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Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to
publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and
established authors reach a wider literary audience.
A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação
mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas literárias, escritas em inglês e português. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim como promover os
escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiência literária mais vasta.
(http://adelaidemagazine.org)

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Published by ADELAIDE BOOKS, 2018-07-17 11:41:57

Adelaide Literary Magazine No.14, July 2018

Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to
publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and
established authors reach a wider literary audience.
A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação
mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas literárias, escritas em inglês e português. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim como promover os
escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiência literária mais vasta.
(http://adelaidemagazine.org)

Keywords: fiction,nonfiction,poetry,literature,books,publishing,magazine

INDEPENDENT REVISTA
MONTHLY LITERÁRIA
LITERARY INDEPENDENTE
MAGAZINE
MENSAL

ADELAIDE FOUNDERS / FUNDADORES
Stevan V. Nikolic & Adelaide Franco Nikolic
Independent Monthly Literary Magazine
Revista Literária Independente Mensal EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR-CHEFE
Year III, Number 14, July 2018 Stevan V. Nikolic
Ano III, Número 14, julho de 2018
[email protected]
ISBN-13: 978-1-949180-15-2
ISBN-10: 1-949180-15-8 ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Raymond Fenech
Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent inter-
naƟonal monthly publicaƟon, based in New York and MANAGING DIRECTOR / DIRECTORA EXECUTIVA
Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Adelaide Franco Nikolic
Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to
publish quality poetry, ficƟon, nonficƟon, artwork, GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN
and photography, as well as interviews, arƟcles, and Adelaide Books DBA, New York
book reviews, wriƩen in English and Portuguese. We
seek to publish outstanding literary ficƟon, nonfic- CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE
Ɵon, and poetry, and to promote the writers we
publish, helping both new, emerging, and Brenna Carroll, Terry Sanville, Bhavika Sicka,
established authors reach a wider literary audience. Paul Bentham, Thomas Healy,

A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação Mackenzie Gasperson, D. MaƩ McGowan, Jeff Kulik,
mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Ana Vidosavljevic, MaƩ Ingoldby, Edward D. Hunt,
Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic
e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objecƟvo da Maureen Grace, Elaine Rosenberg Miller,
revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e Keith Jenereaux, Richard LuŌig, Dave BarreƩ,
fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, George Carlisle, Virginia Hoeck, Ruth Deming,
arƟgos e críƟcas literárias, escritas em inglês e por- Susan Stacy, David H. Miller, Henry Simpson,
tuguês. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e
poesia excepcionais assim como promover os Thad Elmore, Don Thompson, Ross Hardy,
escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores Peter Leight, John Horvath, Jean-Mark Sens,
novos e emergentes a aƟngir uma audiência literária Belinda Subraman, Edward Bonner, John Grey,
mais vasta.
George Korolog, David Ryan Palmer,
(hƩp://adelaidemagazine.org) Anthony Lawrence, Ralph Geeplay, Jan Napier,

Published by: Adelaide Books, New York Boris Kokotov, Lauren Collins, Anna Evas,
244 FiŌh Avenue, Suite D27 Robert René Galván, Riley Bounds, Emily BrummeƩ,
New York NY, 10001 Robert Eastwood, Andrew Spence, Mathieu Cailler,
e-mail: [email protected] Nancy Nau Sullivan, Dufflyn Lammers, John Walters,
phone: (917) 727 8907 Jeffrey James Higgins, Judson Blake, Leslie Tucker,
hƩp://adelaidebooks.org
Beth Mead, Emily Peña Murphey, Mike Dillon,
Copyright © 2018 by Adelaide Literary Magazine Leah Sindel, Debra Neumann, Serene Jansen .

All rights reserved. No part of this publicaƟon may
be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without
wriƩen permission from the Adelaide Literary Maga-
zine Editor-in-chief, except in the case of brief quo-
taƟons embodied in criƟcal arƟcles and reviews.

2

Revista Literária Adelaide

CONTENTS / CONTEÚDOS

EDITOR'S NOTES SILVER HORSES REINED IN by Susandale 86
NEW BEGINNING By Stevan V. Nikolic 5
SEA COW by David H. Miller 92
FICTION
AFTER THE MARTYRS by Brenna Carroll 7 A GUEST AT THE CLUB by Henry Simpson 98

THRIFT SHOP SWAN by Terry Sanville 13 NONFICTION
WHEN LOVE WAS A STORY WORTH TELLING 102
BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL 18 by Mathieu Cailler
by Bhavika Sicka
THE EXPERT by Virginia Hoeck 105
WE COULD SMOKE 21
by Mackenzie Gasperson DANCING WITH MY MOTHER 108
by Nancy Nau Sullivan
FILADELPHIA by D. MaƩ McGowan 24
IN LOVE AND WAR by Dufflyn Lammers 111
COLLEGE TOWN by Jeff Kulik 29
OF KIEV, COWS, AND COUNTRY FOLKS 114
A RECURRING DREAM 34 by John Walters
by Ana Vidosavljevic
THROUGH THE FOG OF TIME 119
THE NEVER-ENDING WINDOW 40 by Jeffrey James Higgins
by MaƩ Ingoldby
DOES BURKE MATTER by Judson Blake 127
HIT MEN HAVE FEELINGS TOO 42
by Edward D. Hunt LIFE JACKET by Leslie Tucker 131

DAGGER by Maureen Grace 48 MOTHERS by Beth Mead 139

DEATH ENTERS THE ROOM 58 FRIDA KAHLO, BARBIE OR BARBADA 140
by Elaine Rosenberg Miller by Emily Peña Murphey

A GOOD SLEEPER by Keith Jenereaux 60 A LOST VIOLIN, A LAST LETTER HOME 142
by Mike Dillon
TRADIO by Richard LuŌig 65
LIVING IN AND BEYOND THE WORLD 145
HOW YOU RIDE IT! By Dave BarreƩ 70 by L. S. Hope

REVENGE by George Carlisle 75 THE LAST VISIT by Debra Neumann 150

OUR SALLY by Ruth Deming 82 ON LOSING THINGS by Serene Jansen 152

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

POETRY NEW TITLES

ACROSS MY BROW by Thad Elmore 154 THE PHILOSOPHER AND THE GOLEM 216
ILLUSION by Don Thompson 156 by Jerry Levy
FORGETFUL ME by Ross Hardy 157
POLITICAL by Peter Leight 159 DANCE UPON THE FORREST FLOOR 217
TONIGHT by John Horvath 162 by Donny Berilla
MUSIC BEHIND THE MELODY 165
by Jean-Mark Sens LUSH LIFE by Tinka Harvard 219
LUNCH WITH JESUS by Belinda Subraman 168
BEYOND THE HEAVENS by Edward Bonner 170 THE THREE OF US by Mike Cohen 220

THE UPROOTED AND OTHER STORIES 222
by Michael Washburn

THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF TOUSSAINT 224
by Keith Madsen

A STUDIO DISTURBANCE by John Grey 174

SUNRISE by George Korolog 176

MISSING MESSAGES by David Ryan Palmer 179

ARTISAN by Anthony Lawrence 182

THESE ARE THE OPEN ARMS 185
by Ralph Geeplay

GHOST GUMS by Jan Napier 188

VELIMIR KHLEBNIKOV’S POETRY 190
translated by Boris Kokotov

NAILS by Jennifer Lauren Collins 196

FLOWERS SCENES FOR THE PRIE-DIEU 200
by Anna Evas

GNOMON AND GLASS 202
by Robert René Galván

CANTICLE by Riley Bounds 206

SONG CHANGES by Emily BrummeƩ 207

REDTOP, MO by Robert Eastwood 208

DAMN THIS DAY by Andrew Spence 212

4

Revista Literária Adelaide

Stevan V. Nikolic

NEW BEGINNING

“You know Pastor, baking is a real art. Espe- “Strangely enough, he didn’t feel any guilt for
cially bread baking. There is something so di- separaƟng himself from his past. Five years
vine about it. It is a pure alchemy. And all al- ago, he clearly heard in his dream a message
chemical elements are there: flour that comes brought to him by Archangel Michael from the
from the earth and represents material, water God Almighty, telling him he should get up and
that you mix with flour to make the dough, air leave everything behind; that his place was not
released by the yeast fermentaƟon that makes there; that it was Ɵme to go in search for his
dough rise, fire that bakes the bread. It is fan- true self and for his true desƟny. Now, five
tasƟc. And the aroma of hot bread released years aŌer, he was siƫng in the Bowery chap-
during baking is the most pleasant fragrance el, a broken and homeless man, sƟll trying to
for our senses. Think about that for a moment, find that which he was looking for. But he did-
Pastor. Any food aroma that we like, no maƩer n’t regret anything he had done in those five
how much we like it, gets overwhelming aŌer a years. In his mind, it wasn’t his doing. He sin-
while, and we open the kitchen windows and cerely believed that he surrendered his own
close kitchen doors so the smell doesn’t get will to the will of God and that everything that
into the living room. Any smell, but the smell of happened to him, good or bad, had to happen
freshly baked bread. Did you ever hear any- for some reason. It was God’s doing. It was his
body complain about the smell of baked desƟny. He just had to figure out why.”
bread? Nobody, Pastor! Nobody. You hear peo- ― Stevan V. Nikolic, Truth According to Mi-
ple complaining about their neighbors frying chael
fish, roasƟng pork, barbecuing sausages, but
nobody ever complains about the smell of “I was going aŌer a woman believing that the
baked bread. And you know why? Because it is key is in being with her. But the key is in wriƟng
divine. It is magic – the magic of the craŌ.” about her. The key is in words and words are in
― Stevan V. Nikolic, Truth According to Mi- me. Longing for her is just an impulse for words
chael to come out. And the whole purpose is for
words to come out. Words are important.
“I think that both our lives and the potenƟal Words about love. About life.” ― Stevan V.
direcƟons our lives may go are predesƟned. By Nikolic, Truth According to Michael
using our free will in making our life choices,
we do nothing else but picking up one of many “How far we can go with our liberty of con-
already predesƟned opƟons. To us, it seems science, without offending God, and disturbing
like we were making the decision, while in real- the natural order of things…” ― Stevan V. Ni-
ity, we just selected one of many possibiliƟes kolic, Truth According to Michael
that were already a part of our desƟny.”
“Don’t you think God is so powerful that he can “Why do you want so much this new begin-
make us believe that we made some choices, ning? Do you think the new beginning will post-
when in actuality, he had made a choice for pone the end? Are you afraid of the end? Are
us?” you afraid of death Michael?” (Ch.35)”
― Stevan V. Nikolic, Truth According to Mi- ― Stevan V. Nikolic, Truth According to Mi-
chael chael

5

6

AFTER THE MARTYRS

by Brenna Carroll

Is this blood, or is it wine? Am I damned or am I the proselyƟzer. Eight centuries had gone on in
divine? this way. The world was the same, but the peo-
ple had changed.
The wild wind whistled through her nostrils,
warming itself for her lungs, and followed the One would think that the world would rejoice
breath in front of it out by the same route. Sis- aŌer the martyrs, but this posed certain prob-
ter Ida followed her own route, weakly cuƫng lems for religious folk. How could one purport
through the wind on her way to the garden. to follow Christ’s path if one could not follow it
She prayed as she walked, steps keeping to the end? How could one prove one’s abso-
rhythm to the Hail Mary, counƟng the rosary lute devoƟon to the faith if one could not die
beads in Ɵme to her breath. The sky frowned for it? Anything worth living for is also worth
down upon the sister, mirroring her own ex- dying for.
pression of slight contempt and vague discon-
tent, but its dismal countenance was given Some tried to do it anyway. They would beg
away when the wind changed direcƟon as if to Roman soldiers to murder them in the street,
aid the sister along on her path. commit crimes unscrupulously in order to
suffer the punishment, jump in front of carriag-
The garden appeared unseasonably vibrant es and dance into lion cages. Then there were
against the grim backdrop of the sky. Sister those who turned it inward. They starved
Ida’s small frame could be seen meandering themselves, beat themselves, stopped sleeping
among the rows almost methodically, following but never took fate into their own hands. They
a paƩern known only to her. In closer quarters, let nature do their work for them, proving to
one would find the glow on her bony cheeks the world that they did not need the world.
contrasted with the gauntness of her face. She Martyrs for the church, perhaps not. Martyrs
brushed the leaves of each plant with delicate for themselves, absolutely.
fingers as she wandered past, debauched
greenery feasƟng on her labors and that of Sister Ida worked in Ɵme to her hunger. That
others. The place smelled earthy, clean and ever-present beast was both her pride and her
alive all at the same Ɵme. thorn. It was her strength and her weakness.
Strength, because she could deny herself such
It was an age without martyrs. PersecuƟon had a basic need and defy her own humanity;
passed and the Ɵme when one could seek sal- weakness, because her mind was consumed
vaƟon in the coliseum or on the cross had driŌ- with thoughts of food instead of thoughts of
ed away like smoke off a funeral pyre. God. It occurred to her now, as it had so many
Ɵmes before when her will began to wane, that
That is not to say the world looked any differ- she needed to further purify herself.
ent than it had before; it had happened subtly
and all at once. One day, the world woke up to Heroic hunger is how she liked to think of it.
the news that Emperor ConstanƟne had de- She was not enƟrely free of the touch of vanity,
clared Rome ChrisƟan— there could be no
more martyrs, as the persecutor had become

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

and for this she felt sinful, but it was minor in wanted that dog to die, He would not have
comparison to her larger goal. Sister Ida want- made our paths cross.
ed to escape her own human nature. The world
chased her through her nightmares, pursuing Sister Ida hurried into the convent so as not to
her ceaselessly and aƩempƟng to force its be late for evening Mass. Shuffling past the
cares and wants and desires upon her, but Sis- other habits she found her spot near the altar.
ter Ida was stronger than the world. She had
long since forsaken it, declaring starvaƟon her “Sister, have you been denying yourself food
salvaƟon. again? You look like it,” said Sister Adelaide.

The sister departed from the garden and “I have, thank you,” said Sister Ida, trying to
thought of salvaƟon as she walked. SalvaƟon hide her blush and banish prideful thoughts.
was always on her mind. Her hands trembled Regardless of her defenses, a whisper of saƟs-
soŌly, clasped Ɵght together. SalvaƟon was facƟon driŌed in.
present in the habit she wore, the words she
spoke, the garden she tended and the paths “If only we could all strive for such purity as
she walked. SalvaƟon was present in her mind you. I shall give you a special place in my pray-
and in her hunger, proving to the world that ers today to aid you in your journey to salva-
she did not need the world. SalvaƟon is what Ɵon.”
kept her working every day to keep the devil at
bay. Sister Ida nodded.

She soldiered down the path back to the con- The priest started Mass, the sisters bowing
vent, imagining herself as one of the old Ath- their heads, kneeling, standing, kneeling,
letes of Christ, heroically perishing in the coli- standing, crossing themselves, bowing heads
seum in a crowd of beasts. Not just beasts of again, as if it were all some bizarre dance. The
the animal kingdom, but of the Roman one as priest began his homily:
well. Pagan beasts, urging on the slaughter of
the righteous and buying themselves a seat in “Only the Lord can die on the cross. Only the
Hell just as the martyrs earned themselves a Lord can forgive us our sins. Only the Lord can
seat in Heaven. put Death in chains. That is the truth we hold in
our hearts as ChrisƟans, that the Lord is our
Ahead of her but on the same path, Sister Ida one true salvaƟon. But oughtn’t we to show
saw a raggedy dog. His ears shot up in alert- Him we are worthy of His love? Oughtn’t we do
ness as she approached, and his tail began to our part in pursuing salvaƟon?”
wag. Sister Ida stretched out her hand to let
him smell it, and the dog tentaƟvely but amia- Sister Ida, much to her chagrin, could not give
bly came forward to lick her hand. her aƩenƟon to the homily. Her thoughts were
instead occupied with yearnings for food and
“What a sweet creature of God you are!” she the pangs of hunger. She focused her enƟre
exclaimed, slightly shocked at the sound of her willpower on the homily, but it would falter as
own voice. It was hoarse from disuse, as she soon as her stomach growled.
oŌen fell into long stretches of silence when
contemplaƟng salvaƟon. “In the days of the persecuƟon, we could fol-
low Christ’s path to the very end. We could
The sister offered a piece of bread to the dog, give ourselves up for the Church, and it was a
which he first looked at skepƟcally, but, driven beauƟful thing. But in our Ɵme, that is not an
by hunger, snatched from her hand and ran off. opƟon. They looked Death in the face, but in a
She felt a certain sense of pride that she was way, we face a more difficult baƩle. We look
unaccustomed to: She had given another crea- Life in the face.
ture what he needed to live for another day.
Then she mentally reprimanded herself for “So what is there leŌ for us to do? Are we liv-
indulging in such hubris. Only God provides for ing in an age without salvaƟon? Are we all
his CreaƟon. We are just His vessels. If He had damned because we were born too late? No,
we are not; do not doubt God like that.
We face a bigger baƩle, like I said, one against

8

Revista Literária Adelaide

ourselves. To show we are worthy of salvaƟon, “Pa, the priest told me the devil hides in every
we must deny ourselves the sinful, base desires bite. I will not eat. The priest told me that I
which afflict us as human beings— we must would get to Heaven that way.”
transcend our humanity. We must show we are
ready for Heaven, ready to accept God by “That priest is full of horse shit, Ida. How are
casƟng off all that could distract us from Him. you supposed to have the energy to pray or do
charity or do any of the things you say you
“Look at Sister Ida,” the priest said, and this want to do if you don’t eat? Jesus ate. The
Ɵme she was unable to stop the flow of red- apostles ate. You can’t devote your life to God
ness on her cheeks. Two thoughts snuck in if you’re dead. I can’t bear to see you turn into
through her barrier: one of pride, and one of a walking corpse. Please, just eat something,
food. She harshly reprimanded herself for al- Ida.”
lowing these unholy thoughts in when she was
being praised for doing just the opposite. The door opens and a shaggy gray dog paƩers
in. Suddenly, the room disappears and the floor
“She is truly allowing herself to be a vessel of falls out from under them, and Ida is sent plum-
the Lord. She does not think of hunger, she meƟng down, down, down to who knows
does not think of pain. She resists herself to where. Terror makes a fist in her chest as she
show the Savior that she is ready to go beyond realizes this is not real, but she does not know
herself.” what it is, and her screams are ripped from her
mouth by the wind, or maybe they are not and
Sister Ida could not follow the rest of the homi- the wind just mirrors her fear. Objects enter her
ly. Specters of hunger and pride whirled field of vision: the dog, the Eucharist, and a
around her head, holding her capƟve and tell- Bible.
ing her she was a fraud. Images of bread, of
milk, of the garden, of the dog, of the Eucha- Sister Ida started awake, feeling the phantom
rist, of crucifixes, of the grave floated in front terror sƟll clenched in her chest. She promptly
of her eyes. The more harshly she judged her- arose, looked around to ensure that she had a
self the more unrelenƟng these specters be- solid grip on her surroundings, and went over
came. She felt a dismal pang in her chest— how to the sink to wash her face. The water felt
could she be a true vessel of the Lord if her alive against her dry skin. She dressed, and
thoughts were held capƟve by worldly desires? leaving the convent, traipsed through the early
morning darkness like a thin, gray ghost. It was
That night, the Sister resolved to strengthen far too early for the others to be up, but she
her devoƟon. She was going to eat less, pray took saƟsfacƟon in going to pray while the oth-
more fervently and clean out her heart to ers slept. She immediately felt guilty because
make room for Jesus. No maƩer the cost, she of this self-saƟsfacƟon.
would be saved.
Coming to the chapel, she knelt and blessed
The room is dark, lit by candles in each corner. herself before she took a seat in one of the
A table sits stolidly in the middle of the room, pews. There were always candles illuminaƟng
wooden walls and a dirt floor, messy in a the interior of the chapel, which flickered at
quaint kind of way, and a large man sits at the this new presence. Dropping down to her
table. A young girl, with eyes and freckles like knees, she started the rosary, but to her con-
the man’s and startlingly black hair, sits across sternaƟon, she was unable to focus. No maƩer
from him, appearing to be in deep contempla- the mental barriers she put up, thoughts of
Ɵon. She cannot be older than twelve. There is hunger crept in to plague her with images of
a plate of food in front of the man and the gluƩony and sin. This was especially distressing
child. The man eats hasƟly while the child push- in light of last night’s dream, which she tried
es food around on the plate with a spoon. and failed to erase from her psyche.

“Ida, you have got to eat. Why are you not The body and blood of Christ. The body and
eaƟng?” blood of Christ! That is all my soul needs to live.
To Hell with my body!

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

She finished her rosary and sat in silence for a age without martyrs, so the righteous could no
moment. The world seemed to hold its breath more die righteously than common sinners.
at this Ɵme of day, and Sister Ida held hers with Sister Ida contemplated her own baƩle, herself
it. against hunger and gluƩony, and she shivered.
She had a long way to go.
The growing light alerted the Sister that it was
Ɵme for breakfast, so she rose, blessed herself, “I think of food constantly. I reprimand myself,
and made her way back to the convent. and the feeling intensifies. I restrict more, and
the feeling sƟll intensifies. What am I doing
It was not unusual for Sister Ida to leave some wrong?”
food on her plate, but this morning she leŌ
over half of her bread loaf untouched. Sister “When you think of becoming gluƩonous, do
Millicent noƟced and came over to where Sis- you follow that desire?” asked Sister Ida’s con-
ter Ida was siƫng listlessly. fessor.

She asked Sister Ida about her hunger, and “No. But what if I did some day?”
went on about how she “could never be as
devout as you.” In response, Sister Ida got up “If you have faith in your heart, you will not
from the table and, grabbing the remaining give in.”
bread, leŌ the convent again in the direcƟon of
the garden. “I do, but I think about food so much that I
cannot even think about God. What kind of
On the well-worn path, Sister Ida again en- Sister am I, concerned more with my physical
countered the gray, scruffy dog. She ap- survival than my spirit?”
proached him and offered him her uneaten
bread, which he graciously accepted and “Sister, if you do not follow these urges, then
promptly ran off with. His appearance struck you are doing everything right. Confess your
her as different somehow, and she could not gluƩonous thoughts regularly and Christ will
put her finger on it exactly. It was noƟceable forgive you. Follow your current path and you
yet discreet. The Sister realized that, like her, will be like Christ.”
the dog was gaunter than at their last meeƟng.
The both of them took up less space in the Sister Ida would have stormed off, but she was
world. too Ɵred, so she wandered away feebly in-
stead. She made her way to her room and
The freshness of the garden was a welcome slammed it shut, bursƟng into tears on her
reprieve for Sister Ida’s Ɵred mind. She strolled bed. She could not understand why no one
through and paid special aƩenƟon to the small would help her. Maybe my Pa was right! she
details she usually would have ignored. This thought franƟcally, though she knew she could
was the only break she felt jusƟfied in taking not make herself believe it. StarvaƟon had be-
from thinking about salvaƟon. come her path to salvaƟon.

The flowers in the garden were spoƩed with With a pang of guilt, she remembered that
Ɵny bugs— the type of which Sister Ida could raggedy dog. Grabbing her leŌover raƟons, she
not idenƟfy— that formed Ɵny socieƟes in their ran out of the convent to see if he was by the
Ɵny worlds. The Sister noƟced the way certain path to the garden. He was, and he looked
plants clustered together and others stretched worse than ever: his eyes had sunken in slight-
away from each other towards the sun, while ly, his ribs were visible through his fur and his
sƟll others used each other as support to reach coat looked dull and dirty. Guilt overcame Sis-
towards the light. Dew reflected light off stalks ter Ida and she collapsed on the ground next to
of grass like a million Ɵny mirrors, and Sister the dog, heaving from both her exerƟon and
Ida thought that this must be what the King- her emoƟons, and remained there for a good
dom of Heaven felt like. while. Faceless shame flooded her mind,
spread through her body and wrapped round
What must a martyr feel like? she thought, and her soul unƟl she felt she was aflame. She leapt
craved that unreachable disƟncƟon. It was an up to return to the convent and the dog was
gone, along with the raƟons.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Sister Ida took the long way back to the con- the return of the sun came the return of con-
vent both because she was Ɵred and because cerns and worries. Sister Ida fled the safety of
she did not want the other Sisters to see her her room to find the dog.
tear-sodden face. It was at this Ɵme that she
detected a faint, smoky odor. She kept walking, It took her some Ɵme to find him. She searched
and the odor grew stronger. She rounded the the well-worn path first, then the long way to
corner and the convent came into view. She the garden, and found him about halfway along
gasped. the path. Revulsion rose in her throat as she
realized he was limp and sƟll, and the Sister fell
Flames were leaping out from the near side of to her knees in deference to this lost life. Guilt
the convent, and the air was filled with smoke tried to overcome her again, but instead a pri-
and the franƟc cries of Sisters and authoritaƟve mal terror sparked in her chest and travelled
shouts from the priest and the awful sound of up her spine and filled her head with thoughts
wood snapping in heat. Sister Ida was mesmer- of her own death. Her own funeral rose before
ized for a moment at the terrible majesty of it her eyes, and it was not far away. It was lonely
all: the flares leapt and burst and twirled the and cold and morbid, like the poor dog’s. No
way she and the other girls in the village had maƩer the cause she was living for, she was
danced as children. The fire grew and shrank just as fragile as this dog, placed in the world
and consumed and flickered with abandon. She so tenuously. The smallest wind could wipe her
could not help but stare unƟl another Sister out. With this newfound sense of mortality,
came running up to her. Sister Ida resolved to live her fragile, fleeƟng,
ephemeral life for herself. She could not be a
“Sister, grab a pail! Help us!” martyr for Christ, but did He really need any?
Instead, she could be her own martyr.
Sister Ida grabbed a pail but was unable to car-
ry it very far. She tried to help them fill the Anything worth dying for is also worth living
pails but she was too weak to operate the for.
pump. For the first Ɵme in her life, Sister Ida
felt powerless. Taking a thing worth dying for and turning it
into a life worth living is a difficult exercise in
What caused it? Another Sister, frustrated at meaningful existence. Sister Ida found herself
her inability to be as disciplined as Sister Ida, caught between two sides of herself: the pious
had tried to burn herself with a candle in her asceƟc, who gives up everything she has and
room, dropped it onto the bed by mistake, and then sƟll more, and the sensible sister, who
the whole place had gone up in flames. respects the limits of the human body. Not
being one for moderaƟon, she tried to do both
For the next several days, Sister Ida did not but found that her heady enthusiasm had leŌ
leave her room except for Mass and prayers. her and she could not do that.
Guilt draped over her like a blanket, a heavy
blanket that she could hardly move or breathe Coming in from the garden one morning, she
under, and smothered her resolve. seated herself at the table, slightly away from
the others, for breakfast. TentaƟvely, she be-
In this Ɵme, Sister Ida became weak, so weak gan to eat, and tried to ignore the incredulous
she was unable to aƩend Mass or receive the glances from the other sisters. Sister Ida, that
Eucharist. Some good the body and blood of paragon of self-control and virtue, giving in to
Christ is going to do for my soul if I cannot ac- hunger!
cept it. She was at the point of death, yet she
sƟll refused food, and the Abbess had no Sister Ida looked down at her half-eaten bread
choice but to allow her to pursue her chosen and thought to bring it to the dog, but, with a
path of salvaƟon. A sense of unease had en- pang of guilt, remembered his lifeless body in
tered her mind. the sun. She no longer took that path to the
garden.
Finally, the sun came out, and she arose from
her cocoon. It was sƟll cloudy and a liƩle cold,
but she could stand in her own skin again. With

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

Suddenly, something changed in her: her spirit Sister Ida stood next in line for the Eucharist,
had rebelled. Her spirit wanted to be let free, and a thought suddenly struck her with such
and she had the urge to jump on the table and force she lost her breathe: she was free. She
shriek, but she reined her soul in. For the first was her own master and she was free.
Ɵme in her life, she felt like she had a choice. Is this blood, or is it wine? Am I damned or am I
divine?
Only God can die on the cross. Ida looked the priest in the eye, turned around,
and leŌ the chapel.
“I do not feel like I have to starve myself any-
more. I do not know why, but I do not even About the Author:
feel guilty. What is happening to me?”
Brenna Carroll is a senior studying history at
“This is all a maƩer of willpower and faith,” her the George Washington University, parƟcularly
confessor said. “Everyone is afflicted with irrev- medieval female hagiographies and the saints
erent thoughts. The holy can suppress them.” that inspired them. She is especially interested
in the intersecƟon of asceƟcism, sancƟty and
“Does that mean I am no longer holy? Because female rebellion.
I simply do not even feel all that impressed
with the mass anymore. It all seems pointless.”

“Have you done anything to let the devil in
lately?”

“I have been eaƟng more. But not in a gluƩon-
ous way.”

“Well, this is going to be a maƩer between you
and Jesus. Pray to him and he will guide you
back to the holy path.”

It struck Sister Ida that no answers were to be
found there. She had to search for them her-
self. Frustrated, she took her irreverent
thoughts and leŌ her confessor.

The Communion song rang out in the chapel,
and the Sisters sang and swayed along with the
familiar tune. Sister Ida sat in her usual pew,
near the front, but she was deep in thought.
Irreverent thoughts plagued her mind but she
was not especially concerned; rather, she took
them and ran with them in the empty spaces of
her mind where personaliƟes bloom and life
begins.

Sister Ida’s row stood and lined up to take the
Eucharist. The sister was sƟll somewhere else
and scrambled to keep up with the rest. SƟll, a
seed of discontent was growing in her heart.

The body and blood of Christ. That’s all I’m sup-
posed to need to live. But I am a human being!
If that dog could not survive on what God pro-
vided alone, then how can I?

12

THRIFT SHOP SWAN

by Terry Sanville

Eugene folded his umbrella, stomped on the as a geisha’s. She seldom looked at him, which
welcome mat, then entered the Goodwill felt strange since most street people treated
Store. Eugene as one of their own, and surely not as a
reƟred school administrator. He liked his long-
The floor manager, Mingo, moƟoned him over. haired and bearded disguise.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t go back there.”
She wore a full white evening gown, its ragged
“Why? What’s going on? hem filthy from dragging the ground. Built like
a young boy, she kept her red hair wrapped in
“The Zombie Lady’s freakin’ out.” a Ɵght bun, carried a liƩle girl’s purse and a
lace-fringed parasol.
Eugene looked to the rear of the shop. A crowd
of women of all shades and ages surrounded “She crazy, you know,” Chuntao, the preƩy
several racks of clothing. Pants, blouses, jeans, Chinese woman at Rainbow Donuts told him.
dinner jackets, and even bras flew through the “She stand in rain. I give her donut, free…but
air. Animal grunts broke the silence. she no come inside.”

“Cops?” Eugene asked. “What’s her name?” Eugene asked.

“Yeah, I called ’em. Didn’t want to, ’cause that “Natalia, I think. She speak with accent…so not
lady’s got enough troubles. She’s quiet most of sure.”
the Ɵme. I’ve never seen her this bad.”

“Maybe she’s off her meds.” “She’s a strange one.”

Mingo grinned. “How the hell should I know? I “She look like girl, but she old. I tell by her

don’t check prescripƟons.” eyes.”

A police cruiser pulled off the boulevard into “Where does she live?”
the parking lot, its roof lights flashing but no
siren. Two officers in rain slickers eased “I think at Shelter, or under bridge.”
through the front door and Mingo pointed.
They moved forward and ordered the women AŌer the thriŌ store incident, on his daily walks
to clear out. In a few minutes they led Zombie around town Eugene made up a short speech
Lady outside, guided her into the squad car’s to tell the Zombie Lady, once he got up the
rear seat, then drove away. nerve. AŌer being reƟred for ten years and
widowed for seven, talking with women had
Eugene saw her every week or so, along nar- become harder, except maybe with Chuntao.
row streets that ran through the old neighbor- But he searched for Natalia anyway, at Good-
hoods south of the Downtown. The first Ɵme will, UVS ThriŌ, The Hope Chest, and Fred &
she had almost run him over, moving like a BeƩy’s Secondhand. She looked intelligent,
sleepwalker on crank. Her dark eyes stared at even in her spaced-out condiƟon. But her eyes
something over the horizon, her face as white never seemed to quite focus.

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

“Why you care about crazy lady?” Chuntao suffer if I do. There is always one of them…
asked. She poured him a third cup of coffee watching.”
and leaned against the counter in the empty
donut shop. “You think you save her? Be big “Hey listen, Chuntao at Rainbow is a friend of
hero? Forget it. She lost.” mine. Let’s go there and get some donuts.”

Eugene smiled and stared unseeing at the front “I won’t go inside.”
page of the Wall Street Journal. “She’s no more
lost than I am. I wanted to be my wife’s hero. “Why not?”
But she died anyway. Once was enough.”
“Rats and bugs crawling everywhere.”
“Not your fault…and…I don’t believe you.”
Chuntao shook her head and returned to wip- “They aren’t there when I go inside. Come on,
ing the counter and refilling the sugars. have coffee with me.”

On a cloudy Monday, Natalia charged toward Eugene pulled her gently along the street. They
him on Pacific Street. He stood his ground. She threaded their way through the neighborhood
conƟnued on a collision course. Just before she of dilapidated warehouses, muffler shops, and
smashed into him, she slowed, the impact gen- trailer parks unƟl reaching the donut shop, at
tle, with more bone than flesh. Eugene figured the juncƟon of two broad boulevards.
she weighed less than a hundred pounds. Her
high-pitched scream made him jump. Chuntao’s eyes widened when they pushed
through the door. “I see you find Natalia.”
“You’re real,” she said, looking into his eyes for
the first Ɵme. “We’re here for some of your fine donuts, and
maybe a liƩle coffee.”
“Yes, of course. Why would you think different-
ly?” Natalia clutched his arm in a vise-like grip and
edged inside. They sat at a corner table next to
“I someƟmes see…see people…like the ones the plate-glass window with traffic noiselessly
following me. The voices tell me I should keep blasƟng by outside. Chuntao brought two mugs
moving, run.” and a coffee pot.

Eugene stared past her along the street, the “May I have tea, please?” Natalia asked. “Some
sidewalk empty for blocks. “Yes, that would be Lapsang Souchong would be wonderful.”
frightening. But I must have scared them off.
Look.” Chuntao rolled her eyes but brought a teabag
and hot water with honey to sweeten.
She turned slowly and followed his gaze. “They
are gone. A big man like you would be fear- Eugene and Natalia sat looking at each other,
some while I am nothing. SomeƟmes, I’m not not speaking, not forcing conversaƟon. She
sure I’m even here. Am I here?” smelled of sweat and unwashed clothes that
had been rained on and had never fully dried.
Eugene abandoned his plan for making a Chuntao served fresh donuts. Natalia nibbled
speech. He grinned, reached forward and took on a plain cake, finishing only half of it.
her hand. “Yes, you are here.” He felt her sƟff-
en. Her breaths came faster. But she wouldn’t “I’m sorry. I don’t eat much, can’t afford to
release his hand. gain weight.”

“You must stop them from forcing me to prac- She sipped her tea and conƟnued to stare unƟl
Ɵce. They will destroy me.” standing abruptly.

“PracƟce? PracƟce what?” “I must go, it’s Ɵme for pracƟce, Ɵme for prac-
Ɵce.”
“I can’t quite remember. But I know they
do not want me to tell anyone. They say I will “PracƟce what?” Eugene asked.

“I can’t tell you. They will know.”

She hurried from the shop. He watched
her open-mouthed as she disappeared into the

14

Revista Literária Adelaide

distance, her white gown bouncing as she Eugene crept toward the rear of the shop.
walked. Shoes flew through the air. A black sƟleƩo-
healed number slammed into a mirror, shaƩer-
“You do good,” Chuntao said. “I never get her ing it. LiƩle kids and women screamed. Natalia
inside. I think she like you.” moved along the shelves full of shoes, yanking
pairs from their perch, grunƟng, then slinging
“How can you tell? She didn’t say much of any- them over her shoulder. She had cleared most
thing.” of the women’s selecƟon and was working on
the top shelf filled with the weird stuff that
“You kind man. She will talk. You sƟll have didn’t belong in any parƟcular category. She
chance.” grabbed a pair of pink slippers with squared-off
toes and stopped, then kicked off her flats,
“Chance? What are you talking about?” exposing raw feet, calloused, blistered, bones
and toes badly deformed, with dried blood
“You know, you know.” Chuntao let out a high under the nails. She pulled on the slippers and
giggle and returned to her spot behind the wrapped and Ɵed their ribbons Ɵghtly around
counter. her ankles. Standing, Natalia reached up and
drew her filthy gown over her head. The crowd
AŌer that day, whenever they met on the gasped. A pink leotard covered her upper body,
street, Natalia offered Eugene her hand or breasts flaƩened by its elasƟc pressure. White
clutched his arm and they’d walk to Rainbow Ɵghts encased her slender legs.
Donuts, sit without speaking in the late aŌer-
noon sun unƟl she bolted for the outdoors. Mingo joined Eugene. “AŌer she broke that
One evening, he checked under the Marsh mirror, I called the cops. They’ll be here any
Street Bridge and found her on a mound of minute. If you can get her ouƩa here, I’m cool
dirty bedding, the river roaring not more than with it.”
ten feet from where she slept. Eugene backed
away, thought about how he might help. On a Eugene smiled. “No, let her dance. I’ll talk to
parƟcularly stormy night he paid for a room at the Police and pay for that mirror.”
the Motel 6. He leŌ her there watching a badly
adjusted TV and fingering the dry clothes he Natalia had pushed herself up onto her toes,
had bought for her at Fred & BeƩy’s arms extended in a perfect “V” above her Ɵlted
Secondhand. head. She raised one leg and joined it to the
other at the knee, balanced with no shaking,
Two weeks went by without an encounter. then moved rapidly across the floor, spinning,
Eugene checked all the thriŌ shops but could- arms extended. LiƩle kids from the toy secƟon
n’t find her, phoned the hospitals without suc- sat on the floor and formed a gallery of gawk-
cess. He couldn’t stop worrying about her safe- ers. They stared wide-eyed, smiling, while their
ty: being raped by some homeless troll; caught mothers called to them to be sƟll and watch.
by a flash flood and swept away; or aƩacked
for no other reason than she was small, Natalia danced with eyes half closed, moving
seemed frail, and an easy target. from one posiƟon to the next, gracefully, fluid-
ly, face fixed in a state of bliss. She moved
The spring rains had slacked off when he along the shoe secƟon aisle, threatening to
caught up to Natalia. Mingo stopped him as he crash into display racks, but always in control,
entered the Goodwill Store. her jumps perfectly executed, never a stumble
or waver on the landings.
“Hey look, you know the Zombie Lady beƩer
than anybody that comes in here. Maybe you The thriŌ shop’s front doors opened and two
can get her to stop.” beefy patrolmen entered. Mingo hurried to
intercept them as Natalia conƟnued to dance
“What’s she doing now?” before her spellbound audience. In a flurry of

“She’s tossin’ the shoe secƟon. Got the kids
and their mothers in an uproar. If you can get
her ouƩa here, I won’t call the cops.”

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

leaps and turns, she slowed to a kneeling posi- “I say before, she crazy. She make you crazy,
Ɵon, then slid to the floor, eyes closed, hands crazy sad. I want you stay normal. You my
clasped as if praying, her slender body sƟll, at friend first.”
peace. The women clapped and the children
joined in. Natalia rose to her full height and, “I haven’t felt normal for a long Ɵme. Maybe I
with great dignity, made a deep curtsy. The should start. And…and thank you.”
liƩle girls surrounded her, giggling, trying to
copy her dance moves. Chuntao smiled coyly and refilled his coffee
cup. He returned to reading the Wall Street
A cop stepped forward. “Excuse me, miss, Journal and she to wiping down the counter
you’ll have to come with us.” and refilling the sugars.

Natalia backed against a display rack. “Father, I Months passed. One hot summer day, Eugene
said I would pracƟce more. I will…you’ll see.” sat reading the L.A. Times. He let out a yell.
Chuntao almost dropped a tray of donuts and
“It’s okay, officer,” Mingo said. “I’m not going hurried to his side.
to press charges for the broken mirror. You can
let her go.” “What wrong? You sick? You hurt? I call 911.”

“I’m afraid not. We’ve received other com- “No, I’m fine, I’m fine. But look.” He pointed to
plaints. This woman needs help.” a short column tucked away in the newspa-
per’s back pages. A grainy image of Natalia
The officers retrieved Natalia’s gown, purse stared back at them.
and shoes, escorted her outside to their patrol
car. Eugene followed them. “What it say, what it say?” Chuntao demanded.

“What are you going to do with her?” he asked. “Natalia was killed in a homeless camp far from
here.”
“Are you a relaƟve?” the cop said.
“I’m sorry, so sorry. But why she in paper? Like
“No, just…just a friend...a good friend.” me, she nobody important.”

“They’ll probably put her on a 72-hour psychi- “You’re wrong…on both counts. It says here
atric hold. You can call County Mental Health if that she was considered a Prima Ballerina by
you have quesƟons. She’ll be taken care of.” dance criƟcs about ten years ago, worked out
of New York City and London unƟl she disap-
Natalia stared at him from the back of the car, peared from the stage.”
her eyes clear, focused. A quiet smile of what
might have been saƟsfacƟon creased her face. “What happen to her?”
As Eugene walked home, he thought about
how they might live together, how she could “Schizophrenia.”
put on special performances, at schools, com-
munity arts events, show off her talents to Chuntao shrugged. “What’s that?”
those who would appreciate their beauty and
grace. He tried building a story of hope for “It’s not important.”
both of them.
She frowned and reached for her counter rag.
Two days later, Eugene phoned Mental Health.
Natalia had already been released to the “Wait a minute…wait.” Eugene gulped his
streets. He searched all the places that she coffee and stared at his age-spoƩed hands.
might hole up. As the weeks passed he slowly “It’s very important. It’s a sickness that strikes
surrendered any chance of finding her. some sensiƟve young people. It smashes their
brains with a sledgehammer and breaks them.
“She out there somewhere,” Chuntao told him. They stumble through life looking for their own
“I know you want to save her. But you lucky scaƩered pieces.”
you not find her.”
Chuntao stared at him, wide-eyed. “How…how
“Why the hell is that?” Eugene shot back, you know?”
scowling.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

“I had to tell parents that pushing their kids to About the Author:
be the best doesn’t always work.” He banged
his coffee mug down. “Fathers and mothers Terry Sanville lives in San Luis Obispo, Califor-
can carry the dark seeds of schizophrenia in nia with his arƟst-poet wife (his in-house edi-
their genes, and we don’t know why.” tor) and two plump cats (his in-house criƟcs).
He writes full Ɵme, producing short stories,
“So?” Chuntao shrugged again. “Like I say, Na- essays, poems, and novels. Since 2005, his
talia real crazy.” short stories have been accepted by more than
270 literary and commercial journals, maga-
“Maybe it is crazy…to try and build beauty out zines, and anthologies including The Potomac
of what rags you’ve got leŌ.” Eugene shook his Review, The BiƩer Oleander, Shenandoah, and
head. “I’m glad I got to see her dance, even for The Saturday Evening Post. He was nominated
just that one Ɵme. The thriŌ shop will never twice for Pushcart Prizes for his stories “The
feel the same.” Sweeper” and “The Garage.” Terry is a reƟred
urban planner and an accomplished jazz and
blues guitarist – who once played with a sym-
phony orchestra backing up jazz legend George
Shearing.

17

BETWEEN THE SHADOW
AND THE SOUL

by Bhavika Sicka

Shafiq stood overlooking the sprawling con- dangled like chandeliers. A face that had al-
crete wilderness that was Old City. The day was ways lingered at the edges of his sleep, had
closing, and the muezzin's call to prayer could always conjured itself up in his waking dreams,
be heard waŌing across terraces and mingling that countenance ever so inscrutable. A body
with the sonorous clanging of temple bells. In like an ocean— undulaƟng, waiƟng to unfurl.
the gathering dusk, tea sellers poured frothing
chai into earthen cups, and haleem vendors The hum of traffic had subsided to a suspended
scooped out bowlfuls of steaming stew from lull, and the walled city was now curtained by
large aluminum pots. Soon, the sun dipped darkness. In the distance, the domed mosques
below the western horizon, spreading its ver- with their tapering finials stood like budding
milion streaks across the sky, against which the breasts against a naked sky. His gaze trailed as
minarets of the Charminar danced and blinked she stepped out of her spangled saree, as it
in the muted, nebulous glow, as they had al- unraveled into a serpenƟne heap on the floor,
ways twinkled on evenings such as these for as the contours of her bare muslin body familiar
long as Shafiq could remember. One of his life's and yet ever so mysterious. The candles in her
only constants. Like his mother. And like window flickered in the whiffling wind like a
Mehnoor. will-o'-the-wisp winking in the forest. He won-
dered whether she'd ever realized that he was
Below, the pavement was sƟll smeared reddish watching her, as he'd watched her all these
black with the blood of the goat that he had years for as long as he could remember, his
sacrificed this morning, a crusƟng carmine stain eyes always searching for her in this sea of
that had imprinted itself upon his mind's eye. blackness. He didn't know her name, but to
He felt a dull throbbing in his temples, a heavi- him she was Mehnoor— she who is the light of
ness that seemed to sweep over his being and the moon; every vision of her gliding gracefully,
soak into his very marrow. Trimming the shrouded in silk, skimming the lake of his de-
lengthening ash of his cigareƩe against the sire.
outer edge of the parapet, he allowed his gaze
to wander over to the haveli across the He felt his skin burning, the warmth building,
street— its yellow sandstone walls chipping; its spreading, an aching and yearning that seemed
tall, majesƟc colonnades crumbling in disre- to fill him up every night only to claw at him
pair— and come to rest on the lobed window of and leave him hollowed-out the next morning;
the Palladian mansion, on the silhoueƩe of the an overwhelming Ɵde of strange pleasure and
courtesan draped in diaphanous chiffon. His even stranger sadness. When he pressed his
eyes traced the languorous rise and swell of eyes shut, the carmine stain was growing,
her hips, the sweep of her thick mane of hair growing, like a damp patch on a rain-soaked
that eddied and cascaded around her shoul- wall. The animal had not flinched when he had
ders, and her face— now that she had turned brought the cold steel to its throat, and its eyes
toward the light of a candelabra— with its lan- had expressed— and he tried to grapple with
tern eyes and dimpled chin and earrings that this thought momentarily, trying to discern

18

Revista Literária Adelaide

what it was that the animal had expressed— When Shafiq pulled his eyes open, the light
not fear, but an absolute void of emoƟon; from the haveli's window was suddenly bright-
peaceful, placid, as though prepared. Just as his er, jarring, almost blinding. He squinted, pearls
mother had looked when his stepfather had of sweat beading his burdened brow. He saw
forced himself inside her every night, as Shafiq Mehnoor bent over a chest of drawers, envel-
remembered her and remembered himself, a oped by a man in a flowing, black ankle-length
boy of nine standing in the dim doorway, shak- kaŌan, the wood moaning, boƩles clinking,
ing and confused, his feet rooted and his fin- Ɵpping over, shaƩering one aŌer another aŌer
gers numb. another. Shafiq found his hands trembling, the
veins of his temples bulging and pulsaƟng. He
Looking back on his childhood, Shafiq would watched as she flailed and thrashed, heard her
remember the dust and din of Moghalpura, a whimpering like an animal as she was spun
densely-thronged suburb where he'd spent his around and hurled across the floor, across bro-
early years. His memories were fragmented, ken shards and splaƩered flecks of glass that
and would come and go like waves lapping the glimmered like mica against her bare thighs. He
shore of his consciousness, some soothing and had witnessed this spectacle of savagery be-
others tempestuous. He would savor some, fore, but tonight it all felt different, as though
whereas others he pushed far, far away into he were not observing from afar, but was in
the shadowy recesses of that very conscious- the haveli, in the very room with them, com-
ness. His memories were of his mother, a re- plicit, somehow. It had, all these years, felt like
served and deeply religious woman, her burqa a disturbing dream, a fleeƟng glimpse through
veiling her sorrows and her solitude, rare a door leŌ ajar leading to someplace other-
glimpses exposed when she'd liŌ her eyes from worldly, but tonight, it felt evisceraƟngly real.
her cupped hands aŌer prayer; and then there
was his stepfather, a stern-faced Hadrami man Fumbling, reeling, he gripped the edge of the
of Yamani descent who used to run a mobile parapet-wall to steady himself. The wind had
repair shop in Barkas, and who had sauntered sƟlled, and a calm now brooded between
inebriated into Shafiq's life, trampling over his them. He watched as she brought herself to
father's grave and his mother's dignity. her unsteady feet and stood facing an oval mir-
ror, rivulets of blood meandering their way
Fourteen years ago, his stepfather had walked down her parted thighs, tainƟng the prisƟne
out on his mother, had moved to Masqat and marble floor. The figure, almost shadowlike,
married a young Arab girl and, last Shafiq was upon her again, like a dark cloud trying to
heard, died from cirrhosis. And yet Shafiq felt snuff out the stars. In that moment, for the first
nothing, nothing at all, not even a sliver of Ɵme, Shafiq saw her eyes, reflected, and her
grief, of loss. Because his stepfather was the eyes appeared to meet his and to say— and he
same man who had turned away to pursue tried to grapple with this thought momentarily,
more important maƩers— such as frequenƟng trying to discern what it was that her eyes
brothels in Jahanuma, or squandering his fami- were trying to say— that she no longer needed
ly's savings, or drowning himself in lurid sha- help, only deliverance. And then she stopped
yaris and cheap rum— every aŌernoon when struggling, her face blank, her wild curls maƩed
Shafiq had come home from school bruised or together like the vines of an untamed jungle.
beaten or bullied by the older boys. The same
man who had thrust a knife in Shafiq's tremu- Shafiq stubbed out his last cigareƩe and tossed
lous hands every Bakrid, forcing the boy to slice it over the parapet. AŌer years, aŌer what felt
an unsuspecƟng animal's jugular, to empty out like a lifeƟme, his legs seemed to be uprooƟng
its insides, its guts spilling out like a clew of themselves, slowly and yet purposefully, and
faƩened red-worms. The same man whose he found himself tumbling through his dark
shadow conƟnued to follow Shafiq, to lurk in living room, past the paisley-printed sofa, past
dim corners of deserted bylanes, to crouch in the framed holy sites and cursive Qur'anic vers-
his cupboard or hover over his mother as she es hanging mum on the walls. He entered the
slept, even today. kitchen and fumbled in the drawer, bowls of
lenƟls and minced keema lying untouched on

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

the granite counter above. He stopped by his red. A stream of garbled oaths was spewed,
mother's room, by her bedside as she slept soŌ words mixing with blood, spuƩered out like
-snoring, making sure her frayed quilt was betel juice. Shafiq looked down at Mehnoor, at
tucked in on both sides of her, making sure her her face in the soŌ subdued glow of the cande-
inhaler was within her reach on the mahogany labra, expecƟng to witness a raging storm, but
bedside table beside the burning agarbaƫ, a gazing, instead, at the surface of a calm and
ritual he carried out every night, hoping, like a pregnant sea, unseeing eyes turned ceiling-
weary pilgrim does, that performed conscien- ward. Who could tell what brewed, gathering
Ɵously enough, it would absolve him of all that fury, below those burnished waters?
he had failed to do for her in the past. He wanted so desperately to reach out and run
his fingers through her tangled hair, brush the
He found his legs carrying him down the nar- back of his palm against her cheeks flushed like
row staircase of his apartment, across the pot- fire, drink from the silver stream of moonshine
holed street that separated him from between her legs, from the fountain of her lips
Mehnoor. The silence outside hung heavy like a smudged sanguine, swallowing all her words
chador, made even more palpable by the unspoken as yet. But, instead, he turned and
diffused amber glow from streetlamps. Gravel walked away, leƫng the knife drop, the car-
turned to soil as the pavement opened out into mine stain shrinking, shrinking, and then disap-
the neighboring courtyard, godforsaken and pearing.
overgrown with weeds and droves of thornap-
ple, their white trumpet maws gaping at the About the Author:
heavens. A melancholy moon had risen in the
east, as pale and porcelain as her. He stopped Bhavika Sicka is an emerging writer from Kol-
for a brief moment on the haveli's verandah, kata, India. She has been a finalist for the Write
looking up at the scalloped stucco arches and India contest, and her work has appeared in
delicately carved screens trellised by creepers, Arkana, Crab Fat Magazine, and Jabberwock
filling his lungs with the cool night air that was (the literary journal of the Department of Eng-
laced with the heady scent of nightshade. The lish, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi Universi-
turbid swirl of his emoƟons seemed to seƩle ty). She is currently pursuing her MFA at Old
and sƟll, and for the first Ɵme, this tranquility Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and
lent him clarity. is a ficƟon reader for Barely South Review.

He knew what he had to do when he walked
through the cusped gateway. Perhaps, a part of
him had always known. The inner rangmahal
loomed bare and austere, its large mirrors
cloudy and speckled with age, and in them, he
saw himself, really saw himself, for what felt
like the first Ɵme in his life. The oak-wood stair-
case creaked with every step he took, and the
door down the hallway upstairs splintered and
gave way without a creak of protest when he
kicked it in. She was lying outstretched on a
divan, the shadow now covering her, smother-
ing her, thrusƟng itself inside her limp body, its
thick palms pressed against her lips, her legs
with their belled anklets dangling loosely over
its large shoulders. When the shadow spun
around in rude surprise, Shafiq found himself
slicing its jugular, feeling that, for the first Ɵme,
his knife had found its purpose.

The shadow convulsed and toƩered to the
floor, collapsing in a slick and growing pool of

20

WE COULD SMOKE

by Mackenzie Gasperson

“Smoke?” Robert’s voice was suddenly behind “How – how has it been lately?” Robert em-
me. It made me jump, and sent a shiver down phasized just slightly on it, because he liked to
my spine that only made the cold air worse. act like he knew what was going on without
Adding to my goosebumps, my heart rate had giving it all away. It didn’t maƩer; Ben’s ab-
just increased, making me feel shaky and em- sence showed through the lines on my face
barrassed. I turned my head to look at him, and and the bags under my eyes. Robert frustrated
there he was, standing beside me, holding out me; he seemed to be good at puƫng himself
a cigareƩe. One was already in-between his where he didn’t belong at the worst Ɵmes. But
lips, the bright glow of the cherry illuminaƟng I always took a cigareƩe if offered.
parts of his face. I only smoked if offered – eve-
ryone knew that. “Rita only smokes when she That was something that had bothered Ben.
doesn’t have to pay for it.” Luckily, people “You always take cigareƩes,” he had looked
weren’t quick to deny me what I wanted. wounded – like taking a cigareƩe from some-
Which, at that moment was, yes, a smoke. one was offering an ungodly amount of other
things, sex, drugs, love. Whatever the worst
I reached out to take the cigareƩe and had case scenario was, Ben had already thought of
Robert light it for me. I inhaled, feeling the it.
heavy smoke travel down my throat, into my
lungs. It made me feel slightly light-headed, “I like to smoke,” I’d always say. “There’s noth-
which added to my shaky hands syndrome I ing more to it than that,” Unconvinced, Ben
was having. “Are you cold?” Robert asked, go- would pout, and sƟll scowled whenever I took
ing to remove his jacket. I quickly held up my a proffered cigareƩe. It was like something he
free hand, blew the smoke out of the corner of couldn’t give me that everyone else in the
my mouth and shook my head, puling the world could. Maybe that’s why he disliked it.
sheer wrap I was wearing Ɵghter around my
shoulders. He shrugged, straightening his jack- “I have no idea what you mean.” I answered.
et and taking a drag from his cigareƩe. “Why Another drag on the cigareƩe, then I ashed it
are you out here anyway? Party’s inside.” I casually on the ground. The wind caught it and
rolled my eyes, as if I didn’t know that. swirled it into the distance.

“Just needed some air,” I said simply, puƫng “You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever known, Rita,”
the cigareƩe to my lips. My lipsƟck leŌ a stain Robert said. It was out of the blue. Unex-
on the end of the filter, and for a minute I re- pected. Not enƟrely discouraged by me. My
membered that day in the coffee shop, drink- mistake had been this: when it came to dis-
ing from a white ceramic mug, seeing my deep couraging men, I hadn’t.
red lipsƟck imprinted on the rim of the cup;
looking into Ben’s eyes as he gripped his own I dropped the cigareƩe on the ground,
coffee mug, as if leeching the warmth from it. stamped it with my shoe. I crossed my arms to
It hadn’t been a parƟcularly cold day. keep the cold out, hoping he wouldn’t offer me
his jacket again. That’s always where it began:
a simple offer of the jacket. Whether I took it

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

or not, that would be the deciding factor. All I and they were all over my notebook. Perma-
had to do was deny it. nent reminders of what was gone. So I couldn’t
make myself feel beƩer. I chose not to. And in
“What do you say we go back inside?” I asked, doing that, I ruined many things.
gesturing my head towards the glass double
doors leading into the restaurant. Goosebumps Ben took us to a coffee shop one Sunday, and
covered my arms and legs. he told me what he felt. That we weren’t sync-
ing anymore. That I had to be happy again.
“Or,” Robert already had the pack of cigareƩes That he couldn’t take it, being so apart from
in his hand. He took one out and put it be- me. He didn’t know who I was anymore. Alt-
tween his teeth, then offered me the pack. hough I’d been expecƟng it, I had never pre-
“We could smoke.” pared a response. Why are we in such a public
place? I felt like the baristas were staring at
My baby had been no bigger than a sesame me, honing in on our conversaƟon, thinking,
seed. A Ɵny, Ɵny thing. But it had affected me wow, what a shiƩy girlfriend. The other people
deeply. in the coffee shop stopped staring down at
their laptop screens and gave me dirty looks, or
Ben told his parents the minute we found out. smirked at me. The angel on my shoulder said,
The at-home pregnancy test showed two lines; pull yourself together! But the devil convinced
one was bright and bold, and the other was so me Ben was seeing someone else; Ben was the
faint I could barely see it. But it was there. And enemy. Ben doesn’t know what he’s talking
so was my sesame seed baby. about. He’s out to get you, Rita.

Like an idiot, I began thinking of names. I wrote I stood up, pushed myself away from the table,
them in preƩy cursive on any surface that I making the chair scrape against the floor,
could write on. My notebook, my hand; I typed grabbed my bag, and without a word, walked
them down in my phone, to remember and out of the coffee shop. Ben didn’t call aŌer me,
show Ben later. I told my parents when I was or track me down. I got home, he wasn’t there.
comfortable with the idea. The internet told I got up for work the next morning, and he had-
me, ‘some pregnancies don’t survive past 6 n’t shown up.
weeks’, but I was ignorant, and excited. I was
naive. I hardly tried to think logically – to calm When I stumbled in the door at 3am aŌer a
myself down. I convinced myself I felt the sesa- night at the bar and collapsed into bed, the
me seed baby inside of me. UnƟl I couldn’t. things that were normally on his bedside table
– his book, a glass of water, his reading glasses,
One day, I sat down to go pee, and when I unopened mail, his earbuds – were gone. I
looked down, blood had colored the water a went into the bathroom; his toothbrush was
sickening, deep red. And that was it. There was gone. I threw open the closet doors; every sin-
no doctor to be seen, no explanaƟon to be had. gle piece of his clothing, every single shoe, was
Some pregnancies don’t survive past 6 weeks. gone.
That was all there was to it. Suddenly, my sesa-
me seed baby was there no more. My sesame seed baby was gone. Ben was
gone. What else did I have?

Ben and I were never the same aŌer that. He When I received the invitaƟon to the Christmas
dove head first into his work, and I dove head party my job was having, needless to say it was
first into self-sorrow, and alcohol. My job was unexpected. Nearly everyone had suffered the
meaningless, Ben was meaningless. We woke brunt of my feelings not only when I had the
up next to each other and barely said a word. I miscarriage, but when Ben leŌ. I had excom-
tried to tell myself, miscarriage happens to municated myself from friendships with my
every woman, every day, all over the place. coworkers at the price of expressing myself.
You aren’t special. But the faint pen marks Something that, I think, should never be done
of my future baby’s name were sƟll on my skin,

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Revista Literária Adelaide

at work. Keep yourself to yourself, and leave it About the Author:
at that.
Mackenzie Gasperson was born and raised in
However, when coworkers approached me Tampa, Florida, where she currently resides
with faux-concern laced in their voices, it was with her family. Along with wriƟng, she also
hard to convince myself they were just craving enjoys baking, sewing, and pracƟcing Tae Kwon
a new spread of drama. So I spilled and spilled. Do. This is her first published piece.
And spilled some more, unƟl there was nothing
leŌ, and everyone knew everything. I couldn’t
pretend I was professional – my coworkers
didn’t respect me as their superior. All they
saw was a helpless, blubbering mess.

So yes, when the thick off-white manila enve-
lope came in the mail, containing a sparkly dark
green invitaƟon that even smelled nice, with
my name on the front in fancy cursive, inviƟng
me to a Christmas party with people that knew
every tragedy of my life – I was taken aback. Is
this going to be like Carrie? Are they going to
crown me queen of the party and then dump
pig’s blood on me?

But of course, I went, and there I had been, in a
dress that required a wrap, standing next to
Robert and smoking his cigareƩes. There was
no pig blood that I could see, and to make my-
self feel extra safe, I spent most of the party
outside. And as annoying as Robert could be,
there probably wasn’t anyone else that would
give me as many cigareƩes as he’d given me.
We talked about books, and music, and how
horrible the drivers in the city were. “Except
for us!” we both agreed, because everyone is a
horrible driver except for yourself. Robert did-
n’t menƟon Ben or “it” again, and I went the
enƟre conversaƟon not having menƟoned how
many Ɵmes daily I considered going to the top
of my apartment building and jumping off. So,
although Robert was annoying, and not very
handsome, and a liƩle arrogant, he was my
friend that night in a place that I felt truly
alone.

It should be universally known – that the thing
about sadness is that some way or another, it
always comes back for you. Even when you’re
least expecƟng it, you could suddenly be think-
ing about jumping off the top of your apart-
ment building.

But the thing is, how do you smoke free ciga-
reƩes when you’re dead?

23

FILADELPHIA

by D. MaƩ McGowan

The way people talk about it just makes it helmets – in the back of the vehicle. AŌer two
worse. Taboo but ƟƟllaƟng. Cheap excitement miles on the main highway, we turned onto an
at the expense of others. Voyeurism dressed up unpaved road, the beginning of a slow and
as outrage. rough trek up the side of the range. When the
clouds separated and the trees thinned, we
The husbands decided to go golfing. Even mine, glimpsed wisps of smoke rising up out of Rin-
who I know for fact hates golf. He just wanted con.
to hang out with his buddies all day, drink beer
and smoke cigars. And that’s fine. But not me. Daniel, the lead guide, was young and out-
The thought of riding around in one of those going and had a beauƟful smile. Like the rest of
silly carts out here in the hot sun sounded like the guides, he did not wear a shirt. With his
a liƩle slice of hell. lean frame, vivacious personality and compe-
tent English, Daniel was a one-man public-
So, fine. We spend enough Ɵme together any- relaƟons machine.
way.
There is a picture of us at the launch. Daniel is
I felt guilty for a while, because I was the one buoyant, smiling from the Gulf to the Pacific,
who thought of an alternaƟve excursion. But his arms spread out and resƟng on Jane and
really, except for one small problem, just a mi- Maura’s shoulders. I am standing on the other
nor blemish on an otherwise perfect day, eve- side of Jane. Raye and Gretchen are leaning
rything worked out just fine. Ask my girlfriends; against Maura. We are tall and good-looking.
I think they’ll agree. Thirty feet to our right, down a steep, rocky
grade, El Rio Corobici is roaring so loud that we
I went online and found an inland area known have to yell at each other to be heard.
for white-water raŌing. The central highlands,
equidistant from the coasts, a half-dozen rivers Soon aŌer this photo was taken, Daniel an-
cascaded down the western slope of a fiŌy- nounced that we were his “friends,” meaning
mile-long range bookended by volcanoes, one we would go in his raŌ. We were happy about
sƟll acƟve. The only downside was distance. So this, because Daniel was preƩy and fun to be
we leŌ the villa early, at 6:30, and drove eighty around.
-five miles to Canas, a small town at the base of
Volcan Rincon de la Vieja. But now I have mixed feelings about Daniel.
From the moment we stepped into the raŌ,
When we reached the ouƞiƩer at 8:45, they shooƟng through the rapids and ricocheƟng off
were loaded up and waiƟng for us. Twenty-five boulders like a pinball, he provided an exhila-
tourists and five guides packed into an old mili- raƟng experience without compromising our
tary transport vehicle. The guides stacked five safety. And I’ll be honest, the way his muscles
white-water inflatables – the tough kind with flexed when he worked that paddle was also a
thick rubber lining – on a trailer and piled thrill. I can sƟll hear him, “Okay, my friends,
a mountain of gear – paddles, life jackets and paddle on the right!”

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Revista Literária Adelaide

But his hot-dogging and flirƟng prevented us that herself aŌer yet another slow build-up and
from seeing wildlife. (This is just a small thing, violent burst.
nothing I would ever put on an evaluaƟon.) We
were too busy trying to keep our balance and “Oh gawd,” she said, wiping drool from the
not get thrown off the raŌ. Later, when I heard corner of her mouth.
people talking about seeing a nest of baby
howler monkeys, I was more than a bit frus- The women roared.
trated.
When they calmed down, Gretchen announced
AŌer lunch at the ouƞiƩer – grilled dorado, that she needed coffee.
black beans and rice – we headed back to the
coast. I felt good driving, physically Ɵred but How spoiled we are. Starbucks on every corner.
replenished, having moved my body and spent We seƩled for a place called Wendy’s SuperO,
all morning outside. I wasn’t keen on being a grocery store on the main road, one block off
trapped a metal box for the next two-and-half the square in Filadelphia. We were now forty-
hours, but I looked forward to the comfort of five miles from the coast.
our villa, a hot shower and then drinks by the
pool with friends. There wasn’t a market like this in Potrero, the
town nearest our villa. My friends were excited
At Liberia, where our plane landed four days about purchasing a few items.
ago, we turned leŌ and conƟnued west, to-
ward the coastal range. My friends talked, go- Before we reached the store, there’d been a
ing over the highlights of the trip, but soon flurry of texts with the husbands. They had
they grew Ɵred. I assured them I was okay to finished golfing and were planning dinner. They
drive. said they’d grill if we picked up steaks.

While they napped, I enjoyed the peace and Inside Wendy’s, I saw a short, stocky man
quiet. At one point, aŌer they’d been asleep standing at the end of a cashier staƟon. He
for twenty minutes, I worried I’d goƩen off- grinned as we walked past the lines and made
track, that perhaps I’d taken a wrong turn. But our way deeper into the store. It was a strange
then I recognized two things – a bright orange smile, the mouth held open, almost gaping, as
building and an enormous Banyan tree with its if he couldn’t breathe through his nose and
wavy, fibrous roots above the ground – and I was struggling to get enough oxygen. He had
knew we were on the correct road. no teeth and his faded, half-buƩoned Hawaiian
shirt barely covered a prodigious gut, big as a
I turned right at the big Chevron south of rubber exercise ball. Cutoffs and filthy flip-flops
Belen. Now the mountains. The road narrowed completed his ensemble.
and there many curves. Poor condiƟons for car
-sleeping. One by one, my girlfriends started to Not your typical Walmart greeter, but that’s
wake up. I heard a yawn from the back seat. It exactly what I thought he was. Why not? I was
was a drawn-out, dramaƟc affair with lots of in a foreign country with different customs and
stretching and a lion’s roar at the end. Then a much smaller economy. Why wouldn’t a pro-
there was soŌ mumbling and laughter. These prietor pay this poor soul minimum wage to
were sweet sounds, made by close friends, say hola and buenos dias all day?
people who cared about each other.
But he didn’t.
Maura, slumped in the passenger seat next to
me, held out. Her snoring made us laugh. It I did. I was trying to be friendly, so I made eye
started out as labored breathing, rising up to contact and said hello in Spanish. I looked right
something like mild choking before returning at him and said it. But he didn’t say anything.
to the regular stuƩered breathing. But it inten- He just kept smiling.
sified again, and she gulped for air, peaking
finally in a flurry of staccato snorts. We tried I noƟced something else. His eyes. They were
not let our giggling wake her. She took care of glassy, like frog eggs.

Though poorly lit and less Ɵdy than American
supermarkets, Wendy’s Super O (every Ɵme

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

someone menƟoned the name – and it would Then Maura said my name. The way she
be menƟoned many Ɵmes that evening – I uƩered it, carefully enunciaƟng each syllable
couldn’t help thinking of Wendy O, the Plas- and almost whispering, got my aƩenƟon. But
maƟcs singer who wore Band-Aids over her my brain didn’t funcƟon properly. I was slow
nipples) catered to Yankee tourists going back and tone deaf. Had I not been, I would have
and forth between the Pacific Coast and central looked at her, which was exactly what she was
highlands. Something about being marketed to trying to get me to do.
as an affluent, never-hungry gringa in a poor,
third-world country depressed me. I had to get “Are we ready?” I said.
out of there, and did, aŌer giving Maura a
twenty and making up an excuse. I turned the igniƟon key. The engine fired up
and I switched on the air-condiƟoning.
While my friends were buying steaks, limes,
mangoes, gin, rum, containers of sunscreen Behind Maura, on the passenger side, Gretch-
and refrigerated boƩles of coffee, I waited in en cleared her throat. “Can we go now?” She
the car. I hadn’t talked to my kids for two days, started rolling up her window. I could hear the
so I checked my phone to see if they had whine of its electric motor.
called. They hadn’t. But I knew they were okay;
I just missed them. She and the other two women in the back fidg-
eted. I heard grumbling as I fiddled with dash-
I complain about the rudeness of others – my board knobs. Then Maura said my name again.
children and students, staring at their phones This Ɵme, her tone jarred me out of the fog.
when they should be parƟcipaƟng real human
behavior, like saying hello or cleaning up aŌer I turned. We made eye contact. She raised her
dinner. Yet that’s what I was doing, mired in brow, holding it there, eyes opened wide. Then
brain-candy crumbs that did nothing to im- she jerked her head toward the window.
prove my life, when my friends returned to the
car. Worse, just like my kids, I couldn’t let go of He was a short man, barely five-and-a-half-feet
the stupid device, even aŌer my friends en- tall. His hair was greasy and starƟng to thin.
tered the car. This I remember: When I heard Maverick wisps stood upright here and there
them coming, I thought I had plenty of Ɵme, at and took off willy-nilly, like Kramer on Seinfeld.
least three more minutes to read e-mails while His splotchy skin hated the sunlight. Patches of
they loaded groceries and got situated in the it looked hot and angry with infecƟon. He was
Land Cruiser. looking at us, but his eyes were faraway. Glassy
and crossed. His mouth was open, as it had
They were talking about scheduling and the been inside the store, but this Ɵme I detected a
difficulƟes of managing kids’ extra-curricular faint sneer, the slightest liŌ of his upper lip on
acƟviƟes. This mundane conversaƟon helped the right side. The sunlight made his shirt
me raƟonalize the obsessive behavior, and I looked even more faded.
conƟnued staring at the phone unƟl long aŌer
they had latched their seatbelts. He was six feet from the car.

They were paƟent. While waiƟng, they conƟn- For a second, I thought he was going to say
ued talking and didn’t ask why we hadn’t leŌ something, maybe ask a quesƟon. But he did-
the parking lot. Perhaps they had done this too n’t. Nor did he move.
and now accepted it as the new cultural norm.
I don’t know why I waited. What kept me from
But if I had been paying close aƩenƟon, I would leaving the parking lot? The spectacle, I guess.
have noƟced that their conversaƟon ended.
Abruptly, as if a tornado siren started blaring. He swayed forward and his head twitched. His
There were none of the usual trimmings – a chin and cheeks displayed random islands of
laugh or a kind word of affirmaƟon. gray mixed in with black stubble.

Did he need help? I almost asked, but before I
could, he stepped forward, closer to the car.
His chest seemed to hurl forward when he did

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Revista Literária Adelaide

this, like the arm of catapult. His legs dragged “He’s... he’s pulling it OUT, is what. Let’s go!”
behind. I heard gravel crunching under his feet.
I slid my foot off the brake and the Land Cruiser
The man took another step toward the car. rolled backwards. I hadn’t looked behind us or
Now I could not see below his waist. He used the mirrors. We were sƟll rolling when I
stopped there, only four feet from Maura’s heard a car honk.
door. Swayed like he was drunk.
I stomped the brake. The Land Cruiser
UnƟl then, his arms had been at his side, slammed to a stop. As it rocked back and forth,
resƟng on the flanks of his belly. Now he drew the women gasped and tried to catch their
them in, closer to the center of his body. I saw breath, and the man stood there holding his
his shoulders and arms moving, but I could not penis. Seeing this, Jane lost control, laughing
see his hands. and kicking the back of my seat. The others
were quiet as a cairn.
Gretchen could. “Oh shit…”
I felt guilty. The excursion was my idea, and the
Behind me, Jane unlatched her seatbelt and juvenile addicƟon to my smartphone had put
leaned across Raye and Gretchen to look out my friends in a vulnerable posiƟon. How could I
the window. She started laughing. It was be so careless? I apologized, and they assured
strangely loud, the hacking and fiendish bark of me that everything was okay.
a teenager.
Eventually I forgave myself. When I did, I dis-
“What?” I said. covered a deeper senƟment: sadness. That guy
was mentally disabled, and I doubt there were
“Go!” commanded Maura. any social services to help him. Then I thought,
what would that be like, for your brain to work
“What is it?” I said. “What’s he doing?”

Maura sƟffened. She turned away from the
window. She dug her heels into the floorboard
and pinned her shoulders against the seat.

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

that way, the wrong way, but to sƟll want sex, About the Author:
like everyone else. SomeƟmes biology is cruel.
MaƩ McGowan grew up in southwest Missouri
But I didn’t experience this feeling, this sad- and aƩended the University of Missouri. He
ness, unƟl much later, days, in fact, aŌer that was a newspaper reporter, and for many years
night’s drunken review of day. We were at the now he has worked as a science and research
villa, gathered around a long, rectangular writer at the University of Arkansas. His stories
coffee table. We were playing a homemade have appeared in Deep South Maga-
version of Charades. It was late, and we’d been zine, Concho River Review, Hawaii Pacific Re-
drinking for hours. The game held our aƩen- view, Arkansas Review and others. He lives
Ɵon, but the major event of the day just kept with his wife and children in FayeƩeville, Ar-
resurfacing. kansas.

Maybe Jane was right. On one level, it was kind
of funny.

During a break in the game, she stood up to go
to the kitchen, as her husband made a waggish
comment about the man’s romanƟc strategy
and chances for success. Hearing this, Jane
stopped. She turned and faced the group. I
don’t remember what she did to get our aƩen-
Ɵon, but whatever it was, it worked.

“Yeah, you goƩa wonder how that’s workin’ for
him,” she said. “I mean, what would he’ve
done if I’d goƩen out of the car and…” She
wobbled, shiŌing her weight from hip to hip
and then poinƟng her finger at the ceiling and
twirling it. “...‘All right, buddy,’” she said. “’you
know what, let’s just do this!’”

When we finished laughing, my husband asked,
“Was anyone else outside?”

“No,” said Gretchen.

Maura was shaking her head. “Nope. Nobody.”

“Well, you were preƩy lucky,” said Hank,
Gretchen’s husband.

Everyone nodded in agreement. I knew what
Hank meant, that it could have been worse,
and that was true. But I didn’t feel lucky. At
that moment, I didn’t feel anything. Not angry,
not scared, certainly not violated. Mainly I just
felt drunk.

I wondered about my girlfriends. Did they feel
lucky? I checked. I looked at all of them, but
they weren’t looking back at me. They were
staring at the table or gulping gin.

28

COLLEGE TOWN

by Jeffrey Kulik

It’s hot today, and as I look up at the sun I feel “The archives. The archives? What’s the
a bead of sweat rolling down the back of my point?”
neck. It reminds me of the old Ɵmes, and I
close my eyes for a moment and remember “I don’t know,” I say, shaking my head. “I don’t
working in the garden behind my house under know anymore.”
the same old sun. But, that was a long Ɵme
ago and things are different now. A dark cloud moves slowly in front of the sun,
briefly enveloping us in an ashy shadow.
I feel a few flakes land on my shoulder so I dust
them off. It’s snowing again. At least, that’s “You going to the meeƟng tonight?”
what we’ve taken to calling it when the ash
flakes come down. It happens a couple of “Of course. You?”
Ɵmes a week, so we’ve all goƩen used to it by
now. I pass by the store and see Dr. Maltese, “What else do we have to do?”
sweeping up the ash in the front doorway.
And when the sun reappears, it provides us no
“Just keeps coming down, huh?” I ask. comfort.

He stops sweeping and wipes some ash off his We meet, as always, in the old library. There
face with a gray handkerchief. “This is geƫng are new posters on the walls of the main en-
ridiculous,” he says. “I wasn’t put on Earth to tranceway. Dave does an excellent job rotaƟng
run a corner store.” the artwork, even though we are quickly run-
ning out of resources. We may one day starve
“Hey, I didn’t sign up to clean out sewers, but to death, but Dave will always have new, un-
that’s what I’ve been assigned.” seen poster prints and big metal clips with
which to affix them to the wall.
“When I was Director of Parking, I used to sit in
a big office and look at spreadsheets on two big “Hey Dave,” I say, adjusƟng my eyes to the dim
computer monitors. I led meeƟngs, shook light inside the old library. We meet by candle-
hands, made decisions, handed out business light now. We had started out with enough
cards, all of it. I wore a different suit every day natural gas to make our own electricity which
of the week!” kept the whole place illuminated at night, but
now we are conserving it to use to run the
“I know. I was there. I wore a suit every day, baseboard heaters in our office homes when
too.” winter comes.

It stops snowing and Dr. Maltese looks up into I had once begged for a corner office with win-
the sky. “I know, I know. I just feel like if I dows on two sides. Now, I’m glad I have just
don’t keep saying it, I’ll forget. And it’ll be like I the one cold glass pane when it gets cold out.
was always this shopkeeper and nothing else.” The draŌs can be real killers.

“Nobody will forget. We have the archives in “How have you been?” Dave asks, genuinely
concerned, as always.

29

Adelaide Literary Magazine

“You remember how I used to say that nothing “Yeah, yeah,” Miss Molloy, the head of our de
could be worse than working for this place? facto nursing and medical care group, seated
Well, turns out I was wrong.” next to me, sneers.

I always use this line with everybody. It’s be- “And, that is why, my friends and colleagues,
come my signature. However, it has become that tomorrow, I will be making a journey out-
less humorous with each passing day that we side of the fence.”
are locked up here. No one laughs anymore.
The room hushes to silence.
Dr. Lombard takes the podium. Once, he was
our Chancellor. Since the aƩack, he more or I look over at Miss Molloy, but she is staring
less serves as our mayor. Perhaps the beƩer straight ahead, mouth agape.
word would be president. This is, aŌer all, our
whole world now. The next day, it is cold. These strange shiŌs in
temperature are common now, and I take this
He is surrounded by the crackling light of a one with the usual grain of salt. Mr. Conroy,
score of candelabra. The lighƟng makes every- who was once a high-level business manager
thing he says that much more ominous. with Central AdministraƟon, pounds deter-
“Colleagues,” he begins, arms outstretched. minedly on a rusty spigot which emerges from
a mossy brick wall at the boƩom of a decrepit
“Do you believe this guy?” Hank, the carpenter lecture hall building which is now used as a
foreman says, poking me in the arm. “He’s no makeshiŌ sanitarium. The sanitarium is filled
beƩer than you or me or anybody. Why does with those of us who had children or other
he get to be up there?” family outside the walls when we were sealed
in. The mothers moan for their children, the
“The Board of Trustees named him Chancel- men for their wives, the students for their
lor,” I answer, dumbly. mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers.
Some of our ranks never did acclimate to our
“The Board of Trustees abandoned us, Charlie,” new world.
Hank whisper-shouts into my ear. “I don’t
know why we sƟll listen to this guy. What’s he “Did you hear what he said last night?”
done for us? Nothing. Give me the word and
I’ll rush the stage and take this whole thing “I was there, Charlie. We all heard him.”
over.” “I know. I just can’t get over it.”
“Just what we need,” I reply. “A dictator.”
Mr. Conroy stands and wipes his hands on the
“You’ve already got one,” Hank shoots back, lapels of what was once a very nice silk suit
poinƟng at the stage. “You just don’t see it.” jacket. “Look. First of all, there’s no guarantee
he’s even going to get through the wall.
I turn my aƩenƟon back to Dr. Lombard. He
runs his stubby fingers through his gray broom- Who is he, David Copperfield? Second of all,
bristle crew cut. He speaks to us through let’s say he does get out. Then what? If what
chapped lips. His skin seems so delicate now, they tell us is even remotely true, he’ll be shot
almost translucent in places. “We’ve been dead by the police in no Ɵme. I sƟll love the
together through the best of Ɵmes and the old goof, but he’s a grown man and if he wants
worst of Ɵmes…” to get killed, I say let him. I’m waiƟng unƟl
they give us the all clear.”
“Don’t remember the best,” Hank posits. I
shush him and conƟnue listening. “If there was going to be an all clear, don’t you
think we’d have heard it by now?”
“And, aŌer the gas, when all seemed to be lost,
we came together as a University family. I Mr. Conroy laughs. “You sound like those con-
want you all to know how proud I was of all of spiracy nuts down by Fillmore Hall. Our alarm
you. What could have been chaos, what could alert system didn’t work before the gas. No,
have been an even greater tragedy, became a I’m waiƟng for a bunch of soldiers to come in
Ɵme of unity.” here and let us know its safe out there.”

30

Revista Literária Adelaide

The gas aƩack happened three years ago. In “I told you to call me Chief!” he shouts back.
my mind, I’m sure they’ve already sealed our
fates. “Who died and made you Chief?”

I take a walk to the police staƟon. They have a “Al Morris!”
deep supply of dried food that they were sav-
ing for an emergency preparedness demonstra- “Oh, yeah.” I add. “He was a hell of a guy.”
Ɵon before the gas. Luckily, we had a team of
expert food chemists on staff that could aƩest “Just shut up and take your raƟons,” Marla
to the safety of the dried food aŌer the inci- says, handing me an oddly-shaped lump cov-
dent. We have had raƟoning, no doubt, but I ered with aluminum foil. She grabs one of my
sƟll have enough coupons in my wallet to last raƟon Ɵckets and sends me on my way.
me another two years. What comes aŌer that,
I try not to think about about. I take a long walk around the perimeter of the
campus. I remember when we had students
Dr. Foreman is siƫng in a squeaky metal office coming in and out of here at all hours of the
chair behind a desk stacked with papers, work- day and night. I remember when I would go
ing by candlelight. “What do you want?” he home each night to my empty apartment. I
snaps at me, as the front door shuts behind wonder if there’s a part of me that likes it
me. beƩer this way, the new way.

“I’m here for my raƟon.” I remember the day it happened. It was bright
and clear, which are always the most ominous
He leans out of the shadows. “You’re going to days to me. First, there was a horrible buzzing
run out of those raƟon Ɵckets if you keep using from all our phones. Everyone’s pockets and
them like this.” briefcases were suddenly alive with dread.
Then the sky turned black. We all turned to
“Just give me a raƟon, please.” our phones and computers for guidance, but all
we got were confusing reports. AŌer a few
“You don’t want to eat the turnips and egg- minutes of panic, we all started walking out of
plants they’re growing in the greenhouse?” our buildings, looking to each other to make
some sense out of the situaƟon. We moved as
“I’m sick of fresh vegetables all the Ɵme. I a group to the three main entrances. But, the
want something that tastes like meat. How soldiers had already sealed us in. The gates
about one of those dehydrated Salisbury were closed.
steaks?”
Our phones worked for a couple of days aŌer
“I don’t know – let me think about it,” he mus- that, and we would meet in big groups in the
es. quad to try to figure things out. For a while,
we thought that maybe war had broken out, or
Marla Hernandez has been standing in the cor- that somebody had finally dropped the bomb.
ner this whole Ɵme, unnoƟced. She used to be We didn’t know. The news reports were vague
a nutriƟonist with our Public Health school, but and pointlessly incendiary. Then, we thought it
since the accident, she been volunteering as a might have been some kind of chemical leak.
member of our police force. Two out of the We were trapped inside here for our safety,
three shiŌs were home when the event oc- unƟl they could clean up the contaminaƟon.
curred, so we were leŌ with only one shiŌ less The news anchors were no help. The stories
those who were out on vacaƟon or leave. Mar- were jumbled and confused. The opƟons, so it
la was one of the first to volunteer to fill the seemed, were limitless.
void. There weren’t enough uniforms, so the
one she was wearing was less than ideal. It was the College of Liberal Arts that figured it
Meant for a man, and large man at that, her out. They did air tests, soil tests, all kinds of
slender frame got lost in the billowy blue shirt. tests, and they determined that there had
But her demeanor helped assert her authority. been some kind of poison gas cloud over our
region. None of us seemed parƟcularly affect-
“Give the man his dehydrated Salisbury steak, ed health-wise, but they said the effects might
Dr. Foreman,” she demands.

31

Adelaide Literary Magazine

be long-lasƟng. They were probably sealing us “I could have told you that.”
in unƟl they could tell how sick we really were.
They didn’t want us causing an outbreak. I approach them, sƟll holding the dehydrated
Salisbury steak. “Excuse me. Are you talking
A few of us tried to test the gates and the fenc- about the Chancellor?”
es, but the bright lights from the soldiers’
trucks parked just outside deterred us. Eventu- They stop their work and look at me with sour
ally, we all got used to the new way. Well, faces. I have interrupted them. “Can we help
most of us did anyway, and we began to forge you?”
on.
“I need some turnips.”
Mankind is resilient, especially public university
employees. We had long been trained to do A young lady with taped-together black-framed
less with more, to expect the worst and to im- glasses stands up and sighs, annoyed. “Do you
provise with impunity. We were ready for this. have your turnip card?”
When the electricity turned off, Dr. Friedberg,
the head of Campus UƟliƟes, found a way to I produce it.
make our own using our natural gas reserves.
The ladies who ran the goth rock fan club had a She sighs again and roboƟcally states, “As you
huge stockpile of candles, and the Department know, you are enƟtled to one turnip a week,
of Chemistry had a huge supply of lighters and and with each turnip, we will punch another
lighter fluid. We made do. hole in your card. You may not exceed one
turnip a week and this is subject to change
SƟll, the fence haunts us. It looks like any oth- based on availability. Do you understand?”
er fence, really. SomeƟmes, I like to look at it
and imagine a big open gate with people walk- I nod. This is boilerplate stuff.
ing freely in and out of campus. But, those
days have long passed. I was always told that She places a big, heavy turnip into a brown
when they built the University, it was a primari- paper bag for me.
ly a commuter school, and so they would close
the gates every night and lock the whole place “So?” I ask.,
down. I suppose somebody much higher up
also knew that story and took full advantage She grimaces. “So, what?
aŌer the gas.
“So, do you think he’s going to do it?”
I used to go to school here, before I graduated,
and they hired me on full-Ɵme. I learned all “The Chancellor?”
about the unethical experiments that used to
abound on human subjects. I feel like our lives “Yeah.”
behind the fence are being recorded in some
kind of study log. I assume there is outrage as “Who cares? We all know there’s nothing out
to all of our whereabouts and some kind of big there. He’s just another smug, sancƟmonious
cover up. In my heart, I know they’ve all patrician doing whatever he wants. When the
wriƩen us off. phone signals cut off, I made my peace with it.
This is our home now. Here’s your turnip.
I walk through the open front doors of the Have a nice day.”
campus greenhouse. The young men and
women inside are digging up the latest crop of As I walk out, I see a crowd gathering by the
turnips. I overhear them talking as I approach. fence. I know now that it is Ɵme. Time moves
strangely here behind the walls. All of us spec-
“Do you think he’s really going to do it?” tators, we huddle together, scared and con-
fused. I look up and see that old familiar face
“He’s a fool. He’s an old fool.” preparing himself. I am nervous for him. I
clear my throat.
“Well, if he’s a fool, then so am I.”
I watch now, with the rest, all of us, all differ-
ent, all trapped here together, as he climbs the
wall. He ascends the ladder slowly, tentaƟvely,
and for a moment we think maybe he’s lost his

32

Revista Literária Adelaide

nerve. But, in the moment when he throws his About the Author:
legs over the top parapet it becomes real. He
stops there at the top, looking out at the out- Jeffrey Kulik is a lifelong Chicagoan and a ca-
side world as if for the first Ɵme. As I hear him reer civil servant who has previously been pub-
drop down onto the other side, I feel my heart lished in Arcturus and Public OrganizaƟon Re-
sink in my chest. I remember all the years I view.
spent jockeying for posiƟon, undermining my
co-workers, vying for my boss’ aƩenƟon, all of
it. I think about my life inside these walls in all
its totality. And now the most alive I’ve ever
felt is watching with envy as a middle-aged
man in a suit scales a short brick wall.

33

A RECURRING
DREAM

by Ana Vidosavljevic

Mila woke up to the sound of Fajr prayer. It One dream especially kept her anxious and
was sƟll pitch-dark outside. She came close to restless. She was sleeping but she was Ɵred.
the window and pulled back the curtain. The That recurring dream exhausted her. Mila
sky was overloaded with starts. Mila was gaz- dreamed that she was walking alone on a dusty
ing at the beauƟful twinkling carpet above. It road that led to Gobekli Tepe. The sun was at
was stunning. It seemed so close, as though its zenith and the burning ground was throwing
she could reach and touch it. As though she out the golden dust.
could hold the moon in her hand. She lowered
her head and she saw man hurrying to the Those golden clouds blurred her vision. But
mosque. She loved listening the early morning sƟll, she could anƟcipate something strange
prayer. It was full of sorrow, lament, mystery approaching her. It was not a man, nor a bird
and arƟsƟc beauty at the same Ɵme. She and it didn't seem like any animal either. And
couldn't wait the dawn and she was eager not sƟll, it seemed alive. Alive but not walking, fly-
only to walk the streets of Sanliurfa, but to visit ing or slithering. It was more floaƟng through
Gobekli Tepe as well. For most of people, lay- the hot air.
men, Gobekli Tepe was an archaeological site.
For archaeologists, anthropologists and those The closer it was, the stronger her heart was
who studied human life and human culture this beaƟng. When it was almost within arm's
was an exquisite place, a place which seemed reach, she realized that it was a skull. It was
to not only quesƟon certain religious beliefs not a completely human skull. It was long and
but whose mysterious stones maybe marked narrow with a pointy chin and narrow Asian
the site of the Garden of Eden. eyes. The skull was so close to her face that it
seemed she could feel its sharp edges. And in
Mila was not an archaeologist or anthropolo- that moment, when her face almost touched
gist and she had never before been to Gobekli the skull, she would always wake up. This par-
Tepe. However, a year ago, she had met a Ɵcular dream tortured her. Awake, she was
young archaeologist who had told her the sto- aware that she would dream the same dream
ries and legends about this mysterious place. over and over again, but the very process of
And her interest for this place grew so much dreaming always brought anxiety, blurry imag-
that she started dreaming it. Those dreams es, uncertainty, fear, anƟcipaƟon. She read a
were so vivid and so puzzling that they colored lot about the skulls found in Gobekli Tepe and
her everyday life. Not a day passed without her it probably influenced her dreaming, but she
thinking about this place. OŌen would she couldn't understand why she oŌen dreamed
dream the Gobekli Tepe's hills, yellow dust and the same dream. Since it was almost dawn and
strange skulls that were half-human and half- she couldn't go back to sleep, she spent an
animal. Those dreams didn't let her do any- hour reading. Later, she was the first one to
thing else except read about Gobekli Tepe. And have breakfast in a hotel restaurant.
the more she read about it, the more intense
her desire to visit it became. The hotel was half empty but sƟll people didn't
hurry to go for breakfast since it was served

34

Revista Literária Adelaide

unƟl eleven in the morning. Mila was in a hur- very focused on its imaginary castles with liƩle
ry. She was anxious to visit Gobekli Tepe. She rubber soldiers that were scaƩered around the
ate and stayed in the hotel lobby to wait for a ground.
driver and guide who were supposed to take
her to the famous archaeological site. The driv- His mother was smiling looking at him and de-
er came at 7.30. The guide arrived at the same cided to take a rest. She came close to the
Ɵme. The guide was pleasant, talkaƟve and bench where Mila was siƫng and asked in a
obviously full of knowledge. His English was very good English if Mila didn't mind her siƫng
excellent. on the bench as well. Mila didn't mind at all
and what's more she even longed for company.
Once they arrived to the site, he walked her First, the woman seemed reserved and not
around and explained to her a lot about this willing to talk but all of a sudden, she started
amazing place, considered to be the world's asking quesƟons – where from Mila was, if she
first temple and believed to be a burial site as liked Sanliurfa, what brought her here, if she
well. was married and had children.

Gobekli Tepe, at least the part that was exca- Mila politely answered all the quesƟons but
vated, consisted of circular and oval-shaped didn't talk more than what was asked by the
structure set on the hill. It was an impressive woman.
archaeological site but even more impressive
were the stories, legends, mysteries, beliefs The woman seemed saƟsfied with the answers.
around it. Mila listened to them and didn't Since it was hot, she opened her bag to take
want to interrupt the guide even though she the boƩle of water. A small picture with a
had hundreds of quesƟons to ask. Finally, aŌer strange colorful peacock fell down. Mila took it
a couple of hours, the guide seemed Ɵred of from the ground and gazed at it. It seemed
walking and talking. It was geƫng hot. Mila familiar.
knew that her tour would be over soon. She
asked the guide to bring her to this site few “I've seen something similar but I can't remem-
more Ɵmes and answer her quesƟons. He ber where...” she said.
agreed to meet her again the next day and
bring her to Gobekli Tepe. She forced her brain to work beƩer trying to
remember where and when she saw this image
Mila and the guide met three more Ɵmes. She or the similar one.
would wait every morning at 7.30 in front of
the hotel and the guide and driver would take “It is Melek Taus, or the Peacock Angel,” the
her to Gobekli Tepe every of those days. The woman said. “The Yezidis believe that Melek
guide showed her every corner of the site. He Taus is the true creator and ruler of the uni-
explained everything he knew about every part verse. The Supreme God created him as the
of this place and answer those Mila's quesƟons greatest of all. Our religion is the oldest religion
he knew the answers to. And when he didn't on earth and all other religions came aŌer and
know what else to talk about connected to this from our religion.”
site, he told her that he couldn't help her any
further. Mila was saƟsfied but not completely. Mila was more than interested to hear more
She thanked the guide but decided to stay in about Yezidis, Melek Taus and their religion.
Sanliurfa few more days. She spent the next
two days walking the streets of Sanlirfa, eaƟng “So, Melek Taus is not God?” asked Mila.
baklava in local restaurants, siƫng in the Balikli
Gol park and watching and feeding the fish in “No,” the woman said, “he is God's most im-
the pool. portant angel, also known as Shaitan or Satan.
He is a fallen angel. He rebelled against God
It was a late aŌernoon and Mila was siƫng on and was cast into Hell. But God forgave him.”
one of the benches in the Balikli Gol park. A
middle- aged woman with a child approached. “And how is Melek Taus related to Adam and
The child was playing with its toys and seemed Eve?” Mila was curious.

“He taught Adam and Eve secrets of worship
and human evoluƟon. He is the one who asked

35

Adelaide Literary Magazine

Adam to “eat of the grain” and that's how we the house, grandpa faced her yelling and show-
got wheat today.” ing the Peacock Angel picture. Mila had never
seen him so angry. Grandma looked ashamed
“That's interesƟng,” said Mila, “so you don't for some reason and asked Mila to go and play
believe that he brought an apple, the symbol of outside. Even fiŌy meters from the house, Mila
knowledge, but wheat?” she was surprised could hear grandpa's angry voice. However,
even shocked. she saw her friend and they went to the park
to play.
“Yes, he brought the wheat that was domesƟ-
cated by humans. And they stopped hunƟng This memory struck her. Why did her grandma
and gathering and took up farming.” have the Peacock Angel picture? She needed
some answers. She grabbed her mobile phone
Mila was amazed. and called her mother. It had been a long Ɵme
since she talked to her mother. Her mother
“And very close to Sanilurfa, in Gobekli Tepe, it knew Mila was going for some trip to Asia, but
all began. Gobekli Tepe was the Garden of Mila had never told her where exactly she
Eden.” would go. Anyway, her mother answered the
phone immediately. AŌer the usual small talk,
Mila didn't hide her bewilderment. Mila asked her:

“Gobekli Tepe is the oldest place on earth,” “Mum, why did grandma have the Peacock
conƟnued the woman persuasively. Angel picture? I remember finding it in her
drawer when I was liƩle. Do you know anything
Mila was sƟll digesƟng everything she had about it?”
heard from the woman for the last twenty
minutes, when the woman stood up abruptly, A moment of silence.
said “nice to meet you”, took the child's hand
and walked away. “Mum? Was grandma a Yezidi?”

Mila finally stood up as well. She hurried up “I don't want to talk about it on the phone,”
through the Balikli Gol park and through the said Mila's mother indifferently.
busy Sanliurfa's streets and reached her hotel
room. She took her laptop and the next 5 hours “Please I need to know,” begged Mila.
she spent Googling and reading the arƟcles
about Yezidis and Melek Taus and their con- “Not on the phone, Mila! We'll talk when you
necƟon to Gobekli Tepe. She learned about the come back. Stay safe and call me when you're
Book of Enoch and its story of fallen angels or back.”
Watchers. And furthermore, she read about
Yezidis and the commitment to their own com- She hang up. Mila was confused. She didn't fail
munity. She learned that they must marry to noƟce irritaƟon in her mother's voice and a
within the Yezidi community, and a Yezidi who certain kind of shame.
married a non-Yezidi risked the expulsion from
the community. She was taking all the infor- Mila sat on the bed with the phone in her hand
maƟon and all of a sudden she remembered! more than ten more minutes thinking about
her conversaƟon with her mother. When she
When she was a liƩle girl, she saw a small pic- got herself together, she turned on her laptop
ture of the Peacock Angel in her grandma's and booked the flight back. She needed to go
drawer. She also remembered that her grand- back home and find out the truth. And the first
ma was not in the house at that moment so flight was the next day.
she asked her grandpa what it was. AŌer see-
ing the picture in Mila's hand, grandpa got furi- The next day, she woke up soaked in sweat.
ous. He grabbed the picture and asked Mila The same skull dream tortured her again. It
where she had found it. Mila told him the was only 7 in the morning and the driver was
truth. Half an hour later, when grandma came supposed to pick her up at 9 am and take her
back from the shop, the moment she entered to the airport.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

She had enough Ɵme to eat delicious baklava young girl didn't speak English, your grandpa
and say good bye to Sanliurfa. The flight was fell in love with her.
long but pleasant. She read books and maga-
zines she bought in Sanliurfa and Ɵme flied. Anyway, the only one in the family who spoke
She arrived home the next day in the evening. English was Misha. Since your grandpa spent
She couldn't wait any longer to talk to her almost one month in their house lying in bed
mother and hear the whole story, so she decid- and hoping to recover, he and Misha talked a
ed to call her immediately. Luckily, her mother lot every day.
sounded calm and told Mila that she was wel-
come to come to her house and talk. Mila did- Misha told him a lot about Yezidis, their beliefs
n't want to lose Ɵme. She quickly took shower, and tradiƟon. He told him about their commit-
grabbed one beauƟful sarong she bought for ment to the Yezidi community and ostracism of
her mother in Sanliurfa and called a taxi. Ten those who decided to marry a non-Yezidi. Your
minutes later, her mother opened the door, grandpa learned that his feelings for Misha's
hugged her, seated her on a couch in the living sister couldn't be revealed otherwise, both she
room and brought her a cup of tea. Then, she and he would be in trouble. Days were passing
sat as well in a wing chair across from Mila. Her and he wondered if the girl felt the same for
mother closed her eyes for a moment, then, him. He took a piece of paper and drew a man
she took a deep breath and began: who was holding a flower in his hand. The next
Ɵme the girl came to his room he gave her the
“I don't know if you remember but your grand- drawing. First, aŌer seeing the drawing, the girl
father was a vagabond. Always ready to travel, looked confused and scared, but then he rec-
to move, to go somewhere. When I was a kid, ognized a trace of a smile on her beauƟful
he would, every second-third day, put me in his face. She took the drawing, folded it and put it
old car and take me to different places, some- in her pocket. The following day, he drew a
Ɵmes not that far from our hometown but the man with a bunch of flowers, and the day aŌer,
other days, we would go miles and miles far a man with a heart in his hand. While taking
from it. We visited all the lakes, rivers, ciƟes, the last drawing, the girl finally showed a real
villages in our region and few other regions smile. But then, as if she regreƩed it, she ran
unƟl I reached the age of nine years. When he away from the room. The next day she didn't
was young he was worse. He would grab his show up. Instead of her, Misha brought food
back pack and travel the most remote places and water.
on earth. When he was 21, he went to the
south-east Turkey. In that Ɵme, probably he “That what you are doing is very dangerous,”
was one of the rare Westerners to set his foot said Misha calmly. Your grandpa was taken by
on the soil of that part of Turkey. IniƟally, he surprise. “I mean, making a young Yezidi girl
planned to spend just a couple of days there fall in love with you...” he was looking your
and to conƟnue his trip to probably Iraq and grandpa straight into the eyes, “my sister
Iran. But he got very sick. He couldn't eat, drink showed me the drawings you had given
or move from bed. He was so weak and in pain her...you know that we Yezidis don't mix with
that he was afraid he would die there. Luckily, the other religions, beliefs, groups. If we did,
he met a nice young man, Misha, almost his the worst curse would fall on us.”
own age, who was Yezidi and this young man
took him to his home where he lived with his Your grandpa didn't say a word. But he also
parents and sister. First, the family was angry couldn't help himself from falling in love with
that their son brought a Westerner to their the girl.
house who would “spoil the sacredness of their
home with his Western impurity” but then they The girl didn't show up the following day ei-
agreed to take care of him unƟl he got beƩer. ther. Your grandpa was feeling beƩer and
Misha's sister was the one who was bringing beƩer and he knew he would have to leave
food and water to your grandpa in a small soon. He decided to risk and talk to Misha
room where the family put him. Even though, about his plan. Misha was the only one who
they couldn't communicate verbally since the could help him. He told Misha about his feel-
ings for his sister and he told him that he was

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

planning to talk to Misha's parents anyway and girl, everything went well. However, once they
he needed Misha as an interpreter. Misha got arrived here I believe you can imagine the
angry. shock of your great grandparents when their
son brought a Yezidi girl to their house. But he
“You are absolutely crazy! You really are! We was their only child whom they loved and sup-
are Yezidis! My parents would never let their ported in everything so they accepted her as
daughter marry a Westerner! And it is not only his wife-to- be. But they were afraid that any
them. But the whole Yezidi community will moment someone might come to look for the
stand against you. And my sister will be exclud- girl and kill all of them in the house. Your great
ed from our community and will not be al- grandfather even bought special locks for the
lowed ever again to even come and visit any of front door and a German Shepherd that stayed
us here.” in the garden all night and day long. However,
law was on their side since both their son and
Your grandpa was deeply disappointed and the girl were mature. Both of them were 21
hurt. He was feeling much beƩer physically years old.
though and he decided to leave in three days.
Every next Ɵme Misha came to his room, he AŌer a year when they realized that no one
was quiet and seemed deep in thought. was looking for the girl, they relaxed. Your
grandpa and the girl, your grandma, got mar-
In the evening before your grandpa's depar- ried and first they got me and a year aŌer they
ture, Misha came to his room. got your uncle Misha.

“Two days ago I spoke with my sister,” he said. Your grandma was a very smart woman. She
“She seems really likes you and is willing to run learned English fast and even though I remem-
away with you.” ber her strange accent when I was very liƩle,
by the Ɵme you were born, her accent was
The words “run away” struck your grandpa. He perfect. No one was able to say that she had
didn't plan to run away from anyone and with been born in Turkey. However, you have to
anyone. understand and I am sure you do that her life
was not easy, before or aŌer leaving Turkey.
“I decided to help you,” Misha conƟnued, “I Giving up the whole her family and Yezidi iden-
made my sister a passport. Don't ask how! And Ɵty was heartbreaking even though it was her
she will be ready to leave with you before choice. She suffered a lot. I remember finding
dawn. You have to leave before anyone is her crying in her bedroom while holding the
awake. So tell me, do you sƟll want her to picture of the Peacock Angel and asking for
come with you?” forgiveness. She never heard anything about
her parents and brother. Once when I was ten,
Your grandpa didn't hide surprise. He was your grandpa suggested going to her
shocked by the Misha's plan but he couldn't hometown alone and finding her parents and
back out of the whole situaƟon and honestly brother and trying to talk to them and beg
he didn't want to. He was young, in love, and them to accept him as their son-in-law, and to
ready for big risks. accept their marriage. She forbade him to ever
again menƟon something similar. She knew
He didn't let himself dwell on the whole idea of how dangerous it would be to go back there
escape. Instead, he took the girl's passport, and useless as well. She knew that kind of
thanked Misha and checked if all his belongings aƩempt would have no desired effects and it
were packed. He couldn't sleep that night at would be more than disappoinƟng. She accept-
all. At 4 am, he took his backpack, jacket and ed that she would never again see anyone from
hat, met the girl in the corridor and they leŌ her family. And she lived with it. The only re-
the house without making any noise and with- minder of that old life was the picture of the
out waking up anyone. They walked unƟl the Peacock Angel.”
end of city where they found a taxi which took
them to the train staƟon. Luckily, when they
arrived, they had to wait only twenty minutes
for the train to Istanbul. And even though peo-
ple were staring at the Westerner and Turkish

38

Revista Literária Adelaide

The mother stopped talking. She went to the That night she lied in her bed eyes wide open
bedroom and aŌer a minute came back. She thinking about the story her mother had told
came to Mila and opened her hand asking her her a couple of hours ago. For a long Ɵme she
to take what was in her palm. It was a small couldn't fall asleep. But once she did, she slept
picture of the Peacock Angel. deeply and peacefully like a newborn baby
aŌer finishing a full boƩle of milk. There was
“When I was liƩle I found that picture in the no skull dream and the morning sun rays woke
grandma's drawer...she and grandpa fought her up. She got up, came to the window,
over it. opened it and let the sun sneak inside her
room. She made herself a cup of black Turkish
Grandpa was very angry that she kept this pic- coffee, took the Black Book, sat in a wind chair
ture,” Mila said. next to the window, face toward the sun and
started reading it:
“No,” the mother said, “they didn't fight over “Wherefore, it is true that My knowledge com-
the picture. When your grandpa suggested passes the very Truth of all that Is, And My wis-
going to find your grandma's family because he dom is not separate from My heart...”
couldn't bear her suffering so much, she not
only refused but asked him not to menƟon About the Author:
them again or anything that connected her to
Yezidis. Years later, when you found this pic- Ana Vidosavljevic was born in Serbia and cur-
ture, he realized that she had never stopped rently living in Indonesia. She has her work
suffering and probably felt guilty because she published or forthcoming in Down in the Dirt
abandoned them. He was angry because she (Scar PublicaƟons), Literary Yard, RYL (Refresh
refused his help. He wanted her to stop feeling Your Life), The Caterpillar, The Curlew, Eskimo
guilty and to stop suffering.” Pie, Coldnoon, PerspecƟves, Indiana Voice
Journal, The Raven Chronicles, Setu Bilingual
Her mother finished the story. Mila sat quietly Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Quail
holding the picture of the Peacock Angel. It Bell Magazine, Madcap Review, The Bookends
must have been so hard for grandma to live the Review, Gimmick Press, (mac)ro(mic), Scarlet
life with guilt and ignorance. But she didn't Leaf Review. She worked on a GIEE 2011 pro-
have other opƟons. At least, it seemed so. The ject: Gender and Interdisciplinary EducaƟon for
great thing was she had had a wonderful hus- Engineers 2011 as a member of the InsƟtute
band who loved her, children and grandchil- Mihailo Pupin team. She alsoaƩended the In-
dren. She had the family that supported her, ternaƟonal Conference “Bullying and Abuse of
loved her, and made her life easier than the Power” in November, 2010, in Prague, Czech
one she had led when she had been young. Republic, where she presented her paper:
Some decisions were not easy to make but “Cultural intolerance”.
Mila guessed when you were young everything
seemed easy. The only remnant leŌ from her
old life was that picture. And it was not a reli-
gious token as Mila had iniƟally believed. It was
a painful reminder to the old life. Her grandma
kept this picture maybe to remind herself that
we all did good and bad things in life. And as
Yezidis believed that good and evil both exist in
humans, it all depended on humans which one
they chose. And even if they thought at certain
moment they chose good but it was perceived
as bad, they would be forgiven, as God forgave
Melek Taus, the fallen angel.

Mila was happy with her own interpretaƟon of
her grandma's decisions, life, beliefs. AŌer fin-
ishing the cup of tea, Mila kissed her mother
goodbye and went home.

39

THE NEVER-ENDING
WINDOW

by MaƩ Ingoldby

It was someƟme in April when I returned from At last I resolved against type and sound medi-
the clinic for a period of rest. My uncle had cal advice to seek outside help. I found the
agreed to pay rent in my absence, but not to number for a general household repairman. He
look aŌer the place, which was as dismal and arrived the next morning full of pracƟcal vig-
chaoƟc as I’d leŌ it. I made some duƟful our, with a toolbox so bulky it required both of
aƩempts to Ɵdy up, but only as much as was us to manoeuvre it upstairs. He strode through
needed to sit down at a clear desk and begin the cluƩer and tugged at the stuck frame, talk-
the grand project I’d conceived while inside the ing a mile a minute; I gathered he could feel
clinic. my awkwardness.

Beginning today, I intended to produce a At last he stood back and whistled. I knew it
uniquely exhausƟve autobiography, quite un- with dread: The whole casement would have to
like anything wriƩen before in terms of scope: be replaced. The welfare I received for mental
A single life described so comprehensively, and incapacity would not cover this; I thanked him
in such rigorous detail, that no aspect of hu- and apologised for wasƟng his Ɵme.
man experience would escape it. I set a blank
stack of paper before me and wrote my Ɵtle on Taking pity on me, the man proposed to fetch
the first: A Grain of Sand. his team and carry out the work at once, and I
would pay only what I could. I agreed with
Such a task, I recognised, would take more awed graƟtude. I asked him then if I might con-
than my lifeƟme to complete. That much Ɵnue to work in the room while they replaced
would fall to my successors. I was merely to lay the frame. He said he didn’t mind and leŌ,
the groundwork for this vast undertaking, akin vowing to return within the hour.
to the mapping of the human genome.
I had just re-entered the trance of my research
My research began well. I tracked down histori- when a knock at the room door re-woke me. I
cal images of the hospital where I was born, welcomed a number of men to the room (how
and filled six pages with descripƟons of its ar- many I could only tell once they were inside)
chitecture, colour, and environment (though who requested tea with sugar. When I re-
even this, I knew, was insufficient.) Just before turned with the tray, I did not recognise a soul,
midday a square of sun fell upon the desk and and leŌ the mugs quietly on the workframe.
matched the edges almost perfectly; this Coming in then was a man with a plank of
seemed to me a good omen, and a cue to con- wood, which he unfolded into two, then four,
Ɵnue my research into the night. of equal size to the first, unƟl I looked away.
Meekly I sat at the desk and aƩempted to re-
June soon laid waste to the city outside, and sume my work.
my room took on the climate of a greenhouse.
The window had warped in its frame, and But the scale of my labour, once thrilling, now
would not open. Days became unbearable: I weighed almost physically upon me. Every
couldn’t think, could barely move; I lay in a word I wrote seemed depthless, every sen-
cool bath, moaning. tence lacking all that I had hoped to capture.

40

Revista Literária Adelaide

I raised my eyes from the page to an orgy of About the Author:
acƟvity. There were, at first glance, far too
many workmen to fit inside the room, and yet MaƩ Ingoldby works as a copywriter in the UK.
there was space for us all. I stood up unheed- His stories have appeared in The Pennsylvania
ed, saw numerous helmeted heads descend Literary Journal, The Next Review, the Lowes-
from the ceiling and sway there, loudly chaƩer- toŌ Chronicle, Existeré, Octavius, Crimson
ing. A square of floor where the carpet was Streets, Story & Grit, and one or two antholo-
drawn back now swung open, and more men gies, working his way up to a novel. He is an
rose through it, marching to a military drum. A acƟve member of the Waterloo Theatre Group,
spanner turned and so, impercepƟbly, did the and a keen runner. He currently lives in Lon-
room. A ladder scrolled across my vision and don.
conƟnued for a long Ɵme; longer, certainly,
than would seem to fit in end to end. I looked
for a window, but could see none, although the
space was airier and lighter than before. A hail
of infinite sparks hid the instrument that made
them. I saw suddenly a room that was my own,
and another beside it, and many more, as
many as there were angles to observe it; and in
one there was a window that was jammed, and
in the last, (for it stood to what reason I had
leŌ there should be a last,) would be a window
that was new and open. But this room, I real-
ised, was impossible to reach.

A powerful dread possessed me. I reeled and
closed the door, not knowing whose room lay
behind. With the vaguest intenƟon to return
when work was over, I wandered downstairs
and outside. At the road I risked a glance over
my shoulder.

The same bricks held a new frame; and through
it, gazing blankly at the sun, I glimpsed my suc-
cessor. He opened the window.

I was found unconscious beneath it and re-
turned to the clinic soon aŌer. My notes were
never recovered. I do not know what became
of the room with the window, or how it would
appear now. I expect it has changed.

41

HIT MEN HAVE
FEELINGS TOO

by Edward D. Hunt

Boston’s North End Tony was one of the few people Albee confided
in. He knew anything said would never go any
AŌer dropping his boss, Albee, at home in Mil- further and he knew he didn’t have to explain
ton, Tony Gazzo returned to the North End. it in too much detail; Tony would get it.
Albee Parillo aŌer becoming more successful
had moved to Milton away from this Italian Driving in the North End was always challeng-
conclave. He told Tony he wasn’t needed to- ing, but even more so when something was
morrow and that he would be spending Ɵme going on at the TD Garden. It was summer so
with his family. Tony’s schedule was somewhat no CelƟcs or Bruins but there was a full concert
unpredictable, but for the most part he worked schedule. Tony remained calm, there was no
the hours Albee worked, picking him up in the place he had to be and no Ɵme he had to be
morning and dropping him off at night. Tony there. UƟlizing a narrow side street he finally
was mostly a bodyguard, an enforcer and a got to the small parking lot behind the com-
driver but he was trusted with other assign- mercial building where he parked for free. Al-
ments as well. He was oŌen the one to give bee had arranged it and he wasn’t sure of the
others in the crew assignments. If he said it, exact ownership but somehow Albee was in-
they knew it was coming from Albee. volved.

Tony got along with the rest of the crew but His apartment was three buildings down on the
really wasn’t close to them. He really didn’t third floor above a small coffee shop that was
make friends. He kept to himself. He did have open late. The apartment was small but expen-
one redeeming quality that Albee valued very sively furnished. Typical male décor with leath-
highly, he was loyal to Albee, willing to die for er furniture and dark woods and a seventy inch
loyal. Not something you come across every large screen television. It was always neat and
day. extremely clean with gleaming hard wood
floors and well maintained oriental carpets. No
On the way back in the car from Jamaica Plain, one was allowed to enter the apartment when
Albee talked about his concerns with some of he wasn’t home. He cleaned it himself and had
their “business” partners and the possible ex- an elaborate alarm system. He really didn’t
posure they might have if as rumored there have anything valuable and except for two hid-
may be a federal invesƟgaƟon underway. Al- den hand guns. There was nothing incrimi-
bee wouldn’t be sharing this unless he thought naƟng in the apartment. He had several safe
Tony was going to have to get involved. He deposit boxes in local banks under various
didn’t need to say that, Tony understood. Al- names where he did have a lot of money and
bee stressed how delicate the situaƟon was valuables stashed. He also owned a small cabin
and in how many areas they and their partners in New Hampshire under an alias that even
had and have some common interests. Hope- Albee wasn’t aware of. He had enough money
fully they could clean up their own mess but stashed in mulƟple accounts that if he had to
Albee wasn’t beƫng on it. make a quick exit he was prepared.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Instead of going directly upstairs he decided to Most of his Ɵme not working was spent by him-
eat downstairs. He sat at the counter as was self watching Neƞlix and HBO. He liked the
his habit. Gina always worked the counter and “Game of Thrones.” He also liked to read west-
the other waitresses worked the floor. In addi- erns. Mostly Louis L’Amour.
Ɵon to working the counter, she handled the
cash register. The owner, Louie trusted her and The other waitresses preƩy much ignored Gi-
no one else. They were related somehow. She na; they talked with her about work related
was the only waitress tonight. The restaurant issues but never anything else. They didn’t
wasn’t busy but she was. She was always in seem to be trying to be mean or hurƞul, they
moƟon, finding something to clean or organize just didn’t have anything in common with her.
during down Ɵmes. Gina acted like she didn’t take noƟce but Tony
was sure that she did; he knew that she was
Without being asked, Gina poured him a cup of intelligent. During slow Ɵmes she sat on a stool
black coffee and placed it in front of him. She near the register reading books.
nodded at him in response to his smile. She
wasn’t aƩracƟve. Tall, skinny, with pockmarked Most people from the neighborhood who came
skin, she always kept her long wild hair Ɵed into the restaurant gave Tony his space. Rarely
back when she was working. She rarely said did anyone sit on the stools right next to him,
much and never smiled. He knew she was on and even those he knew would only nod or
some sort of medicaƟon and he knew when briefly say hello.
they were adjusƟng the dosage because she
would mumble to herself. She would probably Gina was different, she wasn’t afraid of him.
be unemployable anywhere else or at least Whether it was because she didn’t highly value
anywhere where customer contact was re- the life she lived or she sensed a kindred spirit;
quired. she seemed comfortable around him and com-
fortable saying whatever came into her head.
There wasn’t much on the menu, a few sand- When it was raining she told him he should be
wiches and a few daily specials scrawled on a wearing his raincoat and offered him her mulƟ-
blackboard. Most people just came in for the colored umbrella which he politely declined.
coffee and the Italian pastries. She also would warn him on what to eat or not
to eat. “Stay away from the meatloaf.” No one
“SƟll have some beef stew.” She said this with- else in his life talked to him like this or took any
out looking up from under the counter where interest and he found himself looking forward
she was rearranging the condiments. She knew to it.
he liked the stew. She looked up long enough
to see him nod which prompted her to set him He was almost finished with the beef stew and
up with a napkin and silverware. she had refilled his coffee cup without being
asked. Tony thanked her and she smiled slight-
He watched her walk away to go get his stew. ly in return.
Tony Gazzo wasn’t aƩracƟve either. He was big
and inƟmidaƟng with very pronounced fea- Two young wannabe wise guys entered and sat
tures. A large nose and big lips with a receding down seven or eight stools away from Tony.
hairline. Close to forty he could easily pass for Both had said, “Hi, Tony,” on their way in.
much older. He knew he scared people which They lost their swagger when he stared back at
was a plus in his work but he really didn’t un- them and nodded. They were kind of loud and
derstand why he scared people when he was had probably been drinking but Tony ignored
trying not to. them unƟl they started making comments
about Gina.
His personal life was preƩy limited. To meet his
sexual needs he had brief hookups with strip- “Would you?” The shorter one challenged his
pers and other professionals who were afraid friend.
to say no to him. He knew they were afraid but
he had never forced them and if they truly act- “Not even with a bag over her head.” The other
ed reluctant he backed off. His needs were one snorted his response spilling his coffee.
minimal so it wasn’t that much of a hardship.

43

Adelaide Literary Magazine

“Well, what about in the dark, and nobody else “Not really, you can pick something.” Tony was
would ever find out?” The short one persisted, trying to be agreeable. He was awkward at best
well in earshot of Gina. in social situaƟons.

“Shit no, not even with your dick!” They both She seƩled for a movie “Our Souls at Night”
laughed at that. which wouldn’t have been his first choice. It
was a love story about an elderly couple. She
They were sƟll laughing and didn’t even noƟce explained that she had read the book it was
Tony unƟl he sat down beside them and took a based upon
knife out of his pocket. Snapping open the
knife, he pressed the blade into the neck of the by Kent Haruf and she had really liked it. He
last one to speak. “Say something else and I nodded, not really caring what they watched.
will cut out your tongue before I slit your
throat.” Tony said this in a monotone which He was starƟng to dose off by the end of the
made it even more frightening. Neither one movie. She turned off the television, picked up
doubted he would do it. their coffee cups and plates and brought them
to the kitchen.
“Jesus, Tony, we were only screwing around.
We didn’t know she was a friend of yours!” The She came back into the room and bent over
wise guy without the knife pressed to his and embraced him, saying she should go. He
throat spoke up, the other one was blubbering nodded in response and stood up as she picked
and couldn’t be understood. up her oversized handbag and her sweater.

“Leave and don’t come back.” He put the knife “Maybe we can do this again Saturday?” she
away and they both jumped up and headed looked at him expectantly.
toward the exit.
“Yeah, sure…that’d be good.” He was nodding
Gina had ignored them and conƟnued to keep again.
busy throughout all of this but now she
stopped and looked at him. He nodded at her She kissed him on the cheek.
and she nodded back.

Two weeks later he stopped into the Coffee Providence, Rhode Island
Shop right before closing and ordered coffee.
She was the only waitress on again and she Tony Gazzo hadn’t been back to Providence
was busy restocking the shelves, and refilling since before he went to prison; more than sev-
salt and pepper shakers and napkin holders. en years ago. Coming back from New York, he
When she was topping off his coffee she hesi- had been struggling with the urge to go by the
tated for a moment and then looking at him house and see if she was sƟll there. At Albee’s
directly said:”I can come up for a while if you’d request Tony had made a problem for their
like.” friends in New York disappear. It wasn’t the
first Ɵme and Tony had a reputaƟon for being
Looking back at her, he considered it and what very good at what he did. Albee always gave
she possibly meant. “Okay,” he nodded in re- him a bonus for this kind of work but Tony
sponse. would have done it for nothing.

She brought up some leŌ over pastries and he Tony stayed away from Providence, too much
made a pot of coffee. She looked at all the history. He had done a lot of damage here, on
books on his bookcase and his cd player and his his own and on Albee’s behalf. Providence had
music. She didn’t sit down unƟl he brought her been his home. Tony really didn’t have any
coffee and then they sat together on his leath- emoƟonal Ɵes to Providence or to any other
er sofa side by side. place. In actuality he didn’t really have any
emoƟonal Ɵes to anyone or anything. Some-
“Do you want to watch something on televi- thing with this woman from his past that he
sion?” She asked this picking up the remote not couldn’t explain. Maybe something with Gina,
waiƟng for him to answer. “Is there anything
you would like to watch?”

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Revista Literária Adelaide

he didn’t know yet. Probably the closest Ɵe he always thought to be a safe neighborhood. The
had was his connecƟon to Albee and that was violence became commonplace and somewhat
forged years ago when Albee aligned with a accepted and a small Italian restaurant on At-
facƟon that was baƩling a group that included wells Avenue became popular aŌer a sanc-
the man that Tony held responsible for killing Ɵoned hit took place in a booth near the front
his father. His father was a small Ɵme bookie door. Customers would request that booth and
and while he wasn’t able to arƟculate his feel- be willing to wait. Providence was always a
ings, he felt something when his father had very tolerant city with corrupt poliƟcians being
been gunned down coming out of a Chinese forgiven for their crimes and someƟmes
restaurant. Tony was only fiŌeen and was on reelected. Albee recognized Tony’s potenƟal
his own aŌer that. His mother had died during and took him under his wing. Albee was smart
childbirth and it had always been just his father enough to treat Tony as you would any explo-
and him with a hired housekeeper or two. He sive; useful in certain situaƟons but needing to
was always different but his father seemed be handled with extreme care.
somewhat oblivious to the fact and accepted
him the way he was. His father got really angry Providence wasn’t the same city today, with
whenever anyone suggested that there was tourists now visiƟng a much safer Federal Hill,
anything wrong with him. At school some ther- eaƟng at sidewalk cafes and purchasing tradi-
apist diagnosed him as possibly having some Ɵonal Italian pastries and other desserts.
form of highly funcƟoning auƟsm but his father
wasn’t having any part of that. Tony was al- ProsƟtuƟon wasn’t even legal anymore. For
ways a big kid and strong and the few kids who years it wasn’t a priority due to the lack of spe-
made fun of him paid a price. At thirteen he cific laws and codes for prosecuƟon. Street
beat a fiŌeen year old badly enough that he hookers were harassed and picked up occa-
needed to be hospitalized and even his father sionally in the neighborhoods but for the most
couldn’t keep him from being sent off to Socka- part ignored when they lined up outside the
nosseƩ, the youth reform facility in Cranston. old railroad staƟon. A small hotel on Washing-
He was sƟll there when his father got on the ton Street was once known for its large num-
bad side of someone beƩer connected and was ber of prosƟtutes hanging out in the bar.
shot down in the street. Tony showed no reac- Rooms were let by the hour, not the day. To-
Ɵon when he was told, but immediately began day it was now low income housing helping to
planning his retribuƟon. provide homes for some of the city’s homeless.

He bided his Ɵme and at the age of eighteen Tony didn’t know what to expect when he
started working for a friend of his father doing pulled up in front of the large old Victorian. It
odds and ends. It didn’t take long before he badly needed a coat of paint. Just off Prairie
was given some addiƟonal responsibiliƟes as Avenue in South Providence, the neighborhood
an enforcer and driver for his boss who trusted had changed too, from a mostly black popula-
him. Not long aŌer that the same local crew Ɵon when Tony was growing up to a mixed
that had encroached on his father’s territory neighborhood including Asians and Hispanics.
started leaning on his boss. Tony volunteered Always a poor and violent area, it sƟll aƩracted
to eliminate his father’s killer and make a state- immigrants as a place to get a start or a foot-
ment while doing so. This was his first hit and it hold but also street gangs fighƟng to protect
established his reputaƟon, especially when the their turf. Tony did feel a connecƟon to the
man’s head turned up in a dumpster owned by woman in the house, somewhat protecƟve. If
his boss’s rival. asked he wouldn’t be able to explain his feel-
ings.
They were sƟll badly outnumbered and proba-
bly wouldn’t have survived if his boss hadn’t He was just about to get out of the car when
established an alliance with Albee. It was a his phone began vibraƟng. Tony rarely got calls
violent couple of years, even for Providence, but had expected this one. He could tell by
with killings taking place all over the city in- Albee’s voice he was pleased.
cluding Federal Hill, the Italian stronghold once

45

Adelaide Literary Magazine

“Our friends in New York were very apprecia- scratches on the end tables and the coffee ta-
Ɵve of your assistance. Will you be back to- ble. The only significant change was now the
night?” women were of mulƟple races and not just
black.
“Dunno, stopping in Providence.”
The woman who let him in turned and sƟll
“OK. Talked to our partners. They are in agree- smiling addressed him. She had one hand on
ment that maybe we should get involved with her hip. “How can we help you, sweeƟe?”
that thing I’ve been worried about. Has to be
handled very carefully. We’ll talk in the morn- “Vanessa.”
ing.”
“Nessie? Nessie don’t do no business! She’s
“All right. I’ll be back early.” Albee had already what you call management.” She was laughing
briefed him on what he wanted him to do. Al- when she said it.
bee had had also stressed that he should mini-
mize the violence. He would try but things hap- An older woman who recognized him from
pen. before spoke up. “She’ll see him, tell her Tony
is here.” The serious tone of her voice made it
He sat in the car for a few more minutes star- clear it wasn’t up for discussion. The younger
ing at the house. When he was a boy he had woman shrugged and leŌ the room.
come here with his father at least once a week.
OŌen they would stay overnight. The women Tony stood paƟently waiƟng and no one invit-
here were kind to him and he would oŌen ed him to sit down. He was aware as always
bring some toys with him when he was small. that he was scaring them, and again, without
He would wait in a room off the main parlor intending to. They were relieved when Vanessa
and they would check in on him and bring him entered the room. She smiled at him and he
snacks from Ɵme to Ɵme and marvel on how actually smiled back.
well behaved and quiet he was. If they weren’t
staying over his father would come out aŌer a “Long Ɵme, Tony.”
few hours and they would go home. If they
were staying, she would come out and get him “Long Ɵme.” Tony stood there looking her
and bring him back to her room. His father over. A tall aƩracƟve black woman, she had
would already be asleep on one side of her bed aged well. Her hair was all gray now and she
with the blankets and sheets in disarray. She seemed a liƩle curvier but not really fat. She
would climb in beside him and pat the place had to be at least sixty.
next to her. Laying down next to her, she
would cover him up. He remembered falling She knew beƩer than to hug him in public so
asleep smelling faint traces of her perfume she took him by the hand and led him back to
with her arms wrapped Ɵghtly around him. her room.
This was the only woman he could remember
his father ever being with. Her room was larger than the others and had a
siƫng area and a small kitcheneƩe. Several
Knocking on the door, it only took a few sec- prints depicƟng the ocean were on the wall.
onds before it opened, someone must have Edward Hunt
been watching the street. A young, preƩy, dark
skinned woman stood smiling at him, stepping “Coffee?” He nodded in response and she
back to let him enter. She led him into what poured him a cup from a half full coffee pot not
used to be called the parlor. It was late and having to ask him how he took it. She didn’t
only a few women remained. The room hadn’t bother to offer him something stronger; she
changed much with its old fashioned furniture knew he didn’t drink.
and floor length velvet drapes. The wingback
sofa and chairs looked like they may have been They sat on the small sofa together and she
reupholstered, he couldn’t tell, but the furni- talked while he listened, nodding from Ɵme to
ture was in good condiƟon. There were a few Ɵme and occasionally offering one or two word
comments. She talked about people they both
knew and about things from the past and
about her life now.

46

Revista Literária Adelaide

“Do you need anything, are they treaƟng you About the Author:
all right?” This was the first thing of any signifi-
cance Tony had said and she smiled in re- Edward Daniel Hunt has a B.S. from the Uni-
sponse. versity of New Haven and M.S. from Lesley
University. He hopes to have his first novel
“No, honey, I’m fine. They leave me alone but “Penance” published soon. He has recently had
how about you? Are you hungry? I could make short stories published in the ScarleƩ Leaf Re-
you something.” view and Down in the Dirt Magazine. Much of
his early work and social life was spent in res-
“No, thanks. I stopped and ate on the high- taurants and bars as evidenced in his wriƟng.
way.” He is a member of the Maine Writers and Pub-
lishers Alliance and Mystery Writers of Ameri-
“Are you staying over? You look Ɵred.” She ca.
looked genuinely concerned.

“I’d like to.”

“Come on.” She reached out and took his hand
again and he followed her to her bed. She was
already in a low cut nightgown and climbed in
and paƩed the place beside her.

He slowly undressed puƫng his shoes under
the bed and folding his clothes neatly and plac-
ing them on a nearby chair. Stripped down to
just his boxer shorts he climbed in with his
back towards her. She wrapped her arms
around him Ɵghtly and within minutes he was
fast asleep.

47

DAGGER

by Maureen Grace

“Ohhh,” he cried quietly, so as not to scare off were complicit in their aversion to specifics,
the passers by; their handouts had allowed him allowing a freedom of ideas without the Achil-
to eek out the barest of succor for (could it les heel of parƟculars, or emoƟonal exposure.
really be?) twenty-seven years. He shiŌed posi- Billy was quite well off. Family money, Alfie
Ɵon - the meager carpet he sat on did liƩle to surmised; but the bloke was quite enterprising
keep the cold from penetraƟng his body. Un- in his own right. Hard to keep a shop going for
crossing his legs, he leaned back against the a decade.
stone edifice - a commercial building in Cam-
den Town - one of the old piano-making facto- He shiŌed again. It didn’t help. The Christmas
ries long gone to trendy shops and sidewalk lights bounced off the ice-slicked puddle just
cafes. off the curb - a silent rebuke for a broken life.
He was suddenly struck with an awful clarity -
It was his corner. AŌer all these years, no one he was homesick.
challenged him. It was a decent spot; at a busy
intersecƟon -especially at rush hour - commut- “Too cold to beg today, come in and have a
ers came out of the Tube right into his path. A cuppa,” Billy offered. Alfie rose slowly. He fol-
penny here, a pound there, it added up. You lowed him into the cafe. It would take a few
could tell a lot about a person from the knees minutes for the heat to kick in; but it was al-
down. How they walked, for example. Did they ready a relief.
shuffle belaboredly, or sprint like gazelles?
Footwear gave even more away. The shiny “Sit in the leather chair, Alfie. Take a load off,”
loafers; impeccable hose - rarely did they no- said Billy moƟoning to the most comfortable
Ɵce him. But the shufflers did. The weekends seat in the shop.
were always good - the kids with sƟleƩo heels
and high-top sneakers. He hated the Goth look “Can only spare a minute, Mate,” said Alfie.
(his neighborhood had become its mecca) -
muƟlaƟng their smooth young skin with taƩoos SƟll quite dark at seven, it was the beginning of
and piercings, and capping it all with purple or his workday. The early morning rush.
pink hair. It offended his aestheƟcs; sƟll they
would toss some coins his way as they hurried “Why the long face these last weeks?” asked
to their gathering spots. But it was the business Billy with a hint of privileged guilt in his voice.
folk who sustained him. Early morning Normally, Alfie would exploit it; but not today.
handouts.
“I want to go home.”
“How’s it going, Alfie?” Another pound
warmed his ungloved hand. Billy Anderson had Alfie was surprised at the pleading in his own
taken a personal interest in him. Over the years voice; so was Billy.
they had become friends, sharing stories, al-
ways in generaliƟes, about their young dreams “And home is where?”
- before life had had its way with them. They
“Brooklyn, New York in the good old USA -and
by the way, my name is Henry Wordsworth
Blaylock. First person I’ve shared that with in
over twenty years.”

48


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