Fiction: "The Viper's Smile"

By Tony Press, from the Foundling Review

May. 3, 2010
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I think I've left the interview with Ethan Rutherford up long enough (and I hope you checked it out, especially if you're an aspiring writer ... great stuff!). I spent a few hours last week browsing through some new lit mags that I never heard of before and bookmarked all of them to add to my massive collection titled, aptly, "Things You need to read." The "You" refers to me, an the rhyme was purely accidental. But there it is, so deal with it.

From "The Viper's Smile," by Tony Press:

The hut was a quarter-mile from its nearest neighbor in the secluded ravine, which up to this morning had been a stunningly peaceful home for me, ensconced among staggering granite walls just fifteen miles from the sea. There wasnt a working phone for three miles.  I was on solitary retreat, my food delivered once a week to a basket at the base of an almond tree two-hundred yards up a trail to the west.  The deliverer was good:  I had neither seen nor heard him.  No one would look for me for another nine days, until the end of my eight weeks.  If the viper did do its worst, though, it wouldnt matter a whole lot if anyone did come calling.

The little desk where I did my writing and reading stood less than a foot from the viper.  From my perch high in the middle of the bed (I saw no percentage in stepping on the floor), when I was able to look away from my visitor I glanced at the surface of the desk. The room was small enough so I could easily note the words Id played with last night, writ large in thick blue ink, the words Id intended to contemplate this morning, following meditation. The words:

The merit of a man who lives each day knowing it could be his last.

Click here to read the entire story on The Foundling Review's website.

Hope you check out the rest of their site. Great mag.


Ken Brosky


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