“The Phillie Phanatic” in Fiction International

My short story “The Phillie Phanatic,” about the sordid inner life of the beloved baseball mascot, is in the new issue of Fiction International. It begins:

I have been set on fire and pushed down these steep cinderblock steps. The people here have snapped the bones of my arms and kicked my stomach. My heavy fur doesn’t help—it just makes the sweat and stink and daily humiliation even more insufferable. On a muggy East Coast night I can feel the weight of this entire city pressing me down into the toxic and overly manicured field from which the heat rises in a blinding, swiggling haze. My life has become a carnivalesque nightmare from which I cannot awaken.

For twenty-eight years I have been imprisoned: an eternity of solitary, lugubrious winters and sweltering Philadelphia summers. I ask myself sometimes which is worse and I have found in myself no suitable answer.

I owe a world of thanks to my teacher and friend Audrey Petty, who helped me a great deal with this story.

1/5/08: The issue is available here. Please buy a copy.