Welcome to a new edition of Tightrope Teaser Tuesday, where we give our readers the briefest of glimpses – teases, if you will – into our new, backlist, and forthcoming books. Today’s Teaser is from After the Fires, a collection of short stories by Ursula Pflug.
The stories in After the Fires light the dark places where reality burns away to reveal something fantastical. They unfold like waking dreams, where what was forgotten is remembered. Her characters live double lives in the reality of Canadian and American cities, and in cities of the author’s imagination, where they fall in and out of love, confront universal evil, and try to fashion lives out of the ashes of the world around them.
After the Fires is available now in bookstores or on Amazon. You can also pick up your copy at the Tightrope offices any weekday between 10 and 5. We’re located at 602 Markham Street, Toronto, ON.
Enjoy this excerpt from “Blue Gloves,” one of the stories contained in After the Fires.
The sky is brittle, it’s winter, and you’re out of cigarettes. You walk down the hill to pick some up. Outside the store you light one but they taste strange, as though the cold has altered their flavor and now they are cigarettes out of a different story and not this one at all. You smoke it anyway, but you miss the old ones. In the evening you go over to your buddy Richard’s, a comfortable friend you watch TV with. Sometimes, when you’re between romances, the two of you have sex. You feed each other, too, at one another’s houses or at the local greasy spoon. He just gets what’s on as he comes in the door: never any coq au vin or eggs Benedict for Ricardo, just chicken and rice or scrambled eggs. By the same token he never takes you to any fancy restaurants. Yet the two of you go to the repertory cinemas together when you have nothing else to do, you watch “The Next Generation” together. I’s so comfortable you sometimes wonder why you don’t pack it all up and move in with him, conversely, he could move in with you. But you always hold out for the big romance, the big fireworks. Mr. Righ that you know is coming just around the next corner. You know, the guy you’ll really love. The on you’ll share your life with. Stupid you, but there it is. Richard is a writer, like you, only you don’t publish anything, and he does. He’s always very supportive. Actually, you have published something recently, because of his help. A story. About Japanese fighting fish. In a local alternative weekly. Your friends loved it and now all those people you vaguely know and respect stop to talk to you on the street, so it was worth it, in spades.
Anyway, he isn’t home.
You slip a note under his door.