“Selection Week”
by hurmat kazmi
from the August 16, 2021 issue of The New Yorker

I’m behind posting this week (the last few weeks), but I think things will get better as the season changes. It’s been a very busy summer, and that was capped last week when my son had a surgery and was in the hospital for some days (all is great!). Hopefully things will calm down a bit and there will be more time — ha! But on with this week’s fiction.

I’ve never heard of hurmat kazmi (the lack of capitalization is deliberate, as that is the author’s preference), but from his interview with Cressida Leyshon I see he was born in Pakistan and served some time in the Air Force — which serves as inspiration for this story.

Here is how the story begins:

In the beginning, it was him and the gecko.

I was probably the only one in the room who saw it, my eyes secretly, partially, open. The fourteen other boys in the room stood obediently, bent over—their underpants at their ankles, bottoms hoisted in the air, like mine. Eyes shut. That was the only difference between me and them. Them and me.

Please let me know if you know anything else by kazmi. I’m, of course, looking forward to your thoughts on the story itself as well!

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