In Which The Average

IN WHICH THE AVERAGE OF THE PARTICULAR IS EQUAL

TO THE SPECIFIC: AND INDEED IN SEVERAL CASES PERILOUS

by Felice Picano

. . . seven, eight, nine people in front of me. There were fifteen when I arrived. That's progress. Two seventeen p.m. now. I've already been here for fifteen minutes. Only two minutes late to be here. Could this be the line for those who came -- or rather those who were supposed to come -- at two o'clock? Or is it, somehow, for others. Those due later. Say, at two-fifteen? Am I on the right line?

Only one line. Must be the right one.

 No, time isn't what matters in these situations. It's something else. It's . . . .

Ah! Another person has left the line and gone up to the clerk's window. Clerk number one, I call him, and not only because he is one of two, or because he is the first of the two clerks, that I noticed when I arrived, although that alone would make sense and be significant for him to warrant the name, wouldn't it? And after all, he is straight ahead off this line, while the other clerk, number two, evidently, is kind of off to one side, which is I suppose why I only noticed him later on.

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Gratitude

by Felice Picano

Both women had stepped away from the table. Lizabeth, his agent, to the restroom, Andrea Kelton, the editor who'd just said the words to make him float on air while seated still on the big moderne banquette, had received a phone call from her office, and had wandered off somewhere at the far end of the restaurant trying to get better wireless reception. Leaving Niels LLewellyn alone to sit and gloat. Around him: the delicate tinkle of crystal and silver against porcelain in the overpriced eatery, and it's otherwise artful sonic decor of swirling waters covering the multi-million-dollar deals being proposed and sealed by the industrial and media movers and shakers about the big, posh, water-hushed room.
 
It was something to savor, as had been Kelton's words, "this is unquestionably your breakthrough book. We're so proud to be involved!" Followed rapidly by further indications of how proud they actually were, including the stunning figures of the enormous first printing the company had settled upon, the pre-publication acceptance as a "main selection" by the book club, with its own concomitant huge printing, and even -- he was to expect it as soon as this week -- an unprecedented further advance upon his advance of a year past, actual cash more than double what he'd received, as though confirming the success of a novel not yet in print, never mind one liable to ever succumb to the vagaries of the marketplace.
 
Lizabeth returned first, and confirmed the second advance and pre-sale, and huge printing all meant there were to be no vagaries of the marketplace at all now. They -- she and he, together for twenty-six long years, through wheat and chaff -- had been elevated, as though on an enormous dose of morphine, a good half foot so far above the buy-and-sell mentality that had so enclosed them all of their professional and personal relationship. Niels was now about to become a "personage," and she too, at least in the "industry" a correlative mini-personage. They toasted each other's good sense and tenacity and lifted a glass edge toward whatever literary gods there still might be in this ghastly age, to help them ever onward.
 
Then Kelton was back, closing the phone and saying, "The advertisements are set now for a national vend. Six major newspapers and three magazines," and Niels sank back into the banquette and listened almost as though he were not the major reason, but instead some hanger on, or better yet and ironically, given his age, a child, as the glories of his immediate future were trotted out in all the brightest colors with metaphorical pennants excitedly set to fly in front of him.
 

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New Short Stories

by Felice Picano
Available for re-publication upon request

 

Everyone Has a Shazam

Literary short story. Finalist for the Saints & Sinners Festival 2011, Short Story Prize
To be published in it’s collection, available May 2011
     appx 7600 words

 

Imago Blue

Science-Fiction short story. To be published in the noir anthology, Men of Mean Streets,
Ed. Greg Herren, Bold Stroke Press, June 2011
     appx 8800 words

 

Absolute Ebony

Literary horror story. To be published in the anthology, Art For Art’s Sake, ed. Steve Soucy, May 2011
     appx  8700 words

Other Short Stories

Other Recent Short Stories Available

 

Swear Not on the Moon — Detective/Mystery   4700 words

Room Nine — Horror    8100 words

Synapse — Sci-Fi/Fantasy   2900 words

Eye — Sci-Fi    10,200 words

A Guest in the Heavens — Sci-Fi    7400 words

 

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