Oct/Nov 2007

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f i c t i o n


(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Phillip, Rose, and Death

I was quick then to draw conclusions about people, about wars, about tragedies and comedies, and as first impressions go, Phillip was quickly dismissed as a non-entity, a generally misinformed, anodyne specimen of misplaced male vigor. I said to Clara, as we drove home, "That chap at the foot of the table was drab. He's either completely disinterested in all of us, or just a simpleton.

Bojan Pavlovic


There was all this blah-blah about "scientists" taking blood samples. But when George Smoller got there, the scientists, far as he could tell, were just orange-vested garbage guys with chain saws, spilling blood on the sands of Lobster Cove as they carved the hulk up, pissing off the flies and seagulls zooming in from all over the world for the hold-your-nose banquet of the year.

Paul Silverman

If I'd Loved the Grizzly Man

If I'd loved the Grizzly Man, I would have complained about the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and not being able to shower and the mosquitoes and having to hide in the bushes from tourists and having to put up a tent just to have it blown over in a storm and always watching what I said around the bears like they could actually understand us.

Alana Noel Voth

Loss of Balance

Your mother always blamed him on the war. Your father was an ordinary person with an extraordinary ability to recognize complex patterns. This was not a skill he knew he possessed before a military analyst discovered it. How the discovery was made, you're not exactly sure. Some aptitude test, probably, which quickly eliminated the possibility of active combat and moved him right into code breaking.

Anne Leigh Parrish

Nurse Miriam

"Joey D. refused his meds," Martha says, reading from her notes. "Alice A. is hooking up with Mary Z. Yes, everyone's talking about it. Oh, and Harry T. went AMA around twenty-two thirty. I called a community meeting and all the patients tried to talk him out of it, but he said he didn't need any more of this recovery bullshit because he had some important business to take care of."

John Palcewski


In the suburbs the women wandered around their front yards in tennis visors and designer gardening gloves, their surgically buoyed breasts brimming over the edges of their tank tops, their tanned and freckly legs extending downward from pastel-colored nylon jogging shorts. Mia secretly ogled her female neighbors every day as she took her morning walk, drawn to them by the same gene that compelled her to watch cable television and read fashion magazines in the grocery checkout aisle.

Suzanne Rindell

The Librarian and Reinaldo Arenas

Climaxes always eluded my writings. I occasionally glimpsed them miles offshore, floating specks that never neared with kelp nor arced into air as dolphins do. And I came to enforce their distance. Unlike Reinaldo, I knew my newly revolutionized mind was unprepared for collisions with the creative unconscious.

David Massengill

Keeper of Cats

Somebody began a raucous Hindi film number. There was some shoving and passing around of private jokes. The girls' heads bobbed up and down like dark floats in a dark sea. The cats were silent. Only their eyes glowing green in the dark, talked back. Binapani still squinted at the newspaper as she held it close to the oil lamp, rocking lightly in her chair.

Rumjhum Biswas

Five More Minutes, a play in one act

No, I'll miss you. (Beat) You know what I'm going to do? Just sit here and let my cats have litter after litter. Soon the house will be crumbling and overrun by cats and I'll be a very strange lady.

Steven Schutzman

Children as numerous as stars in the sky

They had visited the Tabernacle on a lark, but the minister's prophetic preaching convicted them of sin. "Keep yo'selve away from them houses o' sin, where all manner o' copulatin' and fornicatin' and stimulatin' go on." Their repentance opened from a deep well of sorrow neither of them understood; it was just there, like popcorn stuck to your ass.

Stephen Healey


For a while after Debbie, my parents took a vacation from reality. My father, a normally serious state trooper, became so boisterous and off-the-wall he was forced to take some time off. "No matter," he said. "It's Christmas!"

Gary Moshimer