Literary Orphans

by Marc O’Connell


The anthropologists from the city came eventually. Fat men and a little woman with a recording machine. They spoke slowly to me as if I do not understand Spanish.


Do…you…know…how…to…fuck…off, I said and the little woman looked embarrassed and said that I am an old woman and shouldn’t use such words. I told her that in my language there are such words and worse. The fattest anthropologist, Dr Gonzales, squealed with delight, leant forwards and turned on the machine.


I said that I am an old woman and I do not use such words.


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Eventually I sang them a song that I remembered my mother singing to me when I was a child. After so long we still had no word for a horse. It described a giant dog with one of the old gods on his back and a small boy who tricked them by throwing a gold ring into a lake. The god set his dog to the waters and had it drink thinking it could lap up all the expanse. But a great river flowed into the lake so there they are still; the giant dog drinking and the god astride his back with his eyes forever fixed on the gleaming ring under the black waters of the lake.

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Marc O’Connell is an Irish author, he is the co-editor and co-founder of The Penny Dreadful Magazine ( and has only recently begun to write short, short fiction.

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–Art by Navid Sanati