Issue #111: We Bluegills

There is nothing like a good sport story–teams clashing, the coach’s inspirational pep talk, the last shot hitting the net right before the buzzer. When “We Bluegills” by Robert Travieso first crossed my desk, I was expecting something along these lines, but what I got was a sport story completely turned on its head: the narrator, Jeremiah, as well as all his teammates are on drugs, the foreign coach’s pep talk is hilariously incomprehensible, and half way through the water polo match (water polo!) a player on the opposing team sprouts wings and suddenly begins talking like Thor, the norse God of thunder. Underneath all this madness is Jeremiah’s personal struggle to overcome the guilt of his grandfather’s death. The weaving together of these two narratives is part Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, part John Irving’s fantastic description of sports games. At the same time Robert Travieso makes “We Bluegills” it’s own creature–touching, strange, and very, very funny. Check out his Q&A to find out more about this incredible story. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

3 thoughts on “Issue #111: We Bluegills

  1. The style of “We Bluegills” is far more skillful and clever than that of many of the recent stories you’ve published, but unlike other readers I found nothing funny about the drug trip of the narrator, not did I find his grandfather’s doings plausible or moving, either in life or in death. Further, when I got to the final page, I felt that the closing was just a mechanical stopping point rather than any sort of “conclusion” or “end” to a unified sequence of thoughts and/or actions.

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