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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 549

Smoke It If You Got It

  1. In Boris Kokotov’s “X-red,” how would you end the story? What might the narrator see in his girlfriend’s tattoo?

  2. In Charles C. Cole’s “Franklin Figgy Pudding Pierce”:

    1. What might indicate that the story is a scene in a larger play or story?
    2. Would you add anything to provide more context? If so, what?
  3. In Oren Eilam’s “Poetry’s Victory”:

    1. How might the poem be classified by genre: as lyric, didactic, philosophical or some other?
    2. What does the poem say may happen to poetry if it ceases to be written and is communicated by direct mental contact?
    3. Does the poem imply that its title should be taken literally, or is the title ironic?
  4. In Channie Greenberg’s “Empty of Love and Money”:

    1. What people or kinds of people does the poem allude to?
    2. How does the title reflect the content of the poem?
    3. What are the signs of some people’s emotional disengagement?
  5. In Jack Bragen’s “Stone of Concord”:

    1. How might the story bear out the motto “Readers take everything literally unless told to do otherwise”?
    2. Louie’s residence is located in the town of Concord. How does the name apply to him and Vex?
    3. In what position do Vex and Louie find themselves at the end of the story? What might it reveal about the true nature of the “stone”? Hint: What does “it” refer to in the title of this Challenge?
  6. In Gustavo Valitutti’s “A Man of His Word”:

    1. What prevents Alfredo from committing suicide despite Martha’s mysterious appearance?
    2. What makes the story a comedy in the classic sense?
    3. Alfredo does not see the customer’s face. How would the story change if he saw that she really is his “Martha”? What if the customer were someone else who happens to have the same name? Might Alfredo still kill himself?

Responses welcome!

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