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?