Fiction: "Zoo" by Corey Campbell
Published in The Coachella Review
Instead of promoting the Coachella Review's fiction contest winner (Erika Brumett, which you can read here), I thought it might be nice to share a story from that same issue that I thought was pretty darned great, to say the least. That isn't to say Brumett's winner isn't great--it is! You should read it!--but let's face it: the winner gets all the publicity, and she certainly doesn't need a shout-out by the Fiction Addict.
Before I shove my foot in my mouth any farther, maybe we should just get back on topic. I like "Zoo," by Corey Campbell because it brings back some strange memories of the zoo as a child where, among other things, I fell into a pond during a field trip.
Here's a sample:
It seemed weird again to be there when the pens were so empty, the sky threatening snow and promising more cold. There was some kind of light show set up in the yards, plug-in statues of zoo favorites, but it wasn’t dark enough for them to light up. You could only imagine the neon elephant and octopus with pulsating limbs, flagging people down from the highway. Come gather with us! It’s New Years!
My dad stopped and put his hand on my shoulder, then drew me in for an awkward hug. “You’ll be all right?”
Was that a question? Shouldn’t he know that? I looked back at my mom, who had stopped beside a tree, leaning against it and rubbing her foot at the Achilles tendon. She’d never been an athlete and especially not around ice. I felt like we were moving way too fast away from her, and her figure by the tree got smaller the farther we went. The tree, too, I could soon crush between two fingers. She waved.
Some relevant info:
Lit Mag: The Coachella Review: