Great Jones Street Press is a new platform and we are in a relationship now. They have a well-designed app that brings a curation of award-winning short stories to your mobile device. Get the app here. Find “Drowned River” in the app’s searchable database.
in the Short Fiction contest of the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. The story, a fractured fairy tale, is based on “Nailed Up.” Chris Tolliver wakes up on his Jesus Year birthday in a hotel room in Bethlehem (PA) after his re-enactment of the central myth of the Catholic faith goes off the rails. With the help of a hustler named Lance (think Longinus), and Marta, the forbearing housekeeper, he gets through it–although whether he can emerge from his cave is up in the air.
Chris, left hulking towards an absent body in the Star Suite, was engulfed in waves of remorse. He’d bent time, space, geography, history, social order, reason, morality, and judgment to fit a bogus myth. He was thirty-four and he wasn’t quite dead, just really fucking impaired. Marta looked on with pity.
Can Chris resurrect himself? Does Lance get his rate? Will Marta return to the mushroom farm? The answers to these and other burning questions may or may not be in your copy of Jesus Year.
This short story has sexual content! Real-life experience enhanced for your pleasure.
And they will halt my ghastly nose-dive into hell,
and lift me up, up, high up
into the fields of stars.
The quote is from “The Lifting Team” by Christopher Hewitt, poet, “queer crip”, person in recovery, posthumous honoree of the award I received this year for “Drowned River.”
2015 recipient of A&U Magazine’s Christopher Hewitt Award for Fiction. Appears in the October 2015 Issue, the one with Gilles Marini on the cover. Based on two people I have loved and lost, who never had a chance to meet each other.
After hot lunch, we go back to Tenté’s. His roommate is out, I can beat my face in peace, with Tenté’s good brushes and his magnifying mirror. Tenté can be depressive, and here he goes staring out the window like an aged-out novela star. “What that postman said is the Hudson is a body half riverine and half marine. Trans, like us. Transformista, between two islands,” he says, pointing to his reflection in the window. “Trans woman, also between two islands,” he continues, now pointing at me.
“…masterful use of tone, character, and specific language.” – Brent Calderwood
Érick is also interested in American politics; he asks me about Glenn Beck. When I tell him I believe Beck is an untreated alcoholic with anger issues and delusions, he seems relieved. I think his question was a test, and I just passed. To seal the deal, I express support for the Separatist movement. This totally works, and we start making out and it’s super sexy, like two sympathetic dissidents from neighboring countries. He bends over to lick my tit, and I do the same to him. “Oh! I like that. Nipple sixty-nine!” he says in his charming Québécois accent. He takes me to bed and we teach each other more of our secrets.
*Many thanks to RL for pushing me to come up with a better title than the first one I submitted.