Oct/Nov 2010

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!)

In Vivo

When God grabs the scruff of my neck to return me to the stud pad, I writhe and gnash. My teeth can't find their way past the nitrile glove. She drops me not out of pain but mere shock. I hit hard and find it difficult to move. A new horizon drops in, a fading to white and a strange, yellowish light in the refracted distance. My eyes water, stung. And a new smell, fecund and moist. Then I am dangling, a pendulum in God's pinched fingers. She swings me by the tail and lofts me airborne. And while I feel deep in the groin the mystical thrill of flight, passing over her cage and landing in a soft tangle of my own foul refuse—she all the while sleeping (dreams of cockleburs and yellow heat, the seeds already growing in her belly: six, seven, eight little lives, identically, awfully white)—I finally understand her words.

Lior Klirs

Circles Within Circles

As in a ritual, the men climb out of our Land Rovers, but this time we just slump to the ground cross-legged and stare. A sort of lethargy has set in, which makes the futile game we play seem near its conclusion. Down twelve-nil, but protocol says we must struggle on to the final horn. It is a game because the devils can surely see our dust more miles away than we can see the trekking refugees. The pretense is that we have an actual chance to score.

Jerry Budinski

Our Need to See Things as They Are

Today on the news, they said the girl's going to go through that ritual of theirs. I can say this honestly: if that happens, she's going to have to stay with those people for the rest of her life. If she thought she had it bad with us before, with what I hear they do to themselves, no one would be able to look at her. And there'd be no hope for her to get herself fixed later in life when she came to her senses. Doctors do some amazing things, but they're not miracle workers. This is why I'm saying that The Council needs to give the green light, and let the police go in and get her. I don't mean any disrespect, like I said before, but I just can't see what They're waiting for.

g. martinez cabrera

Making Everything Better

With sunlight running diagonally across her knees, which were hugged tightly to her chest, and her back resting against the chilly stone foundation, Emma thought, in this instance wrongly, All memory is now gone. It was a short thought, and she knew it flawed, yet it was a thought, and for this she was a little bit glad.

Michael K. Meyers

Of No Use

I'm no longer the person I was. Living my life as a carpenter, I made the bema for our shul, led the raising of a barn, made kitchen utensils and cutting boards for the village women. I lived my life without living my life. Who really does? Who really goes about constructing a life to be led? If we're so inclined, we're often past our prime before we get started. My secret delight was my reading. Having been a good enough student in cheder, I wanted to read everything. I was a good Jew with a good mind, I suppose, looking back. I just didn't need a god. One father, bless his soul, was more than enough.

Mathias B. Freese

Just out of Reach: Six Prose Poems

Once we take to the flesh of the beloved, what can we do except change our shape, too? We become different, warped by the weave of another body, pressed up against us (even if it is the hard rock of a cold mountain), another will brushing up against our best selves. Is this anywhere to live, after all? Memory provides us a few clues as to where we've been. Once we summitted, can we find our way back, spotting a few breadcrumbs left on the skree of the glacier? It isn't much to go on.

Richard Dragan

Booger Eater Mon Amour

Aurora speaks softly: "Darling, I am going to wash off the Sahara Desert in your shower. Then I will come out naked with my long legs, my perfect breasts, and my angelic face, and I will kiss you. If you can resist me, I will e-mail the Pope and recommend you for sainthood."

Alex Shishin

You Never Learn

"Good morning, class," he would say. He had a voice that boomed across the room. He was a thin man, worn into his late thirties, wearing a sad, faded blue shirt and trousers that had the bum stitched. He would be pathetic if I saw him now—I never keep trousers long enough for the seat to require patches—but back then, sitting knees together, elbows on wood, it came as no surprise that this weedy cartoon could produce such a large sound as Bukenya's voice.

Ernest Bazanye Sempebwa

The Numbskull Piece

This trip's especially tense because today is Thursday, the day before Rosh Hashanah, the day before 5770 begins. Miriam would have never agreed to go to Branson on a High Holy Day—especially not our first High Holy Day since we got married—but I made her promise she'd go to Branson, no matter what, long before I knew the trip was going to fall on the new year. It's the kind of promise you have to force Miriam to make; otherwise there's no chance in hell she'll go.

Chase Dearinger

The Lizard of Lyari

"You should not be asking such a question. Your degree in English literature has not taken you anywhere. You have applied to hundreds of places and had scores of interviews, but you can not get the job of even a petty schoolteacher. You will get married eventually. You will need money to take care of your family. You need to grab whatever opportunity comes your way."

Abbas Zaidi

Tales Of The Millerettes (a Novella)

On a mild May evening in 1922, the night after Velma collected her diploma, the Miller had opened with great fanfare. The temple to filmdom had been built by an attorney, Jacob Miller from Chicago, and it towered three stories above the street at 115 North Broadway. The cost of his venue had amounted to a sum of $750,000. "Such a high price tag," the Wichita Eagle quoted Miller, "is due to the extensive use of brass for railings, the staircase built of Tavernelle marble, and a ventilating system that refrigerates the air."

Richard Jespers