Revolving Crab in the Road


Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about deception by Hec Lampert-Bates.

Hec Lampert-Bates is a writer from Guelph, Ontario, now living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is interested in surrealist and bizarro fiction. He is also very interested in film making and enjoys watching odd films. Hec plays the violin and reads in his free time, particularly short fiction and poetry. He is a Go player.

Hec has been writing for about two years. He is putting together a collection of nine short stories and one novelette, which he hopes to publish soon. His stories can be found in Alternate Route Journal, CafeLit, and one to be published in Fleas on the Dog, and he won the 2022 Bill Avner Creative Writing Award for his work on two stories.

‘Revolving Crab in the Road’ follows a traveller as he has a strange encounter with a village and its lemon tree.



Frunk Tilberscruddy was out of lemons. Several times this morning he had despaired about a lack of citrus to curl his gums. He’d thrice wrenched around his purple hiker’s bag, but all that grazed his fingers were a large sack of coins and a bushel of crushed bananas the same colour as his pack. He concluded that starting that day, the eighty-fifth of his journey, he’d have to search for more.

Frunk had been wandering for the past twelve weeks. He’d left his Fairton Valley house in a hurry, although any urgency had crumbled into the dust that had invaded his purple hiker’s boots and sanded his toes. But through all his confusion and fruitless exploration, he held onto a slip of paper his late great uncle Trunk had left to him. He pulled it from his bag in lieu of a lemon.

The Flask of Piskabelli (to kill all wounds)

Frunk was confused. He didn’t like riddles, especially ones that sent him on a twelve-week quest for a thing he didn’t want, to kill the things he wore with pride − two scars that ran down his left cheek.

Frunk looked up from the paper to admire the meadow he’d found himself in and was convinced of the place’s hoaxery. As he walked past a pond with even rocks as a beach, he fiddled with fronds of high grass which grew in waves. One step, stems sprawled leafy digits to tickle his chin, and the next, they hardly rose past the soles of his boots.

He walked on, to the line of lemon trees on the other side, each bent with fruit for a village. Their leaves twitched in winds too high to feel. Frunk’s mouth drooped and he staggered towards them. Rocks grew to brush his knees and rake his calves until he fell, lemonless teeth first, through a high thorn bush into what we posthumously named Espest Road.

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