Hannah Tinti, "Animal Crackers"

Everybody at the zoo has a terrible moment in their past they’d like to live down.

(from Animal Crackers)

In the sad and eventful world of our narrator — who spends the majority of this story cleaning an elephant at the zoo — everybody’s got it rough. But the way you deal with adversity, how you react to trauma, is what you use to measure your self-worth. Or something. I drank four ciders at the Rarebirds show tonight.

At first you think that this is a story about animals, how they’re sort of unpredictable and predictable at the same time. Then you figure, but really, this is a story about humans. A little later on you decide you were right the first time and the second time.

The author has a web site. Here. Wow, it says she’s the editor of One Story Magazine. I just subscribed to that a few weeks ago (after hearing about it through I Read A Short Story Today benefactor Maura Johnston). One Story sends out a new short story every three weeks, via snail mail. Here‘s the site for that. I’m waiting by the mailbox, with stilted breathing, for my first edition. If you’re wondering where I am, I’m there.

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