In “Expanded Disco,” Britain has been fractured by ideological differences leaving cities resembling the surface of the moon and a proliferating network of tunnels to separate newly forming factions. Tunnel bureaucrats have been elevated to absolute power so long as the conflict continues. A Commander must dismantle the bureaucrats’ “conflict is freedom” ideology in order to be reunited with his family.
A lover of rich food became obese. Rejected by a girl, he could have decided to curb his eating habits; instead, he took refuge in comfort food. Later in life, a woman who showed an interest in him led to his redemption. Obesity is a common affliction today and this fiction piece shows two reactions to rejection: one is negative, the other positive. To those who are conflicted, this story offers a moment of hope.
“Providence, On All Fours” is a surreal screenplay about feeling alienated and paranoid in a space that should be familiar and comfortable. It gets at immigrant tensions and feelings of being watched, of confusion, and of being trapped within a space that has become hostile. The story is about how confusing and impossible to understand our fears really are.
The topic of abortion is an ongoing moral, legal, and religious debate. Should we be protecting the reproductive rights of women or the rights of the unborn life? The following fiction piece, “The Choice,” presents a fantasy regarding what Jesus would think of abortion and what, if anything, he would do. Mother Theresa said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love.” It is the author’s hope that some version of Jesus’ way can be transmuted from fantasy to reality.
“Waiting Cold” addresses how ideologies affect the way we live our lives. How do ideals sometimes block what is observable? How do others try to understand the world, and how does that differ from our own attempts? If we hold common ground regardless of the individual principles held, would we be able to recognize it?
In “Ghosts of Venice” we are privy to the inner thoughts of Gil, a man living in Venice Beach. He starts his day trying to mend his relationship with his girlfriend after fighting the night before. Gil has two powerful forces acting within him: his analytical/logical thought system, and his irrational impulses. Gil tries to understand the dynamics of what makes himself and others happy, while ironically causing his own pain. The story asks these fundamental questions: Who are we? Do we choose our identities or are they chosen for us? And, do we get to choose what we want?
“Clean Kitchen” addresses the issues of elder abuse and the devastating effects dementia has on relationships.
“The Abscondment” explores the seductiveness of saving a community over tending to the needs of a child — is one more important than the other? Can selflessness, anti-materialism, and community work justify child neglect?
This is a story about a troubled man’s relationship with authority. In psychoanalysis, Freud’s concept of “transference” has to do with a process where the analyst becomes the object of all the patient’s emotional energy and neediness. But does it happen only in a psychoanalytic context?
One inescapable attribute of the human condition is that events do not always proceed as people expect, intend, or wish. Another characteristic of the human condition is that humans rarely, if ever, find an optimal solution to any problem or situation. Nevertheless, people manage, muddle through, and find a path that works for them. “Phone Tag” addresses those and other aspects of what it means to be human. The characters in “Phone Tag” see, as people in the real world see every day, that small, even minute, perturbations in external conditions and circumstances can lead to enormous differences in results.