Jul/Aug 2019

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!)

David Would Have Loved You

She had these huge black boots on and she'd shaved her head a few days before. She was braless in an army green tank top, and her non GMO, all-organic free range boobs were like, this promise of a brighter tomorrow; not to mention her ever-growing tufts of armpit hair tempered, in my loins, what might've otherwise been a raging, throbbing personal inconvenience. She seemed to be going full-Furiosa, which should've bothered me, but only intensified my longing. As soon as her giant boots were done clomping over to me, I asked, "What African warlord's corpse did you steal those off of?"

Kyra Rogers

Oh, My Papa

My mother used to do the same as far as I can remember, though it's been over seven years since we lost her. She often complained about the long hours he spent in the shop and the chores he left undone. "I tired walk with bucket from the standpipe to fill up them barrels and clean fowl shit every day," she mumbled as she went about her duties in the company of Rover, the pot hong she had rescued as a pup. "You don't even play with the child a little bit and she growing up so fast, just now she go have three years," she would say whenever my father was within earshot.

Vashti Bowlah

A Rain of Flowers

At that moment I thought, like the god he feels he is, Dr. John creates an edifice celebrating his omnipotence. But Dr. John does not see this because, being a psychiatrist, he suffers no delusions. I am the one with delusions, thus only I see it.

John Palcewski

Gateway to the Rest

The chick was out there. Which was weird because I thought she was in the back. She was smoking a cigarette and looking at her phone. She asked my name and I said Maizy. Her name was Tonya. I asked how she knew Troy and she said she used to come down to the lake some summers with her folks. Then I remembered seeing her at parties. She thought she remembered me too. I said I used to be goth, and she said oh yeah. She said Troy made her fall in love with him but she didn't know how she could be so stupid. She asked if I was his girlfriend and I said no way, we just all grew up together. She sounded smart, and talking to her made me embarrassed. I told her I was sorry, I didn't know none of this but she said that's ok.

Justin David Stone

Little Cockroach God, Little Cockroach Country

The bed was tight, he had "Color TV!" and there was a water stain on the ceiling looking like Jesus. Or Nixon. Outside, the wind shrieked and boomed, driving snow against the window in a fury of ticks and spatter. Inside, only the faint 30W glow from the reading lamp and the thin doorway of light from the bathroom cut the dark to mere dim. He always left the bathroom light on, the door always open.

Dave Mercel


Engineering sent the staff home until they completed an investigation, but most assumed Pavel's habitual flaunting of safety regulations played a primary role. As Yukako wended away from Engineering and through Botanical-Bay, she kept her pace slow, her face deliberately downcast. Wrong to rejoice in a death. But at least it hadn't come at her hands.

Stephanie A. Hunter

Unincorporated Road
(Spotlight Runner-Up!)

But really, how bad do things have to be before you cut your losses? Get out while the company, the press, the Wall Street vultures, still regard you as ruthless, before they know you have completely lost it. That is what he told himself. He had enough money to choke on. What was left to do? Resign. Make a polite, insufficient statement. Take the money and run like hell. He did.

Huntley Gibson Paton

Taste of a Tangerine

Ari begins to wonder why his hands shook and the soup splashed. There's no doubt he is totally nervous. His nerves are a complete wreck. Mary, he has not seen her in one year. Before that one year, they had seen each other either every month or every week or every day, for eight consecutive years. Of course his nerves are wrecked. They are shipwrecked. They are at the bottom of whichever ocean he crossed to get here. Ari feels like he has been at the bottom of the ocean for some time. He can do nothing but wait. That is all there is to do. At least he has all this pork to eat.

Eric Margolis

Bar Kafka

A small joy was reading the Stars & Stripes nightly, cover to cover. Changes at home I read about were apparent in marines who arrived a year or more after I did. Unlike me, they'd enlisted already having antiwar and antimilitary views—but not enough to flee to Canada, go AWOL, or risk prison. Their gripes were less from ideology than vogue donned like bell-bottoms and tie-dye. When women become antiwar, males follow else they don't get dates. When females favor long hair on guys, even hippy-hating rednecks grow mullets.

Francis Duffy

The Reward

But all was not fine at Malabo. This bloody dictator, Teodoro Obiang, was better than his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema, who had preceded him as president of Equatorial Guinea—but he wasn't that much better. Nguema had been the Pol Pot of Africa. People guessed he had killed off almost a quarter of the country's population in little more than a decade. Obiang wasn't trying to equal that record, but there were a lot of people in the island's stinking Black Beach prison and a lot of people were being tortured and abused by the police and ragtag army.

Peter Bridges