The Coil
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The Coil

Let Me Tell You: An Excerpt from Michael Konik’s ‘Year 14’

Fiction by Michael Konik

I understand that writing this down on paper without first obtaining the proper license is not permitted.

I will be dealt with appropriately. You could say this report will be my suicide note.

Image: Barrelhouse (Purchase).

But at the risk of displaying what might seem like a horrible lack of appreciation, I feel a strange responsibility, a civic duty you might say, to record what happened here in my sacred Homeland.

After I am gone, and after everyone else who was here is gone, I would like people to be informed. Not just my fellow citizens. I would like everyone — allies and enemies, natives and neighbors alike — to have an eyewitness account from a professional who was on the scene. Even those who profess disdain for my sacred Homeland and our exalted way of life, they should know what happened.

I would like the whole world to know the truth.

Yes, of course, this concept of “the truth” is a subjective construct created by outsiders whose secret wish is to colonize my people. A good citizen does not muse upon this unhelpful notion, this abstract concept of “the truth,” and he certainly does not raise the subject in polite conversation. Or write it down on paper without first obtaining the proper license!

I am ashamed to confess I am not a good citizen. I am a bad one, probably an evil one, and I probably deserve the punishment that awaits me.

So I apologize in advance for causing offense of any kind. I am truly very sorry. All who know me well — my family and my colleagues at Perriodocko and my local community team of Dedicated Servants — they probably expected better of someone like me, someone who was given every opportunity to fulfill his potential. To all of you I ask a thousand pardons. Please try to understand that I cannot help myself. What I saw, what I experienced, what we all experienced — well, I do not think there has been anything like it.

As I write these words by candlelight, in a location I cannot mention, I do not fear for my future. I understand that I have no future. My only fear is that what happened here will one day be forgotten.

Let me tell you.

MICHAEL KONIK is the author of many books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and was honored to be the first novelist published by Barrelhouse.
The narrator of Year 14 was a young man when a revolution changed his homeland forever — a new regime, a new calendar, a new flag, a new anthem and new money. Thirteen years later he has a comfortable job as an editor for the state-sanctioned newspaper, a loving wife, and an unswerving belief in the benevolence of his country’s Caring Leaders. But when a new Information Gatherer is assigned to the newsroom — a peculiar man-child named Tup-Tup, the son of an important government minister — he’s forced to face the truth about his sacred homeland. Year 14 is a comedy, a tragedy, and a cautionary tale. By turns frightening and absurdly funny, this timeless novel offers a hopeful, if hard-won, affirmation of humanity’s indomitable spirit.

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The Coil

The Coil

Indie press dedicated to lit that challenges readers & has a sense of self, timelessness, & atmosphere. Publisher of @CoilMag #CoilMag (