Jul/Aug 2009

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!)

being chased by the CIA on a warm summer night

I watch Nicole interact with women buying groceries and I suddenly lose all will to live. Perhaps it's how the world reduces a person to the application of a service; perhaps it's the fact that one day it will be Nicole who will be buying the cheap bottles of gin, the "buy one get one free" boxes of Cheerios, the frozen packages of Salisbury Steaks; perhaps it's because Nicole's mother is going to die, and the only place she'll have to go is a grocery store called Food For All.

Allan Richard Shapiro

Reminders of Absalom

Though I am a Christian man who believes all people are the same in God's eyes, I must admit that they are not the same in mine. When I saw that murdering Korean boy in the news, I could not help but feel repentant for his horrifying failings. And when I thought of that boy's parents, I sympathized with their sorrow as if they were my kin.

Thomas Lee

Sweet Tooth: the Kandy Barr Story

Next night he took her in the car park woods and doped her up to the eyeballs. He took out a bottle of India ink and told her he would etch the love-heart she'd always wanted. Instead, he safety-pinned the word "inbred" into her arse.

Mark Staniforth

Happy Birthday

You pour me a glass of white wine and add two drops of red food coloring and write a poem about how I own pet mice and how my favorite food is Red Bull and how I always lose when we play Mario Party...

Daniel C. Porder

The Greatcoat

She walked through the cool shade of the ash trees to her favorite bench. There she sat and listened to the birds and felt again, as she always felt here, that her life was going nowhere, surrounded day after day by old helmets and old rifles and old love letters and all the old people who came to gaze at them in glossy-eyed remembrance.

James Terry

Two Short Shorts

Destruction and renewal, the NPR voice said, in a closing tone that was hushed and profound, followed by five seconds of dissonant wind chimes.

Paul Silverman

Friends for Life

During one of these conversational riffs, you improvise a devastating, a Wildean critique of a perceived lapse in the other's literary taste. There is silence, then a languorous "I hate you," and before you can draw a mock-outraged breath, the phone goes dead.

Barry Jay Kaplan

World's a Stage

Yes, it's true. It was an interactive production, and Kitty, the Orson Welles of Pridemore Realty, introduced them to actors of all ages, playing genial folk, throwbacks to another era, people too good to be true. People too good to be true.

Roland Goity

Tangle of Thorns, or the Fair Use of the Commons in a Transformative World

So deep is the rhetoric of control in our culture that whenever one says a resource is "free," most believe that a price is being quoted—free as in zero cost. But "free" has a much more fundamental meaning: not free as in beer, but free as in speech.

Otto Lambert