Issue 1 cover

The Illiterate Sky

by David Lenson

Issue 1 :: Autumn 2007 (stories)

"How come you know that?" McMahon goes.

"I've been up there a lot."

The candidate sits back and looks. The place is a cross between a barracks and a boardroom. Somebody here is impersonating a government agency. There's that smell of licenses, or food stamps. Something. A familiar smell.

"I mean," the officer pulls on his earlobe, "some of us have been here for years and never gotten up that far."

The water cooler gives up a large, loud bubble.

"I mean, how come we've never run into you up there, if you know it like that?"

"I keep to myself."

"You mean you saw us and avoided us?"


McMahon figures the guy to be on the lam, but called him anyway because nothing turned up on the police wire. He needs a guy who knows the hill. Since the thing with the cougar, he's short a man. He comes to his feet, the brown uniform unfolding around him. He reaches his hand out to the candidate. They shake.

"When can you start?"

"Right now," he says, thinking that he started years ago, maybe more than years.


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"The Illiterate Sky" is roughly 675 words.

David Lenson is editor of the Massachusetts Review; he plays saxophone with Ed Vadas and with the Reprobate Blues Band.