Mixtape: David Galef
by a contributor
David Galef: My Date with Neanderthal Woman (Dzanc Books)
How do you cope with a spouse who’s a charismatic kleptomaniac?
Does it matter if the souvenir you bring home from Africa is another human being?
What can a wife do if all that remains of her husband is what he left in the bathroom that morning?
Never mind waking up one morning as a giant insect. What about metamorphosing into your mother?
My Date with Neanderthal Woman won Dzanc Books’ first short-story collection prize. The title piece snared an award in an online humor contest, was published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, got republished in the Great Books Foundation’s Short Story Omnibus, was translated into Spanish for a collection called Los mejores relatos, got sold for a film option, and was performed by an actor in Los Angeles for an evening of selected shorts. The other pieces aren’t bad, either. Here are thirty-three visions of lives that—let’s hope—are far from your own.
Ask for it at your local bookstore or order it from Amazon.
by David Galef
Have you been to the banana-squashing festival in Minanga?
Velida marks the last day of the year you can legally eat ice cream on the island of Nectos.
The origins of Chopstick War Day are obscure.
No one has ever succeeded in photographing the Witches’ Sabbath Parade.
All the citizens dress up like cockroaches and copulate with whomever they can.
The idea is to commemorate the historic crossing of the Redback River with three inner tubes, a pot of oatmeal, and a sack of goose feathers balanced on one’s head.
The triangular fans from the Feast of Hangover depict the three transcendent states: drunk, unconscious, and dead.
On this one afternoon, the dogs rule the household.
One line of celebrants wears funny hats; the other side carries fedoras.
The Dance of the Arthritic Cripple started as an add-on to the Catholic mass at the Yellow Church on St. Tropisme.
The medieval Festival of Farts is thought to stem from a post-Lenten celebration of a cabbage surplus.
First the Master of Pajamas stretches, then the Night-Capped Trio yawns, and then the gaily bedecked cots are wheeled out, the first evening of Somnos.
The holiday ends when the participants run out of eggs.
The floats for the Prettiness Pageant become the kindling for next day’s Perfect Pyre Parade.
Unfortunately, the Feast of Hrofar, begun to take the peasants’ mind off the famine of 1470, supplies only one pancake for 800 revelers.
The Substitute Holiday can take the place of any other holiday in the calendar with just a day’s notice. Also, the Substitute Holiday Elders are ingenious in recycling objects from other holidays, such as turning decorated walking sticks into percussion instruments.
The orgies of the Bucharin Bacchanalia have been discontinued until several paternity suits are resolved.
The supposed effigy in the Punters’ Procession is a real woman imprisoned in papier mâché.
The city commission frequently has to double- or even triple-decker holidays, artfully juxtaposing Amputee Pride Parade with Skateboards in Procession and Nurse Appreciation Day.
Everyone at the Birth/Rebirth Gala knows what the six-foot candle stands for.
In a strategic move, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce is staging its Feast of the Tourist the week before Centerville’s Sightseeing Spectacular.
Questionnaires to be filled out by spectators after the Flaming Cocktail Throw will help make next year’s event even better.
David Galef has published over a dozen books and shows no sign of stopping. His latest are the short story collection My Date with Neanderthal Woman (Dzanc Books) and Japanese Proverbs: Wit and Wisdom (Tuttle). He is a professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Montclair State University.
See David’s 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.