Two Fragments

By David Stromberg

Fragment 1

I once knew a young man who wanted to write a story about disappointment.  The story was to be set in biblical times, centered around obscure characters, and involve an intricate plot.

I offered the young man to go and tell his idea to some editors around town, some of whom were also rabbis.

They listened to the whole careful outline, all the while shaking their heads.  “We can’t publish such a story,” they’d say.  “No one wants to read about something that doesn’t happen, especially if it’s set in an era to which they can’t relate.”

“But it’s a modern story,” I argued on the young man’s behalf, “transposed into the past.”

“Maybe it is,” they answered, “but who wants to read about something that doesn’t happen today?”

With these same comments we left one editorial office and went to another, until an entire day had passed.  In the late evening, I apologized to the young man for our lack of success.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “it’s just a disappointment.”

Fragment 2

I’d like to talk about the playground: any playground you remember.  On this playground there are many children.  There are boys and there are girls, maybe forty in all.  There are three or four adults present. You’re sitting on a bench in the corner of this playground.

With you is a friend, a friend that’s a boy.  If you are a girl on the playground, you are probably the only one hanging out with a boy.  If you are a boy, you are a loner and have only one friend.  Either way, you have been set apart from the rest of the group, and are left to your corner.

From that corner, you see a girl being hit by another girl.

Your friend says to you, “Angela isn’t nice.  She’s always picking on her friends.”

“Yeah,” you say, “she sucks.  You shouldn’t pick on your friends.”

“You shouldn’t pick on anyone,” says your friend.

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Filed under Issue 1, Prose

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