C.G. Thompson.jpg


C.G. Thompson

Selected by Guest Editor for Short Fiction  Ray Morrison

Followed by Bio and Q&A

Some Call It Magic


The night we discovered how to get Morgan out of our lives, Saturn’s rings were aligned at forty-five degrees. That’s what I tell people who wonder how we did it—Saturn’s rings were the tipping point. Originally it was just a joke, but who knows? Saturn, Morgan—no relation. Then again, who’s to say?

It was April, and I was living at the old farmhouse Scotty was renting, until things worked out with my girlfriend and I could move back in with her. I’d left a few clothes behind, hoping. Caleb lived at the farmhouse, too, and Morgan. Some nights the place resembled a dorm. You never knew who you’d meet coming out of the bathroom in the morning. That could be bad, or good. Morgan was a girl, and occasionally I had a crush on her. Then she’d show a mean streak.

All of us were working our way through school, or trying to. We’d been short-order cooks, waiters, amusement-park attendants, baristas. I’d spent six months in telemarketer purgatory, raising funds for the alumni association. My new job was at an ice-skating rink, where I handed out skates, cleaned Plexiglas, and fished hoodies and cell phones from the lost-and-found.

When I got home that night, Morgan was sitting on a metal cooler on the front porch, partially illuminated by a globeless light bulb. Cars and a small truck with a trailer were parked in the dirt drive, so I pulled up under the pecan tree in the front lawn. Winter leaves still covered the ground. I imagined the Zamboni making a sweep of the yard, turning the leaves to mulch.

“You have no reason to be in touch with your ex-girlfriend,” Morgan was saying into her phone. “And why are you …? Didn’t she …?”

Each time she got to the good part, she dropped her voice. She did that in regular conversations, too, hoping you’d lean in to hear her.

I headed for the back yard, where Scotty, Caleb, and Caleb’s dad were standing at a telescope.

“You’re keeping me at arm’s length,” Morgan accused, walking up behind me. I could now hear complete sentences. “So that’s going to haunt us for—what—forever?”

All or nothing—that was Morgan.

“Each of the gas giants has rings,” Caleb’s father was saying. “Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn.”

“I thought that would be OK, but now I’m thinking no,” Morgan told the phone.

“Mr. Tucker,” I greeted him.

We shook hands. “Good to see you, Luke. You guys have a great set-up out here. Very little light pollution. If the clouds clear, we’re going to see Saturn.”

“Ring-around-the-rosy,” Morgan said. Apparently she’d hung up.

“Do you know that’s a plague song?” I asked.


“‘Ashes, ashes, all fall down,’” I added helpfully.

“Urban legend, dude,” Scotty said. He collected urban myths—alligators in New York sewers, Internet Cleaning Day, stuff like that.

“But it all fits.“ I was genuinely disappointed. “Little kids surrounded by death, making it into a game to –”

Scotty grabbed my shoulder in mock sympathy. “Sorry, my son.”

Mr. Tucker held up a green laser pointer and indicated a place in the sky. “Saturn should be about there. This telescope is better for viewing nebulas, but we’ll make do.”

“The cloud cover’s lifting,” Caleb announced, sitting on top of the old picnic table that doubled as a graffiti wall. One night when he was drunk, Scotty carved, FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL XXX-XXXX.

“I had a weird dream last night,” Morgan said. “I was at the beach, and a guy wrote his name on my hand. It was Russian, I think, and when I asked how to pronounce it, he said, ‘Memory.’ Isn’t that weird?”

“Maybe you need to remember something,” Scotty offered.

“I think it’s weird. Don’t you?” she said, staring at me.

“I’m going with yes.”

“You’re so literal, Scotty,” she said.

“Literal would mean that you’re going to meet a Russian guy whose name is Memory,” Scotty countered.


“Hey, respect your elders,” I told her.

“It’s all right,” Mr. Tucker said. “I’ve heard that one.”

“What about Pluto?” Morgan asked. “Will we see Pluto? Wasn’t it demoted?”

Mr. Tucker pointed toward his Tacoma. “See that truck? It’s a compact, but it’s still a truck. Pluto is a dwarf planet, but still a planet.”

“But it got demoted. Right?”

“I guess you could say that.”

“I think it should be grandfathered in,” Caleb said. Caleb was studying public policy. “It was a planet for seventy-five years. That makes it an existing use.”

The sky was clearing from the west, the night clouds rolling back like a carpet. Scotty had foraged the kitchen and returned with a twelve pack of Corona and a plastic bag of limes. He let the limes tumble onto the table, and I grabbed one as it wobbled off the edge. “Catch!” I called, tossing it in Caleb’s direction.

Caleb fielded it with his left hand, without even looking. “Pluto,” he proclaimed.

“Whatever way you slice or dice it,” I added.

“Ballsy planet,” Scotty said.

“Dwarf planet,” Morgan corrected, giving him a look.

“As if you’d know.” He pulled out a knife and cut a lime at its equator.

Mr. Tucker joined us. “When I was young, there weren’t any photos of the planets. That was before Mariner and Voyager.”

“Not the TV show,” Caleb said, seeing Morgan about to ask.

“Unmanned explorers,” Mr. Tucker explained. “Like Cassini. Before them, all we had were drawings.”

“And telescopes,” Caleb said.

“And telescopes.”

“How did you live?” Morgan asked.

Her phone rang, which I took as a blessing. “What?” she hissed.

Scotty opened a beer, squeezed lime into it, offered it to Mr. Tucker.

“Thanks, but I’ll pass. Totaling your dad’s prized 1965 Mustang will sober you up for life.”

Scotty nodded. “Got it.”

“So you’re going to tell me …?” we heard Morgan say. “Total bullshit that …”

She turned away from us and circled the old boat that belonged to Scotty’s landlord. The boat had a hole in its hull and had become a repository for junk from the landlord’s other rental properties—an air conditioner, a cast-iron sink, shelves from a refrigerator.

“Off and on. More off than on,” Caleb said, meaning Morgan and her boyfriend.

“Lots and lots of off,” I said.

“Turn the key,” she ordered, coming into earshot.

Mr. Tucker shrugged out of the jacket he was wearing, dropped it onto a picnic bench, and made his way back to the telescope. All of us except for Morgan gathered around. “There’s Saturn,” he said, using the laser pointer to show us.

“Devon says he ran out of gas,” Morgan said.

“Does he need a ride?” Mr. Tucker asked.

“No. Fuck him.” She dropped her phone onto the table.

“Never know what she’s thinking,” I told Mr. Tucker.

“What?” Morgan demanded.

“Nothing,” I said. “Ignore the man behind the curtain.”

“You are so full of shit.” She picked up a beer. “He says he paid for gas and drove off without getting any.”

Mr. Tucker peered into the lens, made a few adjustments, stepped back. “There. Luke?”

I bent down to the lens. My eyes took a few seconds to focus, then Saturn floated before me, its rings forming a bright white line, crossing the planet diagonally, and extending outward. I wished Erin were there to see them with me. She claimed I never took anything seriously. “Awesome,” I said. I felt a spark of a connection, imagined Saturn gazing back, wondering who I was.

“I heard him trying to start the car,” Morgan said to no one in particular. “You can fake that, right?”

“Faked like the Moon landing,” Scotty joked.

“Last night he was supposed to meet me and called with a bullshit excuse about having to work late. Then I found out his ex is still a customer there.”

Devon had graduated last year, worked in the mortgage department of a bank.

“And of course, he says he doesn’t have feelings for her. Worst lie in the history of ever.”

Caleb sighed. No matter what, everything was about Morgan.

I stepped away from the lens. “Unless she’s buying a house, she might not even see him. I guess she could go to another branch, though.”

“My point exactly.” Morgan sat in the director’s chair Scotty had liberated from the attic, and propped her feet on a plastic cooler. We seemed to collect coolers.

Scotty and Caleb stared at me like the idiot I was. I wasn’t the only one. It was Scotty who’d said Morgan could stay. She told people she was in school, but she wasn’t. Depending on her mood, she’d claim there’d been a problem with her financial-aid forms or admit her father wasn’t paying her tuition anymore because she’d had an argument with his new wife.

I glanced toward the stars and thought of Saturn bobbing in the sky.

“How’s that working out for you?” Caleb asked.

“I wasn’t flirting.”

“I’m just saying.”

Probably all of us had been in love with Morgan at one time or another, although it wasn’t something we talked about. She was a beauty—I had to give her that—and in her better moods she made you feel like you were the only important person in the world.

“Is it true that telescopes are clearer in the fall?” I asked Mr. Tucker. In high school, I was in the astronomy club for about five minutes.

“Right. In warm months, humidity interferes with the lens. It’s like seeing things through a mirage. That’s one reason the explorers are so important.”

“Cassini found a storm on Saturn like the one on Jupiter,” Caleb said. “Jupiter’s storm has been going for 350 years.”

“Like Morgan,” Scotty whispered, and we laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Morgan said. “Did the sky tell a joke?”

“Want to see, Morgan?” Mr. Tucker asked.

“You’d think he could come up with a better lie.” She set her beer on a bench and kicked through the leaves, letting us know she didn’t care if Saturn existed or not. “Cool,” she said, hardly paying attention. She stalked off, grabbed her beer.

“One night Galileo saw Saturn and thought its rings had disappeared,” Mr. Tucker told us. “Turned out they were parallel with the equator.”

“Urban legend,” Scotty said. “Just kidding. Hey, Morgan! Devon’s probably stuck in the middle of nowhere, and a guy who escaped from –”

“Oh, shut up.” She settled back into the director’s chair.

“A tow truck will pick him up, and at the garage, they’ll find a hook on the door.”

“Fuck you, Scotty.”

I gave Scotty a look. “What’s up with that?”

“You’re so gallant,” he said.

“Last call,” Mr. Tucker announced. “The sky’s clouding over.”

“No way am I letting you guys give me the bitch edit,” Morgan said.

Mr. Tucker glanced toward her, confused.

“Reality TV,” Caleb explained. “You don’t want to know.”

Mr. Tucker nodded. “I believe you.”

I looked into the lens again, thinking of everything between the plot of land I was on and the view I was seeing. Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, an expanse of space and light-years. I wanted to capture the moment, call Erin and tell her about it. At least it would be a conversation that wasn’t about us and our problems.

Scotty and I switched places. “Or a tall hairy guy will attack his car,” he said.

Sometimes I thought he deliberately pissed Morgan off because he was afraid of being attracted to her.

“Not listening,” she called.

I excused myself and climbed the wood steps to the screened-in porch. The porch led to a hallway that ran the length of the house. When Scotty moved in, about a fourth of the floorboards in the hallway were missing, and you could see the ground. Caleb’s dad helped with the repairs.

In the bathroom, I flipped up the seat and thought of one of Scotty’s urban legends—a wife flushes a flammable liquid down the toilet, later her unsuspecting husband tosses a cigarette into the bowl. Voilà.

As usual, there was no soap at the sink, so I went into the kitchen. Morgan was sitting at the table, texting. “We should go somewhere,” she said.

I washed my hands with dish soap and found the paper towels on top of the fridge. With three or four people in a house, you never knew where things would end up.

“They’re building a bonfire. It’s too hot for a bonfire,” she said.

“No, it’s not.”

“It’s going to rain anyway.”

“Maybe not.”

“Let’s go somewhere.”

“What about Devon?”

“What about him?”

“Shouldn’t you be rescuing him?”

“So you’re not against the thought, per se?”

I opened the fridge, rooted around on the bottom shelf, and found a lone piece of pizza. “ I’m against per se, on principle,” I said, elbowing the door shut.

“You’re afraid.”

“Afraid?” I set the pizza on a paper towel and slid it into the microwave.

“You brought up Devon. You made a joke. You didn’t say no.”

The timer on the microwave was broken, so I counted seconds in my head. “No.”

“Do you ever wonder what people are thinking about you when you’re talking to them? It’s like an echo. Know what I mean?”

“I doubt it.”

“I heard an echo on the phone once, when my uncle called my dad from New Zealand. Devon said the signal was going around the world and meeting itself coming back, or something like that.”

I opened the microwave and pulled the pizza onto the counter.

“You’re pretending to ignore me, but it’s taking an effort.”

“No, it’s not.” I made my way to the screened-in porch, and outside to freedom, where Scotty, Caleb, and Mr. Tucker were busy tossing twigs and thick branches into the bonfire pit we’d dug the previous winter. “Hey, need a picnic bench?”

“We’re good,” Scotty said. He nodded toward the house. “Are you?”

“Tell me about it.” I sat on the tabletop and saw that Scotty had jabbed the knife into the middle of CALL XXX-XXXX. I wolfed down the pizza, crumpled the paper towel, and aimed toward the pit. Scotty gave it an assist and lit it with a match.

“Some scientists believed the first atomic bomb test would start a firestorm,” Mr. Tucker said. “I guess you never know.”

“Like the particle accelerator that was going to open up a black hole in the Earth,” Caleb added.

Scotty stood. “As if anyone would notice.”

We watched a small flame explore the pile of twigs.

“We might need newspaper,” Scotty suggested.

“Forget it. Morgan’s in there, alone and dangerous.” I twisted open a beer, started to add lime, changed my mind. “She wants to ‘go somewhere.’”

“Ominous, dude.”

“You can always understand what she’s saying when it’s something you don’t want to hear,” Caleb said.

“We could use the buddy method. Go inside in pairs,” Scotty joked.

“Too late,” I warned, as Morgan strolled down the porch steps, talking to her phone.

“I’m not going to be held hostage,” we heard her say. She turned her phone off and kicked aside one of the green pecans that littered the yard. Then she stopped at the picnic table, picked up my beer, and took a sip. “Devon’s home now. You can call off Sasquatch or whatever.” She sat beside me, too close.

I opened another beer as Scotty headed inside.

“You can’t drink after me? What’s your deal?”

“No deal.”

“I can take that two ways.”

“Feel free,” I said.

She put a hand on my knee.

“That’s not what I meant.” I set her hand on her own knee.

“Ewwww, Morgan’s got cooties. What are you, twelve?”

“Are you?”

“You know, leaving clothes at Erin’s apartment doesn’t constitute a relationship.”

“Thanks. No need to spare my feelings.”

Scotty returned with a stack of used printer paper and glanced in our direction.

“Erin’s trying to change you,” Morgan said. “She wants you to grow up.”

“You just said she wants to get rid of me.”

“Implied, actually, but let me guess. You’re not taking your future seriously enough. You should be doing an internship instead of working at a skating rink. She doesn’t say it, but if you’re going”—here her voice dripped with sarcasm—“to take your relationship to the next level, you’ve got to step up. She’s pre-med and you’re … not.”

I felt a buffering effect from the beer, which I later tried to convince myself was the reason I didn’t get up.

“She doesn’t like that I’m living here. That’s one of the things you argue about.”

 Scotty was rolling up sheets of paper and stuffing them through the kindling.

“It’s going to rain,“ Morgan called.

“No, it’s not,“ he said, without looking at her.

“She’ll let you move in again, but only because she doesn’t like the thought that we share a common wall. You’ll live there for, oh, part of the summer, while she’s trying to convince herself you’re as ambitious as she is. Then you’ll end up back here.”

“And you’re not living with Devon because …?”

“Awkward change of subject. Beneath your usual standards.”

“Get over yourself.”

“I know you call me Morgan le Fay. But she wasn’t always evil.”

“You’re fishing.”

“People talk when they’ve been drinking.”

“Nice try.”

I chugged the rest of my beer and watched Caleb and his dad separate the telescope from its tripod, and pack both into the trailer. I imagined Galileo studying the skies, risking heresy for his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

“You left just then,” Morgan said. “Where did you go?”

I picked up another beer. “The hydrologic cycle is the cycle of life expressed through water.”

“Is that in Oregon?”

“You said people talk when they drink. I was just talking.”

“Oh, right. You were going to be a marine biologist. What happened with that?”

I started to get up, but Scotty was walking toward us. “Light pollution,” he said, indicating the fire.

“Luke and I are going to go out,” Morgan announced.

“Even if it’s true, I wouldn’t believe it,” he said.

“Go to hell. You didn’t seem to mind hooking up with me the other night.”

Scotty stopped in his tracks, and a stricken look crossed his face. I felt my own face freeze. Scotty and Morgan. If I had to invent an urban legend, that would be it. I tried to imagine them together, then tried not to.

“You think you’re so exclusive, but you’re not,” she told him.

“What the fuck, Morgan?” I said.

“Since when do you say fuck? You’re always pretending to be a gentleman.”

“You’re the one who pretends,” Scotty said. “That’s why you think everyone else does it.”

“Everyone does,” Morgan said.

“Unless they don’t.” I pushed off from the table, seeking the relative calm of Caleb and his dad.

“I’m going to call Devon, say we’re going out.”

“Do it,” I said.

“We’ll have to check out the Ring Nebula next time,” Mr. Tucker was telling Caleb. “And the Pleiades. Do you know the Pleiades?” he asked as I walked up.

“No,” I answered, forgetting I wasn’t talking to Morgan and didn’t have to use monosyllables.

“Also known as the Seven Sisters. They were turned into a constellation in order to escape Orion.”

“Maybe we could try that,” I suggested to Scotty, who’d joined us.

“You’d like the Nebula, too,” Mr. Tucker added. “We see it two-dimensionally as a ring, but it’s actually a shell.”

“Cool,” Scotty ventured, still shaken.

“Well, I’ll be on my way now,” Mr. Tucker said. He shook our hands. “Keep an eye on that fire.”

“We will,” Caleb promised. “Thanks, Dad.”

The three of us watched as he got into his truck and slowly backed truck and trailer down the drive, the dirt and leaves crunching beneath his tires.

“Children will play,” Morgan said, appearing behind us.

Caleb sighed. “Children never shut up.”

“It’s funny,” she said, “but none of you will be friends five years from now. Caleb’s going on to his big career in public policy. He’ll be at a semi-famous think tank, writing position papers, on his way to having the right house and wife and kids. As for you two—” she pointed her phone at us. “You’ll still be trying to find yourselves. You won’t be friends because you’ll remind each other of your own failings. And Caleb will be too good for you.”

“Divide and conquer,” Caleb said. “You don’t have any friends because they can see right through you. And Devon’s talking to his ex-girlfriend because he’s ready to move on. Maybe not to her, but to someone else. When he’s a bank manager, you’ll still be making lattes.”

“And despite your perfect life and wife, you’ll have an affair. Like your dad.”

The expression that had crossed Scotty’s face now crossed Caleb’s.

“You’re way more interesting when you’re drunk,” she told him. “Now, Luke. Luke is the boring one. He never says anything.”

“Thanks,” I said.

She studied Caleb. “Your dad seems so mild-mannered. Is that foreplay?”

He moved toward her, and I knew he wasn’t kidding. I stepped between them, even though he outweighed me by fifty pounds or so. “Ignore the bitch behind the curtain,” I said.

For a moment he didn’t seem to see me. Then he focused, brushed past my shoulder, and bulldozed toward the fire.

“Have you ever had a thought without saying it out loud?” I asked Morgan.

She made herself comfortable in the director’s chair. “You’ll never reach the stars, Luke. Maybe the streetlights.”

“You should know.” I turned and traced Caleb’s path, stepping over the small ditch we’d dug in March to divert rain from the house. Beside the ditch sat an orange traffic cone Scotty had scavenged from a roadside. I scooped it up.

“I‘m not that guy,” Scotty mumbled, following me. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“It’s OK. Forget it.”

Caleb was kneeling by the fire, staring into its flames. I pretended to peer through the cone.

“What happened to Morgan?” I asked, setting the cone down. “She used to have a good side.”

“She was only supposed to be here a few days,” Scotty said.

I tried to pinpoint my feelings, which Erin claimed I was incapable of doing. Maybe she was right. In the distance I heard an owl, and, closer, the leaves hissing behind us. My shoulders tensed—Morgan. Before I could think of a way to ward her off, an object flew over our heads and crashed into the bonfire. Flames boomeranged in a small explosion, and wood cracked and ricocheted. Something sharp and hot scraped my leg.

“Son of a bitch!” I yelled.

There’d been a fire in our dorm when we were freshmen, and I still remembered the smell of panic. We scrambled like madmen to kick burning debris to safety. Then we saw the red-and-white plastic cooler in the fire. Scotty grabbed a heavy branch from the ground and batted it out of harm’s way.

“Sorry,” Morgan called. “I should’ve aimed lower.”

“You always do,” I said.

She shrugged and sauntered toward the house. The screen door slammed.

“Her imitation of a psychotic is improving.” I rubbed my leg and studied the yard, on alert for brush smoldering. Acrid fumes filled the air.

“Girl murders three guys in their sleep,” Scotty said, wiping his eyes.

My heart slowed to a normal level. “Don’t give her any ideas,” I said.

“She’s probably flushing my class notes down the toilet,” Caleb guessed.

“Or whatever’s in the fridge,” Scotty added.

“So, should we burn all the other coolers?” I joked.

“If we’re making a wish list, we could toss Morgan in,” Scotty said.

Caleb cleared his throat. “My dad—he’s not a bad guy.”

“It’s OK,” I told him. “Shit happens.”

“It was a long time ago. That’s why he doesn’t drink. The story about the car isn’t exactly true.”

“It’s OK,” I repeated wearily. I wondered if I really knew anybody, anything. I wandered over to the picnic table, pulled out the knife, and chopped another lime, then squeezed half into my beer, seeds and all. “Hey, Caleb, your dad forgot his jacket.”

My phone rang. Erin. “Hi,” I answered, trying not to sound too eager.

“Where are you?”


“Where’s Morgan?”

“Far away, I hope.”

“She called and said you asked her out.”

“Notice the far away part. Actually, we were talking about burning her at the stake.”

“What? Never mind.”

“I have witnesses.”

“Don’t you take anything seriously? Forget it.”

“I am being serious.” But she had hung up.

“Witnesses?” Caleb asked, opening a beer.

“Morgan called Erin.”

“Damn. I feel for you, man.”

“What’s going on?” Scotty asked, coming into earshot.

Caleb handed him the open beer, grabbed another.

“Morgan is poison,” I said. “Too bad we can’t give her a dose of herself.”

“If it were that easy, everyone would do it,” Caleb said.

Scotty studied his beer, and the three of us were silent. My mind flashed to what Erin always accused me of doing, ignoring problems and hoping they’d magically go away. I tried to listen to the night, wondering if it held any answers.

“I once heard a story about a girl like Morgan,” Scotty finally said. “But this one is true. Want to hear it?”

“Sure.” I was relieved. “Does it end badly?”

“Pull up a seat,” he said. He picked up the knife and saluted the sky. “Once upon a time, there was a bad girl who played nice for a while so people would feel sorry for her. She was beautiful, so when she first started showing her evil side, most people didn’t notice, particularly the guys. Maybe the girls tried to warn them, but they didn’t listen. Then one night she pissed off three guys, one by one. They decided they wanted her out of their lives, and they thought of ways they could do it. Murder was out. Too wrong. Begging her boyfriend to let her live with him was out. Too much like … begging. Asking her to leave was”—he shrugged—“hopeless. Dumping her belongings on the porch was tempting, but also tempting fate. So they did the only thing left.”

He paused and considered the fire.

“Go back in time and prevent her from being born?” Caleb said.

“Murder is out?” I asked.

Scotty went on. “It was so simple a child could have thought of it. They had to make it her idea to leave. So they quit talking to her, quit looking at her. It was the one thing she couldn’t stand, not to be noticed and admired. It was the only thing that would make her disappear. She needed a mirror, and they weren’t going to give her one.”

“The analogy breaks down a bit later on,” Caleb said.

“Yes, it was hard,” Scotty said, ignoring him. “In fact, it was almost impossible. But the men kept a united front.”

“We’ve graduated to men,” I told Caleb.

“And those men did whatever it took—moral, ethical, and legal—to erase her from their lives. Which from time to time taxed them to their utmost.”

“Taxed. Utmost,” Caleb muttered.

“Which meant they more or less found ways to move out of the house so the beautiful, evil girl would come home every night to a dark house, and her most dreaded enemy, silence.”

I wondered if I could enlist Erin in the cause.

“And in this legend, did it help that Saturn’s rings were aligned in just the right way?” I asked.

“Funny you should mention it, but yes. The special alignment of Saturn’s rings gave them strength and helped them remember that night and their promise.”

“A child did think of it,” Caleb said.

I shot him a look.

“Of course, knowing that they were entering dangerous territory, they took a vote. It had to be unanimous, or their strength would never hold.”

I chugged the rest of my beer. “I’ve always wanted to be part of a legend.”

“So she’ll no longer be a planet?” Caleb asked.

“She’ll no longer be the Sun,” Scotty said.

“Sweet,” I said.

Caleb sighed. “OK. Sign me up.”

“Let’s do it,” Scotty said.

And we did.



C.G. Thompson was recently a runner-up for the Barry Hannah Prize for Fiction. Her short stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Yalobusha Review, Fictive Dream, Jersey Devil Press, Redheaded Stepchild, North Carolina Literary Review, and Boston Literary Magazine, among others. In 2017, two of her poems were displayed in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as part of Poetry in Plain Sight.


Until one chilly evening spent on a soccer field, I’d never seen Saturn through a telescope, much less with its rings at a forty-five-degree angle. The view was beautiful, magical, and amazing, and somehow had to be a story.  I didn’t know any of these people, but they were fun to write.


What is one thing about you that people assume?

I’m not sure—I’m afraid to ask!  However, I do know I’ve been thought to be shy and not-shy, serious and not serious enough, a hard worker and a slacker. Probably all of the above are true, as Obi-Wan Kenobi said, “From a certain point of view.”

What is your spirit animal?

My two guinea pig boys would be upset with me if I didn’t say that guinea pigs are my spirit animal.

Rock, paper, or scissors?

Paper. Doesn’t look strong but has hidden strength and can cover the rock.