compulsion & disorder
by l.b. lane iii

an ongoing fiction collection that attempts to explore one author's interpretation of modernism in its poignant honesty, revitalized through notions of the bizarre and absurd.

Taiko Drums

There’s a Japanese man in the freezer.

I can’t see him, but after closing the door to the fridge, he’ll start playing those Taiko drums. No, it’s not even drums he’s playing. He’ll tap just the bachi sticks together, slowly, in some dramatic way—tap tap, tap tap, tap tap, tap—and then silence, until someone else open and closes the refrigerator. I think it’s strange. No one else seems to think so.

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in the snow that night

 We took a walk in the snow that night, remember?

 The air was sharp, the sky smeared with coal.

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She came up through the mud, first by her fingertips.

And then two thin, dark arms—arched and shaking—pushed against the ground to unearth the rest. It didn’t take her long to find use in her legs; the rain peeled away what grime covered her face.

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Go far enough up the coast of the Outer Banks and you’ll find a town called Anchorage, which, quite curiously, appears to be sinking into the sea. There will be a road, and on the end of that road a choice: North or South Anchorage. Choose North, and ahead lies a colorful mixture of commercial venues—putt-putt, gift shops, crab shacks—which lead all the way to the Virginia border. It breathes in tourism and exhales salty, glazed-over satisfaction. Choose South, and that already winding road which then diverges will grow more narrow; it will become a band which divides marsh from ocean, dappled with cottages built more than half a century ago.

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Walter Navarro

“Go away.”

It’s dark. Walter is hunched on the edge of his bed. The room exudes elegance corroded by chaos—twisted sheets, snuffed cigarettes, toppled furniture, a broken mirror. The glass shimmers the reflection of a thousand setting suns. They are soon eclipsed by the silhouette of a man.

“I’ve come to strike a bargain,” The shadow says, stepping away from the balcony and further into the bedroom.

“What makes you think you’re the first?”

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Claude D’ambrogi

“There is smoke,” Claude began. His eyes were steady on a faux-impressionist painting of a river in spring. There was no psychoanalytic couch; the altar of Freud had been exchanged for a dated armed chair—one with rough, almost burlap fabric. He ran his fingers through the scratchy fuzz.


“It’s hot, smooth—smells like camomille et du charbon.”

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Eighteen Ways Jill Comes Tumbling After

these are silly super-short-shorts, not to be considered legitimate representation of my typical work. this was part of a college assignment; thought I’d  share

Story 1. Stalker from Above.

Jack stands alone, peering over the balcony that overlooks the entrance to his apartment building. He stares at a woman, Jill. She works the front-desk during second shift. They have met on several occasions; He likes the way she smells and looks in the afternoon sun. She has greeted him twice today. He watches. She sits behind a computer, idly navigating her Tumblr dash.

“This will make her love me,” Jack whispers, leaning over the edge. His feet lift from the ground.

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You wake up in the middle of the night. It’s hot, the air stale, swirling sluggishly beneath the whining silhouette of a ceiling fan. The covers have been kicked to the floor, and yet still it feels as though your bed clings like a damp breath, sheets sticking to skin. But it was not this discomfort that awoke you. No, it was that thought rising, again, from the back of your mind amid a dream—that notion, that self awareness, that cue to a lack of privacy. You are not alone tonight.

You haven’t been for years.

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Pistachio Icecream

Gib’s funeral ended at 11:30 today.

I burned his flowers and collected their remains in a glass vase: arrangements of cut lilies, daffodils, daisies, snapdragons, snow-bells, mums—as well as my pitiful presentation of lavender and rosemary, which before two hours ago, sat square on our coffee table. All of it, burned. Watching them brighten the corners of our home made me sick.

Flowers—why did people buy flowers?

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