Jose R. Rodriguez
I was Born in Caracas, Venezuela to Spanish parents. I came to the U.S. in 1980 to study; my parents were glad to buy me a one-way ticket and helped me pack my bags. B.S in Aeronautical Engineering and M.S in Aerospace Engineering. Since then I have worked as an engineer and a computer programmer in the structural timber industry. I'm a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado.
I used to skydive until I busted a knee in my 985th jump. I took up bicycling and now I'm an avid mountain biker having busted a few body parts and cracked a few helmets on rocky, steep Colorado trails. I enjoy cross country riding at night and down hilling at ski resorts during the summer days. I race BMX. I used to fly small airplanes but let private license expire because it got expensive.
Published work: “The Tomato King,” Summer 1994, Saint Joseph’s Magazine, Jersey City, NJ. “Guacaipuro’s Gold,” Vol. 7, No. 2, Chiricu, Indiana State University, Bloomington, In. “Moonstruck,” Spring 1995, Saint Joseph’s Magazine, Jersey. “Old Tales,” No. 18, 1995, Latino Stuff Review, Miami, Fl. “Tramps,” New Texas 95, University of North Texas, Denton, Tx. Winner of the 1995 Betty Greene Fiction Award. “El Norteno,” August 1996, Hispanic Magazine OnLine, America On Line. “Pedro Orozco,” October 1996, Hispanic Magazine OnLine, America On Line, winner of their first literary contest. Has written six unpublished novels in the past few years . Winner of the 2010 Dirt Rag magazine literary contest with "King of the hill" short story (see October issue).
Where to find Jose R. Rodriguez online
Man in Black
A dying man has a few loose ends to tie before his demise. He puts on his black suit, holsters his revolver and embarks on a quest for revenge. He is the first to admit that his idea of justice is flawed, but in his mind, it has to be done. His actions may have consequences, or may not, on his fast approaching afterlife, but the man in black is not bothered by what may await for him.
After an eventful day at the office that included fighting a man with a knife, what was supposed to be a relaxing mountain bike ride turns into an epic escape on the Colorado Trail. In this short story our lonely rider is running away from … something, chased by his own fears.
King of the Hill
A short story about BMX racing and the odd relationship of sorts between and old guy and a punk kid. Winner of Dirt Rag Magazine's 2010 Literature contest.
I Have Monkey Butt
In this short story a mountain biker struggles uphill. It is not just the steep climb, but his age, asthma, and monkey butt that he has to overcome to make it to the top. Along the way he briefly meets other riders who come and go seeking their own two-wheeled happiness. The reward for long climbs is sweet descents that make the pains and doubts of the uphill struggle all worth it.
In this short story, come along and take a ride on Colfax Avenue, the longest road in Denver. See the sights and meet those less fortunate than you. Life moves along because it has to, and we do too because we are alive.
A ten year old blessed with a great intellect is also damned with tumors and deformities that make him an outcast. He tries to fit in a society that doesn't accept his deformed looks. In school, he plays dumb to hide his high IQ and intellect; he doesn't want another reason for people to see him as a freak. His deception starts to fall apart and his world unravels in swirls of violence.
A Dozen in Denver
In this short story a private investigator is hired to find out who “killed” and old servant bot by smashing his head with a pipe. His snooping leads to the conclusion that another robot is the culprit, which is not possible as robots are non-violent machines. His suspicious are confirmed when he finds and confronts the culprit bot. The social order as he knows it becomes suspect.
Mister Danger is my Name
An American expatriate living in a small town along the Caribbean, an escapee from alimony payments and pesky IRS tax men, becomes the unexpected driver of an ambulance carrying a dying kid through the dark jungle night. Besides a rough dirt road full of pot holes, river crossings, and no headlights, he has to deal with a spooky companion riding shotgun.
A Spanish civil war veteran lives with a piece of shrapnel embedded under his skull. His disconnected reality sees apples, cider, and flashes of old memories that to him, seem to belong to strangers. His one-armed friend is the only one that seems able to talk to him, or at least has the patient to talk to an old simpleton with a perennial smile embedded on his creased face.
In this short story, Jack thinks his failed marriage was due to not having a shop manual for women, something that can explain to him how the opposite sex works. He works on his Bug, in the cold, toiling away under dripping oil, a predictable world that he understands well. But soon enough, another woman comes looking for him. As a bonus, this story shows how to adjust the valves on a '70 Bug.
On November 1868, Lee Musgrove, horse thief and hell raiser in general, was hanged from a wooden bridge in Denver. Almost a century and a half later, Joe Glatfelter, to the horror of early morning joggers and cyclists, hung by his broken neck under the same bridge, now reinforced concrete. One can say that both hangings were unrelated, but they both shared a common thread of lynch justice.
Short story about an illegal Mexican immigrant working as a short order cook in El Norte, the promised land north of the border, Texas. Being undocumented, poor, and not speaking English, he encounters unexpected disdain from the very people he aspires to be.
The Alien's Luggage
A short story about unfulfilled expectations. Two cousins think they hit the jackpot when they run into a crashed UFO, only to find out that what they though was their ticket to fame and riches is just another of life's disappointments.
Unhappiness can be self inflicted when we fail to appreciate what we have or get sidetracked by worries that are not worth our time. In this short story, a young boy who is poor but doesn't know it, who is happy with his simple life, has that life tarnished by worries that, while look to him insurmountable, are small peanuts. Death and a missing love one reset the boy's priorities in life.
A man leads a double life. Deceit and acceptance of that deceiving run side by side without conflict. Two parallel lives that coexist yet never collide, or at least that is what it looks like. How far can the deception go? The reader will have to figure out that puzzle.
Short story. Life memories are our treasure when old and pushed aside by a younger world. But an old man's treasure is just old tales to his son, something to be endured out of politeness and deference. The hurried world of the young is impatient with the little time left to the old.
Dave is paralyzed by terror every time he jumps out of an airplane. Despite a string of bad jumps that make Frank, his instructor, ground him out of concern for his life, Dave finds ways to keep on trying to get that one turning point jump that will free him from his terror and botched performances. Skydiving is unforgiving of errors, and Dave makes plenty of those.
A Holly Trifecta
Three short stories specifically written for publication in religious magazines. Two out the three got published in 1994 and 1995. Years later, after re-reading this early work, I have to admit that these stories are tearjerkers. I didn't set out to write lachrymose stories, but sometimes stories write themselves. I have bundled these stories in this trilogy, for those of you who like spirituality
Short story. A band of boys search for a forgotten gold mine, their imagination stronger than common sense and their desire for adventure and discovery an excuse to ignore reality. Underneath this seemly boyish adventure, the undercurrents of history, race and conquista with its horrors are explored through the eyes of one of the boys.
Short story. A young man sees no future in his small town and seeks an unorthodox way of getting out, leaving behind those who he thought he hated but realizing that those left behind are also victims of their common sad circumstances.
Short story. A young wannabe mason in Florida tries to find his place in the world but things not always work out as one wishes for. When things don't go one's way, just enjoy the present as is.
In this short story a family man ends up in the Colorado high plains to take care of business after the dead of his alcoholic father who he has not seen in almost twenty years. The father he knew and had the displeasure of growing up with is not the man buried in the wind swept cemetery. Something has happened in the years since and a journey of discovery starts.
In this short story a young man is the accidental witness to a rape, unknown to perpetrators and victim. The young man flees and needs to figure out where he stands but his moral compass has to be re-calibrated. The resetting of his true north happens on an unexpected way.
An American Tale
People come across each other, more by necessity or happenstance than by desire, and the odd relationships they forge become obsessive, inappropriate, and murderous. A blue collar menagerie becomes entangled in webs of deceit, extortion, crime and unfulfilled desires. What seems to be unrelated stories tie into a common and unexpected finale where art imitates imperfect life.
In this short story Pedro Orozco, a man with a violent past, is hired to hunt down a cattle killing jaguar. He stalks his prey with his single-shot shotgun. Jaguar and man meet their common destiny under a full moon.
A short story about the odd friendship between a street child and a mentally disable young boy. The tramp knows rather well that stomachs growl when there is no food but he discovers that there things in life that sometimes trump the basic needs of life.
A middle aged and lonely Melanie wakes up with no recollection of her past. Her lack of personal memories forces her to impersonate the old Melanie, a person who she now dislikes and cannot understand. The new Melanie proceeds to fool the world into thinking that nothing has changed while trying to recover her memories but also trying to reinvent herself as a new and improved person.
An Internet porn obsession drives a common family man into divorce, the horrors of incest, and a life he had not planned for. Exiled from his former world he escapes into oblivion until years later the daughter he had abused tracks him down. The young woman has her own addictions and troubles. Father, daughter and a revolver meet and destinies change.
Snapshots of Modern Love
This is an imperfect love story between an imperfect man and woman that starts in the early eighties and goes nowhere because happy endings are not how real life works. Mistakes and misfortunes keep them apart until by chance they meet again twenty years later. Despite their emotional baggage, scars, and her reluctance and his doubts, they get together, wondering if they deserve a second chance.
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