“Oh Well” at The Flash Fiction Offensive

Senate ChamberSome of my stories have had political elements, but until now only one (“Mess With Me”) has been set in the Pennsylvania State Capitol, where I work. I’m pleased that my second Capitol-based story was published this morning.

“Oh Well” — published by the fine folks at Out of the Gutter Online’s Flash Fiction Offensive — has scenes set in the Capitol Rotunda, the Senate chamber, and a Senator’s office. The Capitol’s a remarkable building, and if you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it.

“Oh Well” being published is great on its own (I’m thrilled to be back at TFFO!), but also because it gives me an excuse to post a few photos of the spectacular Pennsylvania Capitol (click on any of the photos on this page to see larger versions), including:

  • The Capitol rotunda’s marble stairs, often the site of press conferences;
  • “Screech Owl,” one of nearly 400 mosaics created by Henry Chapman Mercer for the Moravian tile floor; and
  • The second panel of Violet Oakley’s “The Creation and Preservation of the Union,” depicting President Lincoln at Gettysburg in November 1863, on the front wall of the Senate chamber.
  • Pennsylvania Capitol Rotunda Stairs

    Moravian Mosaic Tile Floor

    President Lincoln at Gettysburg - Senate Chamber

    Several of the characters in “Oh Well” share names — and little, if anything, else — with people I know (all with their permission, for any lawyers reading):

  • In real life, Adam Pankake works for Senator Gene Yaw and is the executive director of the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee.
  • In real life, Chris Brennan is a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. And not a hack.
  • The main character is a state Senator named Harry, and although no last name is used, in my head it was Evans, as in my friend and the drummer for The Throes and Poole.
  • Harry’s last name did appear in multiple versions of “Oh Well” — just not the final version. I originally wrote this story in third person, but it never felt exactly right. I think it’s much stronger with a first-person perspective. I hope you enjoy it!

    Like many of my previous stories, “Oh Well” shares its title with a song by one of my favorite bands, The Throes.

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