“Give me your arm,” said the round, blonde nurse. “This will relax you.” She tightened the rubber tourniquet band, and slapped the vein out of hiding.
As she slid the needle out, Adam’s face turned a white sheet of paper. “You’re going to be OK,” he said. “Really. You close your eyes. Imagine something else.”
Whatever the nurse administered allowed me entrance into another, half-lit world. I was a slug on concrete. My eyes felt like two buckets of brown dirt. I almost didn’t realize the doctor had entered the room. …
The nurse squeezes a rubber ball that makes the strap around Raymond’s arm tighten more and more. It really hurts. Raymond pushes his lips together so he won’t complain, because complaining is bad heredity. Mother told him that this morning when he complained about the Brilliantine she put in his hair. The gel still smells awful, like dead flowers and Father’s breath during good-night kiss. Mother is determined to win this Fitter Family contest, which is why she made Raymond wear the hair gel and why Raymond must not complain. Mother thinks they lost the competition last year because of Aunt Julie, who is what Mother calls a broad, although she won’t tell Raymond what that means. …
Leyna Krow has an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Her work has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Sou’wester, Ninth Letter, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her first collection, I’m Fine but You Appear to Be Sinking, was published earlier this year by Featherproof Books.
The stories in I’m Fine but You Appear to Be Sinking veer back and forth between ones that seem pretty rooted in the real world and ones that are less plausible, at least for the present moment. Do you think of your work as straddling genres? Is genre a valuable concept for your collection? What is accomplished, in your view, by juxtaposing these different modes in a single collection?
I’d call the genre of the collection “domestic fabulism.” Each story has people who are either dealing with a very strange problem in a very normal environment, or the opposite. So it’s this blending of realism with the bizarre. I’m a big fan of magical realism, but I know my writing isn’t quite that. It’s not so much magical as just slightly otherworldly. Things are always familiar, but also always a little off. It’s just that strict realism isn’t all that interesting to me as a writer (though I love it as a reader).…
“We need more guns,” Teddy Koala said, standing back from the array before them.
Teddy was the more aggressive of the pair while Rudolph, a year older, was the planner and dreamer. He was the one who insisted he’d once read an article that had identified the brothers as the most feared killing machine in Australia’s notorious Northwest Territory in the last hundred years.
Teddy liked the idea that they were men to be feared. His only concern was that, if the newspapers were so determined to help run them down that they might use an old photo that cast the damaged right side of his face in a poor light, making him look less like a predator and more like a victim.
Rudolph knew Teddy was right. “What exactly are we missing?”…