What Happened When Frank Died Is Back!

New fiction column in Talk Vomit, recently published works, and a sex toy review.

Hi Everyone,

I’ve got some (in my opinion) excellent news. The e-lit zine, Talk Vomit, has graciously granted me my first fiction column:

What Happened When Frank Died

For those of you who followed my Flash-365 project, you will recognize this concept. For those who did not, here’s the gist:

Welcome to “What Happened When Frank Died.” In this column, for as long as I’m allowed, I’m going to kill Frank. Like—a lot. Worse, every two weeks, he will then be subjected to a multiverse of afterlives: absurd, funny, brutal, depressing, wild, creepy, heart-wrenching afterlives. Some will be based on existing theories, some on my own demented imaginings. In each, Frank will begin anew, searching, as always, for his lost family in the messy business of the many potential Great Beyonds. Frank (thankfully) does not remember his past-afterlives. Yet, attentive readers who pick up clues along the way will be able to solve the mystery of what happened before Frank died.

Every other Wednesday Talk Vomit will publish a new installment of this series along with brand new art from Nikita.

In this newsletter, I will include a preview of each story along with a short blurb about what inspired the afterlife I put Frank through that week. If you have an idea for an afterlife to write him into (torture him with) feel free to comment or email me. This first installment is:

What Frank Found Down by the Sea Shore

Frank died. The light of the room became a pinhole; he squeezed through like toothpaste, from a wrinkled wet corpse into a standing, clothed old man.

He stood at the entrance to a long, white, narrow hallway with doors on either side. A woman stood in front of him. She had one of those perpetually-familiar faces. An actress, maybe. He tried to place her; it felt like identifying a particular pancake in an unfamiliar stack. She had brown straight hair pulled back. Frank knew she was either a childhood sweetheart or every woman he’d seen in an exercise bike commercial.

She was wearing white — a snug set of scrubs. Frank looked down at his own body and saw that he was wearing the same.

The woman peeled apart her thin lips and said, “Frank Morgan?”

“Yes ma’am,” Frank said. He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘Who else would I be?’ but then said, “Oh—wow!” He shrugged his shoulders again. The pain that had rested between the blade of his left shoulder to the bottom of his ear was gone. He turned his neck this way and that. The woman waited.

She had a clipboard under one arm. She took it out to scroll through a list with one finger, stopping on a line. “This way,” she said, and turned.

She walked and Frank trod behind, rolling his shoulder this way and that with a smile that almost gave way to a giggle.

The woman spoke as she walked. She had an even voice that fit her even face and even hair. “I assume we can do away with the usual pleasantries, under the circumstances?”

Frank looked down at his own wrists. There was no blood, no wounds. They were smooth and fresh. He felt a sudden urge to lick them.

“No, ma’am,” Frank said.

As they passed door after door, Frank saw that they had no doorknobs, but featured tiny windows looking out onto a variety of landscapes. In one he saw a mother nursing a newborn babe. In another, there was a young boy sitting, fixed to a computer screen. Then a young woman getting married, then an old man fishing.

He stopped at a particular door—it was an old, crusted room. He saw an old woman tied to a chair. A man stood with his back to the door, a match in one hand, a red canister in the other. The old woman was laughing and wet. Frank could swear he heard the man laughing along with her. He placed his hand to the door and felt it vibrate with laughter and then the man dropped the match and the whole room went up in flames.

Read the rest on Talk Vomit


Inspiration for this story:

Inspiration for What Frank Found Down by the Sea Shore came from a movie I heard about Kevin Bacon dying while being weirdly hot. I never saw the movie. I think my aunt Tre told me about it though I don’t remember if she loved or hated it. I think it had to do with people who died finding out that the afterlife was reliving the happiest moment of their life over and over. I thought this idea was pretty absurd because I figured the happiest moment of my life would be something like the first time I masturbated or tried rotisserie chicken with ketchup on it.

I also wondered about people who might be sadistic or insane. Would their happiest moment be murdering someone over and over? Then, who is it they are murdering? Do they have a soul or are they a projection? The whole concept seemed flawed to me. Though, that is the inspiration for many of the Frank stories. Afterlives that sound pretty great until you think for a few seconds and realize how horrifying the implications really are.

I touch on all of these concepts in the first Frank story. Each will be around 1,500 words so they are quick reads. Stay tuned!


Where you can find my other recent works!

Since last we spoke (and by spoke, I mean I talked into the void of your inbox) I have had a few pieces published that I will section out:

Fiction:

My latest fiction piece, “Houses of Straw” was published in Better Than Starbucks. (A demented retelling of the three little pigs.)

Death at a Preschool Christmas Party was published in The Junction

And my collaborative e-zine project, The Uninvited Guests, with Nastia L. was a finalist in the Deanna Tulley Multimedia Contest 2020 and was subsequently published by Slippery Elm Press!

Poetry (Yeah, I write poetry):

Four of my poems were published in SOFTBLOW: ‘Lovedumb Struck’, ‘Toilet Paper and Pecans’, ‘That Thing You Did on a Summer’s Day’, and ‘Flowers in my Peripherals’.

Other

I also published an interview on the mental health benefits of male masturbation with Dr. Christopher Jones and a review of the Arcwave Ion sex toy (No, Grandma, that is not a joke. Don’t click that link!)

Thank you all for your continued readership and support!

Best,

Benjamin Davis