They were up at a picnic table at that park by the lake, by the edge of the lake, with part of a drowned tree in the shallows half-hidden by the bank. Lane A. Dean Jr., and his girlfriend, both in blue jeans and button-up shirts. … Their postures on the picnic table were both the same forward kind with their shoulders rounded and their elbows on their knees. In this position the girl rocked slightly and once put her face in her hands, but she was not crying.
In the spring, when the old homes were opened for pilgrimages, he was invited to wear his uniform and sit in some conspicuous spot and lend atmosphere to the scene….
the house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.
A house stands alone in a post-nuclear-strike landscape. It is one of those Tomorrowland kind of houses that people dreamed of in the 1950s: the stove is cooking eggs and bacon, the mice-robots are scurrying out to clean, the automatic systems are trying to entertain the absent occupants. Absent? Yes, and we find out what More Info »
The Race of the Birdmen
by Harry S. Franklin
“Alright Kid, take a knee.”
Oh ya, the knee—here it comes. One knee sunk into the grass like a pushpin, one elbow effortlessly posed over the opposite knee, chin up, eyes inevitably squinting into the sun, and most importantly, a mask of complete innocence and surprise.
This time it’s serious. Coach has got his arms folded across his chest—a clear sign of his mood. This was going to be one of those man-to-man jobs; which wasn’t too bad considering man-to-man usually means one man does all the talking.
“Here’s the deal.” Coach was always giving someone the deal. “Seems to me, you’re not gettin it. Maybe you think you’ve got it all figured out?”
“Zip it—I’m just getting started. Now, I’ve seen plenty of kids like you—you’re a good enough kid—and I’m not just talking about playing ball. It’s a difficult age and all that—I get it. I remember what it’s like. I used to have all my shit figured out, and nobody could tell me nothing.” Coach was the only adult without a kid on the team, and he never talked to you like a dad; his language was considered “salty” by the dads—but nobody ever said that to his face.
“That’s why I’m gonna tell you something I guarantee you haven’t heard before. Maybe then you’ll see there’s still room inside that thick skull of yours to cram in a few more lessons.”
The mask of innocence quickly morphs into a look of disappointment as the kid shutters one eye in a prolonged wink into the sunlight.
“Ever hear of the Birdmen from Easter Island?”
“Is it a movie?”
“Ha! No, this story is too original for Hollywood. But I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of them; do you know why?”
“Because you made them up?”
“Nope, the Birdmen were real, so is Easter Island—it’s that one with all the creepy stone heads. But you probably haven’t heard of the people who carved those heads, because they’re all dead.”
A wonderful, sci-fi fantasty fairytale told in an almost everyday way. A fabulous example of high-imagination meeting everyday truths. Funny and moving and utterly charming.
“AAfter his second heart attack, the judge knew that he could no longer put off informing his wife about the contents of his will….”
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/03/25/130325fi_fiction_jhabvala#ixzz2PtZ3pkai
A wickedly funny and hugely original collection of stories about misspent love and crimes gone horribly wrong. Kevin Barry’s dazzling languate, razor-sharp ear for the vernacular, and keen eye from the tragedies and comedies of daily life invest these tales with a startling vitality. Shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and as More Info »