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

Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains
by Jerry Bumpus

1986. 258 pp.
ISBN 978-0-914590-92-7
Price: $19.75

1986. 258 pp.
ISBN 978-0-914590-93-4
Price: $10.95


Heroes and Villains is a collection of nine short stories from the shadows cast by such legendary figures as Patty Hearst, Richard Nixon, and Charles Manson, and from the denser obscurity of simpler folks. Some of the stories are comic, some almost as sinister as their subjects.

"Jerry Bumpus has an eye for freaks…His place is American space, mainly the Southwest and Midwest: highways, motels, diners, used car lots, golf courses, cabins in the woods. There he unleashes his monsters, watching them settle the territory." —The New Republic

"Novelist Vance Bourjaily has called Jerry Bumpus the 'king of underground writers.' His tightly written, precise, and surrealist stories are definitely not for the squeamish, but the effect is overwhelming." —Library Journal

"Jerry Bumpus is one of those extraordinary writers whose imagination is never dull… His vision will shock, surprise, and intrigue you." —Diane Wakoski


When she came home Marie asked if the girdles worked. "I don't want to talk about it. I'm not going to waste weekend thinking about it." She stood with her hands on her hips and looked around. "Do you know what?"


"We're going to redecorate this place."

Saturday they painted the apartment from one end to the other. White enamel. The place gleamed. They lugged furniture around, put things here, then tried them there. Stephanie decided to get rid of all the old stuff.

"Don't worry?" she said, holding up her hand to stop Marie's protests which weren't forthcoming. "I'm buying!"

She rushed Marie to the nearest furniture store and bought two large chairs, black canvas with chrome frames. $300 each! And two huge straw cockatoos from Haiti to hang on the wall, though she said she didn't like them but she saw Marie looking at them so she bought them for her. $120 for the birds. And a new lamp to match the chairs. And just because she was walking past it, a big ceramic pot- "We'll save pennies in it. We'll be rich!"

Standing with her hands on her hips, Stephanie told the clerk that unless all this stuff could be delivered this afternoon, it was no deal.

They rushed back to the apartment and moved all the old furniture down to the basement. Stephanie paced up and down until the new things came. Now the apartment was the way they wanted it. Simple. Most people would call it bare. Marie was one of those people. But if Stephanie liked it, Marie liked it.

They would spend all their weekends here, Stephanie explained, bringing Marie a beer and lighting her cigarette as Marie tried one of the new chairs. They wouldn't waste their time going out. They had everything here they needed, right? It was a beautiful apartment. Simple.

"Sunday is my favorite day," Stephanie confided to Marie the next morning. "You didn't know that, did you?" Marie admitted she didn't, and she said she liked Sundays, too. Stephanie turned on the radio and found some music and they read the newspaper and sat in the new chairs. Now and then they traded. After lunch they set up the cardtable and played gin. Late in the afternoon Stephanie switched on the light and the tall narrow windows reflected the two of them, framed by the gleaming white walls, staring out.

Stephanie jerked the curtains closed. "Go take a bath. This whole goddamn room stinks. Give yourself a douche, for Chrissake." She walked down the hall to the bedroom and slammed the door.

Marie took a douche and showered. She put on double deodorant and, after she had cooled from the shower, her best perfume.