Jan/Feb 2016

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!)


Buck has been here every day since before my time. I have a note about him in my first entry, dated Friday, September 13, 2008: "Buck Eddy: few missing teeth, seems nice." I remember that day vividly because I had just moved up to Campbell River from Courtenay to start the aquaculture program at North Island College. I went to the casino most nights after that, even found an apartment within walking distance. The casino had just opened, and it was bleeding big cash wins in those days.
Sarah Richards


The Handover
"I had a friend who told me 'I never feel so British as when I am playing cricket,'" she rambled. Clearly she had thought this out. Diana looked at him with that open expression that meant he must surely understand what she meant. He didn't have a clue. In spite of her efforts, cricket was as clear to him as subatomic physics. There, there was the cultural divide. Her British assumptions were mysteries. His American assumptions must have been equally mysterious to her. He had told a friend the Chinese were open and familiar; it was the British who were the inscrutable ones.
David Flynn


Comrade Korolev Sends you Greetings from Mars
How many times as a child had he listened to his mother practicing this concerto? He would lay there on the Persian carpet, staring at her back, reading a book about the colonization of Mars. His mother kept playing, her body rising and falling above the piano like a wave. He could see the cover of the old book and the small birchwood toy plane on the floor beside him.
Tal Halpern


The Midwife and the Owl
She could only think of the trastero and the wall behind her, where the midwife's family photos were arranged, much like her own family's were: oval portraits of mestizo faces hung above a similar cupboard, but with the Virgin of Guadalupe as their centerpiece, not an owl.
Ben Daitz


A Day Left in the Field Grass
She rinses her cup at the tap. The long drips of Ohio rain clatter against the kitchen windows. It is July, but the weatherman says there is a hail storm coming. This storm may last for the rest of the week. Dark clouds are churning over the pasture land surrounding Vernon Hill. She isn't religious, but she looks up at the skies. Today she is seriously searching there for frogs.
Minnie Joung


Jacques Ellul said a slavish devotion to facts is a hallmark of our age. I don't mind admitting it's a hallmark of Kristen Denning. Not that I took more than one statistics class in college, or that I'm particularly logical or scientifically-minded myself. On the contrary. I majored in history, so I have some understanding of the pandemonium unleashed by the human race these last 3,000 years or so. But facts give us something to hold onto in this shifting and chaotic world.
April Vazquez


The Heir of New York
Men talking in the bathroom is nothing new, and some do it quite well. I've never been one of those who do it well. My urine stops, and I become very aware I'm holding my penis while talking to someone else.
Leslie Chivers


A Case of the Mondays
The only good surprise is this chick's eyes. She's not hot by TV rules—not young, not dolled up—but her eyes are green-blue and her skin is milky with two tiny, enhancing moles like constellations on her neck. Red work shirt with a nametag that says, "Sammy Lee." She's 40-plus because you can see pencil lines near her mouth. Her ponytail is honest without anything else going on, which you like. She's the kind of person you realize is actually more beautiful than almost anyone else you've ever met, but it takes a minute to register because she hasn't painted any obvious signs.
Betsy Boyd


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