portion of the artwork for Kevin Spaide’s fiction

Kevin Spaide’s Comments

I have a little red book I write things down in. When I write a story I record its title in my book along with the date I wrote it. Why do I do this? Sometimes I open the book and scan the list and think, Right, right, OK. It comforts me to see all those dates. One after the other. Progress is being made, apparently. I have been busy. Or at least it kind of looks that way. On paper.

According to my little book of story birthdays, I wrote these three stories in the same week. There was work done after that, of course—a lot of shouting, swearing, storming out of rooms, not to mention all those midnight conference calls—but they were born around the same time and they go together. They complement each other. Together they add up to a perfect 180 degrees. All right, I’m not crazy enough for perfection—can’t get away with using a word like that anymore—but they form an area of their own. A weird polygon. Yes, a triangle is a polygon.

I don’t think I was on drugs or any sort of medication at the time but my memories of that week are foggy. I can read “Angel of Death” (isn’t that a great title for a story about a waiter?) and wonder, Was this writer under some sort of stress? Was there something bothering this person, something he’s not telling us? I mean, how else to account for, “I feel like they need reminding.” That line surprised me. Even gave me the willies. I mean, who in the world do I think I am? It also made me laugh—but it was a furtive, over-the-shoulder laughter. Not that there’s anything behind me worth looking at or worrying about. There’s just a special brand of fear you get when you don’t know who you are and there’s evidence of it right there in front of your face and you want as many people as possible to look at it, review it, revel in it, preferably complete strangers. But that’s what writing is about. Partly. Not quite knowing who you are and then knowing even less than you did before you wrote your story but feeling like you’ve discovered something. Or do I have that backwards? Knowing more but feeling like you know less? It’s confusing and annoying, yes. Hopefully there’s more to it—like having some fun—but it’s true you happen upon the weird now and again. Digging around, you loosen things up and something smelly and slimy and amazingly awful slips out onto your hand. If that’s an exaggeration, or sounds like bullshit, well, my time will come, I’m sure.

The other two stories are more light-hearted, I think. Well, kind of. Or at least they’re not about a waiter who fancies himself the angel of death. But still: “We’d only gotten married because it meant nothing.” Oh my God!

I hope you like these stories, and, for the record, I am a happy, well-adjusted slave.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 38 | Fall 2012