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Umbrella Factory – June 2011

It is difficult to determine what kind of writing this journal is looking for since they do not give any directions on their website, but I paused in my incessant trolling of the online lit mags to read a story, and was hooked.

It is difficult to determine what kind of writing this journal is looking for since they do not give any directions on their website, but I paused in my incessant trolling of the online lit mags to read a story, and was hooked.

I love humor, and Gary Anderson’s “Dick-Whapping” has it. It concerns a dull, boring janitor who is seeing a court-ordered therapist because of his sexual obsession with a woman who worked in the office building where he cleaned. As the story unfolds we learn about his alcoholic co-workers (one who has a “pointless personality”), his marital problems with a claustrophobic wife who is having phone sex with “a guy named Daryl,” and even his therapist, who seems quite opinionated and asks almost stereotyped questions.

Nathaniel Tower, editor of the online lit mag, Bartleby Snopes, writes an excellent tongue-in-cheek story entitled, “As Easy As Black And White.” This is about Billy Brown, who is a Caucasian, and Jerome White, who is African American, getting their paychecks mixed up by the payroll department and the boss, Mr. Rhinecold, who enjoys getting a “weekly examination” from his secretary from nine to eleven every morning. Confusion reigns. People are hired and fired, raises are given and retracted, and a Marx Brothers comedy ensues. The story is not only hilarious, but takes a nice poke at race relations and office bureaucracy.

Moving on to the archives (the wonderful thing about online literary magazines is that all the old stuff is available with a click of the finger), I found “Where the Antelope Roam,” in the March, 2011 edition, by Becky Margolis, winner of the 2011 Prism Review Fiction Contest. This is the convoluted account of a recent college graduate who is staying with her alcoholic, unemployed father, while animals from the local zoo keep escaping. What is the connection? I’ll let you read the story. Lastly, I would mention “Too Many Left Turns” by Meredith Luby, who is making her publishing debut. She begins the tale with: “My imaginary boyfriend beats the shit out of me,” and then we are taken on a whirlwind of fantasy, or is it fantasy? This story, more than any I have read in the past year, however, had a considerable number of grammatical and word usage errors, and could have used some good editing.

Umbrella Factory was begun in March of 2010 and appears to be going strong. I hope they stick around for a while.
[www.umbrellafactorymagazine.com/]

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