Samuel Rafael Barber

Mexican-American fiction writer from San Antonio, Texas. Brown University A.B. & University of Arizona M.F.A. & Columbia University M.A. There is Always Hope.


1. I sought to follow a particular car.

2. The car was a blue sedan of unknown make and model.

3. I had spotted the car when gazing outside my apartment window—the one which faces west so that not much can be made out amidst the dull haze of afternoon light—as I was distracted by something or other or something.

There is so much work to be done that Vladimir and I are out of our minds as we sit at the large, square table we have been forced to share on account of the lack of tables suitable for our purposes, here in Dresden. There are newspapers to be read, articles cut and stapled and sorted, duplicated and mailed. There are books to be read, pages cut and stapled and sorted, duplicated and mailed. But mostly, there are reports to be read, passages cut and stapled and sorted, duplicated and mailed. To say nothing of the many reports to be written after selecting the most vital passages, in our own estimations, to cut and staple and sort and duplicate and mail. It has come to our attention that the city’s table shortage might be coming to end, but Vladimir dares not trust the source of this information, nor do I dare trust the source of this information either.

Q: Why’d you do it?

A: My aunt was mad as a hatter, always trying to give us hats despite our assurances as to the impracticality of such an arrangement. We would say “Aunt Susan, we have so many hats already!” We would say “our closets are already so full of hats!” We would go over for supper after mass and she would present each family member with a bowler hat. I would shake my head at Aunt Susan and tell her “I do not bowl. Among us, only Danny bowls, and quite poorly.”

I have always enjoyed a deceptively simple word problem. When used in this context, the adverb could mean both that the word problem is deceptive in pretending simplicity, but also that it is simple despite its deceptively intimidating appearance. The former iteration is the case, here.

I was reading a profile of a certain moral philosopher (considered by some to be an unrepentant misanthrope) over papas con huevo tacos one morning while dreading the encroaching sun (whose setting in the west never fails to cast an uncompromising beam of relentless despair upon my desk during those hours when professionals are returning home to the bars from work, those hours when I am only beginning my precipitous loss in drink from the safe confines of a favored chair) when suddenly, I was given reason to reflect on the photographic exploits of my dear friend Simplicio.

Every day is a gift my mother would always say last December when we returned home from the Christmas tree lot with the tallest and thickest of the bunch and she said we need enough gifts to cover the dispiritingly stained carpet beneath its lowest branches, that stain for which Gary is responsible, not that we resent him for his weakness.

You read the first of the day’s obituaries: Murder Mystery, from a Distance: On an otherwise innocuous Tuesday morning a long-time barber, a former proprietor of a so-called barbershop had already sold his stake in the venture to his long-time business partner and had been living a quiet life of dignity in a small cottage to the south of the country for seventeen years by the time his neighbor—a Russian fellow of some prominence and means contemplating divorce from his wife—knocked on the barber’s front door in search of a toilet plunger only to find it unlocked and the barber dead on his toilet, the lavatory door ajar in invitation.

After energizing the hearts and minds of his fellow Russians en route to becoming his nation's first democratically-elected president, the question remains, is there anything Boris can't do? Ride a bike is one such thing. Remember to shave the little hairs behind the ear in the sideburn region of the face is yet another.

We’re taking a test today, as we have every day this week, as we have every day of every week this month, as we have every day of every week of every month of this year. Perhaps every day of every week of every month of several years, but I cannot recall with any certainty.