Thomas Wiloch

Home | The Last Issue | Submissions | Achieve: 2004-2009 | Essays

is a freelance writer whose books include Mr. Templeton's Toyshop, Tales of Lord Shantih, and Neon Trance. He has published reviews in Rain Taxi, Bloomsbury Review, Publishers Weekly, Factsheet Five, Small Press Review, and other publications.

Making Friends
     Draw a face on a piece of scrap paper and use some old cloth to form the arms and legs. Tie string to the figure so you can make him dance, walk back and forth, and take a neat bow. He's a cute little fellow. And so compliant. No arguments from him. He'll dance any dance you say. He'll dance until you don't want him to dance any more. Until you're tired of his crayon face and his wobbly arms and legs. That's when you put him on the shelf.  You reach for your crayons and scissors and scrap paper and cloth. And you make yourself a new friend. It doesn't matter.

Gifts I've Bought You
      I've bought you three nightgowns you never wear. They hang side by side in the closet like limp flags for nations that no longer exist.

     A woman saves her tears in a glass jar. The tears solidify, become diamonds. She wears the diamonds around her neck. How beautiful, people tell her. The compliment brings tears to her eyes.

     Decide which one you are, I said, motioning to the objects on the table.
     He looked them over and pointed to a glass bell.
     This one? I asked.
     He nodded.
     I picked up the glass bell and rang it gently. The ring brought tears to his eyes.
    Very good, I told him. Very good, indeed. You made a good choice.
     I dropped the bell on the concrete floor where it shattered.
     Now, I asked, motioning to the remaining objects on the table, now which one are you?
-From Stigmata Junction

Always Alone
We're always alone, she tells me.
I couldn't hear the words above the crowd. I touched her shoulder. She turned to me.
What? I shouted.
-From Stigmata Junction

A Flower Custom
     He lay strubbling on the petals of the giant white flower we use on these occasions. His hands and feet were firmly nailed, so his movements were in vain. They served only to increase the patches of red wetness which covered his palms and ankles. He moaned in a guttural language we did not understand. Some sort of pleading, we imagined. We did not know what he was telling us. He soon ceased his moans and his struggling and laid still. We waited for a moment in respectful silence. Then we pulled the spikes from his hands and feet and carried him away. After rinsing the blood from the petals, we led the next man in. Lie down, we told him. Lie down on this flower. He grunted something, indicating that he did not understand what we had to say. He looked at the flower curiously, surprised at how large it was. Lie down, we said. Lie down on this flower
-From Stigmata Junction