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Hey, remember The Fourth of July, 2003? We don't, but found this in our archives:

Fourth of July Fourthiness.

Independence is on the march, patriots.

& Recently . . .

Kurt Cobain's Ghost with an Invitation to a Fourth of July Picnic and Fireworks by Angela Genusa

"B.L.T.": A Review by Will Layman

Ten Tiny Poems by Brian Beatty

Angry Words from a Gnome Who to This Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project Was Actually The Human Gnome Project by David Ng

Key Party, N.Y.C., Circa Always by William K. Burnette

A Day on the Phone with Mythological Norse Firewarrior, Bringer of Storms by Aaron Belz

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Tuesday, September 2, 2003   |    Fiction

The Nose

by Josh Abraham

Ever since Wanda, my ex-fiancée, broke off the engagement in order to pursue her lifelong dream of marrying a marine biologist, I’d been keeping my bathtub fully stocked with goldfish, catfish, neon tetras, guppies—pretty much anything piscine and cheap. I stopped eating fish too, even lox—and I loved lox. My fish fervor had become irrational, unreasonable, and uncontrollable; friends were diagnosing me obsessive-compulsive, even borderline psychotic. I knew full well that Wanda was not coming back to me, no matter how much I surrounded myself with low-cost sea life. Plus, 50-cent fish live notoriously short life spans, and replenishing my tank with fresh fish every day quickly became something of an economic burden. But still, almost every day I found myself inevitably returning to the pet store to reload on goldfish or guppies, fully aware that something else would likely be floating belly up in my tub when I returned home.

After six months of daily burials by flushing, I’d finally conked out my pipes, and the plumber had to uproot the septic tank in my backyard. A crew of fix-it guys was called in for the big dig. I sat on my bathroom floor, watching my surviving guppies swim around while the dig got underway.

The workmen didn’t get two scoops into the earth before they’d hit an obstacle: something big and hard and mineral; more than that, they couldn’t guess what. I took one look at the beige rocky growth protruding from the soil, and, somehow, I knew in my heart what they’d found.

I looked up a local Egyptologist in the yellow pages and he confirmed my suspicions. It was the estranged nose of the Great Sphinx of Giza. How it got buried in my backyard is anybody’s guess.

I really wish Wanda were still around. She had always a thing for marine biologists, sure, but what really got her hot and bothered were inexplicable, continentally displaced archeological relics. You should have seen her when we fell into one of King Solomon’s mines on the shores of Rockaway Beach.

Josh Abraham was born in Algeria in 1913. He spent his early years in North Africa, working various jobs—in the weather bureau, in an automobile-accessory firm, in a shipping company—to help pay for his courses at the University of Algiers. As a young journalist, his report on the unhappy state of Muslims in the Kabylie region aroused the Algerian government to action and brought him public notice. From 1935 to 1938 he ran the Théâtre de l'Equipe, a theatrical company that produced plays by Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevski. During World War II he was one of the leading writers of the French Resistance and editor of Combat, then an important underground newspaper. Abraham's fiction, his philosophical essays, and his plays have assured his preëminent position in modern French letters. In 1957 Abraham was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His sudden death on January 4, 1960, cut short the career of one of the most important literary figures of the Western world when he was at the very summit of his powers. No, wait. That was Albert Camus.