Paul Fey lives in Brooklyn and writes fiction and wine copy.
I finished my set and waited as long as I could before moving like a minnow in the half-lit surf-bar on South 5th, through the vague, swaying crowd, who was once my audience. I found an empty seat by the taps. Is there anything sadder than an opener drinking solo at the bar? I was thinking it myself when Sal said it from my shoulder. He’d often parrot what I said so it wasn’t a shock when his outer monologue lined up with my inner:
The twirling horses climbed and fell on silver rods with the mechanical jingle, and Jude made another lap around the grounds of the Mount Carmel festival in Brooklyn’s old Italian neighborhood. He was explaining to his daughter Amelia, heavy-hearted and heavy in his arms, the reason why couldn’t let her take the shot at the bottle toss. Then someone caught his wrist and slipped something between his arm and his body. It was that garish, red-lipped woman again, “No, I’m still not interested, thanks! Parlor tricks and thievery, all of it, Amelia, I’m telling you.” Before he could hand the brown paper box back, Madame Magdalena had disappeared into the crowd or some other dimension.
8/15/2119 Dear reader, I imagine you as Lacon’s ideal with a mind far more moral than my own living in a fair society that has overcome the evils of corruption and greed. As I’m writing this, the top officials have deposed expert crews into what’s left of the wild to nurture the last bee colonies. Just a few years ago, ocean levels reached the ‘tipping point’ and began gulping the land back into its own watery corpulence. This was the impetus for the Great Migration—and already, the societal effects have been devastating. Riots, overcrowding, disease, and great racial tensions in pre-merit countries: Malaysians into China, Turks into Eastern Europe, Floridians into the mainland.
Around the last bend, the streaks of dark trees opened to a grassy field, whose swelling hills exposed the shape of the land without obstructing the sun on its horizon. At the end of the road, a faded red barn caught the light as Frank rolled up to the driveway. Johnny with his long hair and half-zipped blue coveralls smoked a cigarette and stretched a piece of canvas over a wooden frame. He shouted, “Hey man!”
In Defense of Tasting Notes
The reactionary strength of my position began as a joke when formidable wine critic Jon Bonné proposed the swift end to tasting notes. As a wine copywriter (a reader, researcher, and sometimes writer of tasting notes), I agreed that the industry had a problem—critics and tasting note authors bringing Neruda along to their tastings and composing verses with the kind of lexical curiosity and laissez-faire attitude for accuracy as a new MFA candidate with a bird or mountain tattoo (e.g. in my mouth/a plum/my mother plucked/like rain).
The first rays of sun excavated the caves and cracks of the golden red canyon upon his arrival. He rolled his motorcycle the final few yards to the bottom of her refurbished metal silo and spotted her on the cylindrical roof. She came down and he showed her the letter and the seal through reams of the barbed wire. In the kitchen, the kettle steamed over her fire, and they watched the smoke on the hazy horizon grow like a sapling through soil. By the time they’d emptied a full kettle of a lone tea bag, there was no mistaking that it was not only growing but getting closer.