Back when I was in elementary school in Richlands, NC, our teacher would regularly have a “Catch-Up” Day. I was always confused when there were no French fries.
In addition to this being the Ketchup Edition of my Story A Day In May plan, it’s also the Laura Ellen Scott Edition, since everything here relates to her in one way or another. Over the last four days I’ve read four stories. The last two were from the collection French Quarter Fiction: The Newest Stories of America’s Oldest Bohemia, an anthology which Scott gave to my wife and me and which benefits Hurricane Katrina Relief. Tara and I each picked a story—largely at random, by title. Julie Smith’s “House of Mischief,” more an anecdote (with commentary) than a story, tells the story of a brief love affair from the perspective of the house where the relationship large unfolds (or at least the more physical parts of the relationship). The second, Jeri Cain Rossi’s “A Bus Named Cemeteries” is also the tale of a brief relationship, with a dark little twist at the end.
I also read another story from this year’s Wigleaf Top 50, for which Scott served as the series editor this year (a project she’s been involved with for a couple of years, in fact). Amy Benson’s “Crime Is Down All Over,” originally published in PANK, follows a couple slowly heeding the wife’s father’s advice to “lay in provisions” for any number of potential emergencies: “bomb, drone, wave, fire, a great poisoning of the well.” An intriguing tale, skillfully wrought, that the final line, at least on my computer, turns up garbled a little—not sure if intentional somehow or not…..
Finally, I also read a story by Scott herself—a novella, in fact, that I’m hesitant to say anything about publicly since it hasn’t yet been published. But I will say this: It’s masterful, as always with her work
And I’ll try to keep better on track now that I’m back in town from a long weekend away. — Art Taylor