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Chicago World's Fair, 1893
by Kyle Hemmings

art by Robinson Accola
art by Robinson Accola
An old flyer stated that the exposition covered two hundred and forty-three hectares. The city burned blue and smoky, exclaiming two-hundred thousand incandescent bulbs that glowed at once. Buildings in Jackson Park rose from their majestic shadows. Buffalo Bill shook hands with an amputee and offered him free admission. In dells and barbershops, men discussed a limping economy, while on a ballroom stage, the maharajah of Kapurthala sat yoga-style, his eyes transfixed, and somewhere on an East Bank terrace, a man reinvented himself as Phileas Fogg. He claimed electric charges sparking inside his body made him psychic. Then a waitress disappeared. Then a stenographer. Then a woman named Evelyn Stewart. In a hotel, chemical odors rose and ebbed. Perhaps a problem with the gas lines, said one patron. The perpetrator snuck up from behind, liked a safe distance, perhaps thinking that all his victims resembled his mother. He smothered the women with chloroform-soaked rags. Bodies were dumped in quicklime pits or shoved into kilns. By the Midway, a woman handed a man a gold cigarette case inlaid with diamonds. Later, she wrote to him, "I'm leaving you, Dearest, to find my way in the world. Over the streets, there was a whiff of bruised feelings, turning thick, becoming a fog. The fog expanded, covered a distance that was estimated to be slightly less than the circumference of the world, then lifted, left a fuzzy memory of a white city in its wake. There would be progress. There would be a new metropolis and another Chicago World's fair. There would be futurists and left-wingers. There would be other and more efficient gas chambers.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2015 by its authors.

Kyle Hemmings wishes he could play surf guitar like Dick Dale and sing Brian Wilson. On some days, he sings in the shower. His hero is R. Crumb. He lives and works in New Jersey.

Read the interview.

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.
Issue Twenty-Three (December 15, 2008): Ants by David Aichenbaum «» Earthrise by Christopher Bundy «» The World Before This One by Jon Chopan «» Ghost Bike by Thomas Cooper «» The Sway of Trains by Lydia Copeland «» Impressionists by Debra A. Daniel «» Danseuses Nues by David Harris Ebenbach «» The Head Fields by Terry Ehret «» Shadows by Sherrie Flick «» Heroin Girl by Larry Fondation «» She Doesn't Ask Where He Goes by Stefanie Freele «» Caved In by Barry Graham «» Chicago World's Fair, 1893 by Kyle Hemmings «» Coat and Shoes by Tania Hershman «» Thirteen by Tai Dong Huai «» Phoenix by W.P. Kinsella «» Nearly Free by Dorianne Laux «» Alien Lunch by Liane LeMaster «» The Society for the Preservation of Everything by Kuzhali Manickavel «» 216 East Boalt by Jeannie Vanasco «» Potatoes by Spencer Wise «» Interviews: David Aichenbaum «» Christopher Bundy «» Jon Chopan «» Thomas Cooper «» Lydia Copeland «» Debra A. Daniel «» David Harris Ebenbach «» Terry Ehret «» Sherrie Flick «» Larry Fondation «» Stefanie Freele «» Barry Graham «» Kyle Hemmings «» Tania Hershman «» Tai Dong Huai «» Dorianne Laux «» Liane LeMaster «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Spencer Wise «» Cover Art "morpheus" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor

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