Susan Emshwiller

About Me

Display Name

Susan Emshwiller

Twitter Handle



What I Write

Writing Sample

“The hell you say! Never could ‘afore and ain’t gonna now,” Uncle Walter screams over the blaring football game. 

“We’ll see what’s what,” Uncle Max yells. “Get your ass to the table!”

“Max! The children!” Aunt Eullie scolds as the uncles slam their walkers away from the television. 

My wife glares at me and steps to the bathroom for the fifteenth time. 

“Your Jenny have that irritable bowel syndrome?” Grandma Winchell asks loudly, spitting scalloped potato onto my wrist and setting up the twins to squeal “Bowel, bowel!” on endless repeat. “She’s going too often for a healthy soul. I’m past ninety and you don’t see me traipsing to the powder room every five minutes. Or is it true, what they say?”

“What’s that Grandma?” I ask as the uncles bumper-car their walkers closer. 

“Are you city people always taking the cocaine?”

I open my mouth like I’m laughing and get up, clearing her plate. 

The Uncles dump themselves at the gravy spill corner of the table. Uncle Max pushes back the poinsettia which causes someone’s wine glass to tip over, mixing with the gravy. Drips of the gooey concoction trickle to the floor and Vivian’s Pomeranians rush to lap the treat. 

The Uncles start arm wresting, mumbling and cursing their well-rehearsed play.

Wish I could still drink. This is hell without booze. Gathering slime-covered plates, I step toward the kitchen.

“Gotta pay the toll,” Little Tiffany says, blocking my way, iPhone held high. She sees I’m clueless and says, “Look up.”

Mistletoe. Shit.

At fifteen, Little Tiffany isn’t little anymore. Gramma Alice would call her a Harlot.  

I bend to plant a kiss on her chee— DAMN!— her tongue flicks into my mouth and FLASH goes the camera. Me jerking back, Tiffany skipping away fiddling with the phone, I spin and smash into — that new wife had the cancerPatricia!— her bowl of baked-something and my dishes rise,— then descend. Everything breaks. Wads of marshmallow and green jello fly. 

“My ambrosia!” Patricia screams.

Flecks dot my corduroy pants. Too bad they didn’t make it as far as the snowmen and reindeer frolicking across my belly. 

From the cold vestibule Mother snarls, “What the hell, Mark!” her Camel clenched in her teeth, breathing verboten nicotine fumes into the kitchen. 

“Grandma! The baby’s lungs!” Jeanette, or Jeanine, cries.

Mother snuffs the cigarette in her eggnog. “You go to Kroger’s and get a replacement desert, Mark. Ice cream. But none of that commie kissy-kissy druggy liberal-agenda Vermont ice cream. Get Nestle, Oreos, and Coolwhip.”

Thank God! I can leave! 

“And take my handicap sign for your car. You can park close.”

“I don’t need it, Mother.”

“Take it. Might be the only place to park if the store is full of idiots like you shopping to replace the deserts they broke!” She waves the wheelchair logo sign in front of my face, creating a welcome breeze. 

I don’t even bother telling my wife where I’m going. Get in the car. 

What I Write

I write short stories, poems, novels, plays, and screenplays. My work often has a odd or twisted sense of humor.

  • Publishers of my short stories include The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Independent Ink Magazine, Black Heart Magazine, Gone Lawn, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, Furious Gazelle, and Anchala Studios Flash Fiction Anthology.
  •            Published plays are “Dominoes” at Dramatists Play Service, and “Defrosting Popsicles” at Playscripts.
  •           Co-writer of the screenplay “Pollock” for actor/director Ed Harris.
  •          Writer and director for the feature film “In the Land of Milk and Money” on Netflix and Youtube.