Banana Wars / Gary Wadley

There is a long history of Gog and Magog: some say they were individuals, some say peoples, some say lands, but this is the truth and Magog would tell you the truth hurts

.Gog lived in a valley and Magog lived on a nearby mountain. They weren’t much to look at – hairy and stinking with bad teeth, but they lived mostly outside and had to hustle to stay alive. Their mates looked about the same, only they had boobies.

Gog and Magog got along fairly well, and only occasionally came to blows. Gog was jealous of the mountain, because it was cool in the summer, and Magog was jealous of the valley because it had a nice river with sweet water for drinking and bathing. Each wanted what the other had. They were, after all, men.

Every now and then Gog would climb the mountain or Magog would descend into the valley and the two would drink the fermented juice of berries. At first meeting, they were happy to see each other and discussed mundane things like how many toes does a sloth have or do birds go underground in the winter. They both felt that the fermented juice increased their intelligence, though they could not have explained this.

As they continued to drink the fermented juice, they would grow angry and begin to fight. They would slap each other on the head (they hadn’t invented fists yet), but generally did very little damage. Then they would both go home where their hairy wives would scold them by making clucking sounds, then pack mud on their cuts and bruises. They were both dense and their wives would have divorced them, but divorce hadn’t been invented yet either.

Fruit grew well in Gog’s valley, and one day he got an idea as he was eating a banana: he would bring bananas to his next meeting with Magog, and instead of slapping him on the head he would throw bananas at him from a safe distance. Magog didn’t mind this (unless the fruit hit him in the eye), because bananas didn’t grow at high altitudes and he would just eat them later. Though unintentional, Gog was sharing his food.

Then one day banana season was over and Gog decided he could also throw squash and mangoes and avocadoes. True, Magog could eat these also, but if you ever get hit with a well-thrown mango… well…it hurts!

After a particularly heavy bout of increasing their intelligence with fermented juice, Gog threw a hard winter squash at Magog and hit him in the testicles. This is always funny on You Tube, but it’s really not. No one would laugh at a woman getting smashed in the boobies. Like divorce, You Tube hadn’t been invented yet. Still, Gog fell on the ground laughing. Magog fell on the ground rolling in pain.

Awwwwwww,” yelled Magog (vocabulary was somewhat limited then). The sound echoed over the mountain and down into the valley so that the women lifted their hairy heads and were frightened. Even Gog grew frightened. It was like the sound of birth.

Finally, Magog sat up, grabbed the first thing he saw (a rock) and flung it at Gog. It hit him in the head. “Awwwwww,” said Gog, then his eyes crossed and he fell face down in the dirt. Magog waited, but Gog did not move again.

Something had changed. Magog grabbed his mate and kids and moved to a far-off mountain to hide. He didn’t know why, he just thought it a good idea. But it didn’t do any good.

Gog’s mate and kids found his body and the killing rock and figured out what had happened. It was if something else had been launched along with the flying fruit and the rock. Maybe this is what Magog had sensed. It was in the air.

A little yeast leaveneth the whole lump,” Magog used to say as an old and unhappy man when he drank too much fermented juice. No one knew what that meant.

Well…you know the rest: arrows and spears, slings and cannonballs, television and politicians, gain-of-function research and lawyers…La-De-Da.

The Magogites still live in the mountains and the Gogites still live in the valleys. They still drink fermented berry juice, think themselves intelligent, and throw things.

Research indicates the root word Gog translates to your last name.

Or maybe not.
True story.

Gary Wadley / Louisville, Kentucky


Gary is a Writer, Poet, Artist, Musician, Playwright who’s visual artwork has often appeared in 3W.  This story recieved an Honarble Mention in our recent George Dila Memorial Flash Fiction Contest.

We Bury the Landscape / Kristine Ong Muslim

KMuslimWe Bury the LandscapeWeBurytheLandscape
ISBN 978971542929-0
120 pages
Cover by Nadya Melina Nievera
Release date: October 25, 2020
Publisher: University of the Philippines Press

Click cover for link

It isn’t everyday a book offers two very different ways of reading. The first: intensely personal, sometimes bewildering and yet rigorously demanding in terms of creative participation, and the second: intellectual, research-based and analytical, but also a call to a communal multi-genre artistic experience. These two different methods are on offer in Kristine Ong Muslim’s collection of micro fictions We Bury the Landscape, an assemblage of very short ekphrastic pieces.”
Michelle Bailat-Jones in Necessary Fiction

Although the relationship between painting and prose is certainly essential to fully experiencing this collection, the collection is more than an exhibition or exercise in ekphrasis … Muslim’s collection-exhibition chronicles the process in which the things we drown, discard, and bury are exhumed and continue to haunt us even after we have buried them again.”
Hayes Moore in A cappella Zoo

Conceptually, this is one of the most unusual books I have ever read. We Bury the Landscape, by Kristine Ong Muslim, is a collection of 100 mini-stories based on works of visual art—paintings for the most part, but also drawings, and one photograph …. The pieces themselves reflect the surrealism of the selection. They are flights of the imagination, untrammelled by pedantic considerations of plausibility. In effect, they are more in the nature of prose poems, where the language is every bit as important as the content.”
Colman O Criodain in Gloom Cupboard

It’s not the talking that is significant but the stories themselves that are important. We must accept the things we most want to query. All of which suggests that one strand of the weird invites us to reconsider entirely how we tell stories and how we understand them. I’ve been thinking about this every time I come back to Kristine Ong Muslim’s We Bury the Landscape.”
Maureen Kincaid Speller in Weird Fiction Review

[We Bury the Landscape is] filled with an uncanny wisdom about what terrifies us most in life and death—a knowledge so nonchalant and startling each poem proves only to reveal truths about each of us, about our humanity.”
Susan Yount in Rebellious Magazine

 

Landscape with Grenade
      after Cliff McReynolds’s Landscape with Hand Grenade / oil on panel, 1972

GrenadeWhen the little people discovered the grenade on their valley, they did not know what it was so they prayed to it, tilled the land, and planted their tiny sacred crops around it as if it were some sort of shrine. Something so big and black with a curious contraption on one end had to beget miracles. So for months and months, they sang to it, asking for whatever it was little people desired in their little hearts. When nothing happened and because they were cowardly, they slit the throats of innocent animals in sacrifice. And when nothing happened still, they pelted the grenade with small stones. The grenadegod, of course, would not budge.

 

The Spider
           after Odilon Redon’s The Crying Spider / charcoal, 1881

CryingSpiderYour own family betrayed you the day they mistook you for a spider. Your mother caught you balancing a coffee mug on your fourth leg while sewing a button onto your coat with your two inborn hands. She told the family doctor you were “not quite right.” Another day, spying through the half-opened door, your kid brother watched you spin a web on the bedroom ceiling. Turning around, you lock eyes with him. He screamed. You didn’t get a chance to lick your achy joints and explain to him that it is normal to spin a web, to trap insects. Afterwards, your brother had to be sedated. For two years, he had the same bad dream. Your father, saddled since birth with pretending to be human, blamed you. When at last you had the sense to run away from home, nobody reported you missing. Your family must have assumed that anyone with eight legs must travel farther, go places no one else can. Most days, you wish that were the case.

Revenge of the Goldfish 
     after Sandy Skoglund’s Revenge of the GoldfishGoldfish / art installation photograph, 1981

It started when my sister and I painted the bedroom walls an incestuous blue. At first, only two appeared, seeped through the walls. Goldfish. All fat lips and yellow-orange ugliness, squiggling as if they had the right to materialize. One landed near my sock drawer. The bigger of the two settled on top of the blue lamp. The fish wheezed as they died, waiting for water. It got worse each day. In a week, goldfish poured from the ceiling, the unadorned walls, the dresser mirror, under the blue bed. Hundreds. Their husks dropped on the floor. Even in our sleep, we could hear their gasps. We trod on their bodies as we dressed for work, back to the world that did not know what we had to endure inside this little room. We only collected them when we could no longer stand the smell, that pungent, moldy odor of decay. We talked of moving out, although by the time there was gurgling in the bathroom pipes, we knew it was too late.