Jul/Aug 2005

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f i c t i o n


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

The Way You Make Me Feel

He had to learn how to defend himself, his Michael self. He had to tolerate jokes. He had to go to PTA meetings and explain why what he did was in fact politically correct. He had to take a lie detector test and prove that he was not a pervert. Still, he persevered. He got older, and Michael got lighter, and he bought new pancake makeup in a different shade, and he found that his nose was now too broad where always it had been too narrow.

Caroline Kepnes

Tie Day

Today you feel invincible. Superman. Anything you want, you will get. All because you broke with your tradition of buying regular, off-the-shelf ties and invested in the real stuff from a proper A-list boutique. Great going, superhero. Spread your imaginary cape. Fly!

Crispin Oduobuk

Responsibility and Corruption on Elm Avenue

Arsenius drove like he was piloting Apollo One. His big pink knuckles tight on the steering wheel, he sank low in his seat, checked all the parameters—as he called the buttons—revved up the motor, and backed very slowly out of the garage, all with a little secret smile on his face. Captain Arsenius, off to Mars in his '57 Chevy.

Corbitt Nesta

Mrs. Cooper

"Don't annoy me, Winthrop. Just go about your business, whatever that is."

Luke Tennis

Interview with James Valentine, Director of Passion of the Christ—The Outtakes

I had actually originally wanted to film somewhere in South America, but after traveling through Argentina and Peru for a few weeks we realized that America was the only place where this film could feasibly be shot. We finally found this one carnival director—I'm still not sure where Gordy dug this guy up—who agreed to let us film at the State Variety Fair in Georgia, for peanuts. It was perfect, really, because we could use a lot of the carnival-goers as extras, mostly playing the part of the crowd.

Chris Wilson


"What if I get caught?" I asked him. It was the day before the bill was actually due, and I'd thought about it all night long, wondering if he'd make me pee on him to keep quiet, or if I'd have to wear the fishnets.

Cheryl Diane Kidder


You okay with money? Four years go by. I say I am. I say I live at the edge of the universe. Where am I going to spend it? Four years go by. Four years. Why? I ask him. Four years go by. No reason. Four years. Four years then four more and then four more and just like that seven or eight hundred years can go by and we haven't said a thing.

Charlie Yu

What Was Heard

There are two voices, one a man's, the other, of course, a woman's (isn't this always the formula for rising voices in foreign countries?).

Sarah Stodola

Of Course, Roses

"He had everyone in the hospital wearing ribbons with her name on them. He filled the room with balloons and gourmet meals he cooked himself in the hospital kitchen—when she could keep them down—that's the kind of guy he was, he could sweet talk anyone—and roses."

Brad Bostian


"I did see sparks," he said. "And smoke. The tiniest puff."

Randall Brown

The Promised Land

Reverend Jeremiah had said fuck in the house of God. That was wrong. He had inserted this filthy word into God's being in a demonic act of copulation. That was unspeakable. And he blasphemed the integrity of Sister Percel. That was false prophecy. God himself brought down false prophets, but the people delighted in following God's lead in bring-downs.

Stephen Healey

The Chartreuse Wallpaper

Jennie is an egotistical, sniveling twit. She'll run the company into the ground if she controls it for the whole summer, but John is a physician—a doctor of psychiatry, bless his little advice-toting heart, and after my recent bouts with migraines, stress, indigestion, and panic attacks, he insists on a quiet summer by the beach, just the two of us, our lovely summer home, and the refreshing sound of the waves.

David J. LeMaster