What Strangers Do at [PANK]

I have a troubling story at [PANK]. I'm thrilled to have a story there. A dream. But it's a story that you will not be reading to your children and one you probably will find difficult to read to yourself. I actually read it aloud for the site--and that was difficult for me. There are three rape scenes in the reach of 750 words, so this is about as far away from the light travel-escapade humor of I Must Be Off! as I can get. But still this is me. And this is the world we live in.

A few years ago I was slammed to the floor of a kitchen in Nice. I wasn't raped in the sexual sense of the word, but I was violated (the sexual assault story is yet to come). The vision in my right eye has deteriorated, and I will never go back to Nice. The feelings of violation and betrayal are all so real--too real--to me in this story. All the levels of strangeness and strangers in this text are deliberate and painful. When readers react with the words "horror" and "gutted," I see it. I feel it. I'm usually a humorist. I look for the punchline. There's no punchline in this one.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the managing editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. His debut flash fiction collection is forthcoming from Matter Press. Allen's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Indiana Review, Juked, FRiGG, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts and others. Read his book reviews in Necessary Fiction, The Lit Pub, Fiction Southeast and others. In 2017 Allen was both a finalist (as translator) and semifinalist for The Best Small Fictions. He lives somewhere in Europe--for now.    


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