I love this cover art created by graphic designer and re-enactor Albert Roberts.  He’s totally captured the kitch and the drama I had in mind for the cover art for my new short story, just published on Kindle.  I’m having the cover art made into a poster to hang on my wall to inspire me to finish the collection of short stories and speculative memoir about nurses that I’ve been working on for, well, decades.

The nurses in Friday Night Knife and Gun Club aren’t ordinary nurses.  They live and work in a dystopian near-future, in an unnamed city in the American West (actually, it’s Denver, where I lived and worked for many years) where nearly everybody carries a gun to protect themselves from the loonies.  Yep — it’s the wild Wild West.  And yes, my tongue is in my cheek.

There’s nothing nautical about this story.  And although it’s fiction, I didn’t have to make very much up.  A lot of it comes from my own life.

I was compelled to write it after the shooting that took place at a hospital in Alabama in December.  Which took place just after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which took place after a random mall shooting in Oregon, which took place a few months after the theater shooting in Colorado.  Not to mention the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona, the Columbine school shooting in Colorado, the Virginia Tech shooting… and the beat goes on. And on.  And on.

I am not against guns.  I am against the easy availability of firearms and large magazines.  I am against the idea that the way to fight violence is with more violence.  All those years I worked in the hospital — in emergency and ICU and psychiatrics and oncology — I sometimes thought about what would happen if some angry sociopath came in with a gun and started shooting us up.   In this dystopian short story I’ve re-imagined that horror.  But I’ve given it an ironic twist.  I’ve given the nurses guns.  It’s lurid drama, it’s urban fiction, yet it’s all too real.

Friday Night Knife and Gun Club is available on Kindle for 99 cents — and I’m offering it free this week.  I’m hoping to have the entire collection of short stories completed by the end of 2013 and ready for publication, both in print and electronic format.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll find this short piece provocative.