For our third issue of Phobos, “Troublemake,” we called for stories about biters of the hands that feed, timid folk acting out against their tormentors, unlikely disturbers of the status quo, hell-raisers both literal and figurative, and creatures who just plain don't like being told what to do.
An incredible, international collection of writers responded with stories about the various hungers of a corrupt food critic, a clandestine embalmer on the run, suburban botanical troubles, a desperate politician in a haunted town, casual witchcraft gone wrong, casual witchcraft done right, a working dreamer and a dreaming worker, the obstacle course of a disintegrating family, and the clever, web-fingered, eponymous main attraction of our final piece.
And why yes, the cover is of a evil squirrel causing the apocalypse. Beware the squirrel.
"You are Dead, Sir" contains no hellish squirrels, but it does feature a revenant who refuses to stay in his grave:
Dear Watchman Buerer,I and your family have grieved for your loss. Your death was tragic and sudden. But seeing as you are dead, we wish that you would stay that way. Please take no offense, but seeing a deadman walking the streets at night is rather disturbing for the residents of Waking Falls. When we carved “Rest in Peace” into your tombstone, we truly did mean it.
This was in part inspired by a reference to a tale I found on Wikipedia from William of Newburgh, about how the Bishop had to put to rest a revenant by writing a letter of absolution. Unfortunately, in my story, letters have no such influence.
This was the same story that had once received an acceptance, which I touched on in this post, and ultimately rejected the acceptance because the contract was lousy, and the editor unwilling to make a few changes to said contact. Oh, I should also mention the editor wanted to edit out "Good God" from my character's dialogue (and could've without my consent under the contract), but could give no reason why. Turns out, the use of "Good God" as a mild swear went against the editor's beliefs. So yeah... Another reason I avoid this market.
Personally, I think Phobos is a much better market, and glad this story found its home with them. Also goes to show you don't have to settle for just any acceptance, because there might be a better market around the corner.