Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

The Moalai

by Daniel Braum

Koda was supposed to have been out hunting for clues to the whereabouts of the ape-man of the forest. Another one of the Americans had come to her village with a television crew and there was money to be made.

The day wore on and she found herself deeper in the jungle than she had ever been before.  She stopped to rest by a clear pool of water surrounded by lush greens of every kind. As Koda rested, the surface of the water came alive with color.  Big fish were jumping, their scales scintillating where the sunlight found their scales.

Koda fashioned a makeshift line and hook out of vine and stick and ran it into the pool with the remains of her lunch as bait. After only a moment she had pulled out the most beautiful fish. She hurried home; her previous money making task eclipsed by this new found good fortune.


Koda sold the beautiful fish for a handsome price. She returned to the pool again and again. It turned out no one else in her village had ever seen the pool nor could find their way there, no matter how they tried. Koda’s fish, which she called Moalai, were in demand and became a source of fortune. Koda became rich. Her fishing trips to the clear pool were her source of comfort and connection to what was beautiful in the world. Sometimes she even saw the ape-man of the forest on the other side of the pool quietly drinking or just watching the fish. Over time she was courted by the sons of businessmen and fisherman from the coast. After many years she chose one and had a large family but always returned to the pool once a week to bring home a Moalai.


Koda and her family prospered for many decades. One day her daughter asked her if she was still happy. On her next time at the pool she did not take a Moalai. She walked farther into the forest, perhaps into the domain of the ape-man. She knew she would never return to her family again. In her mind she answered her daughter’s question of why? You love something until you can not or do not any longer, Koda thought. And then she disappeared into the woods, chasing good fortune.


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