By Margo Lanagan
As a part of a public execution, a tender boy forlornly is helping to sing his sister down. . . . A servant learns approximately grace and loyalty from a mistress who may really dance with Gypsies than sit down on her throne. . . . A terrifying stumble upon with a demonic angel offers a tender guy the power he must separate from of his oppressor. . . . On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful taking pictures spree results in tragedy for a determined clown not able to flee his fate.In every one of Margo Lanagan's ten striking tales, human frailty is placed to the attempt by way of the implacable forces of darkish and light-weight, guy and beast. black juice bargains glimpses into usual, shadowy worlds that push the bounds of the spirit and depart the brain haunted with the data that black juice runs via us all.
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Yeah, or it chokes me. ’ ‘When I can concentrate . . ’ In the circle of the sights, the wet banner sagged. Of Jeux des Bouffons, I could only read Jex Buffs, and the face beside it was folded across the middle, so it wasn’t even red-nosed. We were up high, in the nuns’ palace. No one had slept here since the old girls got torched for wowserism, so it was a good hide. And it gave this brilliant view of the Lyric. When I took my eyes from the sights, the banner was a faraway blob, the Stage Door light a white pinprick among the buildings; we had great distance.
I heard them laugh as he pratfalled and pretended pain; they cried and blew their noses as he sat alone in the sawdust-moted spotlight with the solo fiddle curling its tendrils among the tentpoles; they screamed with love of him when he recovered at the sight of the Pretty Girl and exploded in feathers. ’ They weren’t real—a crowd like that can only exist in your head. The loudest voices in my crowd, for example, were the dead ones. Which didn’t stop me always trying to show them, to fix things up with them once and for all.
But we won’t have chosen. ’ I shrugged. ’ I didn’t care, as long as painted people were falling. ’ But he sounded unhappy. I got back to work, as much as I could. Most of the bouffons were gasbagging in groups on the boulevard, though one bunch of smartypantses were in the park swapping juggling secrets. There were just too many, all within sight of each other. ‘My mouth’s actually watering,’ I laughed to Jelly. ‘Imagine picking off Miam-Miam! ’ ‘We’ve got the whole week. Let’s not get ’em really worried ’til, say, Thursday.
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan