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Fiction: 1950s

Fiction of the Day

Dirtnap

By Taylor Koekkoek

I was staying at Jean’s apartment in LA for two months to escape an especially dire Oregon winter and to test how much weight our relationship could bear. We had been conducting a long-distance romance for nearly a year then, back-and-forth visits and weekend excursions, spending all our money on the effort. All-the-time texting, everyday emailing. If we performed all the steps in our elaborate ritual, in exactly the right order, it was possible to conjure the other; to feel, rather than eight hundred miles apart, as though we were separated by a wall, a closed door. Jean happened to be better suited to this than I was. She possessed first-rate powers of object permanence; she was uncommonly kind and endlessly receptive to inspirations of beauty too minute and too remote for me to access. She worked in those days as a freelance copywriter and social media strategist for hip start-ups. Even these tasks she approached with unlimited, inexplicable enthusiasm.

The McCabes

By William Styron

It all came about like this. Poppy, whose religious activity had been intense all through the Lenten season (at times Cass had thought that if she brought one more fish into the house he would throttle her), reached a kind of peak of fervour during Holy Week; unremittingly, she had addressed herself to all sorts of complicated rites and offices, in pouring rain dashing out to see the various Stations—whatever that meant—and it was at one of these, Cass knew not where—at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, perhaps, or that other one, with the Giotto fresco, San Giovanni in Laterano—that she encountered an American couple, the McCabes.