The Mythology of Althea & Keegan
“Christ,” the pelican said, pressing the tip of his wing to his forehead. “Does either of you have a vape pen?”
“No!” Keegan exclaimed, looking appalled. Althea dug in her purse and handed one over.
“Here you go,” she said.
“Thanks.” He sparked it and inhaled deeply, coughing and then sighing contentedly. “Look, I work with a lotta couples, and I rarely see two people bury things like you do.”
Emily Hessney Lynch
We received a wide range of fantastic fiction pieces from different genres for our Summer 2021 issue. The extract above is from a comedy / absurdist piece; this is a genre we don’t receive often, so it’s a pleasure spotlighting this piece from our current issue.
Emily Hessney Lynch has created quite an original and hilarious story. From its mock title that describes the short story as a ‘mythology’, to its narrative that puts together the more serious moments of insight from Althea and Keegan’s relationship with absurd ones, everything about this piece is layered with tones and plot proceedings that are crafted to be rather funny.
Althea and Keegan are a couple who live through a five-year marriage before Keegan mysteriously dissolves away. Their married life starts on a wedding day full of comical and strange traditions, involving the bride tying hair wrenched from her parents’ scalp on her pinky, swallowing a rock, and the bride and groom pricking each others’ chests with knives at the altar. As might have become apparent, there’s an interesting interplay of violent motifs, such as those involving pricking or blood. These moments appear when least expected, and their extremity and unlikeliness offer hilarity and originality to this piece.
Right from the beginning of the story, the reader knows to expect elements of the ridiculous, which start out slow, but keep intensifying as the story progresses. However, the story also has its serious and intense moments. The extract that I’ve chosen above is a great example of this hint of the serious alongside something ridiculous: a talking pelican who seems to be a part-time relationship therapist for couples. While out of context, the extract could very well seem incongruous and fantastical, but within the world of the story, it is not a completely wild surprise.
Overall, this is a very entertaining and brilliantly crafted page-turner, and a testament to the skill of the writer.
Anubhuti Jain, Guest Editor