Literature 3-1-2010

mnLIT presents: Rodney Nelsestuen

Rodney Nelsestuen's short story, "Philippe," his second selected for the 2009 cycle of miniStories, was chosen by author Lise Erdrich.



For her 30th birthday, Philippe brought Colette to Monte Carlo in the hope of staunching her depression. Arriving had been difficult. She, because of her depression, had not wanted to come, although her resistance was couched in the excuse she had nothing to wear. That was resolved with a few thousand Euro in Parisian shops on the way to Le Meridian Hotel. And with her spirits lifted, this morning, on the sunlit patio, Colette stepped carefully across the marble in spike-heeled sandals (these being the burnt orange) and one of the flowered miniskirt ensembles found during the stopover. This one, of a bronze tone, took the red of her hair in the sunlight. A rose graced either side of the buttoned see-through blouse, under which was a see-through halter of the same fabric, under which was the satisfying vision of the black bra straps that had excited Philippe when he observed her dressing. But now, he was watching her legs, as long as they had ever been in that skirt. The light of the sun through the skirt enlivened his imagination. He could see the crux of his affection cupped gently in the half mooned bosoms of her bottom. How many men across the patio observed the same: surreptitious glances past the fleshy shoulders of wives fat with success, forking breakfast sausages into their mouths and holding forth on one thing or another, while the artistry of Colette’s transparent miniskirt enlivened their libidos. She could be the door to many things.

Such beauty forced him to avert his eyes, which lit on the bulge of his abdomen that Colette had christened his gestative phase, one she hoped he’d not repeat in his father’s image.

But now there was the matter of her face. She was narrow of cheek and long of nose in a way that made her sleek as a greyhound in its prime. And yet, in that was the dilemma: foreshadowed red hair (vermillion) spreading as a color within her cheeks, across the bridge of the nose in the morning heat, then rising to the forehead, as in her mother’s permanent redness, a face divided in two, a north and south half of different colors that would etch their way into the permanence of a tattoo before she was fifty.  

And, as for him, the evidence of a man’s success lay in his stomach. A young man, of course, should not wear it in full; his should be an expanse between the ribs and the belt and across the body as portent. Only after true success, leveraging the capacity of its promise to gain favor with an official who could ensconce him in a job worthy of experience from which he could someday launch his political career, with Colette on his arm. He looked at Colette as the heat of the day rose in her face. He would have five, maybe seven, years before her beauty waned.


About the author: Rodney Nelsestuen has published more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. His writing has received recognition in several contests and includes three stage plays, four novels, a collection of creative nonfiction, and a short story collection. He is an instructor at The Loft Literary Center, and was a winner of the 2008 Loft Mentor Series competition. He has also been a judge in the Minnesota Book Awards contest in “Memoir and Creative Nonfiction.” Rod received his MFA from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota where he lives nearby with his wife Diane. For more information see:

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Rodney Nelsestuen

[color=#000010]Rodney Nelsestuen has published more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction.Hiswriting has received recognition in several contestsand includes two plays, numerous creative nonfiction works, four novels and a short story collection.He also writes professionally on business and technology. Rod as been an instructor at The Loft Literary Center, and was a winner in Creative Nonfiction in the Loft Mentor Series competition. He has also been a judge in the Minnesota Book Awards …   read more