Jul/Aug 2004

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!)

Jailhouse, Jailhouse

He wanted Mr. Perry to forget about his wife—he thought it probably was her who had the cancer—and run like George would have done, run across the miles of flat fields until his whole body thumped with exhaustion. Then get up and run again, into the blank grey sky and to the North Sea where he could swim in the cold, rolling water.

Louis Malloy

Three Flash Fictions

Once he was sat on a train, opposite a woman called Gloria. She smoked. She read Jilly Cooper. He stepped away to use the stinking British Rail toilet, there was a bang, thirty-five dead, and this Gloria was spread over thirty yards of track. Like that.

Alex Keegan

The Same Story

It was a huge journey, this crossing the river to an island village many miles away. But the wind from the water rose like an excitement in the brain, and the vermilion sky was bold with color. Inside the boat the bridegroom sat in ordinary clothes, his eyes a little red from looking at the glamour of the river.

Padma Prasad

Down the Plughole

Did you have her up against the tiles? Did you pull that rickety glass door across the bath to keep the water off the floor, that cheap-etched Perspex? If I look at that glass in daylight, will I see an imprint of your spotty buttocks grease-embossed against its dripstreaks, like the feathered shadow of a pigeon that kills itself in a plate-glass window?

Alexandra Fox

The Boy from Bul

Istanbul was a city where street boys belly-flopped onto the low backs of cars, daring the traffic, just to jump off before they fell. A city of more than 18 million, and I wondered how on earth they could all be counted.

Sylvia Petter


Paul said a man and a woman couldn't be married unless they lived together. Paul said that if He had his own house, it meant He wanted to make another family. I called him a liar and screamed it into his plastic ear thing until he started hitting me in the nose.

Adam Marcus

Two-Player Infinitely Iterated Simultaneous Semi-Cooperative Game with Spite and Reputation

The basic tool in the game is the eye-looking vector. Each player has one. The eye-looking vector starts from the center of the player's head and extends forward, parallel to the sagittal plane and orthogonally to the coronal plane of the player's body.

Charles Yu

...in Love and War

I round the last aisle and head for check-out, and then I see Dan. He's standing in the Ten Items or Less line, and I look at his cart. Motor oil, deli sandwich, a six-pack of beer. I wonder what he does at night in that bare-bones apartment, those quiet rooms.

Carolyn Steele Agosta

The Belles of St. Mary's

Sometimes late at night, a team of nuns would come downstairs and play ping pong. Sister John Eudes was the convent champion with 123 wins and 45 losses. This was to torture us, I suppose, knowing how much we would have loved to play.

Christopher Orlet


With a swift twist of her hand the door flew open, and a vastness of green crushed-pile carpet lay before Kam's feet. His floppy sleeves swayed back and forth. His cloth shoes crinkled where his toes were curling under themselves. From the far shore a man astride a massive desk beckoned him with one raised hand.

D.A. Taylor

Plucked Pheasants

How shall I cook them then, today—these soft and flaccid lumps of pink meat laying in my hands? The hen feels plump enough to roast, to baste itself. It should still retain plenty of flavour, despite its age.

Alexandra Fox

One Day in the Life of Irene Dennison

An uneasiness tugged in her chest. She knew how these things went: twenty minutes could grow into forty, forty could go past an hour. Suppose it pushed into her precariously timed lunch with Gordon, who had emphatically warned that it was impossible to reach him by phone?

Dennis Kaplan


She flirted with the warm-up guy, flipped her hair the way they did in bars, and it embarrassed him that he had almost thought she liked him, that he thought she might have given him the time of day if she hadn't been on the employee clock and he hadn't been a customer walking through the business doors.

David J. LeMaster


The face belonged, it turned out, to Ardent's loyal secretary, Sherri Hoving, and it was a face which was to turn up in my dreams for years to come, a face like an iceberg refracting light, with a gaze like a baby uses to gaze upon another baby.

Corey Mesler

Metal Game

She glues rhinestones to a crucifix made of twisted coat hangers. We're sitting at the kitchen table in our underwear. Goddam, the Oklahoma heat. Tulsa is a huge armpit. No wind. We've got the window cracked and bugs are finding their way through tears in the screen. I pick a gnat out of my nose and sneeze.

Joel Best