Apr/May 2011

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f i c t i o n


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

A New Definition of Treason

I kept thinking about the virus idea—the possibility of invading cells and rewriting DNA and becoming someone else. Or they might become you. And what would that mean during wartime? Would we replace our enemies? Would our enemies replace us? Maybe they already had.

Alice Whittenburg

Grandma's Baptism

I was in her house this afternoon to deliver a message from Father Raphael to Chizoba. Mama should have come herself, but she refused because she said Grandma was kissing local demons and feeding idols. Associating with this behavior would present a serious obstacle to making heaven.

Jekwu Anyaegbuna

Home Again

Honey, she said. You don't know how glad I am you're coming around.

Justin Hamm

The Artist's Conk

We are all desperately individual, of course. We have all been, as most of us would not say, very well educated. Private schools, tutors, boarding schools starting as early as eleven, pick of the Ivies, the Sorbonne and Oxford, every advantage, every opportunity. We are all top dogs in our various ways, brilliant and well-connected. Only when we abandon work to come up here, only when we are standing around the lawn in the morning with coffee mugs, or in the late afternoon with alcohol or surreptitious highs, trying to stroll away from each other while Frank (the groundskeeper's border collie) tries to herd us back together in a lump, then we feel our shine dim and sputter, and we can't be together a moment longer without some kind of purpose.

Sara Catterall

Excerpts from "Mr. Deadman"

Mr. Deadman has bought a brand-new wardrobe for this trip, leaving his usual black suit behind. He arrives at the resort clad in a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, a Panama hat and sandals. Mr. Deadman has created a new, temporary identity for himself beyond the sartorial makeover. He signs the guest register, "Mr. Liveman."

Peter Cherches

Exposure of the Breasts While Being Demeaned

"So you don't know what you're talking about?" At some point she realized that Test Guy was delivering his barbs staring directly into her nipples. It was as if he had come from a planet where eye-to-nipple contact was the established norm. The unbridled rudeness of it so shocked her that she initially questioned what she was seeing. Or maybe it was something about her: were her nipples blinking, had they sprouted thorns? And then she realized: oh, this was the experiment.

Dennis Kaplan