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Contest! Give us your shittiest love stories! Win an advance copy of J.A. Tyler’s new book.

There are two things you may or may not already know:


1)Our very own J.A. Tyler has an exciting new book coming out soon, from Fugue State Press, A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed. A little bit about the book, straight from the Fugue State site:

This is a man being so much other than.

How the love falls out of him, replaced by beads, by water, by nails, by
cardboard.

Bent on a curb, blowing kisses to dead lips in that window above, a voice
calling out a name, her not looking down at the wreckage.

A man when there is none left.

This is a love poem, a love poem that doesn’t want to be, a love poem
about shattering open, about groping for what is left when there is
nothing left, when subsistence isn’t enough, when we are damaged and the
memories of what was, are all that is.

2)Valentine’s Day, that holiday secretly manufactured in a mall laboratory by Hallmark, Kay Jewelers and Spencer Gifts, is right around the corner.

So. It seems appropriate and right that Fugue State Press and J.A. are offering his upcoming book to the person with the shittiest love story.

Yup. That’s right. Here’s what you do. In the comments thread, just tell us your shittiest love story. J.A. will pick the winning story on Valentine’s Day and the winner will be sent an advanced copy of A Man of Glass & All the Ways that We Have Failed. Isn’t that nice of FSP’s James Chapman and J.A.?

Now spill guts for us. Shittiest love stories, go!

Amber Sparks's work has been featured or is forthcoming in various places, including New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Gargoyle, Annalemma and PANK. She is also the fiction editor at Emprise Review, and lives in Washington, DC with a husband and two beasts.

6 thoughts on “Contest! Give us your shittiest love stories! Win an advance copy of J.A. Tyler’s new book.

  1. “Cuckoos Trouble Cognition”: A Love Story/Flash Fiction in Spam

    I was “Mr. ALIDOU BALARE, Manager Audit Accounting Department BANK OF AFRICA ( B.O.A ).” She was “Monica Stevens David, [a] 24years old Girl Originated from Southern Sudan.” I said, “In Need Of A Partner (Committed).” She said, “Stop! Buy HYDROCODONE.” She was “Anna Johnson,” looking for “somebody who care and fear God whom i can partner with.” I was Mr Mustaph Camare with a “desire to execute a business.” She said, “I’ll still love you, come to me, I’m in a hotel!”
    I said, “i had taken pains to find your contact,although it was through personal endeavors.” She (Pamula See) said, “Having a bigger weapon can definitely boost one’s ego.” I said, “Balfour remained a bachelor for the rest of his life, his serious intention to marry never renewed.” She was “Administrator, Julia” and said, “I am Marina 21y.o. I am looking for man to have a strong family.” I said, “The proof is in your pants.” She (Kathern Heiniger) said, “Hello honey!! I am for a good mature man.” I said, “Your wish has been granted.” I said, “VIAGRA.” She said, “Cialis.”

  2. This was my second accidental relationship in the last two years. She started it, but our friends set it in whatever fly-by-night relationships are set in. On outings they’d contort into all sorts of explanations of where they would like to sit and why just to get us sitting together. She arranged her schedule at school so that we had lunch together everyday but Thursday.

    I told her I’d take her to see Titanic. I delayed certain it would leave the theater soon.

    I didn’t have the heart to tell her to her that I wasn’t in a relationship with her. For Christmas I spent three dollars and she spent fifteen. I think we had not-been-dating dating for a couple of months at this point. I was ignoring phonecalls and emails and missing lunches without explanation and she was apologizing to me and would I just tell her what she did.

    Valentine’s Day doesn’t sneak up on people like it sneaks up on people in relationships that they’re certain they didn’t get into. She gave me a gift in advance (see what she did there?) and I didn’t have the heart to break up with her three days before Valentine’s Day, because -as we all know- it’s better to break up at two a.m. after watching the most romantic movie of the last ten years walking in a mall parking lot as the lights go out all around us.

    I was nervous, like I was going to propose to her. I said, I actually said, “it’s not you, it’s me,” and then laughed, because that’s a ridiculous thing to say. I was a little surprised that she didn’t laugh too, and then surprised at how big I was blowing this. Now, for the first time, I’m realizing she probably cried right there after I jumped in my car and drove off.

    This is the second most romantic setting I’ve ever been in without it actually being romantic.

  3. In 1995 I was broken clean in half by Nicole Kidman. At least that’s’ who everyone said she looked like. They weren’t wrong. We started as friends when I first moved north. Reserved and beautifully clumsy with an infectious, goofy laugh. Things were fine for a while, but then things…stopped. By things I mean sex. I have always felt each of us has a “sexual self”, a mode we enter when our molecules get riled and our brains jump start our bodies. Sometimes that self is a lot like our alter egos. Sometimes it’s a version of us on acid, and feral hunger. When things got intimate, her other self emerged. Thing is, it always seemed like something unnatural, a character she would need to assume once in a while to keep things running smoothly. However, the more comfortable we became after moving in together, the more comfortable she seemed to just let that part go. We worked on it, but it just seemed too forced. I rode out my savior complex as long as I could, but month after month of sleeping next to her like a friend, I couldn’t take it any more. It came off as more of a relief when we had the big discussion. I soon moved out and tried to start the next chapter. I weighed my options, cut my losses, took stock. Started looking for my power animal around happy hour.

    Six months later, Diana Krall gave me an aneurysm. It was Sunday morning and I was driving my still single self to breakfast when “Sunday Kind of Love” came on the radio. Like some sleeper cell, it activated the old system, and I found myself driving around driving around the old days, until I had stopped the car on Dayton, right in front of our old place. To my knowledge she still lived there. Bad move. No, good move. It’s over. It doesn’t have to be. I walked up the rickety stairs I still remembered with a smile. I reached the landing and knocked. Movement inside. After a few seconds, the door opened a crack and one eye looked at me suspiciously through the crack. I could see her fluffy robe gripped tightly around her neck. Her cute short hair tussled. I was on emotional auto pilot. As she regarded me coldly like a salesman, I blathered about mistakes and true love and fate, completely ignoring the reality of the problems we tried so hard to work out. Finally, I ran out of happy-ever-after platitudes and watched her watch me with a mix of confusion and pity. Refrigerator door slam. Oh. The situation before me unfolded with sickening clarity. It was noon. She was in her robe. Her hair. There is someone in the apartment.

    “Oh. I see. I’m. I’m sorry. I’ll….”

    Her one raised eyebrow said “Get it, Romeo? Yeah, I thought so.” The door shut in my face while I still backpedaled like a moron.

    I stood on the landing, well the bottom part of me did. My torso was somewhere else, wondering what happened to the world. I made it down two steps before my knees gave out and I sat and cried like a seven-year-old girl. Nicole Kidman had broken me clean in half, and I would have to sit there until the two parts came together enough to get the hell off her stairs.

  4. Michael Leong, you win this round. Nice work & clever. Send me your mailing address and Fugue State Press will drop an advanced copy to you.

    Remy & Gause, As a consolation prize, if you send me proof of pre-order I’ll hit you with a free signed copy OUR US & WE or THE ZOO, A GOING or INCONCEIVABLE WILSON. Thanks for playing along!

    1. Thanks so much, J.A. — very nice of you to offer this give away!

      It was fun to participate and fun to read everyone else’s stories.

      Judging from the excerpt, I’ll be really eager to sink my teeth into your new book. I’ll email my address to you right now…

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