Home Page Photo

The Big Stupid Review


American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review

Unexpected Pastures

By Kim Farleigh

Iron shutters repelled the light that beamed from a tower on the ridge facing the village. An army base sat behind the tower. From that base, rumbling came down the ridge face, approaching the village where Cristina and Rachel were in a house that joined other limestone constructions that rose naturally from the land like time's offspring. The clanking rumbling stopped in front of their house.

Cristina rose; trepidation flashed in Rachel's temples.

"Open the shutters," Rachel said, "and see what they want."

Soldiers were leaving armoured vehicles.

"Can we help you?" Cristina asked.

Rachel's consciousness shrunk into minuteness. Justice was motivating; but it was just an idea.

The soldiers looked upwards. Light reflecting off the house's walls illuminated their faces.

"Who are you?" the oldest one asked.

Cristina's window-framed, blue-eyed blondness faced the spotlight that coated the world with eerie superficiality, like a sun in a black, lunar sky. Anyone scaling the slopes would have been caught by that night-time sun, an easy target for the lookout-tower men upon the hilltops.

"Can you come into the house, please?" Cristina asked. "I'd like to show you something."

Her confidence rose because of their stultified indecision. The curious, oldest soldier, wearing black-framed glasses, looked erudite. He was twenty-five, the unit's captain. He looked too reasonable to be harassing a rural village, Cristina having had an immediate, positive reaction on seeing his face.

She dashed downstairs and opened the iron doors. The beguiled soldiers stood amazed. Nothing had prepared them for this beauty.

The captain ordered them to wait in their vehicles. It would have been impossible for most men to have not obeyed such loveliness. Her opal eyes glittered with electrified sensitivity. The captain walked beside her as they climbed the stairs. His radioman, following behind, saw fluorescent follicles upon Cristina's back that finished above denim-encased circles.

"Sit here, please," she said.

Three chairs sat around a table beside a wall that faced a window that faced the spotlight.

"Would you like a drink?" she asked.

The soldiers declined.

Rachel emerged from the bedroom. Two chairs hung from her hands on either side of her body, like scales. She had anticipated more than two soldiers. Her pale face's mahogany irises swam in large areas of white, white and dark-brown intensifying each other. Her Jewish features reduced the soldiers' defensiveness, while increasing their shock's pleasantness.

Cristina removed a hard-plastic file from a bookshelf.

"This file," she said, "is a record of the violence that's happened here since 2002."

Her Hannover accent was the mellifluous coating on a voice of velvety resonance. The captain even felt his neck tingling because of that voice.

"The file goes back," that voice continued, "to an incident recorded by a Belgian television crew when the villagers here were attacked and driven out by settlers. The crew managed to get their film out of Israel. Their images went around the world, heightening awareness of what's happening here. Since then there's been an international presence in this house to record violations by settlers."

Cristina showed the captain photographs of grieving Palestinian children. The whites of the children's eyes looked unnaturally magnified around their soaked irises.

"These photographs were taken by the Belgians," she said. "The children's father had just been killed."

The captain's mouth froze open.

"Was it retaliation?" he asked.

He had plucked from the fire the one possibility that the tongs of aspiration could have taken to protect a burning belief.

"How's that possible here?" Cristina replied.

The sudden soundlessness covered clashing tumults of thought.

"It's obvious," Cristina added, "that you can't enter these settlements without being seen. It's daytime outside."

"You mean—."

Murders had occurred in the settlement above the village.

"Yes," Cristina said. "Palestinians nearing settlements would be dead before getting anywhere near them."

Palestinians were blamed for the murders.

"There have been several incidents since the one recorded by the Belgians," Cristina continued. "They all deal with settlers stabbing or shooting Palestinians here in the valley. During the olive harvests, the farmers here get hit by settlers who are protected by the army. You can see by the file's size how many incidents have occurred."

The captain leafed through the file, impossible for him not to pay her attention. The fluorescent streams cascading from her crown could not have been silkier. Her pastel-green jeans, a hue of refined femininity, and her yellow T-shirt and blue eyes seemed to emphasise her revelations.

The captain's outfit had just replaced the base's previous unit. They were supposed to protect the heavily-armed settlers from "violent Palestinians." He stared with quizzical perturbation at Israeli NGO reports about unprovoked settler violence.

"We're supposed," he admitted, "to protect the settlers from Palestinians."

"You won't have much work to do then," Rachel said.

"Are you Jewish?" the captain asked.

"I have to admit," Rachel replied, "that I am."

"Admit?" the captain asked.

"I'm embarrassed by what's happening here."

"Are you an Israeli?"

"That wouldn't be possible for me."


"Because of human-rights violations."

Rachel's mouth was too small for her nose; but it was a beautifully shaped mouth. Her high forehead was smooth and vast. She wasn't classically beautiful like Cristina, but she had striking appeal. That appeal, not immediately obvious, arose as she threw her long hair to one side so that it hung down over her right shoulder and chest, the hair a brunette blaze of satin. Engulfed by white, her dark irises looked enormous; her showering smile was an irresistible force that delighted all.

The captain studied the file. Feminine strength and delicacy were leading him into unexplored lands.

"I have to say," Cristina said, with that gorgeous voice, "that the settlers are dangerous. They would have killed these people here by now had several NGO's not united to restrain them. Sorry to have to tell you this."

The compassion in her eyes reflected the pity born from her sensitive understanding. The house's light's gilded splendour resembled a bath of demulcent intimacy.

"There's information in this file," Cristina said, "about settlers being imprisoned for violence. They only ended up in prison, however, after Israeli NGO's, working with legal firms, collated the evidence to convict them. This is kept out of your press."

The captain said: "I'm going to take these NGO's' phone numbers."

"Good," Rachel said.

She leant over the file, her hair covering one side of her face. She whipped through the file to a report about a settler whose fanatical beliefs had even disturbed the local rabbi.

"He's in prison now," she said, bending over, her elbows on the table, her big eyes swollen with sincerity. "He was convicted for violence, including murdering a Palestinian. But the settlement's rabbi only got interested in the investigation being done on this guy by an Israeli NGO after a murder happened in the settlement. The Israeli press reported that the murder had been committed by a Palestinian. The settlement's rabbi knew better. Perhaps you could speak to him."

"You mean—"

"Yes," Rachel said, "I'm afraid so."

Rachel's informal posture oozed naturalness. Her small, square chin resembled a stable brace in her face's changing climates.

"Some of the settlers aren't religious," Cristina said, her blue eyes shimmering with electrified sensibility. "They have to live in the settlements before moving into Israel, the price paid for emigrating. We know there's violence in the settlements, especially towards women. Information about domestic violence in settlements is repressed. There are organisations that protect women who've escaped from settlements. Maybe some of the non-religious settlers have become victims of violence because they've tried to protect these women? Who knows? It's a mystery. There's tremendous opposition amongst the settlements' leaders against researching this situation."

The women's faces made the captain experience flashes of affection, like separate bodies interchanging electromagnetic particles of emotional warmth. His urge to deny got crushed by his desire to know these women whose opposition to little-known events hadn't arisen because of trivial prejudices, but because of permanent virtues that survive amid upheavals.

"It looks like," he said, "I've got some work to do."

"It's fantastic of you to listen to us," Rachel said.

"Absolutely," Cristina added. "Visit us anytime you like."

Cristina's voice conveyed surprising hope. Beauty, the captain thought, does that: It unleashes wild aspirations, like magic.

"Thanks," he replied. "I'll do that. Can you give me your number?"

"Of course," Cristina replied.

"We'd better go now," the captain said, after getting Cristina's number.

The radioman rose when his captain rose. The radioman's rosy cheeks and smooth skin looked contradictory against his uniform and gun, like a boy driven to extremism by extreme visions of reality. He had been led into new pastures by unexpected truths; but he wasn't as shocked as the captain was at just how vast was the mechanism of lies that for many represented reality.

The tower's light now had a tinsel absurdity that prompted the captain to think that the facts are clear when you think about it.

"Come back anytime you want," Cristina re-iterated.

Her influence's power belittled military might.

"I will for sure," the captain replied.

Particles from their eyes seemed to interact like magnetism. Beauty and justice had led him to knowledge.

"Many soldiers," Cristina began, "have joined NGO's after serving in the Occupied Territories."

"I can imagine," the captain whispered. "It's exactly what my brother did. Now I know why."

© Kim Farleigh 2014