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Fall 2022

 

Dear Reader,

Writers find themselves wordless in very few instances. But in the case of a friend gone too soon, a man we all knew in different ways, but in one thing the same, a writer who will never be replaced, it’s hard to find words. Yet there is much to write. And for Stephen T. Vessels, a man who defied categorization, we all of us, had a story to write for him. And all of us are so very proud to have our words printed here with one of Stephen’s last and best stories, now published for the first time, The Ki Trees. 


So what exactly is the Fifth Fedora? In its simplest terms, it is an anthology of stories inspired by the work and persona of Stephen. He was a man known for many things, the least significant but most iconic of which may be the fedoras he liked to wear, if not his abiding love of Scotch or the fifth dimension he appeared to inhabit, defying all attempts to induct him into the time stream of mundane mortals. His own stories, likewise, defied generalization. Some fantasy, some sci-fi, some noir, a delightful melange of tentacles and alien detectives and albino alligators lurking in post-apocalyptic sewers. And so here we’re happy to represent stories that Stephen himself might’ve liked to read. 


We’d like to thank Stephen’s family, especially his sister, Annette Lagunes, who has been an advocate for his work and so very generous with his friends. We also owe Maryanne Knight a profound thanks for her help as associate editor. Her eagle-eye is worth a thousand spell-checks. Silver would like to thank Stephen himself, for his generous heart and many late-night conversations about writing. Jack would like to thank two of Stephen’s mentors, who have pieces featured here, John Reed and Monte Schulz, and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, where Stephen and many of us featured here came together to form a vibrant literary community. Late nights and merciless critique sessions inspired Stephen to amplify his mystic voice, and may we all ride the frenzied emanations created in his wake.


Among those who toil over the strange business of alchemizing the imagination into words, the last act of love must be story telling. These stories, then, are for Stephen, the man in the hat. As he might’ve said, “May his tribe ever increase.”

Best,
Silver Webb &  Jack Eidt
Editors

Le Menu
 

Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy, Oi Oi Oi
by Zane Andrea


A Million Lost Souls Plus One    
by Christina Lay


Fallen Angels
by Max Talley


It’s Up to You
by John R. Reed

The First Death
by Silver Webb


Nutcracker and the Shapeshifter    
by Jack Eidt


Son of the Sea    
by Avery Faeth

The Dragon’s Wing    
by Maryanne Knight


From the Journal of Dr. Eduard Charivari    
by Monte Shulz


The Ki Trees
by Stephen T. Vessels


The Lost Fedora
by Rick Shaw

Lucky Charms
by Frederick Williams


The Lakeshore Lounge
by Cheryl Owen-Wilson

Good Swampers
by Chris Casey Logsdon

The King of Bones
by Eric Witchey


La Serpiente
by Cynthia Ray


Angel in my Corner
by Stacy Allen


Unrequited Loss
by Elizabeth Engstrom