The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Month: July 2014

Friedrich Nietzsche Ruined My Life by Leonard Crosby

Friedrich Nietzsche Ruined my Life

Leonard Crosby

I ran into her on the steps of the Yerba Buena gardens, across from St. Patrick’s. At first my mind refused to believe it. Told me calmly, your mother lives in South Dakota, she can’t be in San Francisco. It’s just some other red-haired, middle-aged women who also happens to own a golden retriever—

“Well hey!”


“Hi honey, how are ya?” She put her arms out to embrace, the leash looped on a wrist.

“Wait, what—”

“How are you doing sweetie?”

“Good, good, I’m just . . . What are you doing here?”

She came in for a hug. For a moment I thought she might have been some crazed look-alike but was too shocked to move. When we embraced, I knew for sure. Had that mom smell. Clean laundry, Panteen-Pro-V, and the slightest hint of fifteen-year-old perfume. Moose sniffed my leg excitedly.

“Well I meant to call you, but with the flight and packing and everything I just couldn’t. And running into you on the street? Small city huh?”

“You’re out visiting?” I said.

“No, I’m moving here.”

“You’re what?”

“Moving to SF. I just got in yesterday.”

“But that’s crazy. Where’s dad?”

“Oh your father,” she said, with a tilt of her head. “Well honey, I’m sorry to say, but we got divorced.”


“Well not really, not yet, it’s still in the works. But we’re going to.”

“Mom, you’re serious?”

“Well yes, honey. Look I’m sorry. But it just had to be. I couldn’t go on living like that.”

I swept a hand over my face. “Jesus, what happened?”

She rested her free hand on her hip. “Well, I’ll tell ya. I woke up three weeks ago and realized I just had to get out of that life. Now I love your father, but he’s not a growing man. He’s not gonna try new lifestyles, or push himself. Because of that we just don’t fit anymore. But he’ll be all right. He’s got the house. And he can go back to fishing if he wants.”

“Stop stop stop. You’re serious? You left dad and flew to San Francisco? And you took the dog?”

“Well you know your father, he doesn’t take care of any of the animals. Besides he’ll be out on the boat a lot. Your Jason’s already found him a crew in Alaska.”

“Mom! How did this happen?”

“Honey calm down and I’ll tell ya. I was talking with Sharon—one of the nurses I work with at the VA—and she told me about this philosophy class she was taking—see she going back to finish her B.S. in per-dentistry—anyway, it was all about this German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche—”

“Christ not Nietzsche—”

“Yes that’s the one! You’ve heard of him?”

“Yes, mom.”

“So maybe you know what I’m talking about. Well, I got to reading some of his stuff. Pretty confusing at first. But Sharon explained about the Will to Power and all that, how it was really about self-actualizing yourself, about self-overcoming. You know, taking on new challenges and experiences. At first it seemed so wrong, what with his rejecting Christianity and all that. But I lay up thinking all one night about how I’d been raised Lutheran, how all those ideas got forced on me when I was little and didn’t know better and I just snapped. I sat up and thought, hell, I’ve been holding myself back all this time. Working forty hours a week and raising kids for thirty years. Time for something new. I’ve lived in nothing but small towns, why not see the city? I’ve been married, why not be single? Why not try painting or take up ballet again? Hell why not sleep around, maybe meet some younger men?”

“Oh lord—”

“Or a girl even, I’ve never done that. Always thought about it. So I figured San Francisco would be perfect. Plus you’re here.”

“So you really are moving SF?”

“Well yeah, where else? I’m certainly not gonna stay in Hot Springs.”

I shook my head. “Mom you can’t do this.”

She pointed a pale finger at me. “Now don’t start. You of all people shouldn’t be trying to limit my reality.”

“Mom, wait. What, what about Emily?”

“Oh your sister’ll be fine. She’s an adult now. And she’s in college.”

“She’s only eighteen! And she’s in Minneapolis, all alone.”

“Oh come on now, she’s in a dorm. I’d hardly call that alone. Don’t worry honey, she’ll be fine, she’s a smart girl. Oh stop looking at me like that.”

“I just can’t believe it. You’ve been married for thirty years.”

“Only twenty eight. And I enjoyed most of it, I’ll give you that. Your father was a good husband. But now I’m ready to move on. And I’m so tickled I meet you out here, taking Moose for a walk. Say, you want to see my new place?”

“You’ve already got a place?”

“Yeah, in Nob Hill. I’m sharing an apartment with two other divorcées, Sharon and Kate. They’re real sweethearts. They’re taking me out dancing tonight. Well what’s the matter? Aren’t you happy to see me? Say, what are you doing here anyway?”

“I was meeting someone.”

“A girl?”

I sighed. “Yes.”

“See? You’re doing it too. Have you read Nietzsche?”

“Yes, mom. So what are you gonna to do then?”

“Oh well I’ve got a job at the city hospital for now, but I’m going to go back to school next fall. I got into CCA, just like you! Maybe we’ll be in some of the same classes. I’m starting with painting and theater . . .” She gestured to cross the street. “Come on, I’ll show ya the apartment.”

I followed her in a daze, my date forgotten.

For the next week my life came to a standstill. Every day I skipped writing classes and cut homework helping her get settled in Nob Hill. Then I saw her less and less as she made friends at the hospital and started going out with her roommates more and more. Three weeks later, after being incommunicado for a week, I was at the Makeout Room, on a Friday, with my friend Paul.

“Bro,” he said, nudging my elbow at the bar. “Check out that red-haired cougar on the dance floor.”

Hating too, but drawn by some force beyond my control, I turned to look. There she was, in a green skirt and heels, salsaing with a tall man with slicked back hair.

“Too old for me,” Paul said. “But she’s certainly got some moves.”

“Bartender,” I screamed. “Double whiskey. Now!”

“Hey man, are you OK?”

“No, I’m not OK, we need to get the fuck out of here. As soon as I drink this.”

“What the fuck’s the matter dude? Do you know that lady?”

“Yes . . . No. She’s my . . . Oh goddamn you, you syphilitic bastard.”

“Who the fuck are you talking to?”

“Look,” I said, spreading my hands out on the bar top. “All I’m gonna say is, fuck, man, Friedrich Nietzsche ruined my life.”

Paul put his hands up. “Who the fuck is Fred Nietzsche?”

“Trust me bro,” I said, head bowed. “You don’t want to know.”

Leonard Crosby is a writer, tutor, and gardener living in Oakland, CA. His fiction has appeared inFiction BrigadeSamizdat Literary JournalStar82 Review, Hothouse Magazine, and Eleven Eleven. He co-hosts the One Lone Pear Tree reading series in San Francisco. He can be contacted at:

Poetry by T.J. Cheverie

T.J. Cheverie is an emerging Canadian poet living in Pemberton, British Columbia. In 2012 he won the Mayor’s Poetry Challenge in Whistler for his poem ‘Time’. More recently, he has been published in several literary journals and magazines. He is currently hard at work dreaming and contributing daily to the human story. Follow him @AuthorTJC or connect with him at

Things That Make Us Furious – Open Call for Submissions

By The Furious Gazelle editors


Life can be annoying. Infuriating, even. There’s a reason we call ourselves The Furious Gazelle. We have a new column, called Things That Make Us Furious, dedicated to highlighting the annoyance, pitfalls, and humor of existence. And we want you to contribute.

You may have already seen how Times Square makes e. kirshe “a thing of fury, loathing all,” or from Tess Tabak how surviving NYC publishing can make one furious. These are two examples of what we are looking for, but don’t feel limited in topic, style or format.

Submissions should be under 800 words, funny, and filled with fury. However, we’re not looking for rants — let your rage fuel your ideas, not consume them.

If you’d like to submit, or run an idea by us, e-mail us at We may offer suggestions or feedback.

The Incalculable Distance Between Earth and the Stratosphere

By Katie Simpson



He left us last night,

bag in hand and


this world at 9 am,

burning his

way through

the stratosphere.

Each time, Billy

claps as Daddy’s

rocket presses

through, I sit

back, my

throat catches.

Breath returns only

when he’s a spec,

safe in the dark.

Continue reading

The Ways in Which Times Square Makes me Furious

By e. kirshe

A disclaimer: Before you read the title and offer genuine advice about avoiding such an infuriating place I will tell you that, sadly, I work there and must navigate those putrid streets daily.

It has been slowly eating my soul.

To some Times Square is the beating heart of the city. It is alive with light and energy and conveniently towards the middle (like a heart!). The people who think this are tourists and they make me furious.

To tourists: I understand, I really do, that you’ve traveled, sometimes far, to be here and it’s all very new and exciting. What I don’t understand is why that makes you so damn rude.

That’s right, it’s not us, it’s you.

Continue reading

Poetry by Jessica Robinson

Jessica Robinson is a young Canadian writer based in the city referred to as “The City Above Toronto” who spends her time watching people and trying to do them justice on paper. She has had poetry published with Purple Pig Lit and literary non-fiction published with True Blue magazine. Her twitter handle is @hey_jeska

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