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EDITORS' PRIZE WINNERS THE EDITORS' PRIZE WINNERS Fiction—Austin Ratner 'Nine Worthy and the Best That Ever Were' Essay—Danielle Ofri "Merced" THE LARRY LEVIS PRIZE IN POETRY Martin Scott NINE WORTHY AND THE BEST THAT EVER WERE/Austin Ratner 1. The Last Days of Sir Israel Scheide, 1968-1974 That there lived a man named Israel Scheide, there can be no dispute. There is the reflex hammer with the reddish rubber tomahawk head bearing his initials. There is the red shirt, thick and coarse like Indian jute, with black buttons, that Israel was known to wear as a coat and in which he appears in many photographs. And in many other places there are many other things, and many people will give accounts of him. William Caxton said in his introduction to Le Morte D'Arthur: It is notoriously known through the universal world that there be nine worthy and the best that ever were. Three pagans—Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar; and three Jews—Joshua, David, Judas Maccabaeus; and three noble Christians—King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon. There are many stories about these men, but we know that they lived in this world. It must be so with Israel Scheide. OF THE EVIL KING ON THE GREEN BICYCLE Hershey the Vise squeezed your arm in an iron grip, pushed your face into the mattress, damp with your urine (what was wrong with you, anyway?), and if you spoke his name he slapped you in the face with Webster's dictionary, then opened it up to "father" and read you the definition: "the MAN who has engendered the CHILD! PROTECTOR of the child! Deserving RESPECT or REVERENCE!" (But he did not read the last sense of the verb, "to father": to impose improperly as a responsibility.) Slowly, deliberately, Hershey came up the drive on the green bicycle, knees rising slowly under the greasy apron, and Israel could see himself there, standing on the asphalt that smelled of hosewater —and knocking his father over onto the lawn. HOW ISRAEL SCHELDE WAS CHASTENED AND BADE ANON TO FORSWEAR HIS PENNE BYJAMES HELPERN, THE GHOST BOY The candle that burned for his mother flickered on the sill, and raindrops traveled slowly down the dark pane. On days like that Israel The Missouri Review · 57 read Keats from a wine-red book that still had the Harvard Coop sticker on the back cover, and he copied down a few phrases, which he would toss into a briefcase with poems he had written on prescriptionpad paper. Sea-shouldering whales, vision ofgreatness, a new thinking into the heart. Israel grabbed his rough red coat from the hook and said, "Did you know Keats' girlfriend was named Fanny Brawne?" "Will you stop wasting your time with that stuff?" James said. "Read The New England Journal ofMedicine." "Fanny Brawne. It sounds like a gluteal condition," Israel said. "Speaking of gluteal conditions, how're the anal fissures? How's your ass?" Ghost Boy pointed to his own ass and wrinkled his nose. "Yeah, I'm presenting it at this month's M and M. My Ass: What Went Wrong." HOW ISRAEL DRANK STRONG DRAUGHT AND MADE A SHOW OF HIS GREAT APPETITE BY DEVOURING AN ENTIRE COW; HE ATE THE PRIME RIBS, THE SHORT RIBS, THE SHORT LOIN, THE CROP, THE WITHERS, THE HORNS, THE POLL, THE BRAINS, THE MUZZLE , THE TONGUE, THE CHUCK, THE DEWLAP, THE BRISKET, THE FORESHANK, THE ENTRAILS, THE KNEE, THE PLATE, THE MILK WELL, THE FLANK, THE UDDER, THE HOCK, PASTERN, AND HOOVES, THE HINDSHANK, THE STIFLE, THE THIGH, THE TAIL, THE PINBONE, THE ROUND, THE RUMP, THE SIRLOIN, AND FOR DESSERT, HE ATE THE EYES Dinner was a tempest. James' girlfriend, Amanda, accidentally knocked a glass of water off the table, and James sent his salad back to the kitchen. James said they were living in the age when all the heroes had been destroyed. King and Bobby Kennedy were both dead. Amanda derided James for his adoration of Burt Lancaster, and James said an imaginary hero is as good as any in this day and age. And he added that McLuhan was a charlatan, not a prophet. Israel...


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