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vol. 1, issue 1
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prose by
Richard Kostelanetz

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A young couple, universally attractive and recently married, attempt to defy a new state law forbidding procreation, their arias proclaiming erotic success, in spite of the relentless maneuverings of their anxious parents and the mean police.

This languid, multimedia portrayal of the obsessions and problems of a Communist politician's daughter's undergoing psychoanalysis in pre-War Berlin comes to an unhappy end.

A terminally ill insurance investigator initiates a complicated scheme to be charged with murder and thus sentenced to death, prompting his family to collect a generous insurance settlement; but for reasons beyond his control, his plans go posthumously awry.

Just after a young girl learns the facts of life from a beloved aunt who is dying, love blossoms, prompting the girl to break away from the mother surrogate to become an independent adult.

A fading pop singer falls in love with a legally underage girl with pop-music ambitions, the quality of his voice perceptibly declining as her improves.

Juvenile zombies guard diamonds hidden in a sunken ship, initially from piracy by their avaricious parents and then from retired policemen.

A teenage black gang, railroaded into long prison terms for crimes they did not commit, becomes a popular cause for fashionable people, who eventually succeed in exonerating the young men, the story ending, alas, before we can discover whether they can use their rediscovered freedom beneficially.

A masked rider becomes a hero for the oppressed, successfully stealing from the rich to give to the poor until a conflagration caused by Nature causes his untimely death.

The protagonist finds a strange coin that gives him an inexplicable but visible power over others.

An African-American housekeeper with theatrical aspirations is suddenly asked to substitute for her world-famous boss, a temperamental star, and after a successful debut, visible to all, becomes a universally renowned star herself.

Confrontations between a purportedly defecting spy and the counter-intelligence agent who wants to unmask the defector as a devious double-agent are so confusing that the audience necessarily receive, upon exiting the theater, an explanatory flier that incidentally explains why the program notes are insufficient.

A hacker-nerd falls for a preternaturally devious teenager (of indefinite gender, with various vocal articualations) who initiates him into a life of computer crime.

Singing resounding, angry choruses, students at a purportedly classy boarding school revolt against being ritually lobotomized by their teachers who know full well that distance from paying parents gives them opportunities
unavailable to public school employees.

A rural physician with a distaste for animals performs emergency surgery upon a great dane who, upon recovering, resists leaving the physician's side, the opera closing with a duet between the dog's affectionate yelps and the physician's mellow bass.

The widowed mother of several children marries a widower with several more children, living together happily forever after with an almost uncountable, surely unmanageable brood of not just children but grandchildren who sing together in choruses whose number is ever increasing.

A young humanoid who has spent his entire life imprisoned in a zoo appears to fall in love with two newcomers-- a freshly hired female zookeeper and a young man hiding among the elephants to evade the police.

A young immigrant, joining a local street gang, makes the tactical mistake of becoming the secret lover of the gang leader's freshly nubile daughter in an autobiographical opera left unfinished by the composer's untimely death.

Two couples, assigned to share the same apartment during a housing shortage, find themselves falling in love with one another in unexpected, calamitous ways, the quality of their arias changing during the performance from mellow at the beginning to antagonistic at the end.

A single young gent, infatuated with a particularly married housewife living on the other side of town, disguises himself as a teenager in order to get a job ostensibly mowing her lawn but implicitly peeking into her bedroom windows.

A veteran team of opera-authors, one a composer and the other a librettist, stage an opera about two men successfully producing an opera about two men producing an opera.

Residing on another planet, eternally young superpeople oversee a chorus of voices that is rapidly aging.

The young woman who inherits the factory that employs most of a small town falls in love with a laborer whom her relatives forbid her to marry, to the audible distress of everyone else in her neighborhood.

A band of unemployed war veterans organize an urban posse to capture long-wanted criminals whose songs, especially in choruses, reflects painful dissonance.

A diva falls deeply in love with the hidden prompter to the disappointment of the highly visible conductor.

Three law students--two male, the other female--attempt in a series of solos, duets, and trios to defend a rapist whom they think falsely accused.

A young man drawn to the operatic life is wooed by a young woman, an only child, who wants him instead to enter her family's prosperous business, thus opera ending sooner than most.

Nurses who organize to expose doctors' duplicitous dealings in illicit drugs eat hospital food that, to their surprise, makes them deathly ill.

A teenage boy brushes with delinquency before returning to his putatively authoritarian father, in a rare example of an all-male opera.

A young provincial writes a novel so successful that she is invited to reside in the capital city where, given her brittle temperament, she could not survive.

The father of our country not only brings warring factions together but he invents love.

A veteran crook returns from prison to find his grown son beginning, with his mother's encouragement, a criminal life.

The prince and the princess are a dull married couple until the prince takes a mistress and the princess disguises herself as a singing streetwalker in order to win him back.

The quality of a woman's voice changes, along with her love life, after she undergoes extensive plastic surgery.

Three traveling salesmen, friends as well as competitors, flirt with love objects of different ages and different sorts during their visit to a small city.

A promiscuous young man, more accurately a precocious lecher, now in his early twenties, is required, as well as permitted, to redo the last two years of high school.

The leader of our military, armed with at least three kinds of guns, spends a night in a house he doesn't know in advance to be heavily haunted.

A homely woman of intimidating deductive intelligence helps an elderly man, hiding from the police in her basement, to find the real culprit.

Several single men share an expensive car to use on their most desirable dates.

Everyone signs their approval of the eloping young lovers except for the grandfather who had endowed the bride's trust fund.

A young contralto in a sexist culture disguises as a boy in order to run a store whose profits would benefit her ailing family.

The actor portraying a philanderer loses his previously faithful wife to a real-life philanderer.

A space ship heading for the planet Pluto breaks the time barrier and thus returns to Earth in the thirtieth century, the style of the accompanying music changing appropriately.

An ambitious new legal secretary tries to impress her boss by closing an outstanding estate without knowing that such initiative was contrary to her boss's ulterior aims.

Two teenage boys idolize an opera singer and, unbeknownst to her, attempt to follow her home.

A body-builder, drunk on his own strength, comes to realize that his body has become a bomb that can be easily detonated.

A young woman employed as a chambermaid in a palatial mansion informs a wealthy family that she is their daughter who was kidnapped twenty years before.

One twin, an opera composer, is forced to take the place of his brother, the opera singer who has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared.

A variety of genuinely attractive sex receptacles tempt a Catholic priest to break his sacred vows.

Several black women, living in a decrepit tenement on a dead-end street, struggle heroically to overcome sexism, racism, and economic exploitation.

A group of nuns become trapped in an horrific underworld until rescued by their order-mates, in a rare all-women opera.

He commuted between two wives--one outgoing and glamorous, the other retiring and modest--until the former wanted to become more domestic and the latter more erotic.

A woman resumes an intimate relationship with an old lover who, his past unknown to her husband, has become his right-hand employee.

A blind woman, witnessing a murder, tries to convince the police, as well as the audience, of the truth of her testimony.

Two ex-convicts become publicly recognized good Samaritans in the tradition of Robin Hood, featured even on television, while continuing a life of nasty crime.

A young man with over-protective parents is invited to the beach and then initiated into adulthood by his mother's best friend.

An intricate, morally ambiguous drama about life at the top of a multinational corporation on the verge of bankruptcy disintegrates into a familiarly simple romance between the president and, no joke, his "vice-president for corporate affairs."

Housewives go to a bar, open only during daylight hours, where they can live out their romantic fantasies with otherwise unemployed men.

A small-town newspaperman, confronted with a contempt citation, refuses scrupulously in court to divulge the name of a confidential source.

A precocious young woman rebels against her parents by adopting outrageous dress that sends the wrong message and gets her into sexual trouble.

Prisoners-of-war, perhaps threatened with death, are determined to tunnel their way out of a prison camp.

A psychic female cop uses extrasensory powers to uncover a spy in the King's court.

An illiterate laborer helps an aristocratic woman escape from a barbed wire-surrounded island.

A young woman is determined to find the people responsible for the unsolved crime in which her father lost his life.

A series of flashbacks reveals that a theatrical agent has, as a spurned suitor, killed the prima donna he has promoted to professional success.

The protagonists' spaceship crashes on a previously unknown planet filled with beings resembling familiar textbook dinosaurs.

A high-flying fashion designer falls in love with a retired athlete, who brings her down to earth, initially in a billiards parlor.

The new king of a mythical country spends most of his days eluding "kidnappers" contracted to bring him back to the town in which he was born.

A classy widow, discovering that her late husband was actually a thief, tries to make restitution to each of his victims.

A veteran, sensitive prosecutor commits a victimless crime in order to discover what life in the jailhouse is really like.

Three police detectives, looking for the body of a man thought to have been killed, discover instead a woman with a strangely reconstructed body.

A world-famous singer struggles, at first in private, to resume her career after a crippling accident.

Since a woman's husband doesn't want to make a baby, she propositions his brother.

While investigating a murder, the chief of police inadvertently kills a woman whose death he conceals while continuing the initial search.

Three handsome male secretaries try to lure their boss away from an unkempt wife.

A young wife is trying to locate her missing husband, who has accidentally witnessed a gangland murder, before the assassins do.

Continuous conflicts erupt between two boys whose mother is tall and black and father is white and small.

A widow marries a widower, who very much in love with each other, want to move all their children into the same modest apartment house.

The corporate president's wife resorts to voodoo in order to further his career.

A rich girl must pretend to be poor in order to discover the welfare recipient who has custody of her late sister's children.

College buddies, together for the first time since graduation, discover, after some initial bluffing, that their lives haven't turned out as planned or wished.

A long-standing feud between two families blows up when the daughter of one elopes with, and then is impregnated by, the son of another.

An eccentric elderly woman, sure that she is being spied upon, becomes even more paranoid when her husband and son come to visit.

Whenever men must always do the asking, a chorus repeatedly chant, women always do the deciding.

A little boy, witnessing the rape of his older sister, is unable to convince anyone other than his parents that he's telling the truth.

Marrying on the rebound a man who actually abuses her, she works up enough disgust, and courage, to shoot her husband as a rapist.

A prominent dress designer flatters, in all the ways known to his profession, a glamorous singing star until she agrees to wear his clothing in every performance.

A college president, traveling by plane to receive an honorary degree from his alma mater, recalls the disappointments both personal and professional of his undergraduate life.

An orphan who survived growing up on the streets protects other waifs from those who would abuse children.

Several children decide to keep their parents' accidental death a secret and, since they are close in age, to supervise themselves, rather than becoming wards of the state who would, against their wishes, be dispersed to orphanages.

The sheriff who accidentally kills a policeman is legally obliged to care for his colleague's widow and several children.

A basketball-loving physical education teacher, Caucasian, is invited to coach the men's freshman team at an inner-city vocational school.

Two detectives, one tall and the other short, attempt over the course of an entire week to discover the whereabouts of a missing body.

A newly famous, freshly wealthy writer moves his family to the suburbs where his wife falls in love with his publisher.

A young man, caught between two desirous women, is ultimately uninterested in either.

All the girl friends to whom the traveling salesman has given his apartment key suddenly, and unexpectedly, show up at his home.

A private investigator, assigned to investigate the disappearance of a child, journeys to the top of a mountain where he finds, instead, a pagan cult.

The mining company preparing to bulldoze unoccupied lands does not notice the presence of natives who are sabotaging its efforts.

An impoverished widow, unable to earn money, takes homeless street women into her house in exchange for their support.

Two clowns disguise themselves as police detectives when the circus ringmaster is murdered, fooling not only real policemen but the killer.

A widower marrying his late wife's sister frequently addresses her with the dead woman's name.

The butler and housekeeper pretend to be masters of the house when their boss is away.

An imperious woman discovers a long-suppressed document that reveals she has inherited a witch's curse from long-dead descendants.

A fugitive American murderer, seeking refuge in Jerusalem, is discovered by three Hasidic children who think him to be Christ.

An old-maid college professor, at a professional convention, invites several male colleagues to her hotel room, and later charges them with rape, though each insists under oath that he was voluntarily seduced.

The highly variable prowess of a male prostitute depends upon the changing positions of the heavenly stars.

A small-town spinster decides to escape from her father, who owns the town's principal factory, by joining the traveling basketball team initially as an equipment manager.

An aging opera singer, unable to accept declining powers, spends most of her spare time continually seducing ever younger starlets.

Though a nightmare-ridden woman discovers that the killers in her dreams actually roam the streets of her neighborhood, her policeman husband doesn't believe her.

An idealistic teenager persuades her father, a distinguished lawyer, to defend the town hobo against a murder she knows the bum did not commit.

An athletic young man, suddenly religious, too poor to fly by airplane, dons home-made wings to gain direct access to the Pope; and though reported to the police as an unidentified flying object, he succeeds in his mission.

The patrician fiancee of a smuggler becomes a nun.

In a pocket of a jacket left to her for repairs a lonely woman tailor finds a love letter that gives her so much vicarious pleasure that she neglects the electric pressing equipment, accidentally setting off a fire alarm; but among her rescuers is a handsome fireman who, before returning to work, makes a date for the following Saturday night.

An attractive young woman sleeps with enough enemy soldiers to penetrate the headquarters, where she swiftly decapitates the general of the army besieging her city.

In a country split by a war between socialists and anti-socialists, two farm workers initiate a love affair that they expect will culminate in marriage, should the socialists succeed.

An attractive man, having survived the domestic designs of six wives, is house-broken by a seventh, who makes him the father and principal provider of six children.

A group of underpaid immigrants organize a union, even though their leader is murdered by the police and their meeting hall torched by arsonists.

The king's bride-to-be is charged with promiscuity by a scheming minister who covets the woman for himself, his deceit aided by a yet more diabolical assistant minister who fabricates forged photographic images of her purported transgressions.

A politically awakened wife of a corporate mogul marries her husband's anarchist executioner.

After a couple moves from one city to another, the husband discovers, in the course of making love to his wife, that she has become a human radio receiver, thanks to the silver fillings in her teeth.

An illiterate farm girl successfully solves three riddles propounded in three languages by a trilingual but simple-minded king.

A teenager plants a bomb that blows up the personal car used by the chief of the invaders who had desecrated sacred lands and murdered his mother and sister.

Two girls meet three soldiers, who vie with one another for each girl's favors until they all decide it would be better for all if they were joined by a third girl.

A newspaper reporter whose specialty is exposing political corruption makes everyone suspicious by marrying the widow of a slain gangster.

The head of the police vice squad discovers that the most notorious henna-haired prostitute in town is actually his brunette daughter who ran away from home a decade before.

A fraudulent psychic cons himself into experiencing hallucinations and in terror murders his crippled assistant, believing him to be haunted.

When the mother of fourteen children boasts of her fecundity, she arouses the lethal wrath of the relatively infertile dictatorial matriarch.

A blonde maiden magically sprouts wings to free herself from rapists who are subsequently captured by policemen with lead in their shoes.

When a group of male travelers become stranded on a sandbar at high tide, one of them robs and murders a banker, absconding as well with his mistress.

An innocent traveler walks into a mythical village that appears only once a year, for only twenty-four hours, after disappearing several centuries before in response to a plague of witches.

A predatory general is brought to trial at the entrance to heaven and, before a tribunal of common people, is sentenced to death for his crimes against humanity, notwithstanding his claim to have served his country in over one hundred battles.

The princess who mysteriously loses her breasts becomes a man, prompting her outraged husband, the prince, to become a woman if the illusion of royal normalcy is to be preserved, causing so much confusion, both private and public, that both decide simultaneously to resume their original sexual identities.

A series of misfortunes prepare the protagonist for surprising good fortune.

In a dramatic night flight over mountains, the pilot of a single-engine plane fights threatening winds.

A gangster pirate deliberately sends false signals to ships on stormy nights to cause their destruction and then rob the wreckage until a sailor who survives a shipwreck takes revenge on the pirate by kidnapping him and then depositing him, bound up, in a dingy that is pushed out to sea.

One sister outfoxes the others in inheriting the bulk of their father's estate.

A worldly young blonde who leeches on a slightly less worldly sugar daddy boasts that "diamonds are a girl's best friend."

The dictator who rapes his virgin sister-in-law, cutting out her tongue to prevent her from reporting the crime to his wife, in turn suffers revenge when the mute woman kills his eldest male child, her nephew, and serves the boy's roasted body at a royal feast.

A happily married contemporary couple get into a marriage-shattering fight after viewing a film about life on a primitive island.

A married woman teases her former rival-in-love about her inability to find a husband, while the audience recognizes that the single woman actually has the more fortunate life.

The wife of a dead gangster reluctantly marries his slayer who is tormented by memories of his yet undetected crime and is induced to confess when he suspects, several months later, that his ex-wife's child might have actually been fathered by her previous husband.

A reluctant bridegroom jumps out of a ground-floor window in order to escape marriage and, he thinks, swift divorce.

After two political dissidents are beheaded, their widows, on hand to claim their husbands' bodies, argue passionately over which torso belongs to which head.

A chorus girl, in love with the theater's assistant manager, gently resists the amorous advances of an electrician whom she also knows as the assistant manager's best friend.

A repellingly ugly beggar inexplicably attracts a series of stunningly attractive women.

An alienated, hyper-sensitive intellectual, adrift in a disorienting post-War city, is arrested on unspecified charges and tried by hooded, anonymous judges.

A cunning con-man from the city gets provincial farmers to supply him first with liquor and then women.

A prim young woman is hired by a profligate monarch to teach writing and 'rithmetic to the children of his wives and concubines.

A young man, spurned by his girl friend, retires to a monastery only to discover that, because of insufficient piety, he must return to a sensual reunion with his apologetic lover.

When a man accidentally encounters the greatest love of his life, whom he mistakenly rejected twenty years before, each is them is prompted to remember the affair and their lives since.

A provincial Moslem woman who learns about feminist emancipation during marriage abandons her polygamous husband in the dead of night, goes to the city for an education, and becomes a scientist honored on her triumphant return home.

Even in the daytime, a young woman imagines herself pursued by a man with a whip and a woman armed with a baseball bat.

When a food wholesaler breaks his promise to marry a farmer's daughter, the young woman, no longer a virgin, decides to leave her family and, once alone in the city, establish a competing business.

A frustrated government clerk impersonates the chief of police in order to arrest something untouchable to the regular police--the mayor of the town.


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