New Fiction: Thirteen Adoption Stories by Ann Epstein
Read it: http://theneweryork.com/thirteen-adoption-stories-ann-epstein/
New Fiction: The Hummingbird Murder by Shelly Weathers
Everyone asks for an explanation, but all I have is hummingbirds.
Their diminutive size, their brilliant feathers, their precise and musical movements mean nothing. They are bullets of rage. They hate each other. They starve each other off feeders, out of flowers, from the crown of a red baseball cap mistaken for a flower.
Why wouldn’t you take the cap off? The sun wasn’t shining. It wasn’t hot. We hadn’t any rain in a year.
Duck, I yelled.
Not this far inland, your brother said, looking up from his hands, into the sky. You listened to him, looked where he looked, though you knew he was high.
One tiny assassin, outracing the others, fighting them off as it aimed for the cap, poked you in your upturned eye. Blood spurted out the way tears should, streaked your face, dotted your shirt. Before you blinked again, the emerald, the ruby throat, the angry Rufus, they all found your ghastly blooms. Maybe they thought you were a hollyhock, a tall stem of drop shaped scarlet cups, inviting a dive.
I felt the breeze of them, heard them collect before you as an, Ah.
Whatever infinitesimal way hummingbirds experience realization will save you, I thought. But at once, they rushed, pinned themselves on your body like corsages, pricking skin, drinking the sweetest ounces of you, which I also have tasted, have tasted but then restored to you, have replenished and swelled through osmosis, corpuscle by sugared corpuscle.
Angrier than all of them together, your voice rose from under their murmuring hunger, saying, I’m dying, I’m dying, it feels like I’m dying.
Oh, no, your brother said. But he was looking at his hands again, at a spot, dark and withered.
for the man who called my poetry “hipster, feminist diarrhea”
You make an appointment with the plastic surgeon. Show up an hour early so you can spend some time thumbing through glossy magazines, deciding what you want to look like next. You’re so tired of being you: your thick nose, and blotchy complexion, and the stomach that won’t stop howling. You decide it’s time to be someone else. Someone that your closest friend’s won’t even recognize.
You sit on the cold examination table, in a papery gown that reminds you of a moth’s wings. You spent a semester capturing them with poison jars, and dissecting their bodies for science. You can relate to the moth sometimes. When you are walking alone down the street and men roll down their windows to shout. When the bar is crowded and there are hands all over your body, so many hands that you can’t tell who they belong to, and some who belong to no one. When people read what you have written and ask you if its true. It couldn’t possibly have happened like that.
The doctor has a commercial smile and a voice like bleach. He crosses his legs and folds his arms and keeps smiling as he asks you what you want done up. You take a list out of your pocket. It unfurls and hits the floor. The doctor’s eyes widen.
-all of your hair shaved off (except for your eyelashes)
-more teeth (at least two hundred should do, placed strategically)
-lips made of gravel
-replace my fingers with knives
-remove my heart altogether
-legs embedded with bits of chainsaw
Stop it, he says, what’s wrong with you, but you keep talking.
-green lasers in my eyes
-pushpins on my toes
-replace all of my blood with wine
He runs from the room, hands over his ears, but you keep talking. The receptionist ushers you out the front door, slamming it behind you, but you keep talking. The car engine roars over you, but you keep talking. The TV set turns up the volume on its own, the news anchor is screaming, but you keep talking. You keep talking. You keep talking, until you are finished.
New Fiction: Riding the Shark by Rebecca Blomberg
Unlike most traditional sitcoms, Full House never jumps the shark. Whereas Fonzie literally jumps a shark, Chrissy gets replaced, Raven Symone and Cousin Oliver join their respective casts, etc., FH’s quality is upheld right through the end of Season 8, which in fact boasts some of the series’ very best moments: The Viper vs. Nelson showdown culminating in the song by Frankie Valli, Jesse’s basketball game with Kareem, and of course, Jesse’s repeated mangling of the Three’s Company theme song for the donkey. The series finale finds Michelle falling off a horse and losing her memory, along with the return of our beloved Steve, reminding us why we loved the show all along. Furthermore, this episode, “Michelle Rides Again,” features Joey and Jesse refusing to dress up in silly costumes to wrestle some Swedes to appease the network, in a self-referential nod to the fact that we’ve ended our journey without ever compromising the show’s artistic integrity.
This is incorrect; by Season 4 you have newly married Jesse and Becky moving into Danny’s attic at the demand of Princess Michelle—an absurd way to uphold the original premise that they all live in the same house. Shark=jumped.
See, I disagree. Season 4 is when FH actually hits its stride. Before then, the humor was a little less wacky, and although there were some early highlights, like the introduction of Walter “Duck Face” Berman, we largely had to suffer through morality plays and ladies’ man, mullet-era Jesse. With the Season 4 advent of more absurd hijinks, the heartwarming material shines in a more realistic, less condescending light. This is where the show finds its voice. Case in point: Jesse’s infamous pre-wedding “tomato country” skydiving incident, complemented by his touching rendition of Forever when he finally makes it to the ceremony. Also see: Danny’s contrasting performances of My Generation and My Girl at DJ’s school fundraiser, the former’s ridiculousness allowing the latter’s emotion to resonate.
No, by Season 4 the characters are behaving childishly to force stupid plot lines, and by the time we reach Season 8, they’re not even realistic human beings anymore. You get such bullshit moments as Danny threatening Ryan with a canned ham for standing up Stephanie and that God awful Vanilla Weasels storyline. A huge departure from the original characters and concept of a nice family banding together to deal with tragedy.
A. It was not a canned ham, it was Spam and B. You’re so wrong, especially Re: Vanilla Weasels. Season 1 Joey, the idiot in the Hawaiian shirt living in Danny’s alcove, was probably more likely to cry over those cookies than any other season’s Joey. And
what about the DJ/Stephanie alliance that really emerges in Season 8? That’s the most touching, realistic character dynamic from the entire show. You have the silly things, like them convincing Michelle she has Smedrick’s Disease so she won’t take their
“Counting Cows” ticket, and then the more serious ones, like everyone’s favorite Very Special Episode (except maybe the one where Kimmy gets drunk) when Deej stops Steph from going on the dangerous car ride. They’re officially friends. This is something I really came to appreciate as my closest in age sister grew up and became my best adult friend, so these episodes really strike a chord and ring true for me. Also, DJ’s looking pretty hot by the time she turns eighteen
Whoa, let’s slow down for a minute and back up. You’re putting words in my mouth. I never said Season 1 Joey wouldn’t care about his Vanilla Weasels, all I said was that the later story lines were contrived and driven by the characters’ stupid behaviors. Do you mean to tell me the man who opened for Wayne Newton, voiced a cartoon dolphin with Frankie and Annette, ran a successful advertising agency, held down jobs as Ranger Joe, Mr. Egghead, a substitute teacher, and a Rush Hour Renegade would actually climb ontoa table in a fancy restaurant to lick some cookie crumbs off a plate? I think not.
Well this IS the same man who bought DJ a stolen car, wasted all that cash he owed Danny in the episode “Mad Money,” and let Steph drive a car through the wall of the kitchen. Not exactly a beacon of responsibility. And let’s not forget the time he brought Michelle and her science club to a bar on Super Bowl Sunday and almost got everyone killed. The Vanilla Weasels seem to be pretty much in character with what we know of the man.
The whole point of the stolen car episode was that Joey wanted to be taken seriously, so you’re contradicting yourself here! Would a man who wanted to be taken seriously climb on a table to lick some crumbs? Really, Marie123?
Even if he wanted to be taken seriously, that episode contains a million examples of his stupid, childish behavior. It’s why after the family lists them all out to exculpate him from the crime that his feelings are hurt, because he’s confronted with all of his immature
tendencies, and he’s embarrassed in front of the lady cop. This is the guy who carries a woodchuck puppet around on his hand and talks to it in public, out of character, not in the context of the Ranger Joe show. He’s a silly guy, deal with it.
Now I feel like I’m being personally attacked. All I said was that the story lines in Season 8 got extra ridiculous, and now I’m being lectured about Mr. Woodchuck?
I’m not lecturing anyone, I’m just pointing out that the tone of the show has long been heightened and that’s where it shines. How Rude!
Yeah, the story of a widower with three motherless daughters is totally goofy…asshole.
this show sux u guys r fagsRead it: http://theneweryork.com/riding-shark-rebecca-blomberg/
New Fiction: Complicated by Chelsea Coreen
Last night you dreamed about kissing him. Not him kissing you, like sometimes how he would lay on top of you and slobber all over your face. Not like the night he held your wrists down, nothing traumatic like that. It was a real kiss that made you feel something in your stomach.
You woke up missing him, and it wasn’t the first time. He had this constant presence. You couldn’t count on him for anything, but he was always there. Not there in the emotional sense, just there, and back then, that seemed like enough.
This isn’t the first time you’ve missed him and so you hate using that word. At this point you know you’re allowed to use that word, but you also know when you use that word, people make assumptions. Mysterious, indescript strangers with switch-blades, or the beta bro from the sketchy house party who must have slipped something into your punch-drunk mouth.
No, everyone says. That word couldn’t possibly apply to someone who shopped at Salvation Army ironically. Who read Kerouac. Painted watercolor portraits of his dogs and owned a Swifer. A friend of all of your friends, and you were so drunk! The night you danced on the bay window and open-mouth kissed your roommate. Everyone remembers that part. The party, you were there, everyone was there. Dancing in the living room and drinking gin out of mugs, the black lipstick and the songs you all sang out loud. You two on the couch, in the corner, the bathroom sink. You two leaving the party, laughing at an inside joke. He bought you a slice of pizza. Plugged in the Christmas lights and tugged the blankets around your chin.
And if you had accused him of driving drunk, or punching the delivery guy, or cursing out his ex, then yes, everyone would have believed you. They would have smirked because yes, that does sound like him.
But that word, the word, now that is a gas leak. A hospital on fire. No one wants to hear his name used in a sentence like that, they have questions.
Because you liked him didn’t you? You had wanted it before, hadn’t you? And it’s exhausting to keep explaining that wanting it before doesn’t mean you wanted it then and even if you wanted it then, he didn’t ever ask if you wanted it.
But you know they’ve stopped listening. Because no one wants to hear about it. No one wants to believe it was like that. The body made of salt. The crowbar and the handful of spit.
New Fiction: Postlapsarian by Megan Willoughby
New Fiction: Things That Can Mean One Thing Or Another by George Choundas
Items I would not mind being internationally known for rocking, in ascending order of size—
or the name of an event-and-entertainment retail operation with a demographically hyper-targeted and perhaps not altogether viable business model.
What you say with a sly look when your phone rings and the friend you’re with, the one for whom your affinity must depend entirely on personal history because he seriously tries you with his penchants for saying things just to hear himself say things and for wading ass-high into your business, asks, “Who’s that?”—
or what you say with a tired look after someone points a haughty finger, makes an event of clearing his throat, and announces that your fly is open, then floats a querying look following your first remark which was, “That’s how she left it.”
The ratio of actual years during the Hundred Years War to years credited in the name—
or the ratio of times, on average, that I tell my three-year-old daughter at dinner to stop stirring her water with a broccoli floret to times that she in fact stops stirring her water with a broccoli floret.
What you called your girlfriend in February 2014 during one of her many depth-of-winter, cabin-feverish mood swings—
or what you called your ex-girlfriend in February 2014 during the last of her many depth-of-winter, cabin-feverish mood swings, because really it was all over the moment the word “bipolar” started coming out of your mouth, and not just later when she clipped your Taurus with her 335i on the way out of the parking lot after throwing her stuff in the trunk.
What I’m relatively confident is, all else equal, and of all possible names other than those of known terrorists, the name least compatible with getting elected to the presidency of the United States—
or a specialty pie with a topping that would scandalize even your primitive forebears and taste like free-range chicken (Cories, all else equal, tending to like their sports).
The only three sizes that, if you’re prepared to believe the information on supermarket packaging, a chicken egg comes in—
or the only three sizes that, if you’re prepared to believe men, a penis comes in.
The hue of body glitter you are disappointed to learn the next morning—from a website accessed daily by 70% of South Korea and also, it turns out, your grandmother in Minnesota and your project coordinator at the office—you chose to wear the night before in public with a Stetson hat and nothing else, though you’d think something like that would leave a memory—
or what you’re left with after someone shoved their lunch leftovers right up against the gold coins you keep in the office fridge, and because the Gulden-ized hot dog in question was cut up in little-camper-style gold-coin-sized pieces, you are too grossed out to decide calmly and deliberately whether your gold was not simply tainted but also being mocked.
The line that is hardest to believe has not yet figured prominently in the refrain of a country-western ballad—
or what the U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China catches himself thinking four or five times a day.
A failing grade on a college freshman’s first exam twenty-six years ago in a calculatedly brutal, make-or-break Honors Organic Chemistry course, the stark reality of which caused him in a fit of consternation to march directly to the registrar’s office and swap his pre-med course load for pre-law classes across the board, which in turn accounts for why today he is an attorney and not a physician—
or what the same freshman learned two weeks later, one week after the drop/add period had expired—when he ran into Fred Huang who stuck it out in Honors Organic Chemistry and who, on hearing his former classmate’s tale of woe, stared and exclaimed “You got the 68?!”—had been the highest grade and curved up to 100. (True story. My mother still doesn’t know. Please do not tell her.)
“You are so profoundly stupid, as revealed by your latest contribution to our conversation, that I am temporarily at a loss for how to address the freshest travesty your mind, such as it is, has yielded, and so I will make a sound sufficiently involved—half glottal fricative, half sonorant—that I can hide behind it for a time and wonder how you buy milk at the store”—
or “I am so embarrassingly stupid, as revealed by my abject inability to respond to your latest contribution to our conversation, that I am moreover at a loss as to how to best pretend I’m not, and so I will make a sound sufficiently involve—like vacuum cleaners, but softer, so maybe just the one vacuum cleaner—that I can hide behind it for a time and hope to God some ceiling tiles suddenly fall so we can stop talking about this and instead say ‘What happened?’ a lot to each other.”
New Fiction: Malcolm Gladwell by Roman Muradov
Read it: http://theneweryork.com/malcolm-gladwell-roman-muradov/
New Fiction: Gallery You Can Get Off To by Carmen Brady
Artist: Ie. Ie. Ie.
Media: Mixed, including hair, uncertainty, sleepless sighs at 3am.
Description: Starts with a swallowing feeling, moving from there to something empty, like that tuna sandwich you ate downtown last week. (It had you puking for two days. You still kind of have the shits from it.)
Media: Gin and desperation about your fleeting youth
Description: Almost like dancing, cut off by yellow. Later, unwashed bed sheets sliding with claims of hard to recall memories.
Artist: Alma Green (or Gray? Who cares)
Media: Half finished generational buildings and overgrown araucaria trees.
Description: Bus ride for five hours, baby behind you crying the whole way. See it all from a distance, it makes you sad, but not in a memorable way.
Artist: Mmmm, Yesenia
Material: Pure silk, pure satin, velvet feelings, salty love
Description: Slipping, almost screaming after being left lonely for so so long. Underwear still hanging around one ankle out of habit, even though you won’t need your usual quick escape after this one.