Page 1

it

Juerary Death lavits

De

ath Match

atc h

y Literar

M L

Heidi

rd

i Will Be Sp

Is Mig

e .The P

nk

1

n

amp

ou

r

ch

nds

es

te

dg u

r Tha

2

tie

j

h

3

I

to

A

er o , ,

S. e

G 2009

pi u zin N m Maga

CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY GRAHAM ROMIEU

Beij in

Fra cisc n v Den near you !

icago, Ch City, rk

n

New Y o Boston,

n oo

..

I

JOEL PRIDDY CORRINE MUCHA

Book Design

D

av

id B

ov

arringer

er

A rt

pt & Conce

Jo na

20 09

tho n

Keats

8

$14.00CAN

Watch this cover for the longest story ever told.

Estimated Reading Time: 1,000 Years

8

&

C

v Co

er

by

$12.00US

by

O

SPR

ed in Sa

coming s nd ity ac

g.

09

$ 0 s u 1 2. 0 © e #8

20

t

ur

TIME

MARY MILLER JACOB CHABOT

Fe a

U. I s

DANIEL HANDLER WILLIAM GIRALDI

i

The Swo

r 4 w

n

rs

ADSIT

lt .

T

OPIUM MAGAZINE

SCO

T

ISSUE

THE INFINITY ISSUE


ABOUT THE INFINITY ISSUE COVER ART

In honor of the number infinity, Opium is pleased to present the longest story ever told, a tale written in nine words that will be revealed, one word per century, over the next millennium.

issue #

8

How does it work? The cover is printed in a double layer of black ink. The overlayer is incrementally screened back where the nine words are, making the letters fractionally more vulnerable to ultra violet light, allowing the underlayer to fade away decade by decade, gradually letting the words turn gray. The precise quantity of ink covering each word is different, so the words will appear one at a time, provided that this copy of Opium is kept out in the open, regularly exposed to sunlight over the next thousand years, to be read progressively by the next dozen or so generations. The Longest Story Ever Told was conceived , authored and designed for Opium 8 by the American conceptual artist Jonathon Keats. Copyright 3009.

Is y t i n fi n I e h T na n

(We’re gon ace. more sp

8

#

a need ce.)

8

Issue

NOTE ON THE COVER ARTIST

Jonathon is an artist and writer. His conceptual works have been presented at the Judah L. Keats Magnes Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Modernism Gallery, and documented by PBS and the BBC World Service. He’s most recently the author of The Book of the Unknown (Random House), and a recipient of Yaddo and MacDowell fellowships.


TODD ZUNIGA

The Future of Opium Is Infinite EDITOR’S LETTER

E S T I M AT

L

ED READING TIME: 1:49

2xX@

ike pretty much all print issues of Opium, a concept that made me briefly laugh—“Let’s turn the eight sideways; it’ll be our infinity issue!”—came true, driven by David Barringer’s willingness to turn my whim into his design wizardry (and beyond). But that original concept—infinity—started taking legitimate shape all around us. After eight years of fiscal roller-coastering, “Opium for the Arts” is seconds away from our 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Infinity Box #�: Check. Then Opium’s signature reading series, our Literary Death Match, wildfire– spread across the country, a regular fixture in San Francisco and New York City that secured its existence by expanding—in only a few short months—to Chicago (Opium’s birthplace), Beijing (yes, China), Denver, Boston, and by the time Opium9 sees daylight: Paris and London (and, we most certainly hope, beyond). Infinity Box #� (fingers crossed): Check. Up next: brainiac Jonathon Keats fell into our laps. After serving as a Literary Merit judge at Literary Death Match San Francisco, Ep. 13, he went to work on Opium8’s truly epic cover, one that will take 1,000 years to read. One thousand years isn’t forever, but it’s infinity enough for us. Infinity Box #�: Check. Then the infinity started pouring down from the heavens in tiny drops that we hope will make an ongoing splash: an Opium iPhone app is in development, our Literary Death Match sizzle reel is days from being TV–pitch ready, our archives are being slowly restored, our submission system was reworked, Opium Live (“live interviews with living writers”) launched in New York City, our nutty contests continue to grow. Infinity Boxes check, check, checked. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? With all this infinity flying around, it’s easy to get thrust so many steps ahead, especially when the thing we’re all most excited about at Opium HQ is Opium8 (yes, the issue you’re holding right now). Every day, I’m thrilled, inspired, humbled and driven by: the quality of daring work we receive, Barringer’s ability to make it so visually irresistible, the continued opportunity to create not only this magazine but Opium’s peripheral parts, our budget-daring experiments, and the readers and fans who made us believe Opium could last until the end of time. Bending time, space, and our pocketbook until the sun goes dim,

Todd Zuniga Founding Editor


^5

^5

^5

^5 �

^5

�^ �^ 5 5 ^5 �^ 5�^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 � �^ 5 �^ 5 ^5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5�^ 5 �^ 5 � �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 55 �^ �5^ �^ �^ � � ^ �^ 5 �^ 5�^�5^ �^5 ^ 5 �^5 5 5�^ 5�5^�^ 5 5�^ �^ 5 5 � �^ ^ � 5 ^ 5 5 �^5�^ �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 5 �^ 5 � ^ �^5�^ � 5 � ^ � ^ 5 5 �^ ^5 5 �^ 5 �^5�^ ��^ �^ 5�^5 5 �^5 5 � � � ^ ^ � ^ ^ 5 5 5 �^5 5 �^5 �^ �^5 �^5 �^�5^ 5�^5 �^5 � ^5 � ^ �^5 5 �^ 5 �^5��^ 5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^ �^5 5 � ^5 � �^5 � ^5 ^5�^5 �^5 �^5 ��^5 �^5 �^5 � ^5 � ^5 �^ 5 ^ 5 �^5 � ^5 � ^5 � ^5 � ^ � ^5 �^5�^5 5 ^5 ��^ 5 �^5 �^5 �^5 � � ^5 � ^5 ^ �^5 5 �^5 �^5 ^5 �^5 �^5 ��^ �^5 �^5 5 �^5 � ^5 � ^ � ^5 � ^5 �^5 5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^5 �^5 ^ � �^ �^5 � �^5 �^5 � ^5 �^�5^5 � ^5 � ^5 5 �^ 5 �^ � ^5 �^5 � ^5 � ^ 5 ��^5 ^ 5 �^ �^5 �^5 5 �^5 �^5 �^ 5 �^ �^5 �^5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 5 �^ 5 ^ � � 5 ^ ^ � 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^5 �^ 5 �^5 55 �^ 5 �^ �^ 5 �^ 5 ^ � 5 �^ � ^5 5 ^ � �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ �^ 5 55 5 �^ �^ �^ 5 ��^ ^55 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5


C THE CHOSEN ONE



6

O

N

 

T

LIFE SCIENCE 12  

 

MORE SCARED OF YOU 14  



WINGED BOOT 15  



^^ 5 5  �^5 �^� 5^ 5 �^ 5  ^5 �^ 5 �^�5^ 5 �^ 5 �^ 5 �^5 �^5  � ^ CONTINUED... 5 ��^5 �^55 TO BE  � 55  �  5 �^5 ^5 ^5 �^5  ^5

5

LEGEND HAS IT 16   STAIRWAY 32  

REPORT FROM THE 33    COMMITTEE ON TOWN HAPPINESS

36       THE CANNIBAL 70   BIG WORLD 71  



WORLD’S GREATEST BOSS 77  

E

N

T

S

  80 MEMOIR CONTEST  500�    92 DEAR JOHN     93 OF ALL THE DEAD    94 THE PEACOCK   106 END OF THE TEN-FOOT  SUMMER     112 THE LONGEST TABLE    113 MISS    121 AFTER YOUR PHONE CALL     122 THE WADING ROOM     124 THURSDAY NIGHTS     125 UNT NOT INVENT SYSTEM 



OPIUM’S INFINITY USA 10   MEDIA WORLD WITHOUT END 34

 

78 108 126

 30 OPIUM’S NETWORK OF  90 WRITERS EXPERIMENT  110


Opium’s Infinity USA Media World Without End

Love is infinite...

Infinity

BUG SMACKER Kill Time...& Bugs.

Infinity

BIKINI

Infinity Is a Thong Time.

Infinity

GATED HOMES Infinity May Not Have

Boundaries, But You Do.

Infinity

SMOOCH

Lip Linger, Love Longer.

I have not written about love. I have reached the age of wondering what it was I have been meaning all this time to say. I have kept busy, it’s not the same as working. A fly bumps into books. I shut the door, trap him inside with me, it’s midnight. It’s later than midnight. I was writing. Something about gods and tribes. It’s later now, the coffee, I was writing on the computer. The screen ghosting in words. Something about the legitimacy of boundaries and the sticks that mortals shake. A drowning mind, tipping into sleep, writing safe and silly into the nowhere hours. Something about the means of exclusion and the first misstep. Then that dirty snap of life. Drowsy from a thick sleep, the fly bumps into the spines of books like a lazy finger. I swat. I roll up a first draft and swing. It needs to be killed. To accept the tribe is to unite humanity against itself. I hear the buzz behind the blinds, I’m swinging at the blinds, panic shakes the mind, it’s much later than midnight. I’m the only one awake with this fly trapped and buzzing in the head of my office, here at home where I keep busy instead of working. My drafts stacked or ordered or littered. The ink smears from swatting or words smear from moving through time, something wrong with the ink cartridge in the printer. A stack of papers turned over for the blank backsides in the printer tray, another stack with both lives already used up and on the way out to the recycling bin. Something about fathers sending sons to die. I have not written about swat swat swat, the body splatters in wings and blood. My time is not infinite. I meant for you to hear.

Infinity

MOUSE Time Takes a Clicking.

Infinity

DISHWARE Keep a Little on the Side.

Infinity

SILVERWARE Chew Tools for Chow Time

Infinity

DANCE CLASS Life Is a Short Shuffle.

...for the species, not for you personally.


Opium’s Infinity USA Media World Without End

Recession is finite. Hope is boundless.

Infinity

CIGARETTES Nothing Left to Lose Infinity

COFFEE CUP Bottomless Travel Mug

Infinity

BALACLAVA Muthafuckas Be Scary Warm.

Infinity

CHAIR

Sit Down and Stay Down.

Infinity

TETHER 4-2 The Buddy Belt

I want to look like I have a little time to kill. So smoke Infinity Cigarettes. I have a job to do, and I’ve got a long way to go. So fill up just once with Infinity Fuel. Be alert. Stay nervy longer with the new Infinity Bottomless Coffee Mug. It refills itself wirelessly. Need money? Of course, I do. Who hasn’t been a sucker for the last ∞ years? Get some Infinity Money. It can be taken from me over and over again, just like my investments. Not everyone needs to know what I look like before, during or after the heist. Hide my face behind the Infinity Balaclava, now in itchless cotton. Relax. Don’t feel rushed. It took them twenty years to take my money, my job, and my house. There’s no need for me to panic. With Infinity Clock, I’ve got all the time I need. In fact, if some of the customers in the lobby are feeling weak or stressed, sit them in the Infinity Chair. Explain to them that comfort has no limits, although my patience does. Once everyone is seated in an Infinity Chair, invite the employees to play the Infinity Bongos. They just might want to bang on the drums all day! Or strum the Infinity Guitar. While I’m blowing the bank vault, they’ll be just fine with three chords and the sad truth. As I go through safe-deposit boxes, be sure to pick out a nice pair of Infinity Earrings for my girlfriend slash getaway driver. Bling is just the thing when love is on the lam. Anyway, I really need to be wrapping things up. Before I rush out the back, don’t forget to bring a buddy. Don’t call him a hostage! Now it’s easier than ever for friends to stay in touch with the Infinity Tether for Two. And the rest of you, back the fuck up.

Infinity

FUEL Go Away. Infinity

CASH Not Just for the Rich

Infinity

CLOCK All the Time You’ll Ever Need Infinity

BONGOS Endlessly Annoying Infinity

GUITAR String Theory Rocks! Infinity

EARRINGS Or You’ll Never Hear the End of It.

Book your infinity trip today at ∞.com.


GRAHAM ROMIEU

xX

More scared of you than you are of them

xX

Graham is the creator of the books Bigfoot: I Not Dead, In Me Own Words: The Autobiography Romieu of Bigfoot, Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir, Cat & Gnome, and 101 Ways To Kill Your Boss. His illustration work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and many other publications. Graham resides in Toronto. Visit www.roumieu.com.

8* 14 | opium


BEN MIROV

2xX@ Winged Boot

2xX@ POETRY

E S T I M AT

ED READING TIME: 0:21

%6ďż˝^5

I live in an X-ray created years ago by a boy named Ben Mirov. If I peer through the years that separate us, I can see him fletching a piece of the gloaming running across a parking lot hopelessly failing calculus plenty of broken tennis rackets bridges of honey and Q-tips gossamer diet of heartbreak and lamplight tripping over his parachute to deliver to himself a map of 1998.

ďż˝

^)))))))))))5

Ben lives in New York. He has poems forthcoming in Fou and Lamination Colony. He is Mirov editor of Paxjournal.com. Sometimes he blogs at isaghost.blogspot.com. His email is benmirov@hotmail.com. He would like to thank his headphones and tacos for saving his life.

8* opium | 15


WILLIAM GIRALDI

2xX@ Legend Has It

2xX@ STORY

ESTIMA

TED READING TIME: 3 0:03

%6�^5

H

ere’s where my life story goes haywire and more than a tad willynilly: I, Charles Nesbit, a middle-classy gent from New England, much in debt to those tricksters at Visa, and very much in love/lust with my onetime, AWOL fiancée Gillian—her name!—had found myself in Washington state on a Bigfoot hunting expedition—I’m serious—with an African American rogue/hunter named Romp. He said I could win back Gillian if I captured a creature and made headlines, and my swamp of a heart believed him. So—this admission causes me shame, but admit I must: Romp located the Bigfoot and tussled with the feral stink of it, and I, in my terror and perplexity, retreated like an anorexic squirrel. Yes, I abandoned my semi-friend Romp in the abysmal green of those woods, left him to be devoured by the jaws of some primeval abomination not known to science or the empirical data it deems proof. Call me a coward; you won’t be the first. I had a heart harassed and was much in need of sweet kisses from a certain double X chromosome there in the Seattle area. So I retreated from those ancient woods in Romp’s slick SUV and hustled down to the suburbs outside Seattle where I knew a gal named Sandy McDougal who had once granted me a date or two when she still lived in Connecticut, before I crashed headlong into my iceberg in heels, Gillian Lee. In addition to needing moderate doses of female attention—any slob in my situation would—I needed counsel: Sandy was a psychotherapist with advanced degrees in Freudian this-and-that, knew the alchemy of an astronaut called Jung, had published papers in journals with long names. People, I was a frantic insect now at an impasse, my Sasquatch plan having failed me large. If I was going to get Gillian back—she was

8* 16 | opium


just then in New Zealand reveling in the spotlight after she had netted the first ever living giant squid—and calm the clamor beneath my breast, I required the acumen of this gal who once said I was cute, my whiskers Western in a Wyatt Earp way. With technology courtesy of those eggheads from Apple I located Sandy M. in just a matter of hours after arriving at an upstanding county library, the well-funded sort that attracts the unemployed and otherwise unambitious. At the doors to the library, some bookworm on welfare recognized me from the color photos that have been printed next to the stories I scribble for newspapers and weekly slicks—all about Gillian’s quest for the giant squid, and the assault she unleashed upon me when she dismantled our engagement to pursue this legendary ocean item. The forty-year-old Seattle native—a squinting non-athlete in glasses who was also, no doubt, loyal to his mother and the pies she baked him— provided me with the much needed directions to Sandy’s homestead, just twenty minutes east of where I was standing. “So Charles,” he said into the sun, “your Gillian found the giant squid in the gelid waters near the pole. Her life’s passion. When will you be reunited? I’m waiting for that part of the yarn.” “Stranger,” I said, “you and me both. Right now I am in want of quick bliss and a hiatus from all things giant squid and Gillian. I am withered and just a cha-cha away from wasted, so if you don’t mind, step aside and watch me go.” “I read this week’s story!” he yelled after me. “How could you have abandoned Romp? That Bigfoot ate him!” Over my shoulder I showed him a middle finger as I fiddled with the beeping hand-held thingy that was supposed to unlock the SUV. I ended up squirming in through the back hatch when the other doors refused to open. Some passing teenage joker in a hemp getup said to me, “SUVs ruin the environment, pal,” to which I replied, “Ruin has a twin named Dread, and the despots rule the earth, you twit, so write that down and remember it.” Now...the most prudent part of me declared that before delivering myself to Sandy’s doorstep I needed to bathe and perhaps clothe my frame in threads that were not stained with the various loam I had rolled through on the Bigfoot expedition just a few days earlier. I took a motel room near the highway and trekked behind it—I save gas when I can—through unsightly weeds and scrub, to a trusty Kmart looking majestic in the midday’s sunny blaze. The heat was everywhere and unseasonably outrageous; I longed for an arctic blizzard that would chill

8* opium | 17


“F I N I S H H .”

t ings

ROOM, STAYHARD, “WORK IN YOUR

AWAY

MY KIDS.” ROYAL ALVIS was told by KURT VONNEGUT.

HAS BEEN WRITTEN, one has to

CROSS OUT

THE ONLY

“OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS.” BARB GYLES was told by BERT BROOKS.

REAL WORDS are DEA They are pieces of material, PLAS T IC REALLY,

D WORDS. YOUPERFORM a sort of brazen necrophilia

BEGINNING

&

THE END. IT IS THERE

THAT WE AUTHORS DO MOST OF OUR

LYING.”

THAT WILL LET

JACK SWENSON was told by ANTON CHEKHOV.

ASTORY

“MY OWN EXPERIENCE IS THAT ONCE

THE

AND

FROM

KEEP

LINCOLN MICHEL was told by NEIL GAIMAN.

UPON THEIR BODIES. YOU DO NOT

GIVE WORDS LIFE, THEY ARE FOR ONLY A SPATIAL SIMULATION of the living.”

HENRY MESCALINE was told by DAVIS SCHNEIDERMAN.

“I GRANT YOU

absolution, EVEN IF YOU

WRITEDON T UNTIL

“ WE

“Or J

OR

THE

L f diff or

“CAN THE POEM BE ITSELF, BE ITS ESSENCE,

erent reasons.”BEOWULF SHEEHAN was told by MARJANE SATRAPI.

?

? NECE

Y TO SSAR

THE P

OEM

...

FIR

TELY

AY. THE NEXT STORY UNTIL . A. R B y b YOU WRITE THE AY was told ST ONE.” KAJA KATAM

LINE

SOLU

write

“You C A N’T

IF YOU FEEL THE LAST

ANDREA KNEELAND was told by BENJAMIN THEN CUT IT.” HOLLANDER was told by LARRY KEARNY.

8*

30 | opium’s network of writers experiment THIS PAGE was typeset by DAVID BARRINGER.

WITHOUTI

we Augh

TS LAST LINE

BUT

JACQUE LYNN SCHILLER was told by TOM SCHILLER.

IS AB

y

CR

same reasons,

40.”

TOM SCHILLER was told by HENRY MILLER.

YOU’RE UST GET YOUR WORK BANNED.”

al l

F

A THING


C

FEW ” THESLAST UTYOUR TORYMUChPOWERFUL.

SENTENCES.

IT MAKES

JAMEY GENNA was told by JANE ANNE STAW.

p

ch ara ut

th into

w MPA

jungle e

A

ing

l ve ke o EGINNING n s li i WRITING

B

map.”

ithout a SS

O

C or a NORA MAYNARD was told by JOSEPH CALDWELL.

a you a First ofall ,if needadvice,youshouldn’tbe writer.If you’re writer,you knowit back .” ,becauseyou always go toit JUSTIN BONSEY was told by SALMAN RUSHDIE.

REVISIONSHOULD BE A

TRIP BACK TO

saME WELL.”

THE

MORE

NICK ANTOSCA was told by JOHN CROWLEY.

“The road to H E L

L

IS PAVED WITH

unfinished novels.”

R. DEAN JOHNSON was told by RON CARLSON.

“T h e w

S P Er Ai Kt

Sjo Hb Ais Mt Eo.”

He Er’ Rs

ROSALEEN BERTOLINO was told by SUZUKI ROSHI as told by ED BROWN to the SOFA SO-GOOD SANGHA.

“T

ELL THE

WRONG.” STORYyou’re IFIEDOFGETTING TERR

J. TANNER CUSICK was told by BEN MARCUS. “WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!” RACHAEL HANEL was told by SUSAN ORLEAN.

“DrinkingWITH WRITERS NOT Writing IS

HOW Much you dRINK.” , NO MATTER

RYAN SLOAN was told by NICOLE HEFNER CALLAHAN.

LIKE CE THAT.W “STOP WRITING JOY DON ’ T NEED anoT Her one.D ” e already had ONE JAMES

VINCE DONOVAN was told by MARY ISSACSEN-BRIGHT.

8*

opium’s network of writers experiment | 31 THIS PAGE was typeset by DAVID BARRINGER.

AN


INTRODUCTION

2xX@ To Be Continued ...

2xX@ GRAPH

IC NOVELS & COMICS & SUCH

ESTIMA

TED READING TIME: 2 6:32

%6�^5

M

y only regret about my reading life as a kid is that I did not spend more time in the comic-book store. As lax as my mom was with—well, everything—she didn’t approve of comics. For years I read and reread the few books I’d bought on a dollar-a-week allowance, until they fell apart in tattered heaps under the bed. Later, I moved on to thick, pictureless books along with other rebellions. So it is a real honor to have co-curated—with the tireless and talented writer Joshua Mandelbaum—this first-ever graphic-novel/cartoon/comics section for Opium. We are giddy about the artists featured on the next pages, from Joel Priddy’s gosh-darn charming stick figures that capture all that’s good about life (even when it’s lined with bits of sadness) to the artful doodles and conversational

“Scents of the Spaceways” “The Bug-eyed Monster” “Language Meant to Entice” “The Mighty Skullboy Army” “Swoosh!” “The Cheese Mongrels” “Breakups”

tone of Corinne Mucha, who makes you feel like you’re listening to someone you’ve known for years. With hilarious, nightmarish comics, Bernie Mireault knows how to tap into the right place in the brain that both unnerves you and makes you think. Bernie McGovern’s works are like chilled-out, fun Sunday-afternoon trips. Jacob Chabot’s characters jump from the page in playful curiosity about the world. Jamil Mani imbues heart into every inch of his masterful balance of space and ink. And of course, Dan Golden’s quick, sharp lines and sharper wit are always on full display. They’re terrific artists and terrific storytellers. We hope the following pages grow to be nicely tattered from your rereading. Terry Selucky Joshua Mandelbaum

JOEL PRIDDY BERNIE MIREAULT CORINNE MUCHA JACOB CHABOT JAMIL MANI BERNIE MCGOVERN DAN GOLDEN

8* 36 | opium


8* 66 | opium | dan golden


8* dan golden | opium | 67


ZACH WENTZ

2xX@ The Cannibal

2xX@ POETRY

E S T I M AT

ED READING TIME: 0:03

%6�^5

They say: you are what you eat. I wanted so badly to be human.

^)))))))))))5

Zach has published work in Nerve, Fiction International, Golden Handcuffs, In Posse, Wentz Pindeldyboz, Mad Hatter’s Review, Word Riot, and Smith Magazine’s six-wordmemoir anthology Not Quite What I Was Planning, among other publications. His first novel The Garbageman and the Prostitute was published by Chiasmus Press.

8* 70 | opium


MARY MILLER

2xX@ Big World

2xX@ STORY

ESTIMA

T E D R E A DI N G T I M E : 1 2 : 07

%6�^5

M

y father did not like my sister’s orange hair. He knocked once, pointlessly, on the window and said, I guess I just like things the way they’re supposed to be, which made us laugh. How was anything supposed to be? The three of us were in the living room, trying not to look at each other. I got up and called my ex-husband to let him know I was in the state. How long? he asked. I’m leaving tomorrow, I said. The whole point was to let him know he’d miss me. I went back into the living room and took my seat. The stereo was playing at an irritatingly low level like the music was in my head. My sister and I were home for our uncle’s funeral. He had been nice to us growing up, unlike the rest of them, who didn’t believe we would ever be anything but small. Before he died, he heard bells. The priest said it was God calling him home. I thought about the day before when I’d taken my trash into the alley and a homeless man looked right at me and said, I’ll take that, and I gave it to him and he said, Thank you, which undid everything that had been so carefully done inside me. The small dog pushed her bear into the middle of the room and started humping it. What’s she doing? I asked. What I meant was why. She was fixed. She never humped anything. My sister answered without thinking. I coughed; she fingered a buttonhole on her sweater. We relocated to the den where there was a focal point, the television. My father wanted to watch the news but it had been preempted by the weatherman talking about an unhealthy line of storms. Unhealthy was good, he assured us. He drew squares around the bad areas, which were lit up red, and the whole thing was very soothing, the needless repetition, how slow he

8* opium | 71


CM EVANS

xX The Longest Table

xX 8* 112 | opium


DANIEL HANDLER

2xX@ Miss

2xX@ STORY

ESTIMA

T E D R E A DI N G T I M E : 17 : 0 9

%6�^5

T

he place was dark, cold, closed. Sal should have turned around right then. Instead, she stepped inside and thought of a television show, a crime show, that she watched sometimes. That’s what it felt like. In the first scene someone would be babbling on with a life, two character actors right before the opening credits. And then a hush, an expectant hush. “Jim?” or something. And then they’d find Jim’s body and the story of the show would begin. The windows were huge and there were no lights on, just whatever sun could light up a place when the rain’s full blast. Tables, napkins, candles ready for dinnertime even though it was lunch they were there for. Sal’s husband was next door settling the check for coffee—one of those places where they bring you the check, just for coffee. It was where they always met. It was one p.m., or ten minutes after. Sal’s watch was screwing up lately. She reached out for no reason really, and put three fingers on the top of the A-frame sign. It should have been on the street. It said on it, Open For Lunch. Another good time to go back. “Miss?” A guy flipped on the lights and then there was music, too. He did not apologize—he was maybe the surly, rebellious son of the man who might own the place, who usually bubbled a little small talk Sal’s way—but he sat her down. She touched him, too— to stop him from taking away the napkin and chopsticks opposite her. “Two,” she said again. “My husband is settling the check. Next door. In a minute he’ll be here.” The rebellious son was already walking away with his hands in his pockets. The music was dribbled with—Sal thought it was koto—the shorthand on television for Japan or even Asia. She put her soaked coat on the back of her chair and then stood up for awhile with

8* opium | 113


it

Juerary Death lavits

De

ath Match

atc h

y Literar

M L

Heidi

rd

i Will Be Sp

Is Mig

e .The P

nk

1

n

amp

ou

r

ch

nds

es

te

dg u

r Tha

2

tie

j

h

3

I

to

A

er o , ,

S. e

G 2009

pi u zin N m Maga

CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY GRAHAM ROMIEU

Beij in

Fra cisc n v Den near you !

icago, Ch City, rk

n

New Y o Boston,

n oo

..

I

JOEL PRIDDY CORRINE MUCHA

Book Design

D

av

id B

ov

arringer

er

A rt

pt & Conce

Jo na

20 09

tho n

Keats

8

$14.00CAN

Watch this cover for the longest story ever told.

Estimated Reading Time: 1,000 Years

8

&

C

v Co

er

by

$12.00US

by

O

SPR

ed in Sa

coming s nd ity ac

g.

09

$ 0 s u 1 2. 0 © e #8

20

t

ur

TIME

MARY MILLER JACOB CHABOT

Fe a

U. I s

DANIEL HANDLER WILLIAM GIRALDI

i

The Swo

r 4 w

n

rs

ADSIT

lt .

T

OPIUM MAGAZINE

SCO

T

ISSUE

THE INFINITY ISSUE


Opium Magazine 8  

Opium 8 is The Infinity Issue featuring a unique 1,000-year cover by artist Jonathon Keats. A graphic literary journal edited by Todd Zuniga...

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you