Jul/Aug 2003

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!)

The Big Inning

Lockman had stopped administering to his flock because of the constant complaints about his demeanor. Whenever anyone came up for communion he would yell at them, "The Body of Christ!" in a most fearsome manner. He really wanted them to appreciate their savior, but all they did was cower. So he became a baseball manager instead.

Daniel Cubias

The Gesture

For a discernible moment, Whitman doesn't know what to say. He hears titters, from other patients, from visitors, even from Cavallo and Narang; but then he also hears Cavallo say: Lady, he's not giving you a hard time. Every single person here has to have someone go home with them. We would all get fired if we let you leave alone.

Tim Millas

The Facts in the Case of Mr. P—

Valdemar's mouth opened with a terrible clicking noise, as of some monstrous insect; his upper lip slid over his teeth in a ghastly parody of a smile; and a distended, fuliginous lump of flesh crawled out and lolled across his cheek. My heart pounded furiously, a frightened beast yearning for escape. I withdrew a step or two from the bed, as did the others. Surely now, I thought, he is dead.

Mike O'Driscoll

Ascension and Declination

When the UN aid truck finally appears in the square in front of the burned out missionary church, there are not many sacks in the back. The dozen of us who are still strong enough to carry the food back to our families size each other up. Who will get one of the sacks of grain and who will go home with nothing?

Dennis Tafoya

Extreme Unction

Aunt Lally's sudden bout of bizarre behavior, piously referred to as "poor Declan's cross to bear," was the number one hot topic in our family that year. The men opined that Lally was stepping out on Declan—what else would a woman be up to, when she wasn't where she belonged? Feeling the insult to their collective crotch, they provided long hours of moral support for my uncle in McBell's Bar and Grill.

Phoebe Kate Foster

Prickly Heat

The girl would reach up, straining for the shuttlecock, and flash a crescent of breast. She wore white shorts a size too small. Roger hid his need behind dark glasses, watching the girls until the fireflies came out. He watched until they were just rushing shadows.

Cheryl Snell

I Am So Loving the Cello

One evening when my father was only halfway through his baked chicken she told him that Arthur Aranoff was going to play the Haydn cello concerto on the radio that Saturday. My father immediately lost his appetite.

Thomas J. Hubschman

The greatest writer in the world who is just out of prison, off heroin, and broke in a halfway house

She got up and left as if we never talked, as if we were total strangers. I guess we were. It's just that I had fallen in love. I do that a lot.

Ken Fowles

The Exchange Student

I met her in a three-floor pub in Oxford called The Brewhouse, when I was living in England for 4 years. It's the kind of college ragbag where you have to slip through several layers of people to reach the bar, and if you just stand patiently, politely waiting to progress by the natural movement of the queue, it'll never happen. You have to push. I've learned that sometimes you have no choice. You just have to push. Hard.

David S. Kaufman

A Choice of Both

Jim White was walking out the door, dressed to the Tens in his lucky suit, which was yellow. He was in a Board meeting with the rest of the staff and someone was speaking. The left shoe of Jim White is untied, he thought, and he began to tie it back.

Kevin McGowin