A Collection of Short Fiction
by Nancy Jane Moore
$4.99 (Collection) ISBN 978-1-61138-258-7
“Break all rules, including these.”
So advises one of the stories in this reprint collection. These stories jump — conscientiously — from a homage to Alexandre Dumas to an action-packed adventure set in the near future. There’s also an epic fantasy or space opera — take your pick — told in aphorisms, a contemplation on death, and a tale of what happens when walls begin to divide a place. As Lyndon Perry wrote of the now-out-of print PS Publishing hardcover edition, “Moore’s style rises above a particular perspective and stands on its own as quality short fiction.”
Here’s an excerpt from one of the stories in the collection, “Three O’Clock in the Morning”:
You wake up in the middle of the night and reach out to touch your husband, but feel only mattress. The sound of police sirens jolts you completely awake.
Then you hear—louder than the sirens—the sound of a sultry voice promising callers the woman of their dreams for only three-ninety-five a minute. Your husband has fallen asleep in the living room with the TV on.
You’re not sure what woke you up. Light from the corner streetlamp filters around the edges of the blinds. You can see the outlines of your furniture—the fake teak dressers, the bookcase full of gothic romances. Nothing different.
You were dreaming. But you don’t remember what about.
What you do remember is that you didn’t finish that report for work on the percentage of insurance claims correctly filed. You’re hoping to get in early and do it.
You switch on the radio. The soothing voice of a BBC announcer tells you about genocide somewhere in Africa. You fall back asleep.
When you next wake up, sunlight is peeking in. It’s seven-fifteen. You’ve overslept. You put on your robe, hurry to the kitchen to make coffee.
Your husband is still lying in his brown naugahyde recliner, half-awake, watching the news. His pants are unbuttoned and he’s rotating his head, as if he has a crick in his neck.
On the TV, a perky, young woman with short blonde hair says, “In local news, a wall appeared in the middle of town last night.” The screen fills with a great expanse of concrete. A reporter stands next to it, talking into a microphone. The wall extends way above his head.
He says, “The wall appeared sometime between two and four this morning.”
You know the wall going up woke you at three a.m. Though that makes no sense. The wall is a long way away from your house. It runs along the train tracks that divide the right side of town from the wrong side.
Your husband says, “Good idea. We don’t need their kind.” He sits up abruptly, exits the chair, and goes and parks himself in the bathroom. You don’t get to take a shower until a quarter of eight, so you leave late, hit a traffic snarl, and get to work after nine.