Jul/Aug 2006

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 piece!)


By then he was famous, an artist to watch, and everyone said his best work was still to come. We local men waited for it as astrologers scanned the sky for a meteor or an eclipse.

Wendy Nardi

The Easter Men

They began to plan the event. Ben read up on crucifixion. He studied the Persians, the Egyptians, and the Carthaginians. This would all be wasted on Larry, but Ben wanted to do things properly.

Louis Malloy

Off the Bourgeois Track

Sure, she could do the staples, she had told the temporary agency. When she was failing financially at her own pursuits. Ahead loomed a chimerical coastline, so arduous for her to find that she might as well be a Renaissance explorer without a map.

Katherine L. Holmes

There Has to Be a Better Balance

"I can't do that, sir. A Fendi carrier bag holds a lot of prestige, and I'm not permitted to give them away."

Ian Duncan Smith

Story of a Love Fruit

In a patch of brightness, he had seen her glowing softly, sending her scent to him. So he plucked her. The vines that held her, the roots to which she was attached, the leaves that nestled her, held on tightly, reluctant to let her go.

Shubha Venugopal

The Shame Box

"Don't tell me it's nothing," I said, lowering my voice in the hope that he would feel more comfortable if our conversation continued on a more clandestine basis. "I'm not an idiot, Charles," I whispered. "I can tell everyone's anxious about something."

Richard Bird

Smoking Between Her Legs

But then Kath said lots of things. She said she knew how to make a shoe float on the river and come out dry and unsunk. She said she knew how to smoke two cigarettes at once. Between her legs.

Vanessa Gebbie


"I expect that, when you have got together for your carousing, I have been the object of your mockery. If that makes you feel better, then so be it. But, as you scoff at what you consider to be my manias, don't forget Hamlet's words to Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Rubén Darío, translated by Peter Robertson

The Last Time Dad Got Out of Jail

The last time Dad got out of jail, he didn't have a job, so his buddy Dwayne let him do some carpentry work under the table, which means no taxes and no child support, and I have to work at McDonald's till ten each night so I can afford my Color Guard uniform. "Never smoke pot on the job," Dad told me. "Promise now."

Carolyn Steele Agosta

The Master Who Painted Birds

He climbed across expanses of rock, old green pines his only companions. The light in the trees made them seem painfully alive. The sky was the color of untouched silk, and in the distance the young man saw mountain and lake that expressed reality as perfectly as a dream. He waded with difficulty through a tangle of brush strokes.

James Warner

Pure Trickery

"Excuse me," she continued, bending down as if we were ants under a magnifying lens. She cleared her throat and looked back at the men, who gave her apologetic looks. "We want to offer you some dawa. Some medicine?" she asked.

Serena Alibhai


Three months ago Bruno came roaring up the drive. I knew it was him, could sense it, even though I hadn't seen or heard from him in years. Something about his posture, his attitude, said Bruno. Something else said a part of me had come home to roost.

Terry P. Rizzuti

Life Story: Pass

This story is directionless. The main problem is that the protagonist manages to be simultaneously single-minded and all over the zoo. What should be a dramatic arc is more like a car-sickening series of switchbacks. The character desperately needs some sort of Morgan Freeman figure to give sage advice.

Jennie Kaufman

Kagekiyo, A Noh Play

I have one coat to protect me against
The winter winds
And the fires of summer.
I am a wreck of what I once was.
I am a ruin.

Martin Burke

Spin Degrees of Freedom

He was going to miss this place. It had been seven years this time, seven full years of relative bliss, poised precariously between the ocean and the land. The ocean had always given him his strength, but the land had offered him a new sensation that he had come to cherish just as much, the sensation of freedom. Maybe it was America itself, or the Americans.

Jeff Haas