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  • Fugue in Rob ♯ Minor
  • Rob Stephens (bio)

Every night I'm supposed to look at a childhood picture of myself,and repeat "I love Rob Stephens," therapist's orders, because I want tobe like Bach, a Baroque rock star who improvised a three-voice

fugue in front of a king, his fingers like synchronized swimmerson the harpsichord, but instead of practicing piano I watch

reruns of Saved By the Bell and pretend that I'm AC Slater, dimples,curls and all even though I've always been more like Screech,the Bayside High nerd whose best friend was a robot he programmed,

because in that picture of myself as a kid I'm trying to builda castle on the beach, not out of sand but out of seashells

and the shards of a broken beer bottle. When I say myprayers, I make up stories to God like a mooch: lend me somecourage, Lord, just this once, I really need it so I can ask out girl X,

and I promise I'll compliment the Virgin Mary's tunic next week,but when I perform Bach's fugues I try to let my hands find the notes

like a bat hunting moths until I crack like prepubescent Screechthat scrawny nerd I hoped would grow up to be a successful studbut instead he competed in Celebrity Fit Club because he had gained

a hundred pounds, then he gave a girl a Dirty Sanchez on home videojust for publicity, not that AC Slater has it better, hosting puppy wars

on Animal Planet, but does he remember when he was competingwith Zach Morris for most lifetime study dates? So when I traveledto the Austrian church where Bach improvised that fugue I told

the Blessed Virgin that she looked stunning in ruby red, and kneeledin front of the harpsichord, the light from the stained glass windowshining on my back, and I tried to pray but only found myself muttering

I love Rob Stephens I love Rob Stephens I love Rob Stephens. [End Page 18]

Rob Stephens

Rob Stephens is originally from New Orleans. His work is published or forthcoming in New Delta Review, Shimmy Hoots Review, Crescent City Review, and Wingbeats. He can be reached at



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