The lead story is “Perfect Cake” by Michael P. Kardos, in which a chef who is in an unhappy or at least boring marriage visits a college campus as a substitute teacher in a culinary class. He has a run-in with a security guard that first manages to escalate and then feeds into his growing conflict with his wife. It’s a good story with lots of credible detail:
“Pudding-textured cheesecake innards clung to the sides of the can and stuck to bottles, cups and sections of newspaper. A big section of the cake had sunk to the bottom of the garbage, upon which lay a discarded piece of hot dog. Mustard from the hot dog mixed with the pumpkin-cream cheese mixture in incongruous yellows. Although the cake had been fresh, a stench emanated from the garbage like the beginnings of rot.”Next is David Wright’s tragi-comic “No Hound Dog” in which an aging Elvis impersonator decides he can never again sing Hound Dog. The fans aren’t happy but he persists: “Hell, even Elvis didn’t like singing it.” Hah!
The interview seems at first an odd choice, but not on reflection. Editor Caroline Lord speaks with Howard Zeiderman, a tutor at St. John’s College in Annapolis (where the curriculum is based on classic texts). A friend of mine in graduate school was educated at St. John’s so I found the interview fascinating.
The issue also includes a selection of photographs by Dave Beckerman and an excerpt from an unpublished novel by James Dickey, reminding me that I'd like to read more Dickey.
Last is a nice story by Miriam Fusco called “Schist” that I can relate to. It’s about a pacifist who is ostracized by his town for his political views, but at least his mother understands.
I’ll be looking forward to the next issue.
Next up: Crazyhorse