Chase Us: Stories
New Harvest/Houghton Mifflin
“Chase Us,” is from Sean Ennis’s debut collection CHASE US: STORIES (New Harvest/Houghton Mifflin). Ennis’s fiction has appeared in Tin House, Crazyhorse, The Greensboro Review, The Good Men Project, and the Best New American Voices anthology, among others. He lives in Mississippi.
Ennis said this about his story: I began “Chase Us” with two things on my mind: the image of a person blowing smoke into a baby carriage, and the beginning of the Gospel of Luke.
I can’t say specifically where the baby carriage idea came from, but I liked imagining characters who made a performance of their smoking habit, rather than crowding in inconvenient and rare corners to indulge it. Cigarettes are nasty, expensive, deadly objects, but also a great symbol for the invincibility most young men imagine they possess. Don’t smoke, kiddos, but, by all means do something taboo every once in a while. These characters want correction, and can barely get that.
“Chase Us” is not a religious story, but I’ve always loved the beginning of Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus collects his apostles with a few casual fishing tips, and Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John–even Judas–give up everything to follow him. I’m intrigued by what a modern version of that familiar, but fundamentally wild, story might look like.
It strikes me now though that I borrowed the gospel structure entirely for this story. Clip woos followers with miracles and obscure philosophy, is murdered, and then ascends out of a city park. The narrator and Roger are left, like Peter and Paul, to make sense of the message. Looking for a savior, they found something a bit more complicated.