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!)
Today, therefore, as soon as my system allowed, I explained to him about the man on the scooter who'd snatched my bag. He was horrified. I did not want him to feel burdened and to worry every time I went out, so I said, "My shoulder had started to give way by then, or I would have been able to snatch it back from the man. Or knock him off his bike."
The Water Will Be There
"Long residence," I say, and I think it sounds funny from the ice cream I just ate, like my mouth is asleep from the cold. But nobody's saying anything. "Hello," I say again, but still nothing. I can hear something, though. It sounds like someone breathing through their nose into the phone, like static on the TV. I don't say anything and listen to it. Sounds like quiet little waves coming into the beach.
Everyone Loves You
You find out your label is dropping you three days later when your new record Don't Test Me doesn't meet their standards. It is not eclectic enough, they say, and your sounds are not fresh. You start crying right there in their Chelsea office and tell Bill who is the one in charge it is not your fault that every song was about the ignorant bastard who broke your heart when he said you were too ambitious and had to decide if you wanted to be his lady or another struggling artist who lives on tour busses and uses coke.
You Have Now Eaten Thirty-Four Spiders
I sat down with my dinner and watched a marathon of my favorite television show, Celebrity Bed-Wetters. I'm very highly ranked on that program as a viewer. My Laugh Compatibility Index is high. It's something of a point of pride.
He dropped the device from his neck, revealing the hole in his throat below and the plastic mauve tube that kept it open and symmetrical. She'd seen it before. He'd sacrificed his voice box to nicotine. Half his esophagus was gone, too. The cancer would soon erode his jugular, and he'd bleed out—the heat, the tumult, the gush. The end.
The baby is almost hypothetical. I don't know how people manage such things, but they've managed. Perhaps it's more common than I realize. It's beautiful. We take turns talking at it as it doles out happy garble, repeating its newfound consonants. Six months in and nonsensically gregarious: a fine line between laughing and crying. Already at home in the world.
Saying Goodbye to the Dentist (Spotlight Runner-Up!)
Donald disliked being outdoors, let alone going topless, so he wore a thin wife-beater in the photo. He was posed in the middle with one arm around each of the girls. In this pose, the grotesque nature of his hump (upper right quadrant) was pure and stark—ultimately menacing. Of course it was The Dentist's plan to use this picture as an agent of some sort of shock confession on the lonely, little girl.