about the author

Thomas Genevieve is a teacher living in New Jersey. He has been writing fiction, with a specific focus on short stories, for about six years. His work appears or is forthcoming in the Broadkill Review, the Baltimore Review, the Green Briar Review, Adelaide Literary Magazine, and the Sierra Nevada Review, among others. When he is not writing, he maintains a steady diet of the cultural arts.

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The Lenape Situation  

Thomas Genevieve


The report said the Lenape was holed up in the apartment with several hostages. Their identities could not be confirmed. The news also said he was clad in a beaver pelt and turned the room into a sort of teepee, which was why the windows were blacked out. But then a person in the crowd said no one could confirm if there was an actual teepee, and no one was sure how many hostages he had. Other reports couldn’t confirm that he had any hostages. Everyone was pretty sure he was a Lenape though.

Everyone speculated on his origins, curious whether he was from the neighborhood. Despite many of the locals’ assertions they had not seen the man in question, one woman was rather positive she had, but quickly revised her statement when shown a picture of the suspect supposedly found online.

“No,” she said. “The one I was thinking of dressed more urban.” She then revised her revised statement. “Not ‘now’ urban. You know, ‘old’ urban.”

Rumors circulated as to what methods would be used to remove the Lenape from his encampment. Of all the rumors, the one with the most traction claimed that authorities were going to smoke him out. However, when the authorities heard this, they adamantly denied any such plans. They were impressed with the imagination, though, which then prompted a spokesperson to post a statement to social media. “All options, both conventional and imaginative, are still being explored.”


When the property developer arrived, he was well-received by the paparazzi. He immediately repudiated the notion that contractual obligations hastened what was now being called a “situation.” But since it took years for business associations to be forged, and all the paperwork had been submitted in a timely fashion, and contractual obligations with other business associates still needed to be met, such as the associates from whom the developer had leased the wrecking ball, it was not only ridiculous but unlawful not to proceed.

The landlord of the adjacent building, uninformed of, and excluded from, the aforementioned contracts and associations, took offense to the manner in which the matter had proceeded. Litigious threats were made by both parties and unpleasantries were soon exchanged. Not long after, sloppy punches were thrown.


Because the police commissioner’s loose lips were caught on a hot mic saying, only in jest, of course, that they should load a Brinks truck full of wampum for the Lenape, the mayor relieved the police commissioner of his duties.

“There’s no place for insensitivity in sensitive times,” the mayor said in a statement on social media.

Moments later he announced the commissioner’s successor, an appointment the mayor had hoped to make if given the opportunity. The mayor’s appointee, the unanimous choice among the generous donors of the mayor’s “Blight Needs Might” campaign, had attended a “Blight Needs Might” fundraiser in support of the mayor’s reelection campaign. The mayor took note that the future police commissioner ate all of his roasted asparagus and baby turnips before starting on his Delmonico steak, an act the mayor felt spoke volumes to a man’s character.

While the mayor exercised politics, baton-twirling boys in blue, jonesing for a showdown, stood behind the barricades and waited for the exposition to unfurl. On the other side of the barricades, lining the formerly hardscrabble streets, were the denizens of the New Belle Époque. Behind them were the children of the New Belle Époque, donning tutus and superhero jammies, spinning and rollicking in dizzying dances. A few blocks away from the situation was the 62nd Annual La Festa Italiana at St. Lucia’s Church. The crowd behind the barricade would eventually become distracted by the aroma of funnel cakes and zeppole.


The mayor had to defer to state officials, who then deferred to the feds, due to the age-old chain of command. Though the sloppy punches rarely connected with their intent, the developer and the landlord both needed medical attention. One had turned his foot in the sewer grate; the other had broken his pinky following an undignified swing and miss. Enough rumors swirled to calcify opinions on the Lenape Situation. Many threw up their hands as if to say, “Il n’y a pas plus sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre,” which sounds more beautiful to those who pretend to be Parisian intellectuals than, “People don’t listen if they don’t want to listen.”

The transient crowd continued to grow. People stayed long enough to prove they were there, then found their way to La Festa Italiana, where a cover band played songs by the Temptations, the Miracles, and Martha and the Vandellas, just to name a few. Aside from sugar-dusted fried dough, vendors also sold such treats as fried ravioli and sausage and peppers. Exiles, those who fled in the decades prior to the New Belle Époque, lit votives under a statue of St. Lucia, and once they descended the church steps, they beelined to the homemade cannoli.


The author has learned through the omniscience of the Internet that there is also a French proverb that goes, “Chacun voit midi à sa porte,” which translates to, “Everyone sees noon at his doorstep.” The author could not find the Algonquin translation.

The author also learned that according to one legend, Paschasius, the governor of Syracuse a long, long time ago, attempted to set St. Lucia on fire to no avail. But before she met her eventual death by sword, she proclaimed that the co-Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian would rule no more. In response, Paschasius, pissed as hell, gouged out her eyes.

About a millennium and a half later, the Lenape leader Chief Pachgantschilhilas, who, it is safe to say, never heard of St. Lucia, is known to have said, “I know the long knives; they are not to be trusted.”

One version of the St. Lucia legend wraps up with one hell of a denouement. Upon her burial, her eyes were miraculously restored.


Back along the barricades, the streets of the New Belle Époque were alive. Above, a drone hung in the evening’s dusk, waiting.

The commanding officer, a general, a career man with webbed veins mottling his sun-torched scalp, stood at a distance in starched fatigues.

Perched atop an approaching Caterpillar tractor were two soldiers. The general couldn’t confirm whether the two soldiers were actually consigned to him by the powers that be or just humble citizens with a sense of duty. It didn’t matter, the general decided, right before he gave the command, “Let’s move in!”

They were going to need some more heroes, and he knew that good heroes were hard to come by.

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