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3 Stories of God

38 The child wanted to name the rabbit Actually, and could not be dissuaded from this. It was the first time one of our pets was named after an adverb. It made us uncomfortable. We thought it to be bad luck. But no ill befell any of us nor did any ill befall the people […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, Tin House Books

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Ancient Ham

Once a year the Ancient Ham crawls out of the sewer to sit on a curb and answer questions. People line up down the block. Before the Ancient Ham will answer, they have to poke it: they bring offerings—small sewing needles decorated with beads or feathers or floss.  When the Ancient Ham reaches needle capacity, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Drought

Lindy’s yard was studded with containers of rainwater: buckets, trashcans, a red wagon, rubbery industrial barrels that once held Greek olive oil. Already, blossoms were budding on the nectarine tree. Winter in California is a brief affair. One day as Lindy was putting her kids in the car, she glanced at the wheelbarrow half-filled with […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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The Histories

1 She thought that the moment was probably supposed to be poignant—when she discovered the origins of her name—but since she was sitting on the toilet when she read the letter it lacked elevation. Henceforth, when she imagined her name, she saw it written out in her father’s slanty cursive beneath a harsh yellow light […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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St. Monica’s

She was late to the Mass dedicated to her boyfriend’s late mother, who died just two months before her father. Stepping into St. Monica’s, making sure her heels didn’t click too loudly, she saw him—Matt the Agnostic—In the very back pew. She slid in next to him. “You told me it was on East 81st,” she hissed. “It’s actually […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Women Be Wise

You and I had not seen each other for decades when we decided to meet, with our husbands (acquired in the meantime), at an old hotel built during the gold rush. Of the two of us, you had changed least, looking much the same as the pretty girl I remembered from Maine, an only child, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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O. Vulgaris

I hatch. I slip out of my egg cell after tearing through its skin. Slowly, I sink. My arms uncurl. I float. I sink. I float. Hovering over the sandy floor, I see above me the other eggs strung together. Milky pearls hanging from the scratchy rock like necklaces, like clusters of alien grapes. And […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Mireille Enos Owns Malta, Montana

One day Quetzalcoatl would pay tribute to Mireille Enos. Quetzalcoatl ran the fabled motel and had grown up at the motel. More recently, he’d given testimony. Now it was up to her PA, Mireille Enos’s PA, to arrange a suitable occasion to pay tribute. After sprinkling a dozen small curses—hazelnut laid side by side—Mireille Enos […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Eleven Hours: An Excerpt

No, the girl says, she will not wear the fetal monitoring belt. Her birth plan says no to fetal monitoring.

Posted in Fiction, Tin House Books

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Two Weeks Since

Walks up back road, holding on to hat, what he calls a skimmer, sees first one horse then another. Walks on. Climbs gate, jumps, lands wonky. Heart is huge. The lake captivates a loosening rain cloud. Thinks of twilight, privet hedges and a bookcase falling forward. Wishes for something. Raises hem out of the muck. […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Marie-Helene Bertino Buys a Bookshelf

For reaching a human milestone, I am given five credit card gift certificates, imprinted with numbers, each containing a different amount of money. Sensing improved finances, my bookshelf surrenders against the weight it’s been expected to carry, sending books tizzying across the floor. I ask everyone, where should I buy a new one? Shelf Barn, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Ghosts of Bergen County: An excerpt

There were no witnesses except the woman who’d been up all night…

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction, Tin House Books

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In the Massif Central

From the Faith issue, an excerpt from Michael Helm’s forthcoming novel After James, out from Tin House Books in September 2016. Since the summer Celia turned twelve her father had taken her on expeditions. He led teams of interchangeable members, opening plague pits in London, coring ice in Siberia, hose-blasting permafrost in the far north to find […]

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction, From the Magazine

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Little Girl

She slept with men who only wanted to play Settlers of Catan. She slept with law students who had framed copies of the Constitution on their bedroom walls. She slept with sound architects, sound engineers, and the second baseman from her softball league. She hardly ever slept. Sometimes she took a pill, but often she […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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The People in the Castle

He gave an exclamation of astonishment, for at the back of her mouth he could see something white sticking up. He cautiously pulled it further forward with his forceps and discovered that it was the end of a long piece of cotton wool. He pulled again, and about a foot of it came out of her mouth, but that seemed to be nowhere near the end. He glanced at the girl in astonishment, but as she appeared quite calm he went on pulling, and the stuff kept reeling out of her throat until there was a tangle of it all over the floor.

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction

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Departed

My husband Jack worked at the steel mill. The smell of diesel and sweat followed him home every afternoon like I once did, three years ago. He tucked his hands deep in his pockets the first time I saw him, so that I wouldn’t see the black half moons that wove under his fingernails. Ashamed, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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My Jesus Year

A week after I turned thirty-three, I was listening to cello music on internet radio, contemplating that this was my Jesus year, when my roommate called to say she’d found this dog wandering alone, tagless, no collar, by the Hudson River. She’s sweet and friendly my roommate said. What should I do? Don’t bring her […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Uta’s Escape

Two days before the synchronized swimming nationals, our Flyer vanished. I don’t mean she didn’t show up to training, and I don’t mean she left the pool through a door and didn’t re-enter the door. In the ninth hour of training, we threw Uta Franke into the air and Uta Franke did not land. The […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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The Best Buy on Reserve

At the Best Buy on Reserve, I saw my future self in line to buy an Xbox. He had twenty years and fifty pounds on me, and he’d lost his hair. But he was me; I recognized myself, like you can recognize your red Outback in a parking lot full of them. I don’t play […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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Neighborhood Notes: Rewind

The diabetic alcoholic across the street had lost all limbs by now. He only came out anymore for Medi-Van transport to dialysis. It took two strong men to hoist him and his wheelchair down the splintered wooden front stairs. He lived alone with his aging mother, who never came out to wave goodbye. That mother? […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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The Coyote’s Bicycle: An Excerpt

  For readers of Jon Krakauer and Susan Orlean, The Coyote’s Bicycle brings to life a never-before-told phenomenon at our southern border, and the human drama of those that would cross.   Prologue: EVERYBODY LOVES A BIKE   This is the story of several thousand bicycles that made an incredible journey. They were very ordinary, used bicycles. […]

Posted in Fiction, Tin House Books

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Fable of the Man by the Water

A man stops and stares at the water for a long time, looking for something. A while later, he walks away. You see him from a distance. You are sitting, watching, you realize, the man watching the water. Did he find what he was looking for? You decide to approach the water to see if you can find it […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fidelity

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Grandma’s Sex Robot

Grandma calls her sex robot Sony. We tell her that’s just the company who makes it. “Well,” she says, “he looks like a Sony. Doesn’t he?” We tell her he doesn’t. We tell her ‘he’ looks like an automaton with silver skin and copper eyelashes, which is exactly what he is, one of many mass […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Seeing Red: An Excerpt

  blackmail (Urgent to have a break between us. We’ll be right back after the break, as the movies during the dictatorship used to announce before kidnapping the steamy scenes that never came back. A long break and then we’ll see, I thought in the midst of uneasiness. A time without seeing each other and […]

Posted in Fiction

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Breakfast

There are thick pieces of toast, but his mother is absent, even though she did place the plate in front of him and now leans against the counter watching him eat. In fact, she is waiting for him to ask for something: more butter, another flavor of jam, cinnamon, a different knife—one without these small […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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