ORSP: The Basement

It’s been a while since I’ve done ORSP…Operation: Read Self-Pubs (I almost forgot what it stood for too). Mainly because I’ve been packing. And while packing, I found a crap load of books in my house that I’ve been meaning to read. It seemed silly to me to pack a crap load of books that I’d never read. What if they were crap? I didn’t want to take crap with me all the way to England. And they were crap. I just read a lot of crap that made me want to throw my book against the wall. I read White Oleander. Crap. I read Absolute Brightness. Crap. I read Sepulchre. Not crap, but I couldn’t figure out why I read it. And I read some other things that I mostly wish I hadn’t.

The Basement, the self-published short story by Chris W. Martinez, was the first thing that I read in a while and enjoyed. Well, that’s not exactly true. I also found a book of short stories and essays by Thurber in my house that I started leafing through. I had read The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in middle school and hated it, but his other stuff is actually pretty funny. I’m mentioning this only because I think it means I’ve been on a short story kick and I usually don’t read short stories. Otherwise, Martinez’s writing has little to do with Thurber.

So The Basement was a short story about a group of college kids that move into a house with a stinky and sinister boiler room in their basement. I think boiler rooms are always pretty sinister, but maybe that’s because I watched Heathers too much growing up. In that movie, the boiler room is where all the dynamite goes when you want to blow up a building. So, spoiler alert, when Veronica asked the geeky guy in the movie what was below the gym, and he said the boiler room in that foreboding voice, you knew what was going to happen next.

(Complete aside: I tried to find a clip on YouTube of the geeky kid saying “the boiler room” those spooky tones but couldn’t. But while googling for it, I learned that OMG HEATHERS THE MUSICAL IS A THING THAT IS REAL! I AM BOTH HORRIFIED AND INTRIGUED.)

Anyway, so back to The Basement, this boiler room seems to have a strange effect on people an animals. It somehow drives one character to kill himself. We don’t really know how, and in some instances, the less said, the better. I don’t want to say more because duh, short story and I don’t want to spoil it, but it was enjoyable. It was well-written and creepy and the first thing I enjoyed reading in a while. I’m glad I got back into ORSP with this.

So go check out The Basement. It’s short, good, and free. Do you need more convincing?

About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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9 Responses to ORSP: The Basement

  1. Heather says:

    Ooohhh…why do you think White Oleander is crap? That gives me the sads. 😦

    • emmawolf says:

      Sorry. It’s probably because I’m a criminal defense attorney and love crime stories, so I expected more of a crime story or at least more about the crime. I wrote on goodreads that the author seemed for focus more on pretty words than on story telling and that the action suffered because of it. I wanted action (not necessarily Jean-Claude Van Damme style action, but for things to happen)! It was a book about a murder (at least in part)! But it felt like so little actually happened and things seemed so flat.

      Crap is pretty harsh of me. I’ve read a lot worse things.

      • Heather says:

        I see what you’re saying. I never saw it as a crime book–I took it more as a mother/daughter relationship, kind of coming-of-age story. I can see why you were disappointed because of the lack of action. (And never any apologies necessary for book opinions. I was just curious.)

        • emmawolf says:

          (I don’t like giving people the sads!)

          It’s not that I saw it as a crime book either. It’s just that I wanted more crime. Like the movie Changling with Angelia Jolie. I wouldn’t say that was a movie about a crime, but there was enough about the crime to make it a central piece of the story. So I guess that’s what I wanted. Crime-lite? I don’t like crime only in the background just as a plot device. I want the author to get at least a little more into it. I had this same problem with Absolute Brightness, only to a much greater degree.

        • emmawolf says:

          I’m totes obsessed with violent crime. I know I have a problem.

            • emmawolf says:

              Also I just hated the mom so much. I think we were supposed to hate the mom, so maybe good job there. But she just seemed so petty? I didn’t really get why she killed her ex. Maybe I missed something?

              • Heather says:

                Hahaha! I loved her. But I also loved how the daughter dealt with her. One of my favorite parts of the book is when the daughter takes all of her mother’s letters, cuts them up, then puts the words in a different order to create her own letter back to her mother. Like, “Here, Mom, eat your words. Thanks.” But I did love the mother very much for different reasons.

  2. Hi Emma – not sure why it took me so long to notice this post, but thank you! Really glad you enjoyed The Basement. I’ve revised the story since then and written some new ones, all of which are included in my new collection of stories, Troubles. I’d be happy to send you a complimentary ebook of Troubles if you’d like to review it. Shoot me an email at christopherwmartinez@gmail.com if interested.

    Thanks again!

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