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Jonathan Baumbach

Brooklyn native Jonathan Baumbach is the author of 3 collections of short stories and 11 novels including Reruns, B, Seperate Hours, Babble, Chez Charlotte & Emily and On the Way to My Father's Funeral. His stories have been anthologized in O.Henry Prize Stories, Great Pool Stories, Best American Stories, Full Court, All Our Secrets are the Same, Best of TriQuarterly among other.

Deadline

Quark: Annie, my heart reaches out to you in a manner of speaking, but I have an evening of theater to see to and for those of us in the producing business, mention of the heart is strictly a rhetorical device. My dear, be so kind as to tell your husband that the clock is ticking. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Shapeshifting

We had always considered Joel crazy, but not, to put a fine point on it, crazy crazy. There is a difference. For Joel, who got off on being the center of attention, craziness was a form of self-presentation.

Appetite

First of all, don’t believe what you’ve heard about me. Given the stories circulating, you would think I was some kind of retrograde chauvinist but unless I’m suffering  from amnesia or have been in a psychotic state for the past month, I know I’ve done nothing to warrant the current fuss. My lapses, such as they are, proceed from what might best be described as passionate excess.

RERUNS REZOOMED: a serial novel

Herewith, the finale of Reruns Rezoomed.

From RERUNS 2/Jack in the Box

It was not the same. It was all the same. I was in Italy sitting at my desk in a luxuriant Villa writing the story of my invented life. I was in a bed in Brooklyn dreaming I was in Italy at the Villa Mondare, which was a made-up place in any event, writing the first sentence of a fictional memoir.

Reruns Rezoomed: a Serial Novel

Anticipation tends to defeat itself. The house was empty on my return, but there was a letter concerning Molly waiting for me in the vestibule. It was poorly spelled, mostly ungrammatical and eccentrically punctuated, though its intent was undeniable.

RERUNS REZOOMED: a serial novel

Part One ended Jack’s epic search for his kidnapped ex-wife Molly—in a hail of gunfire—after taking up with two thieving vixens on the run and crossing paths with some trigger-happy FBI agents.

Reruns Rezoomed: a Serial Novel

We separated at the revolving doors, exchanged phone numbers and shared a gypsy cab into the city. The otherwise silent driver was the first to notice. “There’s been a pink Cadillac following us for the past three miles,” he said.

RERUNS REZOOMED: a serial novel

Jack watches as Mary, the beautiful yet predatory extra-terrestial, gets vaporized before his eyes. He is taken to a sex club by a band of rogue scientists and barley escapes with his life.

RERUNS REZOOMED: a serial novel

They come during the night, two men in stocking feet, and lift me out of bed while I am still, for all they know, asleep, and carry me between them down a narrow hallway that seems to go on forever.

RERUNS REZOOMED a serial novel

In the morning, I went out into the hall to look for my old room, knocked on a few doors. Various residents answered my knocks, invited me in for a drink or not, seemed at home with themselves.

RERUNS REZOOMED: a serial novel

Jack is spinning spontaneous confessions in order to survive and pursuing the narrative threads multiplying around the bed that has become his prison.

Acting Out

Now that Jay had agreed to the joint session with her therapist, she couldn’t remember why she had favored the idea in the first place. It was one of those things you did, which is what she told Lorrie over the phone, so that afterward you could say you had done everything (or something) to save your dying marriage. She wondered if she had ever loved Jay—that is, she could no longer remember having loved him—but there was something between them, some intricate bond, that seemed resistant to violations no matter how unforgivable.

Reruns Rezoomed: A Serial Novel

All else failing, Jack drives to Maine in the hope of separating Molly from her kidnappers. En route, he is latched onto by a beautiful, predatory extra-terrestial named Mary who wants him to father her child. An auto accident in which Mary is nearly killed causes an apparent change of heart in Jack’s seeming heartless companion.

The Story

He didn’t know if he had read the story somewhere, in a magazine or book perhaps, or someone he didn’t know very well…

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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