Pseudopod 121: Blood, Snow, and Sparrows

By Joshua Alan Doetsch

Read by Ben Phillips

Desdemona used to trace the stars with her finger, connecting the dots, naming her own constellations.

I call upon her name.


I call her name when I want to remember.

Desdemona — who gave me thirty-one birthdays when I had none. Desdemona — who laughed and made snow angels on rooftops because the snow there was cleanest, the closest to Heaven. Desdemona — who made an angel of snow and blood in the dirty street on the day I lost her.

I remember this, now, as Zeek struggles in my arms, anger and fear evacuating his body in crimson spurts, and my smile dislocates my jaw. Zeek with the shroud-eye, one eye glaucoma clouded, said it was his evil eye, said he could hex a body with a stare, cast a pestilence. But, see, I knew better. I knew it was Zeek’s dirty needles that killed the kids. And the night collapses with primate shrieks as Zeek tries to lift his bloody gun and . . .


Too far.

December 20th, 2008 2:44 am

Joshua Alan Doetsch is not good. Joshua Alan Doetsch is darkly
transcendent. It was so amazing it was like Ray Bradbury got high and
started listening to Nine Inch Nails and decided to write about “the

I hope to God that Joshua is writing a big fat novel that I can go buy
and read.

December 21st, 2008 6:16 pm

..darn it, thats all kids these days really need, a good talking to.

December 22nd, 2008 9:47 pm

Wonderfully written. Great imagery.

December 23rd, 2008 3:26 pm

On one level, a smorgasboard of excellent dark imagery; on the other, a pile of expressionist bullshit noir. But at least I was entertained.

Ashley Linker
December 24th, 2008 12:38 am

A beautifully dark story. I was entranced as the words became pictures in my mind. If there is a novel to buy, I want it!

December 27th, 2008 12:35 am

Hey, did Ben Phillips get all choked up there at one point? That was a very good read!

December 30th, 2008 10:30 am

Holy crap Ben, great read of a great story. Your voice is going to stick in my head all day!

December 31st, 2008 12:36 pm


January 2nd, 2009 12:59 pm

This story was really good. I could really feel the cruel world. I especially liked the line about how street slang is very important, not trivial, because not knowing it can get you killed so easily. But what was even better, IMHO, was Ben Phillip’s reading of said story. Ben has always been a good reader, and I think he’s managed to expand his range on this one. I could really hear the emotions the character was feeling through Ben’s voice.

Furry cows moo and decompress.

January 5th, 2009 2:38 pm

This story is powerfully, movingly written. A prime example of using words so well that they bypass conscious parsing and go straight to the brain’s image processing. Mr Doetsch achieves his own alchemy, and Ben’s reading does it proud!

One of the year’s top 3 productions for sure.

January 9th, 2009 6:11 pm

You really are a beautiful individual for this Joshua.
So intricately weaved.

Thanks for that.

…It takes 15 minutes.