Jan/Feb 2014

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!)

A Rogue Age

He bounded higher and higher until he reached the top, exposed like a stylite, brained. "I can see the Elbe from here!" he shouted, holding the jewels aloft, his goofy voice the only sound within miles before the thinly echoing shot. He went down like a defenestrated duke, his surprise along with a splash of blood momentarily ornamenting the vision of the men.

Will Lasky

The Whale
(Spotlight Runner-Up!)

In his inexperience, Starbuck was, however, a middling sailor, uneasy outside a beam reach, which made catching up with the whale herds an erratic affair. This did not seem to bother Ezekiel any more than it did the captain. He would lean against rails and into the wind, light a pipe or order lines to be drawn up or down, lower the longboats, row them in the direction of the herd, row them back, raise them up, trim the lines, shift the table, and never a sign that he was moved or perturbed by the result.

Michael Fertik

Anything at All

"Bugger off," he barks. I have to keep the anxiety at bay, accept uncertainty, stop fleeing and hiding away as I did as a kid in a world I couldn't control.

Randall Brown

Travels through Time and Space with Zora

With its slanted ovaries like eyes floating above the uterus, the female reproductive system is an unsmiling alien. Through the window into the house, Zora sees her father and sister watch TV, silently laughing. A few feet away outside, the stupidest kitten falls in the pool again. Life is everywhere, an indignity, unstoppable.

Lynn Mundell

The Lady with the Red Van

"I don't care about any damn new law. This is America, isn't it? I want a book of matches, toot sweet."

Lou Gaglia

Like I Was Waiting

We passed through fields and neighborhoods and the sun was going down and at one point we went over this bridge that I was pretty sure was in The X-Files because I knew they filmed it around there and I watched the reruns all the time like while I was waiting for D to come over or after he was already passed out for the night but I knew he wouldn't care so I didn't bother to tell him.

Jenny Hayes


It was the other side of town, in a neighborhood he had never entered, not intentionally, anyway, had used only to turn around or take as a short cut back to what he knew. He looked down to the passenger seat and saw with a start that Signe's device was on and sitting in her lap, its light like a small round X-ray of herself. On it, her Informers were celebrating the election of the other presidential candidate, the one who was warlike.

Laurence Klavan

An Ugly Man's Guide to Self Improvement

"Paul Giamatti's not ugly," the ugly man said. "Paul Giamatti has a frail beauty."

Will Lasky

How She Was Raised

She had no idea that there were others out beyond the glass, out there in the air and the sun and the rain, lifting themselves up off the floor, learning for themselves what feet and wings were really made for, coming to learn the many vocabularies and languages beyond the hum and the buzz.

Cheryl Diane Kidder


I leave Facebook and visit the infertility boards where I lurk but don't comment. Women who post here call themselves babybug_12, baby_hopes, or hopefulmama2. Most of them are in their 30s and 40s. I know their follicle counts, which day of their cycle they're on, how many negative pregnancy tests they've taken, and how many miscarriages they've had.

Stephanie Austin

The Event

They had argued the night before about postponing the wedding, and like such arguments, the bitterness lingered, fouling the air between them as he left for work. Before leaving, he had said, in a gruff manner, "I'll try to be there on time." Now as she waited, and pondered over it, she could not shake off the inauspicious feelings that explained his absence.

Ovo Adagha

The Mandolin Player

"Something weird happened the other day," my wife said, "and it reminded me of something that happened a long time ago." We were at an Italian restaurant in Park Slope and our food had just arrived. I had ordered the gnocchi with prosciutto and a tomato cream sauce, my wife some kind of fish. This was our third "date night," something suggested by our marriage counselor.

Cam Lay


It happened quick. I think that surprised the both of us. You put all that work into a life, and you can end it without much effort.

J.R. Dawson


Our step-father had taken him in his arms after he was born and performed the full Lion King. He raised him up high. "All of this belongs to you!" he exclaimed. "I will give you the world." Nwala hissed and left the room.

Chikodili Emelumadu

Hall of Mirrors

I had gotten a call to meet CIA early that morning down at headquarters. It was still dark as I drove out of Frankfurt with him in a government gray Chevrolet. I didn't like CIA much. He was what we Romanians call un glum, a real wise guy.

William Reese Hamilton