The week’s best online fiction, with recommendations from FictionDaily‘s editors.
“Ecstasy in the Cafeteria” by Miguel Gardel, Inertia Magazine
When there’s a word you don’t know in a story–like ‘cosquilita’, for instance–but the story is short and exact and compelling enough to build its entire self around that word, the word becomes an erotic mystery, much like the story itself. The word is a leg in between your legs under the table at a cafeteria, where the leg is massaging gently around the center of you while the spouse of the leg sits next to the leg, unaware, and the feeling you get from the word is that libidinal desiring-thinking that courses through your noise and eyes and toes–up and down–that makes you forget whatever the hell it was that you were worried about. In fact, what you were worried about turns into the word itself, a sound, eros, love, but not epic marriage love, the sensibility of not-knowing the meaning but just feeling fucking good. You say it to yourself. Cosquilita. Mhmm. Cosquilita. Yeah. Cosquilita. More. Then it’s over. You look up the word.–David Backer
“from Kepler” by Charles Freeland, Sugar Mule
Charles Freeland’s the sort (a professor and poet by trade) to get one thinking about poetry, and prose as poetry, and what rogue scum it was divided the two with a stick, as Tiresias the mating snakes. Has then prose become the male (banausic, lymphatic, dream-troubled, vengeful yet too tired to kill) and poetry female? Or vice versa? That’s a pity, either way. That such hard distinctions should… Ought we to jettison the “heightened imagery and emotional effects” under any conceivable circumstances [Wikipedia]? Freeland is funny. There’s that as well, humor, to cherish. Freeland writes, quite funnily, and with prose and poetry gonads both: “If only we were placed on a level surface and had merely to choose a direction from all those that present themselves to us like so many balloons tied to the antennas of the vehicles on a used car lot.” You had to be there, maybe. And you can be. See if you can find the Clorox reference.--Ryan Nelson