Action Fiction! Stories Performed at the Tribune Tower
Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Tribune Tower

Thanks to everyone who came to this fascinating and rarely used location - on a rooftop balcony of Oakland’s most iconic building, near a neon clock. The creeping cold and darkness was a challenge, but you toughed it out and the audience had a blast, making this third event our most fantastic yet! 


"Completely awesome."

 - Cary Tennis


And we managed to capture this one on video...unfortunately, we also managed to do so for the first half of the event without the mic plugged into the camera. So, I'm sorry to say that the performances in the first half don't have any audio. That includes the performances of Mark, Meghan, Robert, and the first half of Caroline's performances. This makes me very sad since they were all great performances. We promise not to make this mistake again. I posted the audio-less videos on youtube anyway, along with the rest of the performances in all their auditory glory. All of the stories themselves (except Cary's) are now available to read on as well. Links to everything are below.





"Cut" by Joshua Citrak

> read by Mark Plutynski

Hey Baby wrung all the rings off her right hand before she slid it in between the iron bars of the security gate. She wiggled and twisted her whole body until her elbow popped free through the gap. Arched on tippy toes, she snuggled in tight, giving the gate a slow-dance reach-around that had me envious. She stretched for the lock, her fingers groping across the grating tickling each bar, and at full extension was just able to flip the latch. Continue reading >



"Where's Bob?" by Vanessa Hemingway Blumberg

> read by Meghan Rutigliano

It was the door slamming that woke Wilson. He never heard any car pull up, no key in the lock. Just the slammed door and June already inside the dark house. So he’d blown it. He knew right away there was nothing left to do but play it out. What else could he do? June had some mail in one hand, keys in the other, a purse as big as a small ice chest hanging off one shoulder. She went straight for the garbage in the cupboard under the sink. From where Wilson was, it looked as if she was just checking it―maybe to see how full it was―but probably she’d thrown something in. Then she went to the message machine by the phone―no messages―she only brushed the buttons with her fingers and then ran the hand through her long dark hair. From the refrigerator she pulled out a can of diet cola, popped the top, started toward Wilson, and stopped dead in her tracks. Continue reading >




"Ichiwa Ango" by James Warner

> read by Robert Thomas

Our first Christmas together, I bought Clarice an Ichiwa Ango suede shirt. It was embroidered with lurex thread, and had satirically over-sized cufflinks. Purchasing it was an ordeal. I dressed so scruffily in those days that, when I entered a high-end San Francisco boutique, the manageress assumed I was a shop-lifter and followed me around staring down the back of my neck. I was astonished to discover that a piece of clothing could cost more than a hundred dollars, but I bought it anyway, then grew scared Clarice would think I had paid too much, that she would accuse me of being bourgeois. Continue reading >



An excerpt of A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer Dubois

> read by Caroline Scippa

I began playing chess Saturdays in Harvard Square, against the old wizened men who charge you a dollar to lose to them. I did not grow up to be a chess prodigy—or any other kind, for that matter. But I find something compelling in its choreography, the way one move implies the next. The kings are an apt metaphor for human beings: utterly constrained by the rules of the game, defenseless against bombardment from all sides, able only to temporarily dodge disaster by moving one step in any direction. Continue reading >



"The Secret World of Dad" by Cary Tennis

> read by Jimmey Cross

(No story available at this time...) 






"The Heap" by Scott Lambridis

> read by Andie Grace

After a day spent shoveling the heap into buckets and spreading it around as mulch, she’d gone to sleep, but woke a couple hours later, in the pitch of night, struggling to breathe. Her lungs wouldn’t open. She forced each slow inhale. She knew it was the heap’s fault. She tiptoed to the window on the other side of her apartment. Even in the blackness, smoke and fumes poured off the heap. Leaf and needle, bark and chip, sap and oil, she had coated every inch of her property with it, all the grass, dirt, brick, wood, gravel, asphalt, and yet the heap was still four feet high. Continue reading >



"Things Come to Life" by Sommer Schafer-AuYeung

>  read by Margarita Galindo

One week after we scatter father’s ashes in Blue River and Sunny returns to his farm in upstate New York, mother takes a sledge hammer to the dark green couch in the guest room. She works on that thing all afternoon, establishing a sleek line of sweat in the space between upper lip and nose, and, by the smell of her, in more hidden places. Continue reading >



"Press Release" by Evan Winchester

> read by Charlotte Speck & Gillian Eichenberger

On that side of the conference table sits Courtney Bides. Her Klean Kanteen has the iconic print of planet Earth. Her briefcase is on the table and popped open. It is empty of paper. The papers are spread alluvially over her end of the table. Earlier today, eight people had sat at this table, where they had discussed. Now Courtney Bides capitalizes on their absence. She leans back in her chair, with her hands behind her neck so she can relax. The back of her chair is like the lobe of a large cactus. A quick survey of the tabletop. Newspaper clippings. Pens, pencils, a staple remover. The Cetacean Fact File, a three-ring binder with brightly colored images of dolphins, whales, porpoises, etc. Their ilk. At Courtney Bides’s end, a coffee warmer whose cord runs to a wall outlet. Courtney Bides had been number twenty, of twenty, in the 2006 office White Elephant Gift Exchange, and she had taken the hotplate from number nine, whoever that had been. It had been Elise Awad. Continue reading >


photograph by Gunnar Helliesen

Photograph by Gunnar Helliesen