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Fiction: P-R

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.

Daogiri

By Victor Perera

“Daogiri,” said Abdullah, their chauffeur-guide, gesturing freely, “is an impregnable fortress. Absolutely. The sides are so steep and smooth that an ant could not climb them —nor even a snake.”

From a mile’s distance, where Stanley Bendana, rounding out a two-year stint in the Peace Corps with a tour of South India, and Mrs. Majumdar had stopped on the roadside for a panoramic view, the citadel had looked impressive enough: a cone of gray rock with a scarped waist that rose sheer from the flat, brown Deccan plateau.

 

The Locust Keeper

By Graham Petrie

To them he was simply “the old man” and they had no other name for him: he was so ancient that they had forgotten what he had once been called and knew nothing of his origins; there was some debate even as to whether he truly belonged to the tribe. Yet when they took me out to meet him, they showed him to me with pride: he was theirs now and was something to exhibit to visitors; he cost virtually nothing to keep in food and shelter and could easily be carried with them once the waterhole dried up and they had to move on. Besides, he looked after their locusts.