Tag Archives: Daniel Uncapher

News: 2015 Best Small Fictions Nominations

The Best Small Fictions 2015.

Last year, Claire Joanne Huxham’s story “Correspondence” from  issue thirty-eight was selected for inclusion in the Queen’s Ferry Press anthology The Best Small Fictions. This year, I’ve nominated a selection of short works from the magazine once again. Here they all are.

“Love Drug In Pill Form” by Paul French (40)

“The Autopsy” by Annalise Spurr (41)

“Death By Kissing” by Tamsin Hopkins (41)

“Feral” by Kate Feld (41)

“Infestation Miracles” by Daniel Uncapher (41)

Best of luck to all the nominees. The Best Small Fictions collects the best fiction between six and one thousand words published in the previous year. You can find out more about it on the Queen’s Ferry Press page. While you’re there, why not pick up a copy of last year’s collection? In its pages you’ll find that Claire’s story has some excellent company, with selections from dozens of other talented writers.

“Infestation Miracles” by Daniel Uncapher

Image by Caron Wiedrick

Miracles swarm in the Mississippi delta in summertime.

The blooms overwhelm me, reminders of what lives between the lived-in spaces at the limits of my vision. Where do they come from? Who created them? Are they a blessing from above, or a curse from below?

Most importantly, should I call an exterminator?

A miracle of bees infests the grocery.

She never sees them alive. They congregate under the windows and doors to die, a thin film of dust settling softly on their fragile wings. She sweeps them up in the evening and puts them in a shoebox, unsure of what to do with them but unwilling to unceremoniously throw them away.

Honey runs down the walls in long amber beads, flowing slowly from cracks in the bricks. She places mason jars along the floor to collect the honey; it glows golden as the setting sun sends one last ray through the glass.

She adds a spoonful to her coffee, like an archaeologist upon opening King Tutankhamen’s tomb and discovering his personal honeypot, but she finds it a little too sweet for her tastes and pours it out.

A miracle of ladybugs infests the old schoolhouse.

The red-coated creatures fan out across the ceiling and bathe in the lampshades. When the lights go out they drawl in waves across the walls in search of new brightness. They creep across the television screen late at night; I have no choice but to stare at them.

When I sleep they land on my naked shoulders and crawl down my chest. I pick at them like little scabs, pinching their wings between my fingernails and throwing them into the fireplace, where they go up in a sparkle of smoke.

I feel guilty for such a petty holocaust, but the important thing to remember is that ladybugs are just beetles, after all, and normal people don’t waste time in sympathy with beetles. Why should I?

A miracle of roaches infests the mansion by the riverbed.

They come in from the rain like a buffalo herd, stampeding into the dry foyer and scattering in every direction. They congregate in the shower at sunrise; they fall from the faucet head following water and get stuck in the drain. They make mischief in the cupboards with the cereals and crackers and they sleep in the cool electronic light of the household appliances.

When I pull up a floorboard they parade past me in lanes of glistening brown and crawl up the walls. An unlucky one gets caught in the open; I snatch him up and throw him out the window into the rain.

The delta swells with life. Loneliness is a delusion for people who do not believe in miracles; we can never really be alone again. Knock on the walls; they are there. Pull down the ceilings and rip up the floors; they are alive and they are waiting to see you. The furniture shakes, the clothes move, our eyebrows quiver; all of the pieces of life harbor life, and all life is miraculous.

Yet still I’m deluded by loneliness. I must not believe in miracles, after all.

A miracle of earthworms dies on the sidewalks.

They get lost in their desperate crossing of the concrete and burn to death under the noon sun, writhing on the white-hot surface until their brains boil and their skin cooks into crispy wrinkles of blackened flesh.

It isn’t reasonable to save them. Even when they flip and twist in agony, half-dead, needing only one gentle push into the cool, damp grass to save their lives, it doesn’t make sense to go around saving worms. Reasonable people don’t even realize what’s happening.

The miracle of fire ants waits until sunset and then marches across the sidewalks to feed on burnt worm. They crawl over the still-cooking corpses and tear the meat out with their mandibles, carrying the bodies in pieces back to the colony to furnish the queen with nutritious protein. That is the miracle of ants.

I crush the ant-infested worms under my heels as I walk.

*

Daniel Uncapher lives and writes in Water Valley, Mississippi, where he operates a private printing press out of his antebellum home. His work has appeared in both Neon and The Baltimore Review.

Back To Issue Forty-One

Neon Literary Magazine Issue Forty-One

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In Neon‘s forty-first edition we have a story told backward in time, as well as tales of unsettling dystopian funerals, meat obsessions, and odd encounters on the London Underground. There’s also a selection of poetry, including a piece about birds’ feet and another about an unusual autopsy. This issue features the work of Nadine Darling, Annalise Spurr, Amber Hart, Tamsin Hopkins, Alec Hutchinson, Kate Feld, Ian Mullins, Anton Rose, Daniel Uncapher, and Matthew Dobson.

Neon is free to read online, and costs just £4.00 for a physical copy. In its perfect-bound format each issue is around 70 pages, and is photo-illustrated in black and white. Free copies of Battery Pack Volume Two will be distributed along with this issue.

Published summer 2015 (print and online).

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Neon Literary Magazine #20

Issue #20 Cover Image

Issue 20 of Neon features the work of Jonathan Greenhause, CL Bledsoe, Howie Good, Christopher James, Donna Burgess, Stevie Blue, Daniel Uncapher, and Jenn Clarke, as well as photo-illustrations by Matina Stamatakis.

Neon is free to read. If you enjoy the work we publish a small donation is appreciated.

Published summer 2009 (online).

Preview Online:
“Fire Flowers” by Jonathan Greenhause || “From Ribs Come Tales” by Christopher James || “Asexuality” by Stevie Blue || “Five Imaginary Babes” by Daniel Uncapher

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“Five Imaginary Babes” by Daniel Uncapher

Image by Debbie Schiel

In time I’ve had five babies.

The first one was boneless and meatless; it was a puggish fold of skin, and I would throw it on the ground in disgust where it would puddle up and gurgle little flatulent gusps that were almost cute but stank like dank pot. Within a few days, having accidently left it lying in the sun, a feral dog came and lapped it up.

The next baby, within minutes, dissolved. I held him in my hand and named him Charlemagne and moments later he fizzled between my fingers and left them feeling very dry, not unlike fingers coated with super glue residue.

The third and fourth babies, Congolese twins, were tightly wrapped in cocoons and I left them hanging under my dining room table, but people started to notice and make underhanded remarks over cocktails, and that situation grew peculiar so I moved them to my writer’s desk. Now and then spiders make webs between them and perform acrobatic stunts when I’m not looking. Sometimes in my less proud moments I fancy peeling off the cocoon and spoonfeeding the innards to my cat, but I’m worried about what I may find inside.

The last baby is the size of a bat and skeletal, with arms too long and thin that swivel lifelessly before him. He sleeps and shits normally but his grotesque limbs bother me so I have locked him in my closet, where he sits with vacant eyes and says nothing. Often, when I pace about the room, especially just before dawn in the early morning, or late night like now when I’m growing paranoid against my silent piano and bristling canary in her gilded cage, at times like this the door will creak open and I’ll see him huddled there, shivering with his arms stretching limply at his sides, and just before I slam the closet door shut in fright I’ll hear him say, “Come hither, Love, come here.”

*

Daniel Uncapher is a prose poet, painter, and pianist from the deep American south.

Back To Issue #20