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Short Stories 365:71

When I started this year of short stories, I knew that I had an abundance of anthologies to work with. Even just from anthologies in which I've been lucky enough to have a story published, I could probably make it a third of the way through (after all, two anthologies pretty much a month makes at the rate of a story a day), and I had fallen woefully behind in writing about the tales in those collections.

But since the project has been underway, I've learned something about myself. The thing I learned is this: I need very, very, very little rationalization to pick up new anthologies. This project? More than enough rationalization. Plenty, in fact. So much so that as I'm reading stories by authors I adore, it's reminding me to (a) check my bookshelves for other anthologies I have of their work, and (b) buy anthologies I don't find on my bookshelves.

Today's story comes from the latter group.

"Synapse," by Felice Picano

I've mentioned my admiration for Felice Picano before, but listening to "Gratitude" a short while back as an audio made me look into other collections of his short fiction work, and I found I'd somehow missed picking up Twelve O'Clock Tales, the collection from which "Synapse" is the first story.

"Synapse" - like so many of Picano's tales - has a narrative that lulls you in one direction before giving you a quick about-face resolution that leaves you rocking back on your heels. The idea behind the tale is this: a young man is chatting with his mother about how they both know perfectly well that he is not her son anymore. If that makes you blink, then you have a sense of the abruptness of where the story begins, but it's the why - and the decision they both make given their circumstances of their relationship with each other - that leads the tale onward. And then, like I said, there's that final twist at the end that left me shaking my head at the grace of it.

The problem with finding more anthologies to love is it just reinforces my purchase choices.