the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
So there we were, the five of
us, stumbling drunk and shuffling single-file down
the road, pink-lit by those horrid street lamps,
with Candy Tabitha Lewis, bearer of the Hard-Candy
Nipples, leading us all through the corridor of
pink-tinged darkness like half-hearted mendicants.
An odd night out, you'll say,
early spring morning in a nice suburban neighborhood
and nothing amiss and suddenly here they come like
lost marauders—or was it mendicants? Christ.
You'll have to read that last bit back—but
no, let's keep moving or we'll never get through...
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Onion & Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.
Wars: A Serialized Novel
There is a small disc in the sky,
glowing like a sapphire and accented with blinking
red lights, and for a moment, I merely stand and
watch as it dips wafer-sized over the trees. Then
the front door bursts open on the ramshackle house
across the street and an old woman in a star-covered
house dress appears on the porch. The disc hesitates
and then dips back over the woman, who is, I can
now see in the glow coming off the disc, clutching
A thin shaft of white light shoots
from the bottom of the disc and surrounds the woman,
who immediately, with an angry, guttural yawp, lifts
the shotgun to her shoulder and fires. A tin-tinged
ping leaps off the side of the disc and it
flutters momentarily. The spotlight that had bathed
the woman clicks off. The woman cracks the shotgun
open, reloads and squeezes off another shot that
and Dez were half way to the treehouse when the
rope ladder spun out of control. Dez lost his footing
and almost fell—he would have brought Bee
down with him—but caught himself just in time.
He entered the treehouse through a hole, concealed
by ivy, in the plywood and Masonite floor. Once
inside, he set down the bag of provisions and extended
his hand to Bee, pulling her in. Dizzy, a little
drunk, they quickly undressed.
"In my opinion, your mobile
home perfectly illustrates the success of our little
town. Its violet outer skin generates the warmth
we want to convey to outsiders. I think it will
evoke free-spiritedness but also security. You see,
Mrs. Gooday, we are fortunate enough to live in
a place with a joie de vivre. We want all
those folks who don't know the pleasures of our
town to give us a second look. Mayor Albright wants
hourly screenings at the rest stop and shopping
park." He paused, holding a black silk handkerchief
to his nose. A heady odor of white vinegar and mothballs
lingered in the room.
The mayor lit a piece of paper
on fire, wafted it about, then crinkled it in his
hand, letting the ashes fall to the floor. "A
"Sort of. You see, what I've
done is sculpt you. I've sculpted all of you."
"Yes. I do drawings most
of the time. I can copy you, anyone—"
"Really?" The mayor
was somewhat alarmed. "I should know about
"Listen to him talk to Harriet,
I mean, she's senile, she's supposed to speak nonsense,
but he's just a boy," Dr. May said, smacking
lion meat in his mouth. "I foresee sexual problems
in the very near future."
"Last week I met a guy who
looks like Victor Mature. He had big muscles and
tattoos and the most handsome face I've ever seen."
"If you want my professional
opinion," Dr. May said, "your kid's already
something of a pervert."
gone!" the deputy shouts, like he's one of
the disciples staring into Jesus's empty tomb. "Bubba!
I open my eyes in time to see
scrambled eggs falling into my cell and jiggling
on the floor. Then I look over at Bubba's bed—empty—and
up at the window. Bars sawed off, window wide open.
Sunset Lounge: A Chandler Harris Murder Mystery
first blow caught Jaco on the cheek and spun him
against the mailbox. The second sent him to his
knees. By the time the attacker kicked him in the
stomach, Jaco was close to blacking out. Still,
with the evenly timed rhythm of someone working
on a punching bag in the gym, Jaco's attacker continued
to work him over, and somehow, Jaco remained conscious.
"Say, isn't that someone
at the upstairs window?" Harry said.
"It's the dog."
"I thought I saw a face.
"It's Boomer, damn it. I
know my own dog."
Boomer, the border collie, was
watching them from the upstairs bedroom window,
cocking his head like a little person.
"Awfully quiet dog,"
Harry said uneasily.
It could not be said that his
father was swaying, but there was something unsteady
about him, like a big tree coming loose from the
soil where it is rooted. Tyler smelled liquor. But
there was also the reassuring smell of his father's
jacket, a mixture of tobacco and wet leaves and,
somehow, musty books. He pictured his father on
the bed upstairs in his own mother's house, where
he lived now, smoking and reading books from the
We moved to the edge of the water
and started looking for sharks' teeth, something
we had done since I was a small child. Robert usually
found something. I rarely did.
Robert stopped walking. "Let
me ask you something," he said, looking at
his feet. "Hypothetical case, OK? Say someone
is very, very depressed, and he, or she, shoots
himself, or herself. Hypothetical case. If unhappiness
is just something in your head, can you be killed
by an imaginary bullet?"
Then I saw what he saw. It was
a fossilized tooth, as shiny and smooth as if the
shark had just lost it.
"Funny question," I
Execution of the Sun"
Time was eating his youth, so
with little more than a nod Speed parted from his
wife...slender, forlorn, fingering her gold ring.
The train moved forward impatiently, ignorant of
loss. Travel vanquished their marriage like so many
before. There was engine noise. A whirlwind. The
departure of faces. The wife suffered away, a jewel
worth nothing. Sullen and undone at the window,
Speed tried to weep but his eyes were dully dry.
Heavy with shame. Sleep, a remorseful drift inward,
delivered him from the day, and the night descended
as a slow twinkling death.
Robert Navey went
to the focus of his preferred Morse camera and the
clacking install of a tinny whole plate he properly
treated with nitric acid and brazened. He stood
back to judge with his governing eye, that colored
of ore, which he took to the lens. "There we
have it," he said, making some adjustment.
"Now if Simonton remains lost in the word from
the broadsheets he will likely nap."
Poston stood unmoving at the foot of a tasseled
moss drape; the living statuary of a tableau
vivant. A long garland of crimson ribbon rounded
her shoulder and flowed across the floor.
"Do you see
I could feel my lungs deflating.
I was trying to suck air out of them, but the inner
tubes had been punctured. Like the black ones of
Jimmy's old Packard hanging from the rafters above
the license plates.
"Listen to me, Westley. I'm
pressing down hard on your chest, pumping the pond
water out of your lungs. Do you feel it? Take deep
breaths. Come on, Son, do it!"
World War II Spitfire airplane sat tethered by guy
wires in front of the Hebron's landing strip. Just
like a Civil War cannon sat anchored in concrete
on its square. Tom was fancying climbing into that
fighter aircraft, pulling on a leather helmet and
aviator's glasses, flashing a thumbs-up signal from
its frosted cockpit—then thundering off into
the sky. A man-sized desire of what Joyce Kramer
had fantasized. All these dreams were the same—one
way or other, a Quixote was going to catapult to
of the Manifestation"
By the time Mrs.
Drewson caught her breath and looked back at the
pile, the flames were as high as the lowest branches
of the two pine trees that stood over it.
"You said you were going
to keep it small," one of the women hissed.
The women stood motionless, paralyzed,
watching the flames catch the lowest limbs on fire.
Their faces glowed red; even across the street,
they could feel the heat coming off the pile.
For a second, Lilly thought Marty
was going to tackle his brother. Instead, he merely
prodded at the ten commandments pinned to Edsel's
chest. After a moment, Edsel pushed the trident
away. Lilly could see Susan wading through the crowd
in the living room, carrying two bottles of beer.
Marty swayed drunkenly against
Lilly, and then he tried to hoist himself up onto
the balcony railing. His right foot snagged on his
devil's tail, and before he could stabilize himself
against Edsel's shoulder, he pitched over the railing
like a featherless devil bird.
Among the Jellyfish"
"This is your rod here, son."
Trish's father held a fishing
pole out to me, and I took it.
"We're not fishing,"
I kept the pole and stared down
into the water. It was brackish and green. Jellyfish
were everywhere, floating in stacks of three and
four under the water. I let the line plummet into
the water and wondered how I'd pull a fish outwithout
snagging a few jellyfish as well. It was like the
ocean had given up after the jellyfish came in and
was just going through the motions of lapping up
against the pier.
Tonight there are odd sounds coming
from his room. Sounds resembling someone drowning
a sack of cats. Connie tosses aside her romance
novel and storms out into the hallway and pounds
on Meursault's door. The sounds cease, but Connie
continues to knock. "I know you're in there,
Monsieur. The whole neighborhood knows you're in
Cake and Double Talk"
Quinn had not written a novel
in ten years, only a few screenplays. One morning
his accountant called to tell him that he was almost
broke. He fell into a strange state of listlessness.
There was still time, said the accountant, to turn
things around, to recoup his losses. But, strangely,
he did nothing to help his situation. Instead, he
lazed around his small house playing the saxophone.
The accountant resigned. Quinn's supply of cash
was dwindling. He owed money to people he'd never
heard of. His credit cards began to decline purchases
and advances; he was unable to buy new clothes,
or to eat in restaurants. Then his property taxes
came due. Since he had no means to pay them, he
was forced to sell the house—at a loss, as
it turned out. He moved into an apartment in the
city. One day, soon after the move, he pawned his
saxophone to pay rent. After paying the rent and
the gas bill, he had nothing left but some change
in his pockets. He was forty-eight years old. It
the Briar Blade"
from the Blue Canoe"
Virginia Private at Appomatox"
Mother's Death: Three Panels"