A collection of writing by Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson
Category Archives: Short story
March 31, 2011Posted by on
My short story, “Lovers’ Balk,” has been published in the latest issue (#67) of Spitball, which was mailed out today. ”Lovers’ Balk” is the story of a fantasy baseball geek who uses his player forecasting algorithm to find himself the perfect woman on the Internet.
Stephen Schtingenshreif, or Stevie Baseball as he was known to his loyal bloggers at welovethebrewcrew.com, had developed the perfect sabermetric model for forecasting the fortunes of major league hitters. He called it OPSMOPP: Official Prognostic Statistical Model of Outstanding Player Performance. Stevie Baseball had used OPSMOPP to successfully predict breakout seasons by several Major League talents. Starting in 2003, he’d ridden his superior statistical knowledge to three consecutive titles in the BBL (Blogosphere Baseball League—the fantasy baseball league of all fantasy baseball leagues, populated exclusively by baseball blogmasters).
The 2006 season, though, was different.
Stevie Baseball was a paranoid sort, prone to winning-streak socks. When he started loosing he went looking for a cause. He had prepared for the league in the same manner as the prior years but there was one significant personal difference in his life. In 2006, he had been without the good luck that seemed to follow his quietly contemptuous X. She had never expressed interest in baseball, never entered the room as he sat in his den with his back to the door, absorbed in Excel worksheets. Had her presence somehow contributed to his three-year winning streak? She’d moved out in March and he hadn’t sniffed .500 all season.
The way he was losing made it worse. A new owner, Rodney Estrogini, had stolen all of Stevie’s sleeper picks during their online draft. Estrogini had followed with a series of bold trades, creating a juggernaut the likes of which the BBL had never seen. Stevie found himself in uncomfortable territory: Last place, hoping for statistically impossible results from a crop of injured arms and underachieving bats.
December 10, 2008Posted by on
“Island Nation” is the winner of this month’s Writers Billboard short story contest. Here is the story in its entirety.
When Stephen got home that night he found Daisy passed out on the antique couch. The living room was littered with another Arab Street haul. Colorful paper bags from mall fashion outlets and street vendors speckled the condo floor. Daisy had unwound a swath of pink bejeweled silk; it ran between the front door to the far wall and window.
Stephen wondered how Daisy managed to get all of it home. He imagined a moving truck following her down Singapore’s streets, gathering a payload of silks, scarves, and soaps.
“I’m home,” Stephen said, closing the front door and setting his briefcase there by the door. He was not quite handsome, but always presentable. Always clad in a nice suit and capable of tying a Windsor that didn’t loosen up over the day. He could play the part of banker.
Daisy stirred awake. Her Prada top bunched up, showing her midriff. Her beauty still startled him, especially when she was least aware of it: sleeping or cooking or too drunk on apple martinis to notice. They had been married a year, following a blitzkrieg courtship.
“How was your day?” Daisy yawned.
“Interesting,” Stephen said, picking his way across the living room to kiss her. Her mouth was warm and tasted of mottled gin. He noted the empty hi-ball glass beside the couch, its melted-ice remains.