It hasn’t been too long since we last saw David Gilbert in The New Yorker. “The Sightseers” was published last November, and the commenters here were very mixed, some finding it just okay, some loving it (see the post here). It doesn’t appear he’s leaving the world of money and commercialism and corporatism in “Fungus.” Here’s how it opens:
The insurance check came in the mail. From Geico. With its big-eyed lizard mascot. A Cockney gecko. As though disaster should appeal to ironic children. There are no geckos in Portland, Oregon—or in East London, for that matter. Not their natural habitat. But there are geckos in South Carolina. Andrew remembered them. In the winter they would sneak indoors and hide near curtains, frozen like novelty rubber until roused, and then such speed. Of course the goal was to catch one, to hold it in your palms, a brief warm home, until boredom set in, after which you’d release it onto the porch. The crueller boys did worse. With tennis racquets. With windups into trees followed by whoops. Geckos lose their tails if captured endwise, probably their most famous trait. Autotomy is the term, Greek for “self-severing,” which Andrew had misread last week as “serving.” Self-serving? No, no, se-ver-ing, as in divide by cutting. Certainly an effective means of survival. To lose what has been caught. But why a gecko should come to represent an insurance company baffled him, beyond the obvious wordplay, which seemed weak even for advertising and was outdone only by the Aflac Duck.
I look forward to your thoughts on this story (and all of the others in the Fiction Issue!). Please share below!