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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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Wreck and Order: An Excerpt

We stumbled into a stranger’s party and danced until dawn and skinny-dipped in the ocean under a huge orange moon and set out on bikes with beer and sandwiches, riding equestrian trails through woods that led to sea cliffs, taking breaks to have sex in eucalyptus groves. Here was an answer to the question of what to do with my life.

Posted in Fiction, General

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Apocope

A friend of mine died last month. We weren’t particularly close, but I liked her a lot—we’d have coffee near Union Square every so often and she’d talk about her budding music career and I’d talk about my long-gestating novel. I tend not to enjoy unifying conversations about art that include me. I admire the […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Your Horoscope by Blakely and Jorg

Gemini—Two pairs of hands and you can’t do a fan dance? Frankly, I have no advice. You might have bathed babies, painted holiday eggs, but instead you leap naked and never touch.

Posted in Fiction, Poetry

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Legs

  They sat on the linoleum floor, the two of them. His watch was the only thing moving. Through the small window above the sink the rising sun was bleaching the room white. The sound of a garbage truck, a man calling his dog, newspapers hitting doorsteps. Her long, bare legs were out in front […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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Ghost Walk

The legend you’ve heard is true. A woman did live in this eyesore house and her sister did chop her cleanly in half with a sickle. They had quarreled for two years before the older one built the house next door, the front door facing the younger’s place, as if to say: Here is my face: spit in it, if you can reach.

Posted in Fiction

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The Very Difficult Job

  “Walter fired Polly,” Marsha said. “Because she wouldn’t let him kiss her.” “Well, I wouldn’t let him either,” Sally said. “Good for her.” “He caught her near the supply closet. Not a very original thinker.” “I wonder if he really had hopes. Do you think he expected she would? That might mean that he […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Birthday

My wife still wouldn’t leave her room so I had to take the afternoon off to bring Buster into the vet. At home the dog was hungry and all the lights were off. There were two more sympathy cards in the mail. I threw them away. Buster was tearing ass around the house and wanted […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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Patrick, My Great Uncle Adolphus’s Duck

My Great Uncle Adolphus had a pet duck named Patrick. Patrick was insecure, needy, foul-tempered, and brilliant. Not just brilliant for a duck either, my Great Uncle would say. Patrick possesses a keen mind. He has a deep curiosity about everything under the sun and a bracing skepticism! Patrick would hiss at us whenever we […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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The Sleep Garden: An Excerpt

To begin: the Burrow is a low mound that rises out of the ground.

Posted in Fiction, Tin House Books

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Ice Cream in Gaza

This story appears in Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine, edited by Ru Freeman. Red wool, and falsely brightened, since we need the help.      A child because      the chambers of the heart will hold so little. —Still Life, Linda Gregerson   There was once. A little girl named Lala lived with […]

Posted in Fiction, General

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Hello From an Old Friend

The impulse comes over me when I’m bored and out of sorts. Paul would say that it’s Satan at work in me. Since I know what he would say, I don’t tell him. Looking up Marla from high school leads me to Jody, posing with two kids and a car. Her husband works for Union […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Husband

  If you should have an ex-husband, who first writes, then doesn’t write, then writes to the point of absurdity, then refuses to write, refuses to receive correspondence from you, refuses to acknowledge you in any way, denies you exist, then writes again, angrily this time, then less angrily, then angrily again, then leaves off […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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The Mission Lands

While we wait Molly explains to me from the backseat the secret history of San Francisco. There didn’t used to be hills, she says.  That’s what they said at school.  It used to all be just water from where the bay is now.  That used to go on for more, where the ground is, and […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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American Copper: An Excerpt

An excerpt from Shann Ray’s American Copper (Unbridled Books). Tonight the dignitaries of Montana gathered with their wives in the great room, wide-eyed. The men endured with slick hair, part lines clean and straight, faces shaven, black or brown full beaver felt hats in hand, derbies and straights, tapers and cowboy hats. The women wore […]

Posted in Fiction

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Hurry Up Please

Do I want to hear a drinking joke? Do I seem like the type who would answer that question? A guy walks into a bar, and so what? Maybe he nods at the regular who keeps to the corner or eyes the ragged blonde grabbing a smoke from a guy whose paunch prevents him from […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Simon and Mr. Garfunkel

  We weren’t used to our teachers being famous. Instead of an apple, Mr. Garfunkel kept a Grammy on his desk. Still, every class quickly learns to play its teacher like a Rickenbacker. You hear about the ones who drone on because they love the sound of their own voice, but you don’t usually hear […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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Jason Who Will Be Famous

As we continue to take applications for our upcoming fiction and nonfiction coastal workshops, we have been rolling out a series of posts featuring our stellar faculty. Today we revisit Dorothy Allison’s contribution to our Anniversary Issue.  Jason is going to be famous, and the best part is that he knows he will be good at […]

Posted in Fiction, From The Vault, Writers' Workshops

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What We Were Doing

  “Think of what you were doing at his age,” Andrew said. His fourteen-year-old kid skateboarded a respectful distance ahead, up the dark winding path on the Santa Cruz cliffs, that steep drop into the invisible ocean, so that we could smoke a joint without feeling guilty. We’d all gathered for a friend’s wedding. Andrew […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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My Father Took Me To Watch

First-born, a girl, but anyway his first-born so he brought me to watch when he touched the other woman.

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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The Boys: An Excerpt

He was used to hearing the bells toll for the dead and watching funerals from the bank office, but this time, alone behind the desk, as the church door swallowed up the swarm of people, he had the impression that the bells tolled louder than ever, twice as loud, four, eight times louder, because there […]

Posted in Fiction, General

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How to Eat Chicken Wings

  There’s a map bred in the bones of the bird. Before you ingest the chicken wing, you must know the vertices of its hinge, that place where tendons and gristle connect and shake hands. It’s all very scientific. Step One: The Origin Find a likely tray of sacrifices at the church picnic. You’re in […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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Now and at the Hour of our Death

The boy skates from one end of the empty café to the other, pretending not to hear the conversation taking place between his parents and the nurse. They are talking about medication, about nutrition, about how much longer his father will have to wait for a liver transplant.

Posted in Fiction

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The Adjunct

It was the final night of the Eagleburger retreat, held at a cluster of chalets owned by an alum’s shell corporation. The mountains were too close to see. Snow hissed into the jacuzzi. The Dean, the Department Head and the Adjunct stewed in the frothing glow. The Adjunct wore boxers. He had forgotten to pack […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Pincushion

When they were children, she and her sisters buried their baby teeth in the garden behind their house. Her youngest sister believed the flowers that grew over them—all pink and drooping like pouting mouths—burst straight from the enamel. Roots spread out through the pulpy gums of the earth. She told her youngest sister, Probably Mother […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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