I’m happy and grateful to have a reprint of my maple syrup imbued, tres Canadien, playoff beard of a short story, “South of Oromocto Depths”, appear in Toronto’s CommuterLit. Editor Nancy Kay Clark has been generous with her coveted space once again and this will be my eighth appearance in this respected (and entertaining) literary ezine.
The short fiction, which first appeared in Literally Stories, will appear this Thursday, July 6, in CommuterLit. It follows previous publications of:
“Encountered on the Shore”– reprinted by Occulum (previously called Fair Folk)
“A Vile Insinuation”
(The three stories above comprise “The Red River Valley Trilogy”)
“Gather by the River” Part One (“Zero to Sixty”)
“Gather by the River” Part Two (“The Margin of the River”) – reprinted in riverbabble
“The Rothmans Job”– reprinted in SickLit
“Winter Eve at Walker Creek”
“South of Oromocto Depths” – first published in Literally Stories. Visit CommuterLit commencing July 6 to see this story in its latest incarnation.
We let the motor warm up. It idled in baritone, gurgling as gray smoke rose up out of bubbles that popped on the surface behind the big white motor. Every half-minute or so it ran slightly faster, then vibrated, shuddering back down to the lower idle speed, sometimes coughing unexpectedly.
I have a new story.
It is a prequel to the story that first appeared in Rhubarb Magazine, “A Fisherman’s Story”. This piece becomes a Part 1 to that original tale of a family on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Part 1 is in 1955, in Acapulco and tells of one of the original characters, when he was a younger man, captaining a fishing charter boat. The original piece is Part 2 and is told primarily through the experience of the wife; the mujere.
I have re-named it, “The Bottom of the Sky” , comprising Part 1 Acapulco 1955 and Part 2 Puerta Vallarta 1975.
Here are a few excerpts:
Avelino walked the tourist beaches. His officina, as he liked to joke with the Americans who lay like white cordwood in neat rows, toes pointing at the sun. He had a photo album with pictures of the azul boat; fish strung on the scale at the Acapulco dock; smiling American faces, sun-tanned with movie-star sunglasses and drinks in hand. He was charming and good looking and he hooked many gringo fish.
After a quiet half-hour of trolling they came to a feeding fish. In the split second before it happened, Jose could feel the strike. Then the rod bucked in the holder and the line peeled out in a persistent zazzzzz sound like fingernails on nylon. The pinche yelled and the woman named Angel clapped her hands, her red fingernails looking like spattered blood against the bright horizon.
“Senor Bart! Por favor,” Jose strode rearward with the rod harness, its buckles jingling, passing it to the large man. Then he hurried to the transom where the fishing line danced and swung like a kite tail above the bubbles in the wake of the boat.
The boat rocked in silence at the wharf, next to the scales. Jose sat on the dock staring down into the dirty water. The American had shouted something, cursing as he climbed into a taxi with the women. Doris stared at Jose from the car, her eyes dark and hateful – not the fairy blue they were when she reached over and touched his arm with hers.
YOU KNOW HOW IT IS, RIGHT? You create something that you feel good about – it’s honest, or you believe it to be so. You love it. Shitface drunk love. Then you slowly get to know it – you see it age like a child – and you recognize flaws that you were earlier willing to ignore. You work on it over and over until it is the best you can do; things become stale and the edits you make just become a false shuffle of the deck – nothing really changes.
Then a month goes by (or six) and you read it again. You see things and maybe after a sleep – waking up at three A.M. – you figure out what to do.
And then you love it again the same way it was when it was born, except maybe it’s a more mature love – maybe you accept it in a way you could not before, including the things that you could still change, but, you don’t. The story, like the characters in it, is partly good and partly bad – flawed but capable of splendor.
I am a proud father today and maybe this will find a publication home. I’ll send it to a few “early readers” in the meantime and will report it here if it does get picked up.
Another day in the life — I better get down to the beach before my wife becomes certain that I have lost my mind.
allfornow – mitch
Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2017