Last night, a friend told me that my stories remind him of Francis Bacon’s paintings. This makes perfect sense to me, especially when considered in terms of the nightmarishly meaty. This morning, by contrast, I received my comp copies of Cicada, a YA magazine whose March issue features my story “Elephant,” about a twelve-year old boy’s treatise on suffering framed around his search for a missing bike. I don’t think the young adult market was my intended audience when I first wrote this story—in my estimation, “Elephant” walks the same rat alleys as “Poptimistic” and “James Taylor v. the King” (all three of which were written during the same pacific week at the Hewnoaks Artist Colony in 2013)—but then again, I still insist Otis Redding dances like Tim Kinsella and not the other (logical) way around. So make of that what you will.
“Don’t go out there again,” Gramma said, her voice all thick and froggy from ice cream. “You ain’t find no bike today.” In her way, she’d already cleaned her plate.
I bristled a little bit at this. It was too damn early for Gramma to be prophesying. As far back as I can remember, her outlook on the future has never been anything but grim. But before I could shush her, Jodie put the kibosh on this kind of talk. He set down his fork and snapped his left fist into his right palm. It made a smart sound that got his Gramma to jump.
“I will find my bike, Gramma. And when I find the thief who stole it, I’m taping his butt to a chair and feeding him a million donuts until he comes down with diabetes and has to have his feet cut off. Then he won’t be kicking anything ever again.”
His bike had been chained to the mailbox. Whoever had taken the bike had kicked the post down in order to steal it. So that’s something else that happened: our mailbox got ruined.
Details, excerpts, and ordering information for the new issue of Cicada can be found here.