Pete Barnstrom’s ‘Drive, She Said’ in Writers Co-op Production’s The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey Anthology

I asked fellow The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey anthology contributors to share some things about themselves prior to publication and those generous enough to do so will be appearing here for the next week or so.

Each entry gives a taste of their contribution, a little about them, how to contact them, how their story came about, and definitely a link to The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey (which you should purchase because it would make each and every one of us happy.
you do want to make us happy, don’t you?
i mean, considering what we wrote, you want us to know you’re a good person, right?).

Let’s start with an introduction to the anthology as a whole:

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson’s point has been echoed by many, but in the Land of the Weird the question arises, “A journey to what destination?” At the same time, you might ask, “Is the journey therefore the destination?” The journey may well be an individual’s destination, because it will define them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And in the Land of the Weird, that journey can take twists and turns that amuse, sadden, or horrify.
This trip into the Land of the Weird offers you 39 unique trails to follow, assisted by 35 different guides, each leading you down their own singular paths, manifesting their own view of journey as destination, some laughing, some weeping, and some, eyes wide with fear, shaking as they point out the spectral footpath for you to follow on your way down The Rabbit Hole.

A Writers Co-op Production
Stories by: Chere Taylor, Brian R. Quinn, Arthur M. Doweyko, Donna J. W. Munro, Tom Howard, Kayla Whittle, Leslie Muzingo, Pete Barnstrom, Emmie Christie, Thomas Nicholson, GD Deckard, Richard DeRobertis, M.C. Schmidt, James Dorr, Rosalind Goldsmith, Margaret Karmazin, J.W.Wood, James Rumpel, Bill McCormick, v.f. thompson, Fran Tabor, David K. Slay, Joseph Carrabis, Jane Frankel, Alice Baburek, Susan R. Morritt, Bobby Rollins, Lee Clark Zumpe, Denice Penrose, Stephen McQuiggan, H. Donovan Lyón, Anna Ross, Michael Pudney, Beth Gaydon, and Tom Wolosz.

Pete’s contribution is Drive, She Said. Here’s the opening:

It was half-past twelve when the Thing slid into my back seat.

A fellow sees all kinds in this game, I don’t judge. Once I get notice that their credit card has cleared, why in the world should I?

This would be my first extraterrestrial, though.

How the story came about:
Wall of Voodoo singer-songwriter Stan Ridgway released his first solo album in 1986, called “The Big Heat.” As you might expect from the title (swiped from an old Fritz Lang movie), it’s a film noir in audio format, each track a B-movie you’d swear you should know. First one on the second side was called “Drive, She Said,” and I knew for a fact it had been released by one of those shifty post-war studios, with Gloria Grahame in the backseat with a bank bag, telling cabbie Richard Widmark where to go. You’ve seen that one, right? Only, I could never find it. There was a Jack Nicholson basketball movie called “Drive, He Said,” and somebody finally used the title for a teen romcom in the 90s, but nope. The movie in my head (and Ridgway’s song) never was made. So I made it. On page, anyway. And me being me, I had to switch up the genre a little bit. And the gender. And, well, everything.

About Pete Barnstrom:
Pete Barnstrom is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker whose projects have played at theaters and film festivals all over the world. His latest feature film, “Satanic Hispanics,” goes into wide release in September 2023. He’s shot documentaries in Greenland for the National Science Foundation, made movies with the Blair Witch guys (not that one), and seen one of his films screened at the Smithsonian. His experimental short films earned a grant from the Artist Foundation, and Amazon Studios bought a family film screenplay from him. He lives quietly in Texas and loudly elsewhere. You can find him on Instagram.

See all The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination:Journey stories here.