Fiction by Greg Bachar
She took me to an island. I tried to ignore the scarecrow that greeted us after we moored our boat offshore. It seemed alive. Strange panicked birds picked at seeds in the grass. She commented on the beauty of their feathers.
I wanted to be back on the boat. Dark clouds loomed overhead. I stood on the shore, torn between angst and pleasure. She was pure pleasure. Why did I stare at the water? It revealed no narrative flow. She was the story, she was the shore.
She was the island.
THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS WORD
People come from far and wide to see the world’s most famous word. Some see the place as a shrine, some as a museum, and some as a prison. Some come to worship, some just to look, and some to try and free it.
“Words should not be locked up,” this last group argues.
The curators, who see their own viewpoint as the most correct, have the rule of law on their side, and few people other than the aforementioned rabble choose to protest.
Visitors are free to copy the word down and take it with them. In this way, it is disseminated far and wide while the original is preserved behind glass in its pristine state.
Donations are accepted at the door and are used to finance the upkeep and maintenance of the exhibition.
How does one prepare for new love when one thinks it has arrived or is arriving? One takes stock and puts one’s house in order, that is, one rearranges things to the perceived liking of one’s new love, hoping this will lead her to stay.
One changes the books on one’s coffee table. One gets rid of old grout. One makes sure one’s publication list is current (for she is well-read).
As proscribed in The Tablet, first runic document to declare the law in our new land, I placed one of my belongings, a typewriter, outside my door on Sunday and left the house from noon to five. I spent the afternoon wandering through the recently discovered labyrinths beneath the library, documenting for our new catalog the dates and titles of the dusty ancient volumes that will make up our humble institution’s new wing.
When I returned home, the typewriter was gone, replaced by three paper bags, one filled with potatoes, one with apples, and one with pears.
“Pears!” I shouted with delight.
Every Sunday, our new government showers us with the fancies of our imaginations. I carried the bags into my house and returned to my terminal. It glowed with green vitality as I performed my calculations.
I was close to finishing the project that would enable our architects to calibrate the number of memorials and monuments to be installed over the next five years in relation to building expansion and projected population growth. Our builders want a consistent grid, fifty statues or plaques per square kilometer.
Next Sunday, I plan to leave an antique movie camera. It still works, but I don’t have the money to pay for film. In exchange, I hope to receive a box of steaks. It’s been months since I last had meat.
Everyone’s full of conversation but it’s the lonely girls who call my name. The din of the world is sometimes a full moon and sometimes a half-moon. Women dance and keep things organized. Officer, I’m going to have to write you a poem for that moment of beauty you missed back there. Arrest me, the dead are laughing and angels are singing my name.
For a while, I wasn’t sure, and then I knew—I was Sasquatch, every woman’s true love.
Greg Bachar lives in Seattle. His writing has appeared previously in Conduit, Rain Taxi, Dislocate, Indiana Review, Sentence, Arroyo Literary Review, Quick Fiction, Southeast Review, and Pontoon: An Anthology Of Washington State Poets. He earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Curiosisosity, Dumb Bell & Sticky Foot, Beans, The Amusement Park Of The Mind, and The Writing Machine.
Featured Image photograph by E.B. Bartels, www.ebbartels.com.