“The Fat Man Invites You to a Picnic by the Sea” in Phoebe

January 26, 2017


The newest issue of Phoebe is out, and I’m happy to say that it includes my short story “The Fat Man Invites You to a Picnic by the Sea.” It’s a love story. I’m afraid it’s print-only, but here’s an excerpt:


          The fat man implores you to join him. This is a picnic for two.

          The menu will consist of a bucket of clams fresh from the sea, red-skinned potatoes tossed in sheep’s milk and blue cheese, acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and braised lamb, and one sliver of peppermint cheesecake, as small and rich as a poem.

          The picnic will be held tonight, just before sundown, at the gazebo overlooking The Devil’s Punchbowl, where the Pacific Ocean whirls and roils in that great rocky cauldron at the edge of the world. You know the place well. You visited it on your first outing with the fat man, drove there from Salem as he sat in the passenger seat smoking menthols and humming Mahler’s Fifth. At the time he was built like a carnival barker, rotund but not yet fully globular.

          His affection for you, however, was already immense…

          …You seemed to understand everything about the fat man. You saw that he was someone who for much of his life had felt invisible despite—in truth, because of—his tremendous size. So many times he had felt unseen by the rest of the world, by eyes that linger on the slender or the muscular but pass over the large and the soft. You realized that the fat man’s bombast was a form of revolution, a demand to be seen, demand to be acknowledged. He chose to embrace his girth, to flaunt it, to force the world to reckon with his immensity. You understood this. His size did not repel you. A spirit such as his, you said, required a grand container….


I hope everyone’s having a good 2017 so far. Maybe this year will be better than the last.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: