Jul/Aug 2007

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!)

The Postsapien

I rested on a canvas bag, sipped calvados from a flask, and observed the commotion at the pit. The shadows were very excited. Frenzied. They shouted, waved their fists, stuck out their jaws, stomped about on stiff legs. The specimen had been bipedal, but what was its genus and species? Was it our ancestor or was it a cousin? The old hominid skull was the cause of all these hoots and hollers and displays of dominance.

Ava Mantine

The Chief's Seed

"We're all God's creatures," he said with utmost patience. "We must look after each other. Matt has a duty to look after you, but you won't let him exercise it. You'll end up driving him into the arms of whores."

Andrew Coburn

The Black Folks Guide to Survival

Malcolm X actually did once say "the chickens have come home to roost." Nice, evocative image from an ex-farm boy turned pimp turned convict turned religious leader turned civil rights activist. But most of the younger black folks I know have never seen a live chicken.

Kris Broughton

River 16

The only problem with making seven hundred dollars an hour is that there is nothing on H-125 to buy. Nothing. It's a 100% free society. We're the ultimate combination of socialism and communism and anarchy. Everything is free. But they pay us, anyway. So life is a constant state of financial impotence. It's like living inside of an eyeball but not being able to see out.

A.S. King

The Eyes of Dogs to Come

Mostly, people just get used to being beaten and carry on turning-up with the family pet, watching the big names getting bigger, and becoming more bitter and disappointed with each exit. Sometimes, though, one of these also-rans happens to breed a good one. One that attracts the wrong sort of attention. Then the ever-present whisperers start offering their placings, confirming an unprovable truth and exposing the injustice of it all.

Neil Grimmett

Wonderful You

"Do you think I would let my darlings starve? We'll get another Tita for you, mi amor. You'll see." She lowered her voice, a twinkle in her eye. "Your father will march into Castro's hen-house and get you the best little communist chicken in the world."

Mary Beth Caschetta

Kelemo's Woman

"Civil society must rise against this nascent tyranny. We have to lobby the international community, force them into taking a stand. We must agitate. Strategize. The struggle begins here and now. No time to waste. All right thinking people have a duty to resist this."

Molara Wood

Marjorie Dearest

I considered taking issue with her verbally, but concluded it would be more apropos if my rebuttal arrived in the shape of a narrative. The recent proliferation of not so discriminating e-zines made it easy to respond publicly.

Nelson L. Eshleman

Excerpts from "Astilbe bis Bismarck"

I grew up with the firm belief that a copy of Meyer's set of twenty volumes existed in every house. This was, after all, implied in the "conversation" part of the name—the encyclopedia could fulfill its purpose only if all possible interlocutors were briefed equally well.

Joachim Frank


I imagine him as he was then: a big man, wide, broad shouldered, with a back like a plateau, a prominent jowl, not a pretty man in any way, but neither a monster, rather, he was what we imagined a Golem must have looked like, when Rabbi Loew the Maharal fashioned him of earth and clay in an attic of a small, Prague synagogue. The women called out to him, come by, Golem, we have some wood that needs chopping.

Bojan Pavlovic

trying on

I love train stations: people on the move, beginnings, endings, crossing paths with lives that have nothing to do with mine. You get to read people, make up their stories, and get read by people, to see if you pass the test.

Steven Schutzman