Issue 14: Fiction
- Storyteller by William Reese Hamilton
Rafael is a fine host and natural raconteur, charming his guests with stories that have been refined by time and numerous retellings. Tall and slim with the thin, graying hair of a fifty-year-old, he still exudes a boyish enthusiasm, and late at night in his elegant tropical home by the river, over a bottle of fine Chilean red, I listen and laugh and search for the harder truth behind his tales.
He tells us about the Choroní of his childhood, when the mountain road from Maracay was dirt and the family Volkswagen churned up the slick hills and skidded down around the edge of deep ravines. When drivers always stopped to help fellow travelers out of the mud. Before there was a telephone line or a gas station, when the field at that corner was a forest of cacao and Rafael had to run and climb a tree to escape from a wild boar. Before his parents built their house and they slept in hammocks in someone's garden, near the malecón, by the sea, where the waves crashed against the rocks at night. When there were no real buildings along the river in Puerto Colombia, only bamboo and palm shacks. Except for a great long building which was the only bar, owned by a man named Pata'e Pluma, feather-foot, because of the way he dragged his misshapen leg.
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Three Weeks Before the River Crested by Robyn Steely
Somehow, I fell asleep. Naked, under the buzzing fluorescence of the motel room fixtures, the well-worn sheets tangled and bunched between my thighs. The bed and I occupied most of the room. The scant rest held the nightstand, the plastic wooden dresser and the brown plaid chair he was sitting on when I woke up. Every thing in that room was a shade of brown or yellow or brownish yellow—the wallpaper, the matted shag carpet, the flimsy sheets that half-covered me, the harsh glow of the lights under which I had managed to sleep. Until his bottle of Ten High met the nightstand and startled me awake.
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