Posts Tagged ‘Short Fiction’

In her new piece of fiction in The New Yorker  Joyce Carol Oates really spews froth. It’s not that the short story is bad, it is terrible. Why is it terrible? Well if her sub-par dialogue, no sense of place and boring flashbacks weren’t enough it is because JCO is just a plain terrible writer. I said it first! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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        As he hit the stool, his vision swam in and out of focus. The muscles in his neck barely kept his head erect; the rest of his muscles had gone numb from the burning. He could feel the slimy vaseline being pressed into the cuts in his face with the coarse and unforgiving thumbs of Slim, his cutman. The wet towel was heavy on his head, biting cold dripping down his face, then lost in the soak of sweat. He almost drowned in a torrent of lukewarm water that was sprayed into his mouth; reappearing milky red as he spat it back out. The maddened shouts of his coach were indecipherable, like echoes in a vast cave. Slim slapped him twice on each cheek, sending a jolt through his mind that jogged his consciousness. He could hear the crowd bellow all around him; not cheering, but chanting in a barbaric roar. Now he was able to see across the ring, into the opposite corner, though the distance seemed staggering to his eyes. He could see the shadowy blur of his opponent, shrugging under the weight of his own bulk. He focused intently until the blur became clearer. Now he could make out his opponent’s cannonball of a head, the red sledge hammers at the end of his thick arms. He no longer feared this man, this savage, staring back at him a ring away. He could feel the pain in his ribs, and the warmth of the blood dripping down his cheek from under the eye, refusing to clot; but he did not fear him. He was out of breath, panting; his arms were as heavy as bricks. It was no longer courage or desperation that drove him; all that was left was his sheer, indomitable will. He would swing until the lights went out. Swing until the ref lifted his battered arm high in victory. He would swing until they put a belt around his waist and called him champion.

     One last slap on the face from Slim and it was the bell. Reflex sent him out of the stool and toward the middle of the ring, hulking like an angry predator. In the middle of the ring he was his toe-to-toe with his adversary. Cannons roared and battlements fell. Heads jerked left, right, and backwards like trees in a hurricane of punches. His coach could feel it. The crowd could feel it. The fast talking announcer at the radio service table stopped talking when he heard it. Everyone felt it but him. After the smelling salts and ice water, even he didn’t remember it. But it was big. Big even for a pair of 280 pound men who trained daily to kill each other with padded fists. After his opponent threw that punch, he dropped his arms and watched, as if only a spectator to powers working through him. The boxer fell limp, his final swing half completed. He crashed to the mat with a thud. The crowd momentarily stopped their roar and fell silent. When he had fallen they resumed with twice their original fervor. The count was arbitrary, included as a formality in accordance with official rules. Everyone knew he wasn’t getting up. Not after that hit. The ref knew it. His coach knew it. Slim had seen it a thousand times before. He had been beaten. He had been defeated.


The preceeding was written by Lance Cardigan, Fiction Scientist. Lance is a good friend of the EvanKerry Blog. Thanks again Lance! You can find more of his Prosthetic Exoskeleton at www.sciencepatrol.net

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