#ShortStoryMonth Day Twenty-Six — “You Ride the Bus,” by Jeffrey Ricker


The Best Things in Life Are Free

One of the things I do love about authors who write short fiction (and who have books I can purchase) is how often they’ve got a free story or two floating around so you can read them and fall in love with their words. Now, pointing you towards a Jeffrey Ricker short story is a cheat, because I already love his fictions and I’ve been telling people to pick up his books for years, but this prompt reminded me of a story of his.

“You Ride the Bus” has such a perfect balance of vulnerability, hesitancy and a dash of spark and hope—and as it’s written in second person and crafted so specifically, to me it also had this perfect counterpoint of queerness even though it’s not explicitly so (or at least, I don’t recall it being so, and now I want to go read it again).

Although I just said I love how short fiction can introduce you to an author, and I also said you should buy all of Jeffrey Ricker’s books (and I mean it), I do want to be clear: short fiction is its own art, its not just a tool or a lesser version of larger fictions, and stories like “You Ride the Bus” are a great example of this.

More freebies? I’ve mentioned Matt Bright’s lovely “The Library of Lost Things” already this month, but go check it out again if you missed it; also, last year I did a flash fiction draw challenge every month, where each month I drew a card to come up with a story prompt based on three things: a genre, a location, and an object. Many authors took part, and the final round-up, which links to all the stories from the year and the prompts thereof, is here.

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