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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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
First-born, a girl, but anyway his first-born so he brought me to watch when he touched the other woman.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Twice, I have given fake phone numbers to men I met in bars. The first must have been fifty. He bought me a drink; and, offended by how little I talked to him, took it back half-drunk. Ballsy. The second was a film director in Berlin. He was sweet and well-dressed; ever since, I’ve been […]
Damage flowed from my fingernails, which I’d painted a bright shade of indigo. I was obsessed with indigo back then, a time I can barely reconstruct now. I named my rescue cat El Salvador. That country is the world’s largest producer of indigo. I squandered time back then, down Internet holes. India is a name […]
I work in the city’s tallest building, so tall its penthouse is completely ensconced in clouds.
During a few years in which I went to bed half-heartedly wishing not to wake up and woke up whole-heartedly hoping to be the person I believed I would someday be, I worked for eight months at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Telecommunications Headquarters for the Southwest Chapter, Region 8, calling local business leaders and begging […]
From the time I was very young, I knew I’d be famous.
In the dream, I was attending a pizza buffet with my brother when I was invited to a Caribbean pig roast.
We wonder if those fatal river rocks appeared to you as they appear to us—like molars from the mouths of giants. Your first name is Meredith, and your last name is something German-sounding that we quickly forgot. From the banks near Paradise Lodge, some of us spot the dull lampglow of your life jacket under […]
Lesley Gore has a good voice, my grandpa said. Shame about her face, though. Where did I get the idea that things were better back then? Probably from my Pappy. The joke about old people goes that they don’t know how to program the VCR and can’t ever learn but Pappy loved videos, video stores, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 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 […]