Tag: major character deaths

Short story: “Moon-Face”

“Moon-Face: A Story of Mortal Antipathy,” by Jack London

Appeared in the newspaper The Argonaut July 21st in either 1902 or 1906; read as part of PseudoPod 589: Flash On The Borderlands XLII: Misanthropes, April 6th, 2018; also online here

2,253 words

A good creepy yarn. Reminds me of Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” where the narrator wants to kill the old man for no reason except that there’s something about his eye.


Short story: “Some Days the Bees Are Melancholic”

“Some Days the Bees Are Melancholic,” by Melissa Goodrich and Dana Diehl

Appeared in The Offing, April 2nd, 2018

3,242 words

I’m sure plenty of teachers have felt like this when a student (or forty-one students) fail(s) to thrive in the classroom. And when the teachers themselves fail the student(s), or feel like they have—not even managing to learn their name(s). (I don’t usually like author bios, but I notice both authors have experience as teachers.)

I wonder how two authors collaborate on this type of piece.

Edited to add: Can you really tap on a tablet with a toothpick?

Edited again to add: I guess the tablet has one of those attached keyboards.

Short story: “Clap Your Hands”

“Clap Your Hands,” by Andrew F. Kooy

Appeared in issue 107 of Apex Magazine (online here April 3rd, 2018) and read very well on the podcast by Christopher Soren Kelly

3,300 words, according to the magazine

(Spoilers ahead.) A good story, if rather bleak. I didn’t get the ending at first—apparently it’s obvious to the stranger that there shouldn’t be any water here, and the hole was meant for a mass grave.

Flash fiction story: “Death Rides Shotgun”

“Death Rides Shotgun,” by Michael Haynes

Appeared in Galaxy’s Edge, Issue Thirty-One: March 2018 (I think you can read the whole issue on the website)

937 words

A sweet, gentle, understated story.

Flash fiction story: “On Top of the World”

“On Top of the World,” by Len Kuntz

Appeared in Wigleaf, January 2018

219 words

A charming fantasy. I like the tension between the first two lines and what follows. That seems like a dumb obvious thing to say, but it’s true.

Short story: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor

First published in The Avon Book of Modern Writing (Avon Books, 1953); anthologized in The House of Fiction (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1960); collected in A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955); anthologized all over the place; online hereread by the author here

6,463 words

I like this story without really knowing what it means. I love the grandmother. She’s so annoying, so unwittingly ridiculous, it’s actually cute.

Wikipedia offers several interpretations of the story. J. Stillwell Powers, on the Ploughshares blog, subscribes to the “moment of grace” one, which I like:

“The grandmother experiences her own dismantling as her family is executed. Her attempts to reason with the Misfit prove futile, and she is forced to confront the failure of her worldview as a means for salvation. Stripped of the perspectives she has clung to, she turns inward for redemption, and, in this moment, sees clearly for the first time. Here lies her moment of grace. Beneath the muzzle of the Misfit’s gun, she suddenly perceives the Misfit’s humanity, recognizing it as her own.”

This seems like the interpretation O’Connor most likely intended. Not to imply that the author’s intention is the last word.

Now Bessie Smith’s great rendition of the song of the same title is stuck in my head.

Short story: “Half Pipe”

“Half Pipe,” by Zoe Whittall

Appeared in Hazlitt, July 21st, 2017, with some illustrations by Vicki Nerino

5,363 words

This is really good stuff. Spoilers follow. I felt like the ending was too abrupt. It’s been set up mechanically—all the elements are in place for this thing to happen—but it doesn’t feel justified by the story. The story shouldn’t end with a bang, it should end with Morgan and the changes she’s undergone. (It also occurs to me that this ending could be a punishment for Tyler’s crimes. Maybe Morgan’s barely expressed anger is coming out through her uncle. That doesn’t seem quite right though.)

Flash fiction story: “The 45th President of the United States and I Went to a Petting Zoo”

“The 45th President of the United States and I Went to a Petting Zoo,” by Grant Gerald Miller

Appeared in (b)OINK, October 13th, 2017

513 words

A bizarre and charming fantasy. I like the stilted repetition of “the 45th President” and its refusal to actually say the guy’s name.

“The 45th President slowly mouthed the world animal. Animals, I said. They’re called animals. You’re supposed to pet them.”

Edited to add: It has been confirmed that the president can, in fact, identify several different animals.

Flash fiction story: “One-Way Family”

“One-Way Family,” by Claire Polders

Appeared in (b)OINK, December 12th, 2017

544 words

I like this story. The tragedy of the protagonist finding her (?) way to loving her sister only when it’s too late.

“Happiness, he said, is a pause between misery and regret.”

Short story: “After Life”

“After Life,” by Jen Michalski

Appeared on LitMag‘s blog, April 10th, 2017

2,252 words

The emptiness of the girlfriend’s characterization is striking and well done: you can see she’s a real person, but like the main character, you can’t see who she really is. Is it possible the dreams she recounted were, in fact, all she ever dreamed? Did she sense something missing inside herself?

Edited to add: This casting-about for answers is familiar to anyone who’s lost someone to suicide.