Dani Shapiro
October 9, 2013

Supernova (a short story)


Shenkman pushes back with his legs, smooth and hard. Thinks of his old coach’s word: fluid. Hinges his upper body, then slides forward, arms extended. The briefest pause of recovery as the flywheel spins. Drive, recovery. Drive, recovery. He counts. One, two. Full lungs at the catch, empty at the finish. He gives the RowPro a quick glance. Fuck. 6K into this race and two sculls are ahead of him. On the wall, the flat screen displays the deep twilight blue of a lake. He is there, gliding along Lake Winnipesaukee, the ripples cast by his blades cutting down into the depths.

Alice is on the other side of the house, and Shenkman knows she’s lonely and slightly pissed off. These are the hours of the day when she expects him to be with her. To endlessly go over the only two or three subjects they ever seem to talk about any more: there’s her father’s macular degeneration and the question of who among her siblings will take on the job of getting his driver’s license revoked before he kills someone. Then there’s the onset of Shenkman’s mother’s dementia and its likely effect on their plans to travel over spring break. And finally, always, there’s Waldo, and the indecipherable results of one full day and three-grand worth of psychiatric testing to determine whether their son has a) the same strain of ADHD which seems to be going around the fourth grade like a virulent flu, or b) something else, something more, something for which Shenkman does not yet know the acronym, and for which he is unprepared.

You can purchase an audio recording of Supernova here for $2.09.


Continued on the Electric Literature site: