KWM: Monkey Business / The Third Man

Editor’s note: I started The Collidescope so that I could give a home to work that is true to itself rather than diluted by the artless concerns of marketing and audience pandering. The aesthetic of the journal reflects my own tastes, of course: writing that tinkers with the mechanics of language, that itemizes etymology, orchestrates melody, writing that is logistically illogical and acts as the ouija board of voiceless dreams. Rick Harsch’s writing embodies all this and more. I never thought that I’d be serializing an amazing novel from an amazing author. I’m both honored and excited. So dear readers, be sure to bookmark The Collidescope and check back every Sunday for new installments of Kramberger with Monkey: A Comedy of Assassination by Rick Harsch.

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Catching Up on Emails

The hurricane has been upgraded to Category E or Level Orange or to the Fifth Tier or Echelon or Whichever Unit They’ve Invented to Measure the Combination of Wind Speed and Irrationality. At this point evacuations are highly recommended which makes you actually consider evacuating which would never happen if the evacuation were mandatory because what word inspires defiance quite like the word mandatory? This storm is undeniably strong however, so strong that every channel on TV is showing the Yule Log. You actually like the windows all boarded up. It’s comforting. The eye of the storm will not look down upon you until early tomorrow morning and so you decide to devote this time to doing something responsible like catching up on emails.

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Some Things Are Fashionable

Some things are fashionable, others not. Those things that are fashionable now might not be fashionable later on today, around teatime. It is generally objects that are or are not fashionable, but sometimes it is attributes, ethics, definitions. Language is at the moment rather fashionable. I am talking to you and you understand. You slowly nod your head, your fashionable head. Your nod is benign. Heads are still fashionable. An assegai, less so. Electricity is currently fashionable. Mammoths, unfortunately not. I am walking on the central reservation of a busy road and I ask myself: how stylish is this? Trucks pass, fashionable and not gauche.

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Heir and Sea: An Excerpt from Sea Above, Sun Below

Tessa swam as a fish among fish, a scaled and finned body. The sound of the churning water like an echo chamber. Then she was neither fish nor infant, but unborn baby. Fetus- formed, she backstroked in the russet sea of her mother’s womb. She continued to perceive the fish beside her, around her. What are you doing in my mother? she asked the group of fish. This is my home. The slimy creatures looked at her with omniscient eyes. This is our element, not yours, they said. Then she was an infantile human again, in the shivering river, as she always had been. She was translucent now, red and blue veins like tattoos beneath her jelly flesh, deeper still was the soft chalk of her skeleton. I’m not one of you, she said. They hovered closer, as if to whisper in her ears. No, you are not. Her eyes slid like egg yolks to the side of her head, over her fragile temples. Fissures appeared at the hinges of her jaw. She thought that if she tried hard enough she could get used to this netherworld. Can I be in your family? she asked. Five of them laughed, pearly bubbles escaping from their pink mouths. Then they vanished. The water vanished. She vanished.

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