Majnun Ben-David

Phrases I Liked: Kathy Fish

Periodically I will read a few short stories by a contemporary author and post some of the phrases I particularly enjoyed.

This week's author is
Kathy Fish, a prolific writer of short fiction, especially flash fiction. She has served as the fiction editor for SmokeLong Quarterly and edited the "Best of the Web 2010" for Dzanc Books. Rumor has it that she once saved a puppy who was attacked by a dog. Go check out her website here for more about her, plus links to several dozen of her publications.

Now for some phrases I really liked in her stories ...

"'You have dust on your shoes,' he said to his attacker before passing out."
Lip, in Pank here

"It is their mother, beyond the hollow on the edge of the cornfield in the blue night, her arms wild, waving down the moon."
The Hollow, in The Denver Quarterly here

"'Rodney's an old man’s name,' Chelsea’s mom says and calls him Rascal instead."
Rodney and Chelsea, in Mississippi Review online here

"If he got me the kitten, I would name it Rousseau because it sounds cool and elevated, like from another realm."         
Tails, in Mississippi Review online here (scroll down, it’s under the other story)

What Kind of Person Gives Secrets to the Sky?
okay, it's the title of the story (published in Night Train here), but I still love the phrase

"'The maids have a break room that management doesn't even know about,' Lori says. 'One of the guest rooms that are supposed to be redecorated? But it's like they've forgotten about it. They have a riot in there. Parties galore. Sometimes they invite me and that means something, because I'm not the most fun person in the world.'''
Orlando, in Storyglossia here

"People huddle in their basements like kittens."
Petunias, in Sleepingfish here

"They played church and Neal was the priest. He stuffed Wonder Bread into their mouths and said, 'The Body of Christ,' and they gagged and washed it down with grape Kool-Aid from Dixie Cups for the blood."
Talking About Ernie Banks, in FRiGG here

"My husband tells the doctor, 'I want my wife back,' in the same tone he uses for waiters who take too long bringing his steak."
As I Sit Disappearing in a White Paper Gown, in Corium Magazine here

Fish's stories are very precisely crafted, no lazy ridiculousness here. She is expert at inhabiting the mind of young characters and telling family tales. The missing is sometimes a theme, and if you read carefully you might find a stiff drink stashed in a few of her stories, usually mixed with 7-Up.

Disclaimer: I have exchanged a few messages with Ms. Fish on Twitter, but I otherwise have no connection with her. Thanks go to
Berit Ellingsen for introducing me her work.
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