Todd had little doubt that the convenience store sushi lunch had expired the previous day. The manager’s chins wobbled as his tongue emerged, tobiko orbs festooning it and the space between his teeth. Clearing his throat, the manager loosed a curd of his lunch that plunged into the fibers of Todd’s shirt. The blob of mayonnaise, phlegm, or half-digested butter rolled over twice before the shirt inhaled it, moisturizing the skin around his navel.
Lunching Underwater is the twenty-eighth of the announced features included within the pages of The Needle Drops... Volume One; icky, uncomfortable and the very best body horror the niche subgenre has to offer. With Short Fiction, we explore the various subgenres of horror in creative and unexpected ways.
Todd Fisk, a hypersensitive bank teller, sees the world differently—every disgusting facet of it. The blue of varicose veins captivates his attention, so like a majestic river; the lips of complaining customers writhe like maggots; and he recognizes that lipstick painted upon these lip-maggots is made up partly of fish scales. All this is gross, but manageable with the help of his pet fish. But his cherry barbs, oscars, and orandas aren’t with him at work to help calm his anxiety.
When he grows impatient with his twice-delayed lunch, and his sense of urgency to feed his fish goes unrecognized by his slimy boss, he finds himself out of a job. With many mouths to feed, no job prospects, and the fish flake supply dwindling, he must think of inventive ways to feed his friends. Unemployment anxiety meets body horror in a story that explores how ugly the world can be even in the marvellous glow of several aquariums. Fish tanks are shallow, but the depths of desperation know no bounds.
"Fish tanks are shallow, but the depths of desperation know no bounds."
Russell Dorn is the author of both adult and children’s horror stories. By day, Russell works in a library helping patrons discover of love of reading, and encouraging those brave enough to read a book from his favourite genre: horror. By night, he works on finalizing a collection of unnerving horror stories for adults and a horror-comedy story collection for younger readers, hoping to spread that feeling of tense exhilaration he felt flipping the pages of Goosebumps books growing up.
Influenced by his degree in psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, the adult-horror collection aims to incorporate different aspects of mental health. Russell’s adult horror work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, including Third Flatiron's Infinite Lives, Unnerving Magazine, Dark Dossier, and Horror Bites, as well as the horror anthologies Exquisite Aberrations, This Book is Cursed, and Asterisk Anthology: Volume 2.
He is also the author of several young adult horror and children’s picture books, including Skeleton in the Closet, his homage to Alvin Schwartz whose Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark introduced him to horror as a kid, as well as Feast for the Beast, Kitchen Witch, and the interactive novel No Proper Thief. He is the co-creator of Felipe Femur, a free children's website and book series about a warm-hearted skeleton and his ironic monster friends. The website, www.felipefemur.com, features free games, stories, comics, craft ideas, recipes, and more.
With his twin brother, he’s had fun developing several mobile apps, including Rock, Paper, Wizards, Present Danger, Scary Stories for Kids, and Dr. Sweet Tooth under the name ZebraFox Games. Visit his author website for more information: www.russelldorn.com, or follow him on Twitter: @DornRussell.