May 1, 2012 Fiction


                                                                                                                                                   Fiction for May : Marcus Speh, Stella Pierides, Nancy E Boyd







The Serious Writer in Texas


Marcus Speh





He wonders if the billboard yelling “drink – drive – go to jail” is an incitement for a young Kerouac. The roads are broken bones of baked Earth and oil. Every time the writer’s car heads for a hole he tenses up but he forgets that this isn’t just a vehicle, it’s a way of life on wagon wheels. Whoever drives one of these crates enters a cliché like a holodeck. How to keep the tension when everyone’s so damned relaxed? He wants to shout “don’t mess with me, fuckhead!” at the next person but of course he doesn’t do it, his class doesn’t allow it. When he blasphemes, his vocabulary resigns achingly as if he had Alzheimer’s. His personal idea of paradise: swearing from dusk till dawn without washing his mouth out. Suggestion: make an ordinary friend.     



The cirrus clouds above are high-strung nervous horses. An osprey has made the impossible imaginable: he’s married to the bridge, the love of his life. Whenever the writer comes home, the bird sits on the railing, keeping an eye out for someone weaker. Nature here is predatory behind a veil of sunny smiles. The mosquito doesn’t actually like the salt water of the laguna. Hidden in a gazillion eggs it awaits the rain, for months if necessary. When it arrives the insects breed in puddles and exterminators traverse the neighborhood at night spelling death in itty-bitty fog letters. Jellyfish is transparent, not so its motivation to sting. The jellyfish even has a soldier caste called man-o-war with a characteristic purple color attractive especially to unsuspecting children. Suggestion: life’s a rowdy riddle in the lone star state.



Everybody here is a person from Porlock. The writer wears a blue headdress as a scarf around his neck because of his throat ache that he thinks was brought on by the incessant air conditioning. Down here, the European is an unclassified species and he doesn’t feel that he’s got any substance worth contributing. He is used to looking at America from the comfort of his green screen. “We don’t have hot tea”, says the waitress and when he asks for “no ice, please”, she shrugs and brings lukewarm tea. He takes note of her willful walk and her coral-colored eyes. The writer is a literary tourist – actually: he’s just a tourist stuffing himself with sunshine, dining out on false memories. Brand names that at home consort easily with his mental image of the world seem drily ridiculous in this place. Suggestion: when it’s time to leave, laugh. When it’s time to laugh, leave.





Pages: 1 2 3


  1. michael j. solender May 13, at 21:30

    mr. marcus always captures the moment and here he's done that and then some including before and after. it is the fine and toothsome piece that takes you right there with its immediacy and marcus is the unmitigated master of this high artform. bravo sir.

    • Marcus Speh July 27, at 15:50

      michael, what a great comment and mini-review, thank you so much, mate! i hope summer is treating you well!

  2. Stella Pierides May 03, at 13:56

    Marcus, as an unclassified European, I sympathize with the writer in Blunderbuss. Lovely stuff in all three here – including the swearing Paradise!

  3. Marcus Speh May 01, at 19:26

    Beautiful, Stella—coincidentally, I've just begun to read Tolstoy's "Resurrection", so the mindset that allows for silence and longs for a spiritual journey is all mine, too.

    • Stella Pierides May 02, at 20:15

      Marcus, thanks! I'd love to read this too! Now that you mention it, I will... I've read Kazantzakis' Fratricides... a different kind of monastic life alltogether!

  4. Chris May 01, at 17:06

    Nancy, wow, I was thinking I might have to try this next time a migraine strikes, but what a price to pay for a bit of mental rest! Love how this piece keeps building. The narrative kept pulling me along, but I had no idea of where it was taking me.

  5. Chris May 01, at 17:00

    Stella, this monk's 'sin' is a blessing. Were the other monks to know, they would envy him his escape,his ability to immerse himself in such a magnificent meditation. Your description of his imaginings is so vivid. I can just feel that seaweed, and those nibbling fishes. Great piece!

    • Stella Pierides May 02, at 20:09

      Chris, thanks so much! Yes, it is an escape. Though, the other monks may have their own ways of escaping too... Imagine how many stories this would make...

  6. Chris May 01, at 16:54

    Marcus, you had me from the first line, with the billboard incitement. Love how the tourist begins with a sort of unsure brazenness,the middle section moves into the natural world of Texas, and then comes the bit of cultural discomfort in the final section. The last line is a gem. This piece reads like a road trip.


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