e c l e c t i c a f i c t i o n
(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole story!)
Really, what would it profit the world to know of her death? Better that anyone who thought of her, thought well of her, thought her well. She was still alive to them. So very much of life lived there, in the head. Where else could my Flora be? I no longer believed in any heaven, and she wasn't in the ground. Where else could she have gone with those mock-solemn monkeys?
Danladi wooed me in his sister's house. Now we have a house of our own. But at will his sister will overtake my kitchen, overawe me in my own home. Of course there are reasons. He owes her a lot: she paid for his education, she got him his first job, and her kitchen is broken—a freak fire. But no one asked me. No one put a hand on my arm and said, "I hope you don't mind."
Most likely a peasant, her tenth century Japanese counterpart would've known hard labor in the fields. She'd have had little if any education, and she would've experienced brutality at the hand of her husband or lord, all which Natalie discerned from her bones. And there was more. The old woman would've given birth to children in succession and been subjected to famine and malnutrition. A hard life right up until the summer she died.
Bus Stop Blues
I listen in closely. And think of warm roast dinners, and log fires, and crosswords, and cups of tea with saucers—always with saucers. You'd leave their house with a nice big chunk of cake that you never asked for in the first place, tightly wrapped up in a folded napkin.
The general looked much younger in the photo, but Rina was aware that the photo could have been as recent as one year ago. The general was not old, but he was a large man who, like a manatee or an elephant, loomed impassive so that his illness, grave and terminal as it was, could not diminish his proportions. Slitty gray eyes, full mouth, gash-thin Latin sideburns that bespoke a meticulous grooming regimen.
The mob rouses, fists rise. Their spokesman goes on: "This isn't the nation's gold or your gold or the museum's gold. This is our town, our land, our cemeteries. These are our ruins, and our gold. Do you want us to put signs up so they can read it?"