The first great act of love I ever witnessed was Split Lip bathing his handicapped daughter. We were young, ignorant of mercy, and called her Boneless or Balled-Up Gumby for the way her limbs were twisted and useless. She looked like a newborn colt, appendages folded in as she lay on the velour couch protected by guardrails. Leo and I stood outside the window on cinder blocks, watching. She was scared of the tub, so to bathe her Split Lip covered the couch with a tarp and caught the runoff in a bucket. Mrs. Split Lip was long gone, unable to bear the work Boneless required. She found another man and together they made a little blond beauty they dressed in red velvet and paraded up and down the aisle at St. Caspian’s while Split Lip held Boneless against him in the last pew, shushing her whenever the music overcame her and she started making horrible moaning noises trying to sing along.
Posts Tagged: fiction
We’ve gathered at the railway.
Our nerve endings have faded, the gamut of our sensations become just two poles, yes or no: Can you feel that?
No. Not much anymore, said while testing a point against the pillow of thumb, of palm, against corded wrists. Glass to skin. Needle to skin. The way flesh puckers before it’s punctured. But nothing coursing beneath it: a riverbed of fissured earth.
We’re waiting on the tracks that skirt Bangkok. The rhythm on the rails is a heartbeat and it pummels through us. We lay on the ground to better catch the pounding, the low moan of a horn. We stand with backs stretched, shudder pleasantly like a man urinating. We hum train songs, skip on the crossties, stack gravel into mausoleums for diminutive kings. We are listless, parched, and waiting for the arrival, finally, of a man who comes tripping across the dawn expanse. Distant roosters rouse the moment. A nursery rhyme ripples through us:
Make way! Give way! How many birds can we feed today?
Mom brought home the mantis shrimp on Monday while I was at school. Dad had just last Wednesday, during visitation, bought me the video game that even most of the fifth graders weren’t allowed to play. The game disappeared while I was sleeping, but I guess Mom wanted to make absolutely sure she was still keeping ahead of her competition. “It can see more colors than we can imagine,” she said on the ride back from school, and then, “I don’t know if it’s bigger than a breadbox. Ask another question.”
I’d had eight fish in my aquarium. One of them, Benjamin, had lived there for almost two whole years. By the time I got home, the mantis shrimp had killed them all.
Remember watching VHS tapes rewind? Like when Jack and Rose are alone in freezing waters but are saved by the magically appearing Titanic, which bursts up from the bottom of the sea only to take them back to Southampton. Or like watching the truce between the Montagues and Capulets slowly break apart by the spontaneous re-animations of Romeo and Juliet.
This time, we at Indiana Review are asking for you to not only reverse a story, but also do it in under 140 characters. Take a classic tale and tweet it from finish to start. Remember to always hashtag the title of the work as well as the official hashtag #IRrewind.
“The story of a jaded boy who leaves his family to go to college and join the fencing team #CatcherintheRye #IRrewind”
“A scientist buries different body parts in the cemetery and they all grow into people who live happy lives #Frankenstein #IRrewind”
“A teenage wizard is robbed of his magical talent until he must resign himself to living under a family’s stairs #HarryPotter #IRrewind”
After the deadline, October 17 @ 12 PM EST, the IR team will pick out our one, favorite rewind, the writer of which will receive free entry into the 2016 Fiction Prize and an IR Prize Pack. While there will only be one winner, we will also be awarding several runner-ups IR Prize Packs as well. This will include the glorious privilege of being re-tweeted and mentioned in future blog posts from Indiana Review.
If you aren’t a 90’s kid and can’t remember how to rewind, you can always submit to general submissions or to the 2016 Fiction Prize, judged by the wonderful Aimee Bender! More information can be found on our website: https://indianareview.org/contests/
Good luck and remember to be kind and rewind!
Our 2015 1/2 K Prize Winner was Nghiem Tran for his flash piece “House.” In this interview, he discusses his inspiration for the piece, favorite reads, and advice for this year’s submitters.
Nghiem Tran was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and moved to Wichita, Kansas when he was seven years old. He is a Kundiman Fellow and a graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Educational Studies. His fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Hyphen, Duende, and Reservoir.