~otto~

: STEAL ME FOR YOUR STORIES :

I have some great news. My first book, Steal Me for Your Stories, is on sale — even at Amazon. This collection of short stories took me several years to write and many of the stories first appeared on this blog. 

Also, I’m donating everything I make from this book to a trust for my late cousin’s family, so even if you think the stories suck you can at least know it wasn’t a total waste of money. 

~O~

REVIEWS

Sara Habein in Word Riot: “Steal Me For Your Stories is full of passion, loneliness, and intoxicated philosophy. It is a series of fucked up small moments that may or may not be true — despite the frequent ‘Hand to God’ insistence — but it doesn’t really matter. They feel true, and that’s good enough. … It is 160 perfect little pages, and I’m so glad that the pages lived up to its excellent title.”

Fwriction Editor Danny Goodman: “A kickass, brilliant new voice in fiction. This collection is a necessary read.”

Poet C.O. Aptowicz: “‘Steal Me For Your Stories’ evoked from me something extremely rare: the beautiful madness of NYC.”

Bong Is Bard: “steal me for your stories is robb’s translation of the babble coming from the world surrounding him. and he is a master interpreter.”

LitStack: “Sexy, cool, quick, brutal, hip, gut wrenching, toe curling stories. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Reading Through College: “I expected parties, booze, drunkenness, cynical youth, objectifying and sexuality, and all the other sort of warm fuzzy things male 20-somethings do and think about, combined with some sort of glimpse into the main character’s tormented childhood. Or something. 

"What Robb Todd gives us instead—I mean, he does give us all of that, but in addition—is love. And he does it beautifully." 

Posted at 10:51pm and tagged with: writing, lit, prose, short stories, poetry, kanye west, rihanna, sex, violence, porn, love, one column,.

"At this time we are only pre-boarding our first class passengers, business class passengers, small business class passengers, business school grads, platinum club members, diamond deluxe members, gold medallion members, Captain’s Club members, Mile High Club members, and all premium class passengers and club members, members of the armed forces — excluding the Coast Guard but including the National Guard — passengers needing special assistance, small children needing special medication, insomniac babies, billy goats, donkeys, flightless birds of any kind and any barky animals that fit securely in a purse, Internet moguls, oil barons, royal barons, all royalty, heirs and heiresses, anyone wearing leopard print sweatpants and designer sunglasses, anyone wearing a black turtleneck and wire rim glasses, as well as any of the other fashionable and unfashionable elite class who will have their choice of inflight meals, which include lobster rolls, lobster salad, lobster bisque, lobster thermidor, or, for members of the eco-elite, a copy of the book ‘Consider the Lobster,’ while they recline in leather seats and enjoy free wine, free wi-fi, free hive fives, low carbon footprints, hot towel service, and deep tissue massage, and if you are not boarding the plane yet, please wait a little while longer while we fill it from front to back instead of back to front so you have to squeeze your way with your bags past people who never have to wait for anything and if you are lucky enough not to get bumped from this overbooked flight we will only allow you to sleep in steerage for a moment before we wake you up with a sharp slam to the knee from a beverage cart and spill coffee on your lap and sell you a bag of crushed potato chips at a handsome markup while blocking the aisle to the bathroom for half an hour. Thank you for your patience. We will now begin regular boarding for women who won’t stop talking and men who won’t stop snoring and anyone who can’t fit his or her bag in the overhead compartment but won’t stop trying. We know you have your choice of airlines and, as always, we appreciate your business. Thank you for flying with us."

Posted at 3:05pm and tagged with: airports, beyonce, flying, fucking, jay-z, kanye west, porn, pussy, rihanna, sex, tits, lit, prose, poetry, writing, fiction, this shit is funny as hell,.

Black and white photos of hot naked chicks drinking milk poorly. Tit tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it and a blank ribbon across the front waiting to be filled in with a name. Exposed toes and blue gators and zebra heels. Her face, a bruised peach with a long scar, and she begs for change and a man hands her coins and she sees his girlfriend’s bouquet of roses. “Can I have a flower?” Missing teeth. He hands her one. “You’re the first person who has ever given me a flower. Thank you.”

Posted at 9:30pm and tagged with: beyonce, candy, drugs, go fuck your mother bless, jay-z, kanye west, lit, one column, porn, prose, rihanna, seo maximization, sex, subway, tits, weed, writing, short stories, subway,.

German and Thai and Italian all at once on the train and I wonder where the Spanish has gone. There is always Spanish in this constellation. We live in a society whether we like it or not. Look it up. 

This conductor cares about his job and the people he serves: “Have a beautiful evening and a warm and cozy weekend.” 

After midnight there are fewer people out who do not understand how a sidewalk works. A woman near the curb trains her dog to sit. Her men probably do not understand why she has so much control over them. 

The lady holding my arm says, “There are really good dogs out tonight.” There are many of them all at once, lifting their legs, some small, some hairy, some large, men and women with blue plastic bags over their hands picking up poop. 

She woke me up this morning by punching me in the back in her sleep. She did not punch me the night before. The night before that she punched me in the chest. The night before that she punched me in the face twice. She has bad dreams. She dreams that I cheat on her and that I try to give her genital diseases on purpose and sometimes she punches me because of things other people do to her in her dreams.

It is all okay, though. I like the way she walks up stairs and I appreciate the way she bends over on the bed to turn off the air conditioner. We do lots of fun things together.

A limo driver crushes an orange parking ticket in his fist and throws it on the ground next to his black stretch (license plate: SH ZAAAM) and does not get a ticket for littering and I drop a ten in a tip jar by mistake and dig it out.

“Yeah, right, man!” 

A friend sends a photo to my phone of a happy woman with “What you think about her?” Big smile, looks honest. Usually a good sign. But I am a sucker for a nice label. That is how I buy my wine. And I do not know shit about wine.

Dip into a spot for quick dinner. Duck confit burger and an avocado milkshake, pass on the sweet potato fries. Unheard off, right? RIGHT. You will never find this place and I am not telling, and she and I bounce to a rooftop party in a nice neighborhood on a nice evening. 

“I would totally come up here and look into apartments all day long. But you never see people having sex and, let’s be honest: that’s why you look. We do our parts” — he points to the woman next to him — “and leave the blinds open.” 

He winks and asks for a lime to plop in his gin and tonic and all the citrus that is left is a used slice. 

“I don’t think it was sucked upon. I think it was just squeezed,” I say. 

The bottle of wine with the best label is almost empty and I pour it all into a glass. I swirl it and sniff and dab my tongue in it a little. Hints of grape and notes of alcohol. It tastes great. 

A woman with an accent that is hard to place tosses a scarf around her neck and announces to the table: “I want to be a dolphin-trainer trainer. But I don’t want to be too famous.” She says if she was a drug dealer, this is what she would tell boys who got in her face: “Get outta here before I make your girlfriend pregnant!” She snarls and laughs. 

The conversation switches to poop. 

The lady holding my arm says: “My poo game has been really good lately. I’ve been impressed. Usually when I wipe there’s nothing even there and I have to ask, ‘Did that really happen?’ And I check the bowl and it did.” 

The dolphin-trainer trainer knows how to say “drop the kids off at the pool” in five languages and does so. Impressed. She says German is the sexiest language even though she does not speak it. 

Back on the sidewalk, stumbling home. 

“If you love me, you’ll collapse on the ground right now.” 

The lady on my arm collapses. I collapse. People step around and over us all at once. A man leans into our view and says, “Excuse me. Sorry. See that tree there?” We tilt our heads but do not sit up. He says, “It’s like a BIG little tree!” He points. “All the way. All the way into the ground!” He points and points. “All the way. Look!” He points. “A big LITTLE tree!” We do not look. He smiles and shakes his head. He stares at us and we stare back and he says, “Okay, thanks,” and walks away.

The sky is large above and she holds a fly swatter so big she swats stars. 

~O~

Posted at 12:33pm and tagged with: writing, lit, prose, short stories, one column,.

Ring bells on chained bikes. Move. 

Please.

Please?

Please!

I have already outlived better men but my perception of your perception of me is not good but it does not matter if anybody else thinks you matter.

Night sounds: clanging radiator, snow shovel scraping sidewalk.

We might be even worse for each other than we are for ourselves. She belches in French and the whole world is in a hurry to slow me down like a crossbred dalmatian-great dane. 

Remember: swing for the chopping block, not the wood. Good first-date lesson. Not like this guy who brags to a lady companion, “All my girlfriends have had nice teeth. It must be some kind of subconscious thing.” He is a dentist. “People care so little about their back teeth. You need them to chew. Is that a good enough reason?” She nods and he keeps talking. “Usually the people with really bad teeth only worry about the look and not the function. I don’t know why. You don’t need straight, white teeth. You just need teeth.” She smiles, flashes her teeth, does not say anything. “My dad always said you can tell how rich someone is by how nice their teeth are.” 

What do you talk about after this becomes boring? (Instantly.) Gently murdered but there are other things to uncover. Do we save old love letters to prove how much people lie to themselves? Who has seen the pink garbage truck? Why are not more people freaked out that we can see the moon?

So much must be done and, in some ways, I am excited for us to feel bad about the world.

~O~

Posted at 5:16pm and tagged with: writing, lit, prose,.