No Small Tales - Kissing Babies


Periodically over the last few years, Mangesh and I have talked about trying some short stories on the _floss. Today, we're finally getting into it by kicking off a brand feature: No Small Tales.

Once a month, in conjunction with, we'll be bringing you a wonderful, new short story by a talented, up-and-coming author you probably haven't heard of yet, but no doubt soon will.

There are many fine webzines and lit fiction sites online, like, where you can find pantloads of well wrought original stories and poetry. But very few general interest magazines, or their sister sites like mental_floss, dare to publish fiction any more. Indeed, if you don't subscribe to The Atlantic Monthly or The New Yorker, chances are you aren't getting much by the way of short stories at all. No Small Tales is here to change that, starting today.

To kick the feature off, we're proud to present Ravi Mangla's "Kissing Babies." (Mangla's bio found at the end of the story.) Set in a slightly surreal version of the early 20th century, "Kissing Babies" is about a politician named Charles Katz running for office against the likes of Al Smith, John Nance Garner, George White, and quite possibly FDR.

But where does fact end and fiction begin? When Katz passes Missouri Senator James Reed in the polls, William Hearst hires three private eyes to scrape up some dirt to attack Katz with. Did the media mogul actually do stuff like that in real life? How well do you know the US presidential election of 1932? How much of Mangla's short is based on fact, and how much is invented?

Give "Kissing Babies" a read and find out. And for more great short stories, head on over to Meantime, if you like our new feature, drop a comment below and let us know.

Kissing Babies by Ravi Mangla The name Kittens couldn't be taken seriously. It had a Pavlovian tendency to dredge up memories from childhood, of the kitten that got caught up in the tree and had to be carried down by the volunteer fireman or the kitten that pawed the spokes of the Concord stagecoaches that brattled down main street. At twenty-one, he lopped off the surname that had plagued so many generations of his family and let himself be known as Charles Katz, a name, in his opinion, more befitting of a public official. {click here to read the rest}