February 19, 2013

Read this, and this, and this and this and this


Maybe you had the day off yesterday? Maybe like us you had exactly 123 things you wanted to read before the workweek started again. But maybe you’re also pressed for time, and often neglect reading some of the more important stuff — stuff that doesn’t necessarily rise to the top of the 24-hour news cycle …

Here then, for your bookmarking pleasure, are five must read short stories from online litmags, ready to be read today, tomorrow, or whenever the hell you get to them.

That’s Him! That’s the Guy! by Dan Chaon (WIGLEAF)

Our father died when we were ten years old and for months afterward my twin sister Helen and I thought we saw him. We thought we saw him standing in the snow in the yard at night but it was just a tree. We thought we saw him coming down the stairs in the morning but it was just sunlight in the windows on the landing. We thought we heard him scritching in the garden behind the house, moving through the rhubarb along the garage. A raccoon.

How to Deal with a Black Eye on Thanksgiving by xTx (VOL. 1 BROOKLYN)

1. When you wake up extremely hung over and fuzzy from the night before, do not audibly exclaim, “What the fuck?!” after you see your face in the bathroom mirror as you will wake the other family members sleeping in the den, adjacent.

2. Don’t sit on the toilet, head in your hands, for ten minutes trying to piece together how the hell it happened. Does it really matter? There it is.

3. Stop wondering about the two scabbed over cuts on the bridge of your nose. Stop feeling your face for soreness. Stop turning your mug hither and tither; it’s a black fucking eye. It’s Thanksgiving morning. You’ve got work to do.

Three Arctic Relics by Steve Himmer (3:AM MAGAZINE)

In the crystalline quiet where no one watches an iceberg calved with the shrieks and growls of any birth. A part of her shivered then rumbled then slipped, splashed into the ocean to announce an arrival with ripples of frigid blue waves.

From the raw edge of ice that remained a cylindrical tin of preserved meat emerged, a tooth cutting out from a gum or left behind by a bite taken badly. A blue stamp on one end had been smudged by time and the elements but the metal itself was unpunctured; the canister still held its shape since being dropped by some expedition long gone. It pulled free with a scraping exhale audible only to a lone skua resting at the peak of the berg — it’s body a graphite smudge like something almost but not quite erased — but the bird didn’t react as the weight of what had been exposed of the can towed free what was still in the ice. That second splash was nearly lost in the still-flowing wake from the heavier fall of the calf now floating nearby. The can dunked under quickly and bobbed as if it, too, might float, a third iceberg in miniature, then it sank — more slowly this time — to the seabed where it came to rest.

Four Shorts by Robert Lopez (NEW WORLD WRITING)

Allow me to say a few words, he says, and then he says, peo­ple think back­wards. I say to the per­son next to me, I can’t believe we’ve allowed this to go on and the per­son next to me says, I don’t know what you mean. At this point I’m livid, I am beside myself. I think about start­ing a fire or set­ting off an explo­sive but I don’t because that’s not a nice thing to do on a Sunday morn­ing and I don’t have matches on me or kin­dling or any­thing that even resem­bles dyna­mite so I remain seated beside myself. And it feels espe­cially true because at this point it’s as if I’m both the one who said, I can’t believe we’ve allowed this to go on and the one who said, I don’t know what you mean.  It is exactly like me to be dis­be­liev­ing and con­fused at the same time. So this is when I feel the dis­be­lief and con­fu­sion at the base of my skull work­ing its way up toward the top of my head and down my spinal col­umn and all the way around into my guts. I can feel it spread­ing through my pelvic floor, seep­ing into organs and blood ves­sels. Now I am dou­bled over. Now I am on the ground, writhing, and I think why is this hap­pen­ing again.

The Swan as Metaphor for Love by Amelia Gray (JOYLAND)

A swan’s foot, like a duck’s, is a webbed claw. In traversing swan shit and mud, the claws gunk up and reek. Nobody in the history of the world, save another swan, has licked a swan foot while that foot was still attached to the swan. The feet resemble rabid bats in their sickly color and texture.


* Listen to John Minichillo read his story, The Last Pool Party (THE NEXT BEST BOOK BLOG)




Kevin Murphy is the digital media marketing manager of Melville House.