The Disciples by Marcus Speh

My telling the bible story of the concubine cut in twelve equal pieces for the glory of god disrupted the party worse than if I’d dropped a firecracker in the midst of the assortment of businessmen and their spouses who had only just sat down to the first course.

“That was some sick shit”, said a large man with the hands of an undertaker sticking out of his tuxedo like signs of a violent end to an evening that had begun like any other gathering in this old Berkeley house with its ancient vines and meticulously crafted front yard overlooking the campus.

The woman next to him, a little thing in a yellow dress that provided too little contrast to her yellow hair and who almost looked as if she’d been born in her garment and acquired the mane later, made a hissing noise which seemed to strike the right chord with the crowd so that now others were emitting similar sounds from their chests over which expensive linen napkins were draped like blankets for the dead.

“Really, Becky”, mother said, looking at father with that look which had always been reserved for moments of public embarrassment too deep for words, “I think you had better take supper in your room.”

I nodded and left and that was that. As I turned, I quickly counted the guests – there were thirteen of them – and I suddenly was afraid that terrible things would happen to the girl with the yellow hair.

Again, I would not eat tonight.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “The Disciples by Marcus Speh

  1. Nice, Marcus. I love the conflict of the meal and the dissection.

  2. thanks susan…just received this issue and will plow through it now. it seems as if i already saw some of these at the fnaut…

  3. Ha ha … love that it is ‘Becky’ doing the narrating, and I love the yellow touch – dress and hair, health and sickness – “a little thing in a yellow dress that provided too little contrast to her yellow hair and who almost looked as if she’d been born in her garment and acquired the mane later” – the yellow of the sun and the yellow of age … are sometimes the same thing

  4. Kelly Grotke

    I read it as a kind of Cassandra story, but with a twist – as if she were fearing for her own fate as portrayed in the setting and the guests; a still adolescent consciousness on the cusp of adulthood

  5. great play with numbers, expectations, and the biblical images (the last supper comes to mind in the last paragraph). enjoyed.

  6. The run-on sentences gave me a feeling for the way her mind was running on endlessly with all the horrible stories and possibilities in her mind. Interesting and effective touch.

  7. Couldn’t get a more intriguing opening sentence than that.

  8. hey y’all, thanks very much for your generous comments! my author’s note for this piece (published at fictionaut and on my blog only) confirms some of your suspicions: ” this particular piece came out of a writing exercise in my Berlin writers group: the challenge was to write a piece from the POV of someone we knew. I picked someone I didn’t know at all apart from her actually having confessed to liking stories like Judges 19:29: “And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, [together] with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.”I think the story goes well with the picture of Diana Mitford as the “girl with the yellow hair”.” (diana mitford: http://bit.ly/DianaMitford) @ganymeder: yes, my predilection for this sentence structure is almost an obsession ;-)

  9. Pingback: Week #18 – Lucky Number « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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