James Rumpel’s ‘Climbing the Intergalactic Ladder’ 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.

James’ contribution is Climbing the Intergalactic Ladder. Here’s the opening:

Robert Umbright III sat in the waiting rooming, sizing up his competition. He was far from comfortable. His chair was clearly not designed for human beings. The seat was much too low and the armrests were much too high. The stirrups he assumed his feet were supposed to go in were at an awkward angle. He would be more comfortable if he leaned his head back but the row of spikes at the base of his neck made that impossible. He must have looked like some Russian folk dancer frozen in mid-kick. He considered climbing out of the torturous contraption but did not want to do anything to upset his interviewers. No doubt, they were watching his behavior.

How the story came about:
Climbing the Intergalactic Ladder began as a quick look at what it would be like for an Earthling to interview for a job with an extra-terrestrial company. I thought the juxtaposition of a traditional interview with alien technologies and cultures could prove interesting and, hopefully, humorous.

About James Rumpel:
James Rumpel is a retired high school math teacher who enjoys spending some of his free time trying to turn a few of the odd ideas circling his brain into actual stories. He lives in Wisconsin with his wonderful wife Mary. Together they enjoy camping, playing board games, and visiting their children.

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