Monarchs of the Undertow, Marc Pietrzykowski.
140 pages — $10
Small town fabula, secrets and lies, petty thieves in the mall and shotguns balanced in the lap. The sun is a beast. Everyone knows everyone. No one knows why, they try to leave, but something keeps drawing them back. Short stories for the culturally oblique.
After I nailed a board over the window, I sat on the couch and stared at it. I know I should have stopped them, the little bastards, or at least tried. I should have stopped Cheryl dressing those poor dogs up like beauty pageant bimbos, too, but I didn’t. I should’ve told my Dad “no” when he got my draft card knocked down to II-C, but I didn’t. I should have stopped after two beers and skipped the Canadian Club, too, but I didn’t, and so what, we all get to where we’re going by different roads, nothing better or worse in mine. That’s the funny thing about karma, when idiots say “what goes around comes around,” they think they’ll see justice here, in this world, but karma is longer than time, we never see it. We pay it back all the time, it’s always coming around, sure, just no point in trying to figure out where it came from. I figure every life I lived was just like this one, never been a worm or a god or anything, just a sad, tired old man the moment I got born ‘til the moment I die, over and over, the same kind of life, every time. Let the kid figure it out himself. I can always get more windows. (“A Walk with the Minister’s Son”)