Seth Fried, "Life in the Harem"

A guy wonders why the king assigned him to the harem.

(from Tin House issue 43)

One night, I was simply dragged from my bed by two of the king’s guards. I tried to imagine what crime I could have committed, but the only thing that came to mind, as the guards pulled me through the darkened corridors of the palace, our progress lit by the glow of their lamps, was a beautiful spring afternoon two months prior, which I had spent staring stupidly out a window.

So funny and strange. Stories like these, with insane kings and lavish harems — they’re fun for a lot of reasons, but especially for their historical ambiguity. When/where could these events have possibly taken place? Nowhere/never, right? I mean, the issues are real, and these are recognizably human characters, but since we can’t really place them in history, their plights become as simple and timeless as allegories. And, like I said, fun.
Read an excerpt from this story, here. Also: Seth Fried has a blog.

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