The second story in Colin Fleming's eventual fifth short story collection, Cheer Pack (not currently under contract--somebody will be snapping this up soon I imagine), is "Hang It on the Limb." This story was published in Post Road issue 32.
It's a great story with some truly (even references this itself) Hitchcockian things going on. A brother steals a brother's wife, a sister "borrows" a sister's guy, and a lot of intense feelings are expressed throughout. It's a fast read in that it pulls the reader forward, wanting to know what happens next (albeit, not as a straightforward thriller), but one that you want to savor while reading, making sure you're hanging with every hairpin curve it takes. It also brings up my favorite scene from Rudolph, just as a bonus for me I suppose.
The title phrase says it--Hang It on the Limb...put it all out there.
Fleming reminds me of another favorite story writer, Steven Gillis, in that it's rare that I read one of their stories and don't learn a little something for my efforts. This while enjoying the hell out of the fiction, but there's always a tidbit about popular culture, or a scientific fact (or frequently a little of each) that slides in extremely unintrusively, fitting in like a corner piece of the puzzle. For instance, the story opens:
After my career rimrocked and my wife left me for my brother, I spent the majority of the last three years of my thirties getting drunk starting at five in the afternoon, ceding the final few of those 1000 days to becoming sober and falling in love with a twenty-two-year old violinist who quoted Tolstoy and whose first words to me were, “I am Rebecca Buford-Hayes, and I fuck.”
Getting rimrocked is what happens when you’re hiking and you descend a ledge and find yourself on an outcrop of stone from which you can’t go down, and you can’t get back up to from where you came. I was stupid enough to try and earn my bread and cheese by writing alone, which meant sending out 20,000 words’ worth of pitches a week so I could get someone to pay me $250 to write on Cubist sculpture one day, someone else $100 to write on P.G. Wodehouse the next.
And as with the earlier Fleming story--this one has a ton of little moments, and sentences, that really made me stop and re-read them a few times:
"This is a horrible way of putting it, but a frothing gash in her arm would have no more grossed me out than one in mine. And I had never felt that way before."
"That doesn’t mean it works out. You can have the best team in the league and if the manager shoots every player in the ass, you’re not taking the pennant."
"I cried like you cry when you feel like you won’t get to die if you don’t, and you want to expire then and there, so you howl."
"...and even though emotions lit up her eyes as if tropical storms were playing out inside of them, I never saw her cry."
The link is above, I'm not sure why you're even still here reading what I've typed about it when you have access to this wonderful story already.