Zoetrope: All-Story

WINTER 18/19

Vol. 22 No. 4

Guest Designer David Lynch

Note on Design

David Lynch

I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I don’t give up.


Tommy Orange

They referred to Frank as the guy with the hand that came out of his chest. It doesn’t even make sense. Hand that came out of his chest. It didn’t come out. It was just there. The problem is with language, what it reveals about our biological biases. Our clumsiness regarding all things abnormal. Normal is vanilla, nonspecific, flavorless, colorless, your basic blah nothing default white guy, for example—the stick they have everyone measure himself by. His hand no more came out of his chest than our hands come out of our wrists, and our heads out . . .

The Buyer Is King

Jon Raymond

He shouldn’t have said that the buyer’s fish could be better. The meeting already wasn’t going well, and the words, as flippant as they’d been, opened a whole new stream of turbulence into the conversation. As soon as Allen uttered them, he knew he’d made a mistake. He could practically see a door close and the light go out on Tom’s face.
      “Did you seriously just say my fish could be better? Wow.”
   “No, no,” Allen said. Heat crawled up his back. He’d heard rumors a . . .

Little Mothers

Esmé Weijun Wang

Sabina had been awake since two-thirty, and now the morning was gathering itself. Sunlight made squares and rectangles on the wall that slid, buttery, onto the white pillowcases, smearing the cotton duvet. Her jaw ached from habitual, unconscious clenching—she rubbed the joints with her fingers, feeling the muscles like pebbles. She was in the study. They called it the study, but the name was too fancy. In her mind, she called it the sickroom, which seemed British and quaint, and not horrible, as was her experience. At five-thirty in late August, the light in the study was still . . .

Tell Him I’m Dangerous

Barry Gifford

Roy came home from work at the Red Hot Ranch around ten-thirty and found his mother sitting alone on the couch in the living room watching TV. He was fifteen years old and his mother was thirty-eight. She had recently been divorced from her third husband, by whom she had a child, Roy’s sister, Sally, who was almost four.
      “Hi, Ma, Sally asleep?”
      “Yes, Roy, just now. I let her stay up late. I was teaching her how to play gin rummy. She caught on fast. . . .

An Introduction to “The Discipline of DE”

Gus Van Sant

I found myself in the aisle of the Thayer Street Bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island, laughing as I read “The Discipline of DE” by the great William S. Burroughs. I bought the book and kept this story as one of my favorites, eventually finding Burroughs by looking him up in the phone book and asking his permission to make a short film of it. He graciously granted that permission, saying, “Well, there isn’t any money in short films.” He had made a number of them. I am happy that All-Story is able to print the story again, on the fortieth anniversary . . .

The Discipline of DE

William S. Burroughs

In this story-cum-instructional-manual, Burroughs sets out “the simple and basic Discipline of DE. DO EASY. It is simply to do everything you do in the easiest and most relaxed manner you can achieve at the time you do it.” The narrative became basis for Gus Van Sant’s first film.


Miles Greaves

As a special online supplement to the Winter 2018/2019 issue, the editors present the prizewinning story from the 2018 Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Competition, as judged by Colum McCann.

To get to work I had to cross the mouth of an alley, and as it neared me my armpits would pucker, because every day—out of the vibrating, leftmost limit of my leftmost eye—I would see a woman standing there, staring out of the alley, across the street, at a window in an opposing apartment building. The woman stared so energetically that crossing . . .

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