Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
Sabatino Nomano is tired from years of climbing tenement stairs to collect weekly payments on everything from a toaster to a leather couch – goods purchased from a catalog of weary photocopies he put together himself. Patient purveyor to some, cold-hearted peddler to others, he plods from one impoverished customer to another on aching knees he refuses to replace. His only colleagues are a bodyguard named Josie and Blackie Hauser, a fellow Vietnam vet turned thug who can be called on to rough up the late payers if needed.
Bedford writer Stuart Liss describes the main character in “Another Flight of Stairs” in a way that makes both his success and his desperation clear: “…people did not need peddlers like Sabatino any more than they needed the ice man, the egg man, or the milk man; but as long as there were slums with strivers fighting their way out…he would prosper.” But what Sabatino Nomano wants now even more than prosperity is respect. Like the kind his Vietnamese customer demonstrates with the ancestral shrine she has created in her apartment.
“Another Flight of Stairs”, by local author Stuart Liss, was originally published in the Lindenwood Review, the literary journal of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. It has been nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize, an American literary award that honors the best short fiction published in small presses over the prior year. Previous winners of the Pushcart Prize include, among others, Steven Barthelme, Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tim O’Brien. This year’s winners will be announced in May or June.