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In my sister’s taxonomy, our father is a squirrel. She’s eight, I’m five, and we both agree on this, although if we didn’t, she’d have the final word. Our father: Limpid squirrel eyes, a narrow squirrel face, prominent squirrel teeth. He scampers and leaps and takes small nibbles of everything, even apples. “Pure squirrel,” she […]
We are pleased to present three of our favorites of the the fifty-two sketches of “men encountered by a young woman in Manhattan” in Louise Wareham Leonard’s autobiographical novel 52 Men, out this month from Red Hen Press. 4 Richard is a student at the School of Visual Arts. I pass him one day, on my way from the […]
Closing down the Open Bar’s week with Clarice, we present a freshly translated piece of Flash Fiction about a “hairy nun” who leaves the convent in search of sex. She was tall, strong, hairy. Mother Clara had dark hair on her upper lip and deep-set, black eyes. She had entered the convent at her family’s […]
In honor of the upcoming New Directions release of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories, we decided to hand The Open Bar keys over to the Brazilian legend. Tune in all week for previously unpublished and newly translated stories, as well as reviews and thoughts on her work. Today, we bring you the previously unpublished story (!!!!!) […]
In honor of the upcoming New Directions release of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories, we have decided to hand the keys to The Open Bar over to the Brazilian legend. Tune in all week for previously unpublished and newly translated stories, as well as reviews and thoughts on her work. Kicking off Lispector week is a […]
Perimenopause, have you heard of it? I heard about it today on NPR. It explains why women go demented as they get older. They compared it to puberty, how you go into it one way and come out of it another. But instead of cue ball breasts and fecund loins this “transition,” as they call […]
The design process for A Hanging at Cinder Bottom was as smooth as its poker-playing protagonist, Abe Baach.
In Montana the gaping sky dazzles like a baby’s mobile above our outstretched fingers. But what’s interesting to me is how the plateaus got here, Randy says, before recounting numerous myths, beginning with UFOs that flattened out the mountains in the 60s, leaving dozens upon dozens of alien refugees that fled to Billings, Missoula, Bozeman, […]
There was a noticeable buzz (and a few hoots) in the office yesterday as we learned that Namwali Serpell had been chosen as the winner of the 2015 Cain Prize. Namwali contributed one of the more memorable stories in recent memory for our Science Fair issue. “Bottoms Up” tells the story of, well………just give the first few lines […]
He couldn’t sleep. Beside him, the woman had shrugged free of the covers. Even in the dark, he could make out the rise of her hip and the long descent of her leg toward the blanket rumpled about her feet. The man eased himself from the bed with both hands, hushing the creak of the […]
The condemned man wore no shoes.
The war had finally come. It was right above him. Yet, beyond the orange glow of the streetlamps he saw only stars in a clear sky, not the earthy shapes of low-flying planes he expected.
The calliope crashed to the ground. The cowboys gaped. The calliope was smoldering and shuddering and making a faint whizzing or wheezing or maybe it was a whining sound. The pipes were bent and cracked, the steam boiler badly dented. Its painted panels caved in on themselves, perverting the circus scenes once so delicately depicted […]
Everyone on the block knew that the longer the rat tail, the flyer the guy. Lefty’s rat tail wasn’t as long as his older brother Pedro’s but it was getting there. We all noticed. It was summer and the action started at the basketball court in front of IS 147. By then everyone had put […]
Jerry Stahl: I’m kind of a binge writer. I used to wrestle with the question: Do I have no life because I write, or do I write because I have no life?
The ostrich has its head in the sand when it hears a high-pitched noise. It looks up to see a large spherical object come in for a landing nearby. The ostrich watches as it settles to the ground, then wanders over for a closer look. The object is silver, and very shiny. It doesn’t smell […]
“Don’t eat it,” he said. “Don’t eat the pussy.” This from the man who’d shuffled in into the liquor store after me. The counter was walled in plexiglass except for the revolving window at the register, so that he and I were cooped there as though in a terrarium. It was dark out and the […]
We spent ourselves and each other like pocket change, and we spent that, too. We weren’t supposed to be in this city, nevermind with each other. We’d ended up here on a weeklong vacation almost haphazardly, after the mutual friend who had introduced us bailed at the last minute. I said I wanted to go […]
I have a recurring dream—a vision maybe—of my breasts removed from my body and hanging in the air. Independent of everything, and of each other. Floating against the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky. They’re beautiful there, and strange, like an art gallery painting, the bright green grass below them, and the brilliant blue behind […]
For the Murphys, there was always the house and the idea of the house, one relatively more stable than the other.
It does feel like the work gets harder every day. He had thought that after a few years, after a few millennia, he would be able to scoot through tasks, scoot like a worm through dirt. He thought that way at the beginning, when the work still celestial. The Cartographer of the Universe lives in […]
As his train hurtled toward Latvia, Peter Carl Fabergé mustered an ounce of gratitude: for it was night. In this darkness, he would not see his beloved Russia disappear. They’d departed Saint Petersburg at dusk, and he’d been lucky to board. His feet guarded no briefcase, and no suitcase sat overhead. His person alone would […]
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 […]