Dept of Congratulations: Rebecca Makkai


We are pleased to announce that Rebecca Makkai’s story “The George Spelvin Players” (Pleiades 35.2) won a Pushcart Prize and will be appearing in the Pushcart Anthology LXI. The beginning of the story is below. You can purchase the issue with her story here. Congratulations, Rebecca!


The George Spelvin Players

Barnes Harlow was actually Jason something, but no one dreamed of calling him that. He was Barnes Harlow when he was robbed of the Daytime Emmy, he was Barnes Harlow all twelve years he played Dalton Shaw, Esq., and he was Barnes Harlow when, in that guise, he married Silvia Romero Caldwell Blake, poisoned his mother-in-law, opened a restaurant, burned down that restaurant, was drugged by Michaela, and saved the Whitney family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Soledad shared these details with the core company, who sprawled exhausted on the stage. In the five minutes since Barnes had left the theater, Soledad had relayed the basic history of the fictional Appleburg, Ohio, and told them what Barnes Harlow looked like with his shirt off. “Not greasy-smooth,” she said. “Just, you know, TV-star smooth.” She swore her grandmother had tapes of the show, stacks of VHS cassettes in her basement.

“On a more professional level,” Tim said, “what did we think? Star-struck aside?”

Beth vowed to speak last. Last week in the green room, Phyllis had accused her of treating every conversation like a race.

Phyllis lay back, staring into the rafters. Beth could see up her skirt, not that Phyllis would care. “Isn’t this your decision, Tim?” Her smoker’s voice lent her authority. “Cast him or don’t. Regardless of his chest-hair situation.”

DeShawn said, “You know how much they memorize on the soaps? You can’t be a slacker.”

But it would be different, Tim said, with someone like Barnes among them. (Tim undid and redid his ponytail—his deliberation pose.) Women who’d watched Barnes on Splendor of Love, who knew he’d moved back to Missouri to care for his mother and recover from whatever ego or amphetamine issue he was dealing with, would flock from miles around. They’d throw roses. They might throw underwear. At Bob Cratchit. With children in the audience.

“It’s called publicity,” Soledad said.

Purchase issue 35.2 to read the rest.

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