman. Photo Copyright David Hellman, 2012.

Matt and I started a band in high school with our friend David Hellman, an amazing drummer who now has a master’s degree in ceramic arts.  We’ve all been friends for years.  In the summer of 2009, I rented a room from David for three weeks while I attended an advanced writing workshop at Western Kentucky University under the instruction of Pulitzer Prize-finalist Lee Martin.  A lot of Sailor Jerry’s rum bottles turned up empty during that time.

David and Matt were and still are serious musicians.  I was only in the band to pluck away a simple bass line.  I was writing my first novel at the time and wasn’t serious about playing music.  Still, we had a lot of fun.

This is the song Matt uploaded to Soundcloud.  It’s called “A Crash Downstairs” and is purely instrumental.  Remember, we were just kids.  Haha.

But our collaborative efforts didn’t stop with tape-recording our underdeveloped songs on my back deck or at night in the daycare David’s mom owned and operated.

Matt and I also wrote a short story together in high school, taking turns writing exactly one page apiece, sometimes leaving a sentence unfinished, until one of us brought it to conclusion.

stack of short stories by Winston Emerson

Stack of old stories.

“Pieces of Barry” told the tale of a man whose wife cheated on him with an attorney named Barry, who also turned out to be an alien.

When we started to develop the idea for The Object, I had no recollection of this link: that two projects Matt and I worked on together, ten years apart from one another, share a character named Barry, an attorney.

Now I’m sitting here in front of a stack of short stories six inches thick.  It’s been quite a while since I looked through them all.  Maybe I should go through them, find one I’m not ashamed to let people read, and post it on here by taking photos of every page.

Want to read a story I wrote in high school?  Let me know and I’ll start rooting through them.  I may even pick a few, give you a synopsis, and let you vote on which one you want to see.

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