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1139 Fiction entries in Magazine

November, 2016

Monopoly

Duanwad Pimwana’s battling couple abandon their boy to the neighborhood. Duanwad Pimwana reads “Monopoly” in Thai. Kampol Changsamran, a boy of five, was hanging around in front of Mrs. Tongjan’s tenement houses. His father had told him to wait: “You stay here. I’m taking your brother to Grandma’s. I’ll be back to get you in a bit.” Hearing these last three words, Kampol didn’t dare to wander far, worried his father...

Life’s Lexicon: Everyman’s Bangkok Edition

Win Lyovarin​’s exasperated working man offers a mordant vocabulary lesson for urbanites. Alarm Clock: a tool invented by humans for self-enslavement. The sound of metal striking metal five times rushes out of a little alley through the darkness toward my ear at a speed of 1100 feet per second, as loud as the false crowing of the rooster-shaped alarm clock that jerks me from the land of dreams, dreams ruthlessly broken into bits and scraps and scattered about—with...

Light Splash Sound

Uthis Haemamool’s amnesiac temple worker recognizes the false side of true belief.  Before the Memory Shake-up Before his memory was shaken up, if you were to look inside that brainpan of his for something special, something different from what was in other people’s brains, his only unique memories would be the personal ones: deep, intimate memories of people close to him, and of relatives, but distant and unreliable when it came to people in general. You’d say that...

Ei Ploang

Prabda Yoon’s sage passes judgment from a park bench.  I don’t have all that much to be proud of, but one memory that still makes me smile to this day is Ei Ploang calling me a good person. I used to address him more politely as Khun Ploang; the audacious switch to Ei is only a recent development, and one I never would have had the nerve to make without the express permission of the man himself. One morning in Lumpini Park, Ei Ploang handed me a scrap of paper....

Tanoo

Sri Daoruang’s heartsick mother treasures her sickly son. When a young child eats very little, and fails to gain weight over several months, its parents will search avidly for ways to correct the situation. Should the child then begin to eat well, to sleep well, to grow by day and by night, the parents will be happy, and their worries will fade away. But I am not like those parents . . . It was very difficult for us to have a child. I went to the obstetrician only three weeks after...

An Essay on Prayers

Chart Korbjitti’s monks in training haven’t a prayer. I was a child of poor folks. My father therefore entrusted me to the temple, where I would be able to go to school as well. Initially, I missed home dearly. But as I stayed on, I became acclimated and began to find it fun because I had a lot of playmates. I met a number of fellow temple boys, who probably came from poor families like mine. We were all friends and happily played together. But there was one thing my friends...

October, 2016

There Was a Bridge in Tekka

Latha’s elderly woman mourns her lifelong friend and the lost Indian immigrant community of their childhood. Tekka is the colloquial name of an old Singapore precinct located around the area where Serangoon Road becomes Selegie Road after intersecting Sungei Road and Rochor Canal Road. Although the name comes from the Chinese dialect of Hokkien and means "the foot of the bamboos," the area has always been associated with the island's Indian community due to its proximity to...

From “Opera Costume”

Yeng Pway Ngon’s aging opera lover struggles to recapture lyrics and memories of a thwarted star tenor. Helpless before the heavens we part, what sorrow, what rage; the farewell heart clings to the drooping willow, goodbye tears splash the flowers—The old man struggles to remember the lyrics to Revisiting the Long Pavilion Willows, humming bits and pieces. It’s been too long since he’s sung anything, too long since he heard this tune. When he was young, he adored...

The Withered Cherry Tree

Sa’eda Buang’s starstruck girl lives in a Bollywood fantasy while abuse and deception rage around her. Translators’ note: the following kinship terms and honorifics appear throughout: wak, used for elderly men or uncles; kak, sister or more senior female; kak long, oldest sister; kak ngah, middle sister; abang, brother or more senior male; nyai, elderly Javanese woman.   Mila danced happily down the steep knoll. She had memorized every inch of that hill. Her tiny...

Black Panther

Wong Koi Tet’s childless man, desperate for an heir, resorts to superstition to jack up his potency. Ong Par had been waiting for over three hours, frozen in a squat among the chaotic shadows cast by the crisscrossing branches of the trees towering over him. One thought occupied his mind all this time: that he might not have a son to perform his last rites. He was light-headed from the smell of his own sweat mingled with the hum of the swamp insects and the humid tropical heat...

Water in the Rice Fields up to My Knees!

Malagasy writer Johary Ravaloson riffs on the urban legend of the vanishing hitchhiker.  1 It happened in November. A sticky night, relieved by crisp poststorm air. I was waiting for passengers under a streetlight in Ampasampito, near the cemetery, when I heard squelch-squelch on the pavement. I looked up from my notebook and saw a faltering shadow stumble into the circle of light. Slathered with mud, her feet and wedge heels forming thick, slimy boots, the woman lurched...

September, 2016

Barbie

Milanese journalist Gabriella Kuruvilla touches on the dynamics of motherhood and assimilation. I did it again today. I woke up, made breakfast, watched them eat and drink, bathed and dressed them, took them to school, returned home, got my sari, sandals, lipstick, kohl, makeup remover, rings, bangles, wrap, and Barbie. I put it all in my bag and went out. I always choose a different café on the long route from Lambrate to Bovisa. I prefer to walk, despite the time it takes....

From “Goldfish Don’t Live in Puddles”

Marco Truzzi dives into the daily life of a boy living in a Romani camp. What’s the point of stars If you don’t want to see? —Romani proverb My father stopped being a gypsy in the spring of 1987. As for the hows and whys that led to his decision—or, according to his point of view, how this simply happened to him—we’ll get to that later. For the time being, all you need to know is that my father stopped being a gypsy when I was seven years old and he was...

Cous Cous Klan

Algerian–born Tahar Lamri blends strands from Italian, Arabic, German, and other Mediterranean cultures in his story of “an immobile traveler, eternally traveling” in present-day Italy. My name is simply Samir. I am the fortieth direct descendant of Shams al-Din Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Yusuf al-Lawati al-Tanji Ibn Battûta Ibn Hamid Al Ghazi, known simply as Ibn Battuta, born in Tangier in 1304 and died in Marrakesh...

Two Miniatures

Yekhiel Shraybman’s tightly-crafted miniatures, narrated by the proverbial everymen from anywhere, invite readers to fill in the gaps and reinterpret them as products of their local context. New Grass Spring. Somewhere in the corner of my concrete courtyard, right at the start of those first sunny days, a few blades of grass sprang to life, quickly, practically overnight. Soft green grass shot up, growing up through the cracks of the hard gray slabs, giving that corner a...

Ingathering of Exiles

Yenta Mash interrogates the uneasy position of Jewish immigrants in the new state of Israel. I don’t know about other cities, but in Haifa the street called Kibbutz Galuyot—Ingathering of Exiles—is definitely worthy of the name. Other cities may have bestowed the name when the street was still under construction, without knowing whether it would turn out to be a good fit. In Haifa, though, the street was already in its glory when it got its name. If they’d called it...

An Unexpected Guest

In the following chapter from his novel Nomansland, AZ, Boris Sandler looks at the US through the lens of fantasy and rollicking satire as down-on-his-luck traveling salesman Eddie Hoffman hawks his wares in a forgotten desert town at the end of the millennium. There’s no such thing, so the saying goes, as a party you can’t crash. The heady feeling that I’d stumbled into a party—a loud, unruly party—washed over me as I dragged and scraped my way through...

August, 2016

From “The March of Time”

And so the answer is revealed, to the riddle asked only once in a lifetime (one of the biggest questions in life, perhaps the biggest): your husband Chang Te-Mo will appear again after his death. What kind of ghost will he be? (And here it comes, here it comes, the question in return: “What kind of person was he?”) After the body is cleaned, it’s time to escort him to the morgue. You tell him, “Chang Te-Mo, it’s all right now.” For the last time, you...

From “Notes of a Crocodile”

She was used to relying on other people. I had a habit of protecting girls. If she was in class at a set time, for a set time, I was there to soak it up. In class I was a show-off, but from the moment classes ended till the moment they started up again, I was gone. Her long hair trailed over her shoulders. Her elegant clothing gave her the appearance of being around twenty-four or twenty-five. That entire year I went for a kind of misfit look, wearing outdated jeans that made me look barely...

Wedding in Autumn

“Ah Ju’s back!” Ah Ju, the girl from the road crew dormitory. That’s what we all called her, because that’s where she grew up. She disappeared for a quite a while, but now she was back, and she brought two people with her: her fiancé, and her unborn child. I hadn’t seen her pregnant belly yet, so I didn’t know if it was a bump or a peak, if she was going to have a boy or a girl. But if there’s one thing I did know, it’s that women...

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