Pauls Toutonghi – Evel Knievel Days

Butte, Montana to Cairo, Egypt — in one great leap.

Purchase Short Stories

This suite of stories represents some of my work in the short fiction genre over the past decade. The diversity of the stories — in tone, in content, in setting, in voice — reflects my ongoing experimentation with the form. I feel like the short story is an evolving thing, and my relationship with it necessarily changes as my reading — and writing — tastes change, as well.


Regeneration.” Aerial bombardment degraded the infrastructure of Berlin during the last years of the Second World War. One RAF raid hit the Berlin Zoo, killing seven elephants — which presented a problem for the German authorities: how would they clean up the elephants’ bodies without a viable workforce or a functioning infrastructure or any resources, at all?

Hulbert Hecht is a boy who volunteers to help — and his story unfolds against the broader story of wartime Berlin. Click here to purchase.


STORY 1: “The New and Best Rule for Sandwich.”

Synopsis: A young man graduates from Syracuse University with a degree in Peace Studies — and is confronted with the age-old quandry: What next? He decides to scrap the pizza delivery job and move to Latvia — where he doesn’t speak the language…

STORY 2:The Scrap Metal Mafia.”

Synopsis: A writer travels through the republics of the former Soviet Union checking on the recipients of grants from a DC-based agency. What he finds in Kazakhstan shocks and surprises him; the mafia is more prevalent than he’d imagined.

STORY 3: “They Rise! They Rise!” 

The Saratov Funeral Home in The Bronx, NY is the backdrop for this morbidly funny story, set in 1969. The Russian mob, gambling, lost corpses, mortuary science, and The Miracle Mets.

STORY 4: “A Cubist Genealogy.”

The genesis of this story was an anecdote I heard about Picasso’s early life. It made me think a bit about the nature of storytelling — and how a cubist moment might be preserved by fragmentary narrative. I drew on my grandfather’s experiences in World War One, building a narrative that has some truth — and some lies — all in service of the larger story.

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