Thursday, September 04, 2008

Portable Childhoods: "Triangle"

"Triangle" is a bit of a scary story for Ellen Klages. Oh, not scary so much in the sense that this is horror, though, at the end just a little bit, it is. Scary more in the sense of the overall theme of the story.

Michael is a gay college professor. Yes, this is a salient detail. Michael had a bit of a fight on the flight to a conference with his boyfriend, Willy. Klages gets into some back story about the relationship, what Michael did wrong, why the fight, and to make up for the fight Michael decides to go to an antique shop for a present.

He stumbles across a little hole in the wall antique shop, the sort of store that might be a magic shop or sell exotic animals one day and be gone the next. That sort of place. This antique shop has various military and historic war regalia, but as Michael is about to leave he sees a triangle. "Nazi Homosexual Badge, CA 1935. $75"

This is where the story gets scary. It's the following conversation between Michael and Willy, the history Klages reveals, the horror of what the triangle represents, and Michael's subsequent nightmare (and who can blame him?).

There's a bit more to the story, something I don't want to talk about because I don't want to give away all of Klages's surprises here, but "Triangle" is a moving, scary, haunting little story. It is all of this not because of the first 75% of the story, but all because of the last 25%.

Klages nails the dismount.

It should be obvious by this point for anyone reading through my story reviews that I'm very impressed with Portable Childhoods. I'll get more into this with the overall collection review, but I really wish I had read this book a year ago. Maybe now is the perfect time, but I feel like I've been missing out on something great by not having read this book until now.

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