Binding

The Indestructible Man

William Jablonsky

  • Synopsis:  “The day Bobby Mercer discovered that Romulus Wayne was indestructible was the blackest moment of his life.” Truly indestructible, that is, for Romulus variously dives from heights and allows pianos to be dropped on his head. Thus is set the conflict in the title story. The other stories follow suit, with each character confronting or enacting something fabulously unbelievable. After his wife’s death, for example, Henry wants to catapult himself to the moon with the help of his neighbors. He drives his pickup into a mysterious cloud of dust after visiting a bar and is forever spiritually changed–much to the alarm of at least one friend. Young Adam builds a radio that can communicate with aliens, convincing his father that they are orbiting behind the moon–while the unconvinced mother threatens to cut visitation rights for her ex-husband. In another story a teacher who has narrowly missed being murdered at a convenience store while buying ice cream for his pregnant wife decides he must travel back in time to prevent the needless deaths that did occur. What Jablonsky does in each story is create one given oddity that twists characters and plot. And what he neatly accomplishes by each story’s end is to return that given oddity to earth in a disarming manner that affirms both everyday existence and hope. His efforts make for an absolutely charming first story collection commenting upon what it means to be human.

    ISBN: 1931982481 Trade Paper $14.95       Sale $7.50
  • ISBN: 1931982473 Library Binding $25         Sale $12.50
  • 136 pages

 

About the Author: 

William Jablonsky was born and raised in Rock Falls, Illinois. He received his BA and MA in literature from Northern Illinois University, and is a graduate of Bowling Green State University’s MFA program in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in several literary journals, including Artful Dodge, the Beloit Fiction Journal, the Southern Humanities Review, and the GW Review, among others. He currently lives in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife and three cats, and is at work on a novel.

 

 Excerpt from the Book:

The day Bobby Mercer discovered Romulus Wayne was indestructible was the blackest moment of his life. He had suspected since third grade, when he kicked Romulus down a flight of stairs and watched him walk away without a single bruise. But until that day in August, just before the start of eighth grade, he was never certain.

The incident started when Romulus crossed Bobby’s path skating down a neighborhood sidewalk. Unable to resist the temptation, Bobby stuck out his leg as Romulus passed and sent him tumbling into the overgrown ditch in Mrs. Hulman’s front yard. He laughed as Romulus untangled himself from the weedy mess—Bobby never tired of making a fool of him—and started to skate away. He had gone only a few feet when Romulus’ voice echoed behind him, "Nice try, fatass!" Romulus raised his middle finger high above his head and fled down the sidewalk at top speed. Bobby could not let the insult pass without punishment; he pivoted on his own skates and set after him, planning to rub Romulus’ face in the nearest pile of dog shit.

He chased Romulus for three blocks, drawing near a group of girls running through a jetting lawn sprinkler. At the center, half-hidden from Bobby’s view, was Abigail Wheat, in a yellow and purple striped swimsuit and cutoff shorts, her strawberry-blonde hair dangling down her back and clinging to her damp shoulder. Bobby lagged behind, unable to look away. Romulus was staring too, his neck craned to watch her as he skated past; though Bobby was not yet sure why, he knew Romulus would have to suffer for it.

He never got the chance; Romulus rolled through the stop sign at the corner and into the path of a green station wagon.

The next few minutes were seared into Bobby’s memory: the wagon’s sustained honk; Abigail’s whistling scream as the front bumper struck Romulus in the side; Romulus’ skates clacking across asphalt and gravel, knees and ankles twisting in unnatural directions until his body hit an old maple tree, wrapping around the trunk like a twist-tie.

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