While this issue serves up a heaping helping of classic MB stories there are great surprises inked on these pages. Read it cover to cover or hunt and pick, it don’t make no never mind to me, you’ll end up reading and loving the whole thing either way.
The Mine by Ryan Boudinot
Where to get it: You will find Ryan’s story right after Michael Czyniejewski’s wonderful piece Valentine and just before Forever, by Jing LI.
Why it’s good: Boudiont is an excellent writer, anyone who has read The Littlest Hitler: Stories will back me up on that. The Mine is an uneasy world of darkness and solitude that unfolds beautifully. At the risk of putting this story into a box, I’d say it has elements reminiscent of those great Twilight Zone and Outer limits episodes.
Writerly type of things to note: Boudiont does a terrific job conveying the growing anxiety of the Miner. The use of the darkness, the confined spaces, and verbal self-flagellation creates an unsettling and remarkable sauce. Watch the cause and effect relationship between how he feels and what he does. Well drawn characters do things and good writers give readers the reasons. Boom!
Things you will learn: When eating a meal in complete darkness, at the bottom of a mine shaft, while crying; it is difficult to chew your food properly.
Type of read: Tense, riveting, uncomfortable; guaranteed to satisfy.
Photography by Laura van den Berg
Where to find it: Sandwiched between a Sarah Salway excerpt and a great story by CS Reid.
Why it’s good: A lovely and subtle story with a welcome dose of voyeurism.
Writerly type of thing to note: I enjoyed the way the story shows how objects and people can change just by looking at them. This seems to go for events in the characters lives as well. Lenore, the main character, has emotions that read well, very natural; you’ll be sure to pay special attention.
How does this story connect to Ryan Boudinot’s story The Mine? Great question! I think the mouth in the picture that captivates Lenore is the entrance to the mine, holy shit!
Pairs nicely with: Champagne or real pain.
So Orderly and So Right by Matthew Summers-Sparks
Where to find it: Picks- up After Spaulding by Drew Jackson’s and rear ends Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s The Mask is What’s Holding My Face Up.
Why it’s good: You’ve got a meticulously anal guy, who hasn’t slept 112.19999999999999 hours, and is about to lose his job. We’ve got a character on the brink. No wonder he’s also running around town manically holding on to the steering wheel of his car. In short, this story is hilarious.
Things you will learn while reading this story: “… car needs a steering wheel – without one, he can go forward or backward, but not around corners, and he cannot honk…”
Pairs nicely with: A cup of hot coffee, poured over your head.
Bonus points issued for great title, fits the story perfectly. I’m only 99.999999999999999999999999 percent jerking you around.
The Advisor by Jay Wexler
Where to find it: Right after Martha Clarksons’ killer story Gum Gutter and just before Cody Walker’s heartfelt letter to Dick Cheney.
Why it’s good: Funny! Wexler conjures up two great characters and sets them loose on one another. You get the young, eager to impress, campaign volunteer (The Advisor) and Tom Robertson, the charming yet utterly flawed candidate. Reading their back and forth conversations seem to bring malapropisms to a philosophical leave.
Who does Republican candidate Tom Robertson remind you of? Great question. Just before reading this story I read an Esquire article about the fall of Lenny Dykstra (Now officially an Ex-Met, rather than former Philly) and I couldn’t help thinking Robertson and Dykstra were the same person. I think Wexler has presupposes the events surrounding Dykstra’s final breakdown. Just like Robertson, it will involve a kitty cat, a ladder, and a flat screen TV.
Pairs nicely with: Homemade cookies and a Sam Adams