The Missingest Man in America
A storefront nun confronted the contents of her tambourine.
A nickel. Sister Elspeth Joyful frowned.
“I am Joseph Force Crater; I am a judge of the New York State Supreme
Court. I am not the Adversary. Your chastity is safe with me; I am a
The man—erect with a mane of white hair and yachtsman’s deep tan—must
be a professor. This man was a gift and gifts were doubtful. “You are
the Devil, then.” Sister Joyful stood her ground.
The Year They Invented Frozen Lemonade
“I am midtown. Manhattan?” Linda Winkelman speaks her question
out loud in the middle of the rush hour push; no one takes notice. Linda
is standing in the middle of a street. She can not recall who she is
or why she is here.
“I remember lemonade,” says Linda. Buildings disappeared, people disappeared.
Now it is her turn.
The Song of the Rice Barge Coolie
“My sister, is she dead? Go and give her a poke, would you?”
The great white presence that was the Lady Mother of the Long Walkers
indicated the row of captive queens on their dais beneath her, deferentially
The Runaway Bungalow
“Arrgh! See me neck, lad?” Theophrastus Bigelow’s head hung
at a grotesque angle from where the long executioner’s knot had settled
at the base of his skull. Randy held his mother’s mop, set to dry in
the sun, between himself and the pirate. Bigelow succumbed to gales
of laughter. “I didn’t die from the drop; I swung and strangled. Whadda
ye think o’ that?”
“I think it’s rather nice that you didn’t die all at once,” Randy said.
The cat had been a twenty-pounder once, but now you could
read a magazine right through him. He hadn’t been around for a couple
of weeks, and Val figured that he had tackled something out of his league:
a bullet, traffic on the state road, some upcountry coyote with a taste
for feral cats.
Wide and quiet, his great green eyes invited her to share a secret knowledge,
intimating she was trusted, but not yet ready for a full revelation.
Her species would have to mature.
Two of Swords
Capt. Futvoye Halfnight, D.D.S, popped his dropped eye into
its socket. “Ahh.” What he saw ahead was not reassuring. “Ohh...” A
great gnarly man was leaning against a tree and staring at him. He was
naked but for the skin of a tiger which he wore nonchalantly over one
“You pilgrims should carry rearview mirrors. You leave an inventory
of lost lesions and dropped appendages all over the landscape,” said
A Pass on the Tabouli
Errol Flynn reclined in a lavender-scented bath and extended
a tanned hero’s arm to make a fist. He suspected the studio had kept
him stuffed with hormones and cloned organs for the last seventy-five
years all for this one last remake. How many Kims had it been? Damned
Kipling. Flynn wondered if camels gave him hemorrhoids, too.
One last Kim. Flynn wished he had read the fine print on the resurrection
E Pluribus Human
“YO, BABE!” A man’s voice blared at Grenadine McKenzie, “SURPRISE,
YOU’RE PREGNANT.” A craggy male face bloomed before her.
The face was a hero’s face, Lance Davenport from Rights of Spring. There
was an odor of patchouli.
The Radio Priest
Fr. Coughlin’s face swam in the pier glass. He gasped, struggled
for breath and sank to his knees on the burgundy carpeting—twelve-fifty
the square foot and imported at great expense by the Radio Vestrymen’s
The voice of the Little Flower followed, skimming upstairs like a flat
stone over placid waters—“Coughlin, Charlie Coughlin. We are coming
again. Spread the Word.”