the writing disorder
the writing disorder logo


leonard kress

New Fiction


by Leonard Kress

      Evie, grandmother, stalker. It’s her granddaughter Olivia who gets her started, or at least clears the path. She lives with Evie now, along with her mother, Evie’s only child, after her divorce, three of them together in Evie’s small bungalow. After the layoff. And her daughter’s journey, as she calls it, back to grad school and a degree in creative writing, so she can write that novel she claims has been simmering—or is it percolating—inside her for a decade. Evie asserts she’s given up all that nonsense years ago. So there’s no competition between them and she is a bit more tolerant of her daughter’s struggle to chase after chimeras. That’s probably one of the reasons she’s willing to invite them into the home she’s been living in for the past 30 years, alone for the past 20, once her husband died. Evie may be a grandmother—but she’s trained Olivia to call her Evie. She was horrified when her daughter suggested she should be called Babcia, which is what she called her grandmother. “Not until I wear a kerchief and I’m built like a barrel,” she told her daughter. “And even then—no!” Evie still goes to work every day, teaching English and journalism to suburban high school sophomores and juniors. Advising the drama club whenever they attempt Shakespeare, railing against the atrocious grammar in administrative memos and departmental newsletters.
      Evie wonders whether this should be her mission: to track down the man who wrote a song about her 45 years ago, a song that achieved a modicum of notoriety among the singer-songwriters of the late sixties. Evie had nearly forgotten the whole thing—the ordeal, the betrayal, the harsh lyrics, the stringy black hair of the singer that tendriled around his ears and across his soft pale cheeks when he sang. She hasn’t really thought about him or the song in years. Then Olivia brings it up, dredges it up, after hearing about it in the songwriting class she’s taking in her junior year of high school—a magnet school for the arts that meets in a refurbished warehouse in a dangerous neighborhood. Evie feels the need to check up on her, just the two of them, away from her mother, at least once a week and they meet at Starbucks for coffee. Herbal tea for Evie.
      Evie is not shocked when Olivia mentions the song, Evooshkoo. The class is taking a close look at singer-songwriters of the late sixties, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, James Taylor, of course, as well as some of the lesser lights like Eric Anderson, Phil Ochs, Laura Nyro, Nick Drake. And then Olivia brings up Damien Chain’s almost forgotten song, never re-released, but remembered for its evocative title, which, according to speculation of the time, was some sort of Indian word to go along with the never-denied suspicion that Damien (whose first name came from the popular Herman Hesse novel) was part Native American. Evooshkoo was both a girl’s name and, or so everyone thought, the word for betrayal.
      “My teacher told me to ask you about it? Why?” says Olivia.
      “Not true,” Evie claims, “there’s nothing Indian about it. “It’s simply a diminutive for my name.
      Olivia looks perplexed, her question is more general in nature. “Okay but why did he tell me to ask you about Damien Chain? I’m not even sure what you’re talking about.”
      “Simple, Evooshkoo’s what my Polish grandmother called me—she had a whole string of names, Eva, Evka, Evunia, and Evooshkoo. A couple of my friends called me that back in high school. I guess I must have told it to Damien.”
      Olivia squeals, rising out of her seat, “Oh my god, so that means you knew him, you actually knew him? I can’t believe this. How come you never told me?”
      “It’ complicated,” says Evie, taking a deep breath. “Besides, you mother knows all about it. I thought she would have let the cat out of the bag sometime or other. It’s not something I dwell on these days.”
      “But even my teacher knows—it’s not fair that you kept this from me.” Olivia looks hurt, betrayed, as if she’s about to cry. Then she grips her coffee tightly with both hands as if it’s a pilot’s joystick. She raises it to her chin to feel the cup’s warmth and settles back into her questions, as if she’s conducting an interview for an oral history project. “So then it’s not an Indian word,” she says. “Looks like my teacher got it all wrong. But he also said that it was the only song he knew that had something like a metaphor within a metaphor, whatever that means.” She reaches into her backpack and pulls out a sheet of paper, with the song’s lyrics. She reads three verses aloud. Evie is both horrified and aroused to hear the words recited; she barely remembers the melody and would probably falter if she tried to hum it.

      When I asked you, Evooshkoo, to hold my guitar
      While I was off helping the people
      I never expected it back out of tune
      With the bass string frayed and unraveled

      When I asked you, Evooshkoo, to take my guitar
      When I sat in the jailhouse alone
      I never expected it returned so smashed
      So all it could do was groan

      When I begged you, Evooshkoo, to find it a case
      Something to protect it from harm
      I never expected you’d sell it outright
      Or leave it (and me) in the storm

      Olivia finishes reciting, she looks perplexed. “What did he mean by double-metaphor,” she asks.
      A response comes easily to Evie, automatically switching into English teacher mode, “I think he was referring to the word “case.” It’s a guitar case, of course, but it’s also the legal case that’s referenced above when he mentions “the jailhouse,” and it’s also the circumstances of the relationship between the male and the female.” Evie continues, even though she can sense that her grand-daughter is tuning out, just like her own students do. “And finally, the boy seems to be getting on the girl’s case, so to speak. If only he knew….”
      “Evie,” says Olivia slyly, almost provocatively, “I never thought of you being someone’s muse.”
      “Yeah,” says Evie, “it was a disease I acquired in adolescence. But I got over it.”
      Evie wants to leave and Olivia has to meet up with a friend to buy brownie mix for her next creative writing class—something the teacher encourages and the students love. Evie is relieved that the conversation ends before it goes further. She has stacks of research papers to grade and already knows from the first one she glances at that a third will be plagiarized, another third will be essays simultaneously turned in for another class, and the final third will screw up M.L.A. style so badly, she’ll have to change her whole teaching strategy. Yet, facing those papers, all in their glossy, two-dollar psychedelic covers, is somehow comforting at this time. Better than having to put up with a whole string of questions from Olivia that she knows are sure to come. And probably the next time they see each other. Evie isn’t so much afraid of the answers she’ll feel forced to reveal; she simply dreads having to dredge up details of an event, long forgotten, long dismissed and trivialized. She’d already gone through the details with her daughter decades back, and for the most part, her daughter really wasn’t that interested after she wheedled out of Evie the pertinent detail that Damien Chain was not her father. In fact, Evie recalls, her daughter really wasn’t that interested at all and never even asked to listen to a recording of the song. Olivia, however, has already, within 10 minutes, far surpassed her mother’s curiosities.
      Evie thinks about rummaging through the single carton that contains the “remains,” as she likes to think, of her high school and college life. It’s been stored in the crawl space and she hasn’t been up there in years and nervously pulls down and then climbs up the ladder leading to it. She is certain that she no longer has the vinyl recording with Damien Chase’s song. There was, in fact, only one album and he wasn’t even the only featured performer on it. But it had been highly touted at the time—about a year after she’d met him—and came out on the most important labels of the day, Elektra Records. It was a compilation of up and coming singer-songwriters in the post-protest days. Evie doesn’t even remember the exact title, but she does think that “Post-Protest,” might have been a good title for it. The only other performer she recalls is Tim Buckley, someone she also met around the same time—an unbelievably gorgeous and ethereal looking angel, short and slender, almost miniature even, with perfect black ringlets. In fact, for a while, when Evie attempted to visualize Damien, Tim’s face with its dark liquid eyes often appeared instead. And now, she muses, Buckley died, his son died, maybe even his son’s son is dead too.
      Evie does climb the crooked ladder and has to descend immediately to fetch a flashlight because the bulb is burned out. When she pulls herself up again, her calf cramps and she has to relax and take several deep breaths before continuing. The carton had been shoved back into the eves, behind some old components of a stereo system and a window fan, and Evie has to somehow use the base of the fan to grab onto the carton, pulling it towards her and simultaneously pulling herself up. Rather than attempting to lug the carton down the ladder, she sits on the floor with her legs dangling down through the opening and digs in. She’s not sure what she’s looking for—the record is long gone; her entire record collection had been caught in a flooded basement years ago and the cardboard album covers were dangerously moldy, so everything had been tossed. Evie thinks there might be something in the carton that Olivia will find interesting. Certainly not her old high school and college essays and term papers—though she does wonder if her granddaughter would even make sense of the topics she wrote on. A long study of E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, in which Evie argued that Adela Quested was definitely not raped or even molested by her Indian guide when they were exploring in the Malabar Caves. In fact, she argued, Mrs. Moore was so sexually repressed that she wanted to be ravished by the dark native. And furthermore, Adela Quested might have actually molested him. She might have been the sexual aggressor! Evie cringes as she reads, realizing that she could never make the same argument in a college essay today without being ridiculed. She tosses the whole stack aside and finds a dark green guitar pick with a hole drilled in the middle. For years she had worn that pick on the end of tiny gold chain her mother had given her for her 16th birthday. It had been wedged under the E-string on Damien’s guitar and though she had told several of her friends that he had given it to her, she had actually removed it when he had stepped away for a minute. She figured he must have had dozens of them, along with the creepy looking finger picks that looked like the kind of tacky artificial nails that even some of her fellow teachers began to wear when she first began working. Evie had never seen claws like this before Damien fitted them onto his thumb and three of his fingers to play as song that had a rippling, gurgling sound that reminded her of chimes. Back when she wore the pick during her last two years of high school she liked to think of it as a solidified teardrop, though her friends thought it was just silly looking, some piece of discarded plastic packing material. It’s only now that she realizes the missing chain is also the missing Damien Chain. She’s disappointed that she never made the connection before. All those years of teaching literature and she only now catches the double-meaning, the obvious pun.
      Evie does find the box containing a reel-to-reel tape. She doesn’t remember if she ever listened to it, though she knew that it contained an early master of Evooshku. She’s not sure how it got to her, though she thinks that Damien gave it to one of her friends, or to the friend of a friend, and that it somehow passed through many hands before falling into hers. She rereads the message on the back of the carton, surprised that she had forgotten all about it.

      Evooshkooooooo, here it is, sorry for my disappearing act.
      Got myself a bigtime recording contract—next time you hear this
      you’ll hear a few others along with me. Buckley’s conga player,
      yeah, and who knows, maybe Mike Bloomfield, Al Cooper, it’ll
      blow your mind. And I will be back next spring, spring back eternal!

      The tape looks to be intact, still tightly spooled and flexible. Evie unwinds the first few inches and holds it up to the flashlight, as if it were a filmstrip or a home movie from a Super 8 camera, something she remembers having long ago. She has no idea where to find a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and even if she could locate one, she’s not really sure she wants to listen to the song. But she slips it under her arm anyway, and after shoving the carton even deeper into the eves, and steps down onto the creaky ladder. As she lowers herself, she decides that if she somehow drops the tape and it unravels or if the plastic reel cracks, she will toss it into the garbage. However, if it’s still intact, she will pass it on to Olivia and let her deal with it. Evie is surprised that she’s allowing fate to influence her decision; she’s always viewed herself as resolute and intuitive, nothing left to chance, if she could control the outcome. And perhaps she still is acting decisively, because she squeezes her arm tightly against her side as she grips the rails of the ladder. Once down, she will give the tape to Olivia the next time she sees her. She will not, however, give her the green pick.
      Evie’s sure that Olivia will somehow get her hands on an old reel-to-reel. One of her male friends goes crazy over vinyl records and old 8-track tapes, so it’s not farfetched to think that he’ll come through. Evie wonders if this guy, who she’s met only once when he picked up Olivia to take her to some sort of Moody Blues revival (or was it a Moody Blues tribute band) at her school, is her boyfriend. Perhaps, she thinks. And then she realizes that Olivia is probably going to pester her for more details about her life—really only the one-and-a-half days—she spent with Damien. Evie wants to get her story straight, package it neatly with no unraveling strings, no fraying paper. She knows from her years of teaching what 16-year-old girls are like and what they like to hear and what they find too disturbing to process. Not that she thinks there’s anything unseemly or reckless about those thirty-six hours (minus the 6 hours she was home sleeping in her own bed for the night.) She decides to leave out the two hours in the middle of the day, after they’d only been together for an hour, when she walked the two blocks to the his parked truck, actually a Ma Bell telephone repair truck from the 1950s, the Bell logo still stenciled on the door. It was dark brown and had a low compartment behind the cab—only about 3 feet high and 6 feet long, where Damien often slept on a zipped open sleeping bag that covered the floor. To keep it from becoming unbearably (and dangerously) hot, he had removed the top of the compartment and covered it with an old screen door he’d trash picked and modified to fit. This was an important detail, because even though it was still stiflingly hot and stuffy inside, this was where she and Damien had sex, her first time. It isn’t a detail, though, that she plans to reveal to Olivia. Evie is sure, however, that her grand-daughter will figure this out, but that’s beyond her control. Besides, she knows from overhearing her students talking, that they all think hippies did nothing else but screw and ball (which is the term she remembers using.)
      The sex with Damien had been her one-way gate moment, as she liked to characterize it. She picked up this phrase from her college Shakespeare course, studying Macbeth. “There’s knocking at the gate,” Lady Macbeth says ominously. “What’s done cannot be undone.” You are the person who did that thing and you are now defined by that action. Of course it was her one-way gate not Damien’s. Even though Evie figured this out years ago, she’s not sure it still applies and wonders if every event in her life has been a one-way gate. She wonders if anything would have been different if she hadn’t met him—and quickly abandons that train of thought when she spots Olivia, cheerful and romantic, headed to her table.
      “Here,” says Evie, extending her arm with the tape box resting on her flattened palm, almost like an annoyed customer returning an undercooked platter to a waitress.
      The ambiguity of the handover is lost on Olivia, who gushes, “Oh thankyou thankyou thankyou,” she says. “I’m sure to get an “A” now.”
      Evie is temporarily relieved—for now, at least, it’s all about grades.
      Here’s the version of the events surrounding the tape that Evie tells her grand-daughter. It is 1968:

      —after Dr. Spock (and no, not the Spock from Star Trek but the baby doctor) is arrested.

      —after the Tet Offensive by the Viet Cong (oh forget this one, I’m sure you never got to this
      in history class…

      —after I’m arrested with some classmates, canvassing for Eugene McCarthy (the
      anti-war presidential candidate, the poet…oh, you never heard of him. Too bad.)

      —after the My Lai Massacre (I can’t believe you don’t know about that, over 500
      women and children slaughtered. Surely you’ve heard the expression,
      “it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it?”)

      --after the King assassination…

      “I had just finished my sophomore year in high school. My friends and I would take the “A” Bus from the suburbs to downtown Philadelphia. We’d gather at Rittenhouse Square, an old park in the center of luxury high-rises. We’d sit on the edge of the fountain and dip our feet into the pool. I don’t think I wore shoes once that entire summer.”
      Evie doesn’t mind that her granddaughter only half-pays attention. She’s used to sixteen-year olds with their phones on desks in full view, periodically receiving and responding to text messages. Olivia is no different and Evie knows this is a battle she cannot win. She hopes, at least, that her granddaughter is telling her boyfriend about this unbelievable gift she’s just been handed.
      “Once summer came my friend Janice and I began going there every day. We’d stay from morning till night, catching the last bus home at eleven. We never missed the bus, not once.”
      “What did your parents think?” Olivia asks. “Wasn’t it dangerous in the city back then? Weren’t there riots back then?”
      Evie doesn’t respond while Olivia texts wildly, her thumbs flailing, her head shaking furiously, eyelids fluttering. Watching her, Evie feels sorry for her. It’s mostly the time she’s growing up in—all that technology, having to keep up with the changes every three months, the need to be constantly connected with her friends, as if her entire world might crumble if she wasn’t fully aware of what they were thinking and doing every minute of the day. Earlier Olivia was telling her about her big plans for the summer, which included making a video of her and her friends singing anti-war songs from the sixties on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. And how cool it would be once they were posted on YouTube. Songs written twenty-five years before she was born! That’s the extent of her ambition—nothing about the Occupy movement or nothing about income inequality or American militarism, or the corporatization of the country, global warming, genetically modified crops, homelessness, AIDS. And terrified to ride on the bus or venture into the city without her mother. Evie decides not to tell her how she used to hitch-hike all over the place, into the city, down the shore, all the way to Vermont once, to visit some guy who lived on a primitive farm and how they balled inside his tent while his old lady was doing laundry in the stream just a few hundred feet away.
      Evie met Damien on one of those nights in the square. It was early evening, still scorching hot and muggy, and she was sitting in a small circle with a group of people on the grass. The crowds hadn’t begun to pour in yet; that didn’t happen until after dark, and there were only a handful of cops nervously pacing along the brick paths. Most of the cops were young themselves and tried to maintain a friendly demeanor, though the whole time they’d grip their black batons with one hand and nervously tap it against the other palm. Mostly, though, they seemed to be looking at the young girls in their cut-off shorts, tube or tank tops, their shiny long hair dripping down to the ground. Evie was the only girl in her group, which included a black guy whom she knew only as “Sadge,” short for Sagittarius and a really young shirtless guy, no more than twelve, who claimed to have run away from his home near the Jersey shore, and a middle-aged man with a long wiry beard. Everyone called him Roach, and he spent most his time handing out tabs of LSD, mescaline, and peyote buttons. He claimed to be some sort of minister. “And there was something very calming and peaceful about him,” Evie says. He had this piercing gaze and he massaged you upper arm when he spoke. His voice was so soothing. He claimed to be a disciple of the Maharishi.”
      “Damien walked over, his guitar strung over his shoulder. At first he sat down next to Roach and whispered something in his ear. Roach began laughing hysterically. I asked what was so funny and that’s when Damien noticed me. Then he began to play a song he said he’d written about a mining disaster—a cave in. It was so sad I began to cry. He said his grandfather was a miner who died of black lung disease when he was just a boy. And he insisted that he learned the melody from him. Evie wanted him to keep on singing and felt cheated when he halted after a few verses. She had never heard anything like this before. She imagined herself as the miner’s wife waiting for her husband to return all soot-blackened and weary, only to be told by a neighbor that there’d been a cave-in.
      “So why did you steal his guitar,” asks Olivia playfully. Her eyes widened and for the first time she pushed her phone aside.
      Evie senses that her granddaughter is attempting to turn her story into something cloying and flirtatious. And for Evie, nothing could be more inaccurate. She didn’t even know how to flirt back then and really never learned how. Olivia, on the other hand, as well as her daughter, seemed to turn it on so effortlessly. Her students, too, throughout the years, giggles and false outrage, hugs and double-entendres. Evie pictures Olivia imagining a frolicking game of tug of war over the guitar--with her tumbling and rolling down some grassy slope, only to be gently bumped by Damien, who is gazing lovingly upon her, who picks a sprig of grass (or even a flower) and brushes it against her cheek, his lips almost grazing hers.
      “I didn’t steal his guitar—why would I do that?”
      Olivia shrugs. “I don’t know.”
      “In any case,” says Evie, “the guitar incident happened the next day, the next evening actually. One of the cops came over and told Damien that they were going to tow his truck, which was parked around the corner, that the meter had expired. Damien told him “thanks, man,” and then he just shoved his guitar into my hands. I assumed he’d be back in a few minutes, though I remember him telling me he didn’t have any money, not even change. None of us had money. So I was prepared for him to be gone for a while, while he panhandled or something. But he never came. And there I was, stuck with his guitar and the guitar case and his bag of harmonicas.
      Evie doesn’t mention that Roach had asked Damien if he could score some hashish and that Damien said, “yeah, man, it’s back in my truck.” She also doesn’t mention that she knew this because Damien had showed her his stash the day before. It was in a band-aid container and before he removed her clothes (actually just a tank top and cutoffs) he reached underneath the mattress for a pipe which reminded her of one of her father’s small sprocket wrenches and dumped the hash into her open palm. It looked like a brownie that had been tightly wadded up into a ball and Evie was terrified that just the contact with her skin would cause her to hallucinate. Damien leaned back against the side of the truck cabin, his head bent foreward, wedged in between the wall and the ceiling. He grabbed her wrist and pressed the bowl of the pipe down onto her extended palm. Evie felt a tickle at first and then she wondered if this might be part of the process, as if her were somehow injecting the hash into her hand. And then, as he twisted it around and dug deeper, trying to insert it into the bowl of the pipe, Evie thought of stigmata and relaxed into some sort of compliancy, ready for whatever might happen.
      “Hey, are you okay,” asked Damien. But Evie didn’t respond. By the time Damien lit the match and held its flame to the dark substance, Evie was already high and acquiescent. Afterwards, she couldn’t recall if she had even sucked on the pipe like he had ordered. He was already moving solidly above her, back and forth and side to side, his sweat dripping off his chin onto her neck. Evie had not even considered that her encounter would end up this way. Damien had said nothing in the park—he simply took her by the hand as if her were leading her to a pleasant, shaded, and canopied passage through ancient oak trees. And Evie followed.
      “You mean he never came back?” Olivia sounds hurt, as though she’s the one abandoned.
      “I guess he eventually returned, but after a few hours, it was getting late and I had to catch the bus home. I packed up his guitar and gave it to the cop, who said he’d stash it in his cruiser. I didn’t think that was such a good idea, but what choice did I have?”
      “You mean that’s the whole story? It’s all so pseudo.” Olivia says.
      “Well, I did catch the bus home,” says Evie. “And my mother was furious because I had promised to go shopping with her. But that was the last thing on my mind.” Evie leaves out the part where her mother was waiting on the porch for her, furious. The porch light was glowing and dozens of moths were buzzing around the bulb, popping into it. Evie had been crying but her mother saw only her dilated pupils and grabbed her by the elbow, crashing her into the screen door. Evie collapsed onto the threshold. “That’s it for you, young lady,” her mother chastised, “From now on you’re staying home.” And then she reached down to help Evie rise up, her hand cupped under her Evie’s arm. “And that’s the last time you’re leaving home without a bra,” she screamed.
      “I don’t see how you let him get away with lying about you,” Olivia says, as if she’s on a mission.
      Evie is not sure whether she’s serious or just feigning outrage. “Well, I would say it’s certainly bogus. But that’s what poets do—switch things around, exaggerate, compress.”
      “Yeah, but how come you never confronted him. How come you never called him a liar?”
      “What good would it have done,” said Evie, “by the time the song came out, I had almost forgotten the whole thing. And then, for a very short time, it became my claim to fame.”
       “What about now?” snaps Olivia. She seems to be growing vengeful and self-righteous. “If someone did that to me, I’d make sure everyone knew my side of the story.”
      Evie starts to regret the whole thing, but at the same time she’s pleased to be the center of attention. Surely her daughter would never display such interest in her life. Her students, too. For them it was only how she could help them. And now her grand-daughter is growing ever more passionate about defending or reclaiming Evie’s honor.”
      “I’d make sure the whole world knew, if I were you.” Olivia reiterates her determination. I’d be sure to get the message out.”
      “I wouldn’t even know where to begin,” says Evie.”I certainly don’t want to hire a private detective.”
      Olivia gulps, not sure whether to laugh or skoff at her grandmother. “You must watch too much tv,” she says dismissively, mimicking the way she thinks an old person would address someone her own age.
      Evie turns defensive. “I rarely watch TV, and in any case, how would you go about searching for someone you hadn’t been in touch with for years? Someone you barely knew.”
      Olivia doesn’t respond except for a slight knowing smile. Evie feels that she’s been somehow bettered in some reverse generational conflict. It irks her that her grand-daughter so easily turned the tables on her and she has a vague feeling that Olivia not only knows how to gather such intelligence, but that she might have already, unbeknownst to her, done so. Olivia retreats from her attack, reverting to her earlier stance—“at the very least,” she states emphatically, “I would get the message out.”

      Evie has no interest in getting any message out. Especially a message that’s over forty years old and has absolutely no bearing on anything. When Bob Dylan’s old flame, Suze Rotolo, published her memoirs a few years back, not a single one of Evie’s friends or co-workers seemed interested. And unlike Evie, who gets blamed for ruining a guitar and not standing by her man (whom she had only known for a few hours!) Suze was described by Dylan as the most erotic thing he’d ever seen. Evie had copied the exact quote, “The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard... Meeting her was like stepping into the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights. She had a smile that could light up a street full of people and was extremely lively, had a kind of voluptuousness—a Rodin sculpture come to life" Evie showed this quote to her creative writing students, trying to initiate, she had hoped, a discussion of love tropes and cliches and allusions and hyperbole. But not a single student, not even the nerdy boys who wrote obsessively about zombies and aliens and comic book superheroes, had anything to offer. And her girls loved it unequivocally—looking at her spitefully with generational contempt when she wondered aloud whether they pictured Rodin’s Thinker as voluptuous.
      Evie does not make the same mistake with Olivia, even though she is curious to discover if her grand-daughter, whom she has always thought of as a clear and sophisticated and discerning thinker, might react the same way.

      Evie’s certain she’s successfully navigated the turbulent waters of nostalgia and regret and bathos, uncapsized, only a mild soaking. She doesn’t feel the need to stalk any more. Or even talk about it. Her own daughter remains oblivious to Evie’s recent conversations with her own daughter and is unlikely to ask questions. She tells Olivia to abandon any search that might lead to a middle-aged Damien. Evie expects the song and her role in it and to sink back into its comfortable depth, submerged and treasureless. She will not seek out Damien Chain. Perhaps he’s gone back to his original name—Danny Chulusky, something she never revealed to Olivia. She can’t imagine showing up at his door, only to encounter a bald, dumpy realtor or a near-retirement special ed teacher, most likely never married and in ill-health, as distant from the past as she has become. Olivia completes her project and gets the expected A-plus.

Leonard Kress has published fiction and poetry in Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, Crab Orchard Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, Living in the Candy Store, and Thirteens. He teaches philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Owens College in Ohio. ( )

COMMENT        HOME       BLOG


New Fiction

David Atkinson

John Bach

Bobby Fischer

Jacqueline Friedland

Leonard Kress

Erin Lebacqz

John Richmond

David Starnes

Emily Topper

Sayuri Yamada


By accessing this site, you accept these Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2010-2014 ™ — All rights reserved