I am super glad this story has been published. Now you can read it! It has been around, in one form or another, for many years. In its current and cosmically final form, it is a short short of 1,100 words. The setting comes from a new subdivision in Greensboro, North Carolina where I lived for the first several years of my life. It seemed a magical place to me, these split-levels dropped onto piles of raw dirt, and I ranged around this environment with a remarkable freedom. The characters and circumstances otherwise are entirely made up.
The story originally was much longer and more complex. The long version was narrated by a boy who suffered from a severe stutter. Also, a dwarf lived in the suburb. This bearded little man, named Harley Peoples, was mysterious and feared, but ultimately a heroic character (a big scene involved his diminutive barbecue skills as witnessed through a divider fence). Sounds pretty awesome, right? But they had to go, they just didn’t work with the true heart of the story (the stutter kid lives on in a sequel). Stories sort of write themselves, or at least, with each revision it is important to clear your expectations and old notions and consider: In its present form, what is this story really about? What is the core? Is all directed at that core?
Good art has a lot to do with editing, taking things away. Once I chopped the extraneous characters the story in its most potent form emerged. So check out and enjoy WE WERE GODS.