Selected Shorts: Music and a Minotaur

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Guest host Parker Posey presents two stories that kick the classics up a notch.

In the first, a manic maître’d boasts of the charms of a literary karaoke bar in “Customer Service at the Karaoke Don Quixote,” read by Nate Corddry.  Author Juan Martinez said he was inspired by weird start-ups to invent the craziest business ever.

It’s hard to know what the job description for the classic Minotaur would be, but in Stephen O’Connor’s strange re-telling, he’s going about his awful business of munching on humans, when he encounters a Goth girl who rocks his world.  In an interview with SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti, O’Connor talks about his process:

“Over the years I’ve come to have a great deal of respect for the unconscious mind; the unconscious mind is obsessed by the things you’re terrified about, so it’s the perfect guide to story writing.”

Terrifying as he is, in “Ziggurat” O’Connor humanizes his compelling, but grotesque, central character without sacrificing a cruelty that is “part of his mission.”  O’Connor has been published widely in literary magazines, including The New Yorker (where “Ziggurat” first appeared) Antioch Review, Electric Literature, and the Partisan Review.  His books include Here Comes Another Lesson, Orphan Trains, and Will My Name Be Shouted Out?

“Rocky Horror Picture” show icon Tim Curry breathes life into another monster in this read.

Listen to the interview between Stephen O'Connor and Hannah Tinti here.

“Customer Service at the Karaoke Don Quixote” by Juan Martinez; performed by Nate Corddry

“Ziggurat” by Stephen O’Connor; performed by Tim Curry

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at