SmokeLong Quarterly

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Song of Giants

Story by Girija Tropp (Read author interview) December 15, 2005

Art by Marty D. Ison

The giants by the bluff, her discarded lovers, hummed as they mingled and stared out to sea. The woman created chain reactions in others, held in and resented over a lifetime, and passed into their genes so the children were held rigid as well. She could fell a tree or pin a diaper but she was no good with soft words, except after a bout of particularly good sex. The incidents were small; the teller at the bank who was covering up an administrative error, the mother at the kindergarten with playground terrorists for children, the policeman who tried to rape her and was handcuffed to his own vehicle.

Her lovers arrived at her farm as hobos and were turfed out as Princes, an amicable parting, for they had things to do and places to go, in urgent ways. The townspeople blamed her for the accident, even though the young kid on his way back from the army base, was drunk. He said it was an oil slick on his side of the road. Her car was sandwiched between a semi-trailer that was tailgating her Ford ute.

Just that morning, she had been having fun with her oldest boy, who was taking on the family business, a bio-dynamic vineyard that was just starting to show a profit on the books. “I need a proper car,” he was saying, “the ute is a bitch on four wheels.”

“What about a Volvo… it’s safe.”

The younger boy laughed so long that he gasped holding his middle. The old Alsatian under the dining table coughed in sympathy. “How will you ever get any sex in a Volvo?” he said.

“Simple,” the woman butted in. “You’ll have Volvo sex.”

At the funeral, the boys looked at each other, and remembering, began to laugh hysterically through their tears, confirming everyone’s opinion about the family.

One of the giants dry-retched and spat a diamond onto his blistered palm. The fog lifted and a roiling mass of steam rose from the spot where the giants had been standing. Like a meltdown.

In an overgrown backyard, the eldest son was cradling his sleeping child in his arms, looking over the mountains. He ran a particular song, one he was in the midst of writing, through his mind when the child woke, and said as clearly as you please, giants. “Giants?” His father said. Then after the short thunderstruck moment, “I don’t know that anyone would believe you… or me.”

He was thinking of the child’s mother insisting on coming over to vacuum the house because the last time, she’d found a piece of Rollo candy covered in dog hair stuck to the baby blanket. “Giants,” he repeated softly to himself. “Without a doubt.”

About the Author

Girija Tropp’s fiction has appeared in several Best Australian Short Stories editions. She has been published in The Boston Review, Agni, and various other journals. She has also won or been short-listed for major awards. Most recently, her flash fiction has appeared in New World Writing, and anthologised in Cafe Irreal and SmokeLong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years. She lives in Australia.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This story appeared in Issue Eleven of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Eleven

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