My other lunchtime read was Ben Peek's "Under the Red Sun," and it was creepifying. (My one piccadillo is that there's a big difference between saying that your weak, sick old mother in a wheelchair just killed two people, and saying that she hired someone else to do it! It was a disturbing visual while it lasted, though. Maybe I'll write that story.) Peek had a lot of balls in the air with this one -- religious tattooing, mechanical ressurrection, family drama, and even some romance -- and I think he balanced all the elements well, though I felt a little emotionally disconnected from the story.
Paul Tremblay (pgtremblay) read Phantom, and said, "Ben Peek's "Mono" takes the trappings of a zombie/siege short story, and twists it so smartly and differently, and meaningfully (ack, too many adverbs!), it's a must read."
Lastly, however, and most impressively, is that Dean Alfar and his Litcritters group in the Philippines read, one week, my story 'Cigarettes and Roses,' which was published in the anthology Passing Strange in 2002, I think. I wrote the story when I was twenty-one, and it took for-fucking-ever to sell, but I kept doing the slog with it, because I thought it was the first story of mine where everything came together, and because despite the rejections, I thought it was good. If it wasn't online, I'd probably think of getting it republished, but i'm lazy and I never do that shit. Anyhow, my point is that a bunch of people read the story, which is totally cool, and here is what one of them wrote on his blog:
Australian writer Ben Peek's Cigarettes and Roses reminded me so much of noir movies, with its view of the grit and grime of people's nature. In this story, two people tasked with the transportation of possibly an Aboriginal saint takes a turn for the worse when one of them gets cold feet. However, I thought the speculative fiction was somewhat slight in this story (the smell of roses), which could be seen as either good and bad. Good because it's a good story despite the lightness of the spec-fic element; bad because why add the idea then? (A character is overpowered by the said smell but methinks it could also be seen as a kind of hallucination, yes?)
The reason, in case you're curious, for the roses, is because I read that people believed saints smelt like roses, and could only be moved if the saint agreed with where you wished to take its body. Still, you know, fuck it, hey? Someone dug the story. As long as people enjoy it, I don't stress the side issues.