‘Offside Constantly’ by Camille Bordas

Offside Constantly by Camille Bordas, 2021

The magic trick:

Using an obituary motif to anchor the story

Minimum plot. Maximum ennui.

It seems more and more that this is the modern short story. But wasn’t that also the Ann Beattie shot story of the 80s too? Are we back there? Are we that bored?

Possibly the answer is yes to all of the above.

I’ve liked the other Bordas stories I’ve read previously better than this one, though I’d say “Offside Constantly” is still worth your time.

The story is anchored by an obituary motif. It accomplishes several things. It allows us to note a specific manifestation of our narrator’s grief; it’s an almost-funny way to highlight our narrator’s peculiar state of depression; and it simply casts an appropriately morbid cloud over the entire story.

And that’s quite a trick on Bordas’s part.

The selection:

I read a lot about famous people and how they died. Or just what diseases they had. I started with actors and writers, but now I’m down to congressmen. Painters, too, I read a lot about, but only because my brother has so many books about them. (Is it “has” or “had”? The brother is gone, but the books are still here.) My brother loved painters, paintings. Me, I don’t really know what to do with a painting, how long I’m supposed to look at it. I prefer movies. Before I watch a movie, I check how long it will last.

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