“There is no centre anymore. We live in a multipolar world, and culture reflects that." Fatima Bhutto
Short stories
Butterflies

Butterflies

“You’ll see, my girl is wearing such a pretty dress today,” Calderón says to Gorriti. “It looks so nice on her with those brown eyes she has – its color, you know. And those little feet…” They’re standing with the other parents, waiting anxiously for their children to be let out. Calderón is talking; Gorriti...
The supper

The supper

I bite the cookie I’d slowly brought to my mouth; it breaks, like bones being crushed. I grind it and picture the lattice pattern on its surface coming apart, reminding me of the game my grandfather taught me and invited me to play on many afternoons. Cookie, lattice, crushed bones. I bite down and feel...
Hatchet job

Hatchet job

Yes, of course, I know my rights. I have the right to remain silent. I have the right to talk to an attorney. If I can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for me. Yes, I know. In fact, I’m sure every halfwit kid with a TV for a babysitter can tell you their...
A hunger artist

A hunger artist

In the past few decades public interest in the art of fasting has drastically declined. While it used to be very profitable to put on big, stand-alone exhibitions, doing so today would be completely impossible. It was another time. Back then, the whole city would get caught up in what the hunger artist was doing;...
The clever monkeys

The clever monkeys

A good long time ago there lived a man who wove and sold hats of straw. All of the farmers needed his hats to keep their heads out of the sun while they worked in the fields, so business was generally good. One day after finishing a batch of hats he packed them in a...
My Mauretania

My Mauretania

My name is Horace Flemming. A girl with a kind, beaky nose and a leather notepad burst into my room this morning and said she wanted to know about ships. She’d found out about me in the library. I was in an old newspaper, she said. The man who made the model ships. That was...
Procedures

Procedures

Maria E never knew anyone to quit smoking without claiming that they’d been on three packs a day until just the day before. Nor did she know anyone to have their appendix removed without saying the surgeon claimed that if they’d arrived three minutes later, it would have burst and caused fatal peritonitis. Similarly, she...
A secret

A secret

There was a young lady who had a spare head. She lived in Comodoro Rivadavia. Maybe because of the constant wind, or the monotony of limited society, she began to long for variety. The first step, as we said, was a replacement head. Since she had Armenian features, she chose blonde. Every fondness either grows...
The life of art

The life of art

My friend and I went walking the dog in the cemetery. It was a Melbourne autumn: mild breezes, soft air, gentle sun. The dog trotted in front of us between the graves. I had a pair of scissors in my pocket in case we came across a rose bush on a forgotten tomb. “I don’t...
The hair clasp

The hair clasp

We went swimming, my daughter and I. She was twenty and a good swimmer. I didn’t need to keep an eye on her. I read on the beach while she went into the sea. From time to time, I lifted my eyes from my book and looked at her. She would smile and raise an...