Short Story of the Day – Hall of Small Mammals, by Thomas Pierce

We were at the back of a very long line that began near the Panda Plaza and wound all the way around the Elephant House. Nobody was very interested in the elephants or the pandas at the moment. Everyone was at the zoo for the baby Pippins. If just one of the three Pippin Monkeys survived to maturity, it would apparently be a major feat for the zoo, since no other institution had been able to keep its Pippins alive for very long in captivity. The creatures came from somewhere in South America. They were endangered and probably would go extinct soon. But before they did, Val wanted to see one up close: the gray fuzzy hair, the pink face, the giant empty black eyes. Val wanted to take a picture to show his friends.

—-Thomas Pierce, Hall of Small Mammals

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Another Short Story available online:

Hall of Small Mammals, by Thomas Pierce

from Literary Hub

The Author:

Thomas Pierce

The following is the title story from Thomas Pierce’s collection, Hall of Small Mammals. Pierce was born and raised in South Carolina. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Oxford American, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Virginia creative writing program, he lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and daughter.

The Story:

A man and a slightly obnoxious diabetic twelve-year-old boy are waiting in line at a zoo exhibit. The line is going slow and the boy is not the man’s son. The boy’s mother is beautiful, but the man has his doubts about the relationship.

We all have to wait in line and we all have to decide how much we are going to take. We always have to wait too long. Sometimes we take too much. Every day. Every damn day. And that line moves to slow, until you need it to wait and then it speeds up.

I looked up “Pippin Monkeys” and they don’t exist outside of this short story. Shame, I’d like to see one, though I never really liked monkeys. I wouldn’t wait in line very long, however.

Short Story of the Day – Three Friends in a Hammock by April Ayers Lawson

We lay in the hammock at the end of summer. The uncomfortable sense of feeling pressed into the body of my friend by the slope of the hammock was also very pleasurable. I hadn’t chosen to sit that close. She and I had slid into that position as we submitted to the physics of the hammock situation.

—-April Ayers Lawson, Three Friends in a Hammock

I have been very busy with some things I can’t write about… and that makes it tough to keep cranking these entries out. So today… an online short story. Read it at Granta here:

Three Friends in a Hammock by April Ayers Lawson

 

A well-written and finely crafted story about… well, three friends in a hammock. The dynamic of this troika is examined in detail. One of them (The one in the middle, of course) is best friends with the other two – though the other two were not best friends with each other and… “but I knew from day to day and even moment to moment alliances shifted. You can’t be equally close to two people at the same time.”

I enjoyed this story. However (well, not really however however, this may be why I liked the story so much), I have trouble relating to the characters in the story. They seem like alien life forms to me. They think too much. I feel the same way about people I see (either on TV or in real life) having long lunches during the week at sidewalk cafés. I mean I would really enjoy doing that – but who has the time? There are horrible disasters that have to be averted, Herculean tasks to be undertaken… how can you get away with spending your life at a sidewalk table gossiping with friends?

I feel more than a little jealousy towards the three friends in a hammock… though their lives are very far from perfect. They might not be spiraling into disaster, but they definitely are closer to that than they imagine.