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Short Stories 365/34 | N.S. Beranek

“Vespers” from Trysts: A Triskaidecollection of Queer and Weird Stories by Steve Berman, (Lethe Press, 2001).

This story immediately intrigued me because it reminded me of Robert Browning’s Soliloquy of a Spanish Cloister. Brother Saul is an unhinged, possibly sociopathic, college fraternity brother fantasizing that he is leading the monastic life. The extent to which he is able to suspend his disbelief is impressive and yet also deeply unnerving. We worry as he stealthily observes the frat’s latest pledges, asleep in the main room of the house. But when the younger sibling of one of his brethren washes up on the doorstep, and Brother Saul offers to let the unsuspecting young man stay in his room, it is the anticipation he feels for the hours ahead which disturbs one’s imagination long after the book is closed.