CABILDO QUARTERLY #17, $?, 5½” x 8½”, 14 pgs.

Cabildo Quarterly is a litmag with a zine aesthetic. I’m into that. Herein, Michael T. Fournier and Jeff Schroeck (of The Ergs!, yes) put out their short fiction. Fournier’s half is a selection from his upcoming novel, Inferno Jones, and though Schroeck doesn’t mention anything about a book of his own, “Out Where the River Broke” feels like part of something larger, too. In Fournier’s piece, “The First Four Years,” a young woman, Jeannie, opens a bar in an unnamed college town. Things are going well. She’s got the place sponsoring peewee baseball leagues, and the pub draws a crowd of friendly regulars. And that’s when the nasty rumors start going. We’ll need Inferno Jones to know what we’re missing. Jeff Schroeck’s “Out Where the River Broke” is set somewhere in blue collar America. But instead of a scrappy business owner, our hero is a recovering addict, Ray. Ray’s back in town after years away. To make a little cash he buys some teens a twelve pack. But instead of bonding over Metallica or all the things they could’ve done, they beat the dickens out of him. Officer Jim, a guy Ray knows from his childhood, finds Ray covered in blood in a public park. Now that’s what I’m talking about, drama! Both selections are engaging. I’d keep reading them if they were longer. So what’s to say? If you’re like me, you’re okay at reading popular “classic” American authors, but you’re not so hot at following independent publishers and less infamous writers. Both Fournier and Schroeck write compelling stuff, and the sense of punk awareness and interest in underdoggery that each writer brings to the page is an added bonus. Check it out. –Jim Joyce ([email protected], [email protected])