Fiction: "The Peripatetic Coffin"

By Ethan Rutherford

Apr. 8, 2010
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I know I gave this story a little blurb in the last post, but I think I absolutely NEED to mention it one more time. This story, "The Peripatetic Coffin," is in my copy of Best American Short Stories of 2009 but I hadn't actually reached it until this morning.

Wow! What a fantastic story. Really. A group of Confederate soldiers training inside one of the first submarines ever built? Fantastic. Detailed. Great characters. This is the type of story everyone should read. Here's an excerpt:

≠Every day we board a contraption that has killed thirteen men, including its inventor, on test runs alone. Every night we sight the picket ships, set a course, and practice maneuvers. Our purpose is comically straightforward: steer undetected to the mouth of the harbor, sink the largest Union frigate we can ram, hope we are not destroyed in the explosion, and crank ourselves back to shore. To call us a suicide outfit would be missing the point. How many men have been underwater for hours at a time? How many men have sat, crumpled, candlelit, and submerged, and been sure of themselves? Frank hums a marching song softly in time with the propeller. Carleton taps the crank handle with his ring finger.

Click here to read the entire story: "The Peripatetic Coffin," by Ethan Rutherford. Courtesy of American Short Fiction.

Cheers,

Ken Brosky

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