Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Stolen Stories

Stolen Stories
by Steve Katz

Hardcover
1984
Price: $19.75

Paperback
1984
Price: $10.95

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Written throughout the '70s, these stories, prose delicacies, extravaganzas of American language, are set in New York City, Idaho and Oregon wilderness, Indiana middle America, Mobay, Jamaica-all places lit by a thieving imagination-featuring talking dogs, a man made of wax, a lover packaged in a disposable tube, Rastafarian evenings, the art world expurgated, bumpkins, lions, perfect relationships-funny stories, stories of conviction, written with passion and clarity-molecules of language embossed on the motions of the heart.


 

"What Katz has done is open up another dimension of communication within the closed idea of what constitutes the novel...The book is a positive step into the unique atmosphere of today, it shakes off the past like a heavy, dull stone; it is healthy and bold (in a curiously modest way) and gives hope to fiction and the elastic resources of the human head." —Seymour Krim


"Like Rimbaud, Steve Katz was formed of ice and polar nights, and as always he is much alive, hurt and hurting, loed and loving, a contentious knight of Hope out to do battle with the toothless electronic Dragon of Commerce." —American Book Review


 

Excerpt


on COLLABORATION

It is always gratifying to do something, get deeply involved in it, work it out, and then suddenly relax and forget about it. Go away, go to sleep, go to the movies, take a long vacation. When you return you find that someone else, someone you love, has picked up where you left off and has changed it; someone who was aware from the outset of an area of potential in what you were doing that you had totally ignored She works on it, and something rare and fine is the result, something you wouldn't have imagined or accomplished yourself. You can't resent it because it is someone you love who has made the effort and effected the transformation. So what if she has distorted what had been your intention, made it a little too dainty, whereas you had intended to convey some kind of rough energy. You two are parteners after all. She loves you so much that she can't resist helping, and you clearly left it around where she wouldn't be able to avoid tinkering with it. You both stand there looking at this thing with which neither of you is quite satisfied, and perfunctorily praise each other's participation in the effort. Neither of you likes it, really. It's actually quite ugly. You are both secretly disgusted with it. If you didn't love each other so much you would probably throw it away. It will probably disappear anyway, through neglect; besides, someone has forgotten completely to cook the mackerel you enjoyed catching this morning. They are lying in the sun and now are beginning to stink. "If you'd worked on the potatoes instead of that we'd have a mackerel casserole." "You didn't tell anyone you were going fishing." "They were lying there all day in front of your nose." "Just because they were lying there doesn't make me like fish better." "They're starting to stink. The least you can do is get rid of them. I caught them." "I won't touch them. They stink." "Yeah. They stink." You both sit down and say no more, refusing to admit discomfort from the swarming flies. Flies were keeling over with delight. That was why when we found you both we had at first this awful revulsion, and then this amazed interest. Your pictures are in the paper this morning. You look ambivalent, but content, both of you. The caption reads: NEW FLY SPECIES BREEDS ON HUMAN COUPLE

on LEADERSHIP

I'm not a thinker, I'm a doer. I haven't done it yet but I imagine I'll get it done someday. When I do, I'll show it to you. Meanwhile, let's play cards. Pinochle. Someone says I cheat at cards, but someone is wrong. I just get good hands, golden hands. Hands that make me wish I were a gambler. I'm not a gambler, I'm a man of God. When the time comes I'll pass on the word. You'll be the first to know. It's your deal. That's a poker deck. Poker will corrupt a man. Pinochle's a pastime. That's the word. I don't want to play now. Let's take a walk. Speed it up, but not too fast. Moderation is the word. Those are my neighbors' lawn mowers. Those are my neighbor's dogs. It is perfect here except for one thing. Anything. Nothing's perfect. This is the edge of town and out there are the woods. The dogs are barking at something in the woods. I feel at home in those woods so follow me. Evergreens. Hardwoods. Underbrush. Moss. Mushrooms. You are in danger. Yes this is a gun in my hand. I was afraid you'd be too bored to walk in the woods and I want you to keep going. Keep going. Sit down. Deal the cards. That's the Queen of Hearts. When did you sleep with my wife? Why not? It's in the cards. I'm not a jealous man but I value my wife. You didn't know I was married. I'm not. Why did you corrupt my little daughter? Shut up. When did you last repair a pot-hole in the road? I'm not anti-establishment but I believe everything could stand some improvement. Suck in your gut. Eyes straight ahead. I brought you here to have this talk. You'd better talk. Shut up. I'm not a man of words, I'm a doer of deeds. This is what I do. This gun is made of soap. Wash your mouth with it before you speak to me. The stream down there is polluted by the factory up there. That's why the dogs are barking. That's why I brought you here. To bark. To start an investigation. Everyone is coming into the woods. I invited them here because you need some advice. Settle down. You have been chosen as our leader. I am your leader. There will be witnesses. We are going to have a meeting and you are the Russian premier. These are affairs of state. Why did you try to escape to the woods? You have something we need and we won't let you leave these woods until you give it up. This place has been declared unfit for human habitation. Do you want to live here? I'm not an architect but I have a sense of order. If you were God is this how you would have made it up? I am God. Just come towards me. You're the man who fucked the wife of God. Take one step at a time, very slowly, two steps at a time. How do you feel now. Is this the cure? You're a little tired, but that's natural. I'm not a doctor, I start from scratch. I don't play the game myself, but I'm a hell of a coach. Now you get out there and kick some ass.