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Ted wanted to get The Last Supper tattooed right across his pale Irish ass. I told him losing Christ in the crack would be sacrilegious but he said, Jesus says light shines in dark places. His mom said she’d disown him if he did. His dad, At least now when you’re talking out of your […]
Y’all want something real. Y’all live in Austin, where autumn is one long festival weekend, and every thoroughfare is overhung with vinyl banners punched with holes so the wind can get to work, and y’all want out. Just for a weekend. Y’all want to leave behind the organic neighborhood Saturday markets and the middle-aged triathletes. […]
I teach the geology class that you go to in your dreams. I have never graded an assignment, scored a midterm. No one shows up until the day of the final exam. You must identify 3,827 types of rock indigenous to earth terrains and some space rock. That was our week five unit, which you […]
We sat on the steps waiting for the storm. Rachel spit watermelon seeds into the twilight. Lightning flashed behind a bank of clouds and I got to 10 before thunder rolled. “Hand me a slice,” I said. We slurped cold melon, searching for seeds. Juice trickled down our wrists. “Got one,” she said. “You?” I […]
She hung up to see her mother cannoning from the crowd, all four-foot-eleven-and-a-half of her, jaunty in her beret, her bling, her snow-blindingly new running shoes, hurrying toward them with a funny splay-foot walk that reminded Mary Rose of Maggie. Was that new?
When out looking for antlers in Wyoming in January, it is important to walk slow. You are not exercising, you are out looking for antlers, and antlers won’t appear to you if you are too focused on breaking a sweat. Your feet will slide on the snow where it is packed, and they will sink […]
Mary chose black, and I chose Baby Color. She was sunning on the dock, but her skin was still pale, paler against the black suit. If I pulled my straps down, I could find a tan line, at least something to bring home with me at the end of summer. I hated the suit my […]
Farid has never seen the sea, never gone in.
The sous chef has opinions, like frozen shrimp invite the devil in. He, Chef D, is second in command at the upscale Chinese restaurant where celebrities don’t eat, the one that is unquestionably better than the upscale Chinese restaurant where celebrities do, though it failed to make last year’s LA Times 101 Best. But LA is […]
This morning I found a black-and-white photograph of my father at the back of the bureau drawer. He didn’t look like a liar.
“Then what should it sound like?” Eliot asks. The swivel chair hisses as he stands. “Don’t’ be like this.” Claire shifts to the edge of their burnt orange couch. “Its not as if—” “You’re stepping out on me?” Eliot is still in hospital scrubs after his thirty-hour shift. He paces across the frayed rug to […]
The uniform skirts were heaped in the corner, almost all of them unbuttoned so that they didn’t even really look like skirts anymore but kind of like very large, very ugly party garlands. One skirt stood impossibly up on its own, its pleated frame starched into a kind of sentience. “I left everything in there,” […]
So I landed this gig and I started taking my little dog out to Rancho Mirage for the weekend, for some quality-time weekends, just him and me. And I lavished one-on-one attention on him with food and treats and playing and cuddling in a nice, clean, cool hotel room, and it was his little spa […]
Shirts (049. The Six Swans) I took in mending while you were gone. At first, it was a selfish endeavor: I stitched up both our clothes, repairing holes and frayed hems, so that when you came back we’d look smart enough to deserve our happiness. Then the neighbors took notice, and I began mending shirts […]
Coop leaned against the new quarter-panel and watched out the barn as the light fell onto the still-wet grass. He looked down at Tyler’s legs, sticking out from under the front of the vehicle. “Dew’s not burnt off yet,” he said. “What? Say something that makes some sense. Hand me the wrench.” Coop slid it […]
Sometimes his apartment smells of mold, soured milk, dirty socks, the piles of laundry, but really it is the forest-animal musk of a man who has lost some power. I add soy wax candles, my underwear in corners, a wood-handled hairbrush, and dozens of DVDs—Eraserhead, John Waters—things he hates to watch. We met on the […]
My mom has narcolepsy so she bought a student driver car with a steering wheel in the passenger side seat. Whenever she drives anywhere, I ride shotgun. If she falls asleep while she’s driving I’m supposed to elbow her awake. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes when she nods off instead of hitting […]
But likely you don’t believe in God’s truth.
They talked about writing important things. Some wrote very popular things and could talk so as to make the very popular things they wrote seem important. They winnowed. They channeled. They allowed for marginalia. Brown water, vomitus, sloshes up running boards, foams into door cracks, saturates floor mats. Engine side of the F-150 sinks first. […]
I almost don’t go to the the reading of my grandfather’s will, but it’s important to my sister. The lawyer reads my name and adds, “Scrimshaw, one,” and with both hands passes me a carving of a caribou antler—not one from a large bull, but a simpler cow’s. Tracing my finger along the almost-ivory, I […]
Fifty drunk teenagers in a backyard. The girls pair off by height: tall with tall; short with short. The night is balmy, blameless. Jonah Tate, whose backyard it is, makes a ring with white masking tape. Becky Brady stands in her corner, gloves limp at her sides. A boy whispers something in her ear and […]
The man of Small Island is dreaming of a wolf.
From our 2010 Winter Reading issue (#46), Dan Chaon’s To Psychic Underworld. Critter was standing outside the public library with his one-year-old daughter in his arms when he saw a dollar bill on the sidewalk. It came fluttering by, right next to his tennis shoe, carried by the wind along with a leaf. He hesitated […]
My doctor always asked how I would prepare it, the placenta. Powdered and encapsulated for my Yuki—two, three, four or more a day depending on my level of sadness and how much I believed the vitamins and hormones within the tissue would make me whole again. Pan fried and stuffed into dumplings for Toru. A […]
I was at the hibachi restaurant in the dream.