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Miss Laura’s School for Esquire Men

Miss Laura had a son, once, but he became an Esquire man and was lost to her. His father was an Esquire man, so it shouldn’t have come as a big surprise. He always smelled like tobacco and ordered highballs and was certain he was able to speak to dogs, though the same neighbor’s Corgi [...]

Posted in Flash Fridays

Comments: 4

Pollination

There was an argument over who got to eat the yellowest pollen. It was a craze. The bee’s knees! People clotted the park, all of them young, but with the skin-smooth benefits who could be sure? The sun was out. The pollen, famous, on the news. Carbohydrates. Protein content peeking a whopping 35 percent. I [...]

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Quotient

We lay still in bed, out of sleep’s reach, buzzing electric in the dark. At the appointed time, we slipped from the house, careful not to wake the adults as we unlatched the back door. They’d packed us along on their family vacation, three girls for the price of one, and we were one—one mind, [...]

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There Was No Boat

There was no boat, he says. What do you mean? she says, and a hand goes up to fiddle with her hair, pulling it this way and that. No boat, he says again. There is a sigh rising inside him and there is something he wants to prevent, something he has to stop from boiling [...]

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Clam Sliders

Word was that no one in all of Hyannis, where I grew up, was supposed to dig for clams at Scantling’s Beach. There was talk about some girls who had come to field hockey camp or whatever kind of camp girls go to. They set off wandering one day, ended up at the beach, took [...]

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Rocking Stone

“See how it rocks back and forth, sister?” Uncle Vaughn wasn’t a big man, but with little more than a brush of his fingers, the stone fell forward and caught in the crook of rubble beneath.  You could push it back from the other side, too, rocking it like a cradle.  This boulder – roughly [...]

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The Open Country of a Woman’s Heart

When Amy told Gloria about the biopsy and lost test results, Gloria called Dr. Howard a matasanos, spitting the word over her cubicle. She translated for Amy. “It means killer of healthy people,” which sounded even more ominous in Gloria’s accent, the vowels sharpened scalpel-like.

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For my Uncle Danny

  I was slapping at the welts on my shins one green evening when you told me to suck on the head of a match. Sulfur, you said, would get in my blood and keep the mosquitoes away. One match a month was all it took, you told me. I went back to catching fireflies. [...]

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Feats of Strength

A strongman is lifting my car, his hands bolted tight to the front bumper. His trunky thighs and buttocks are facing streetward, and several women in the neighborhood have set up lawn chairs and are watching the spectacle from their front yards. His grunts are loud, like falling timber, and the birds perched on the roof have fled in search of friendlier shingles.

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Flood

Weather grows from underground. Great storms explode, often from just below he soil, where they lie, begging to be let loose by a spade. When lightning strikes it’s like visiting a birthplace, digging to that brown pile of soil from which it sprung, to hide and be bright down there, amid the clouds below the soil. Sunburnt grandmothers knew this, and hated when their headstrong husbands went out to tend the gardens, unafraid of what weather they might unearth.

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Uncanny Future Tales Presents

Salt wind had peeled the green, blue, and yellow paint from the Ferris wheel gondola that swept Joel and his family up into the night, sweetly launched them toward the evening star.

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Muscle Memory

When I talked back, my father used to make me stand in the front yard holding milk jugs.

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Things You Can Be Certain

The wholesale casket warehouse is chilled with dry dust, and I look at Grandmother to make sure she’s serious. “With haste, missy,” she says. “Get in, I haven’t got all day. Just ask my doctors.”

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The Lost Honey Bee

The honey bee licks her forelegs and combs the pollen from her head. She stretches down the length of her thorax. What was once taut and hirsute now resembles the plundered stamen of a speedwell. She has been lost for six days. Her wings ache; an abnormal spasm pinches her bowels. She can hardly clock [...]

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Train, Library, Hotel

We set out in the middle of the night and arrived at the station by daybreak.

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Canonization

No one knew quite what to do when they found the blonde-haired monkey with the thin golden face that looked like a byzantine saint. Large eyes – positioned close together in a flat profile resembling that of a painted idol – and a serious mouth set it apart from any image of a monkey the [...]

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The Mother Satellite

It is time again to call my mother. I call her every day at noon. When she picks up today, she sounds great. A little winded, but energized. I can hear her treadmill whirring, her sneakered feet lightly thumping. “Where are you?” I ask. “Just passing over the Himalayas,” she says. “They’re lovely. They look [...]

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Cola Man

Wherever the cola bottles are, you’ll find me.

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Boy Named Rome

So, if Rome were a senior in college, Rome would look like this: Rome has a swimmer’s body—a tight smoothness. He doesn’t shave his chest, just has that God-given sculptured body, that “I take care of myself but not in a grossly exaggerated, body-builder way.” And of course, Rome is a swimmer. He would never [...]

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Nowhere

Arthur Bradford is an O Henry Award winning writer and Emmy-nominated filmmaker. His writing has appeared inEsquire, McSweeney’s, Vice, Men’s Journal, and many other publications. His first book, Dogwalker, was published by Knopf and Vintage paperback in 2002, and has been translated into ten languages.  His latest book, Benny’s Brigade, is a children’s book, published by McSweeney’s in 2012.

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The Family Plot

My ex started seeing the sheriff and pretty soon I’m getting pulled over every time I back out of my driveway. He says the phone calls need to stop, but what should I do? I haven’t seen my boys in a dick year and it’s making me ill to think of how tall they’re getting [...]

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Comments: 5

The Upside Down Girls

The girl comes home from the zoo and removes the books, one by one, from the folding card table that serves as her father’s desk.  She then turns it over, legs in the air, and sits on it.  No one notices at first.  Her sister does, but doesn’t say anything, such is their relationship; such [...]

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Papa

The three-years-running champion of the Hemingway look-alike contest moves like a broken-nosed boxer, big and graceful in his size-thirteen penny-loafers.  He’s 45-years older than I am, but we have a lot in common.  We both drink like someday our livers are going to forgive us.  We tell bad jokes punctuated by hitting each other hard [...]

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The Pantry

She kept a simple box at the bottom of a large chest, at the foot of her bed, where she stored her linens and spare blankets. In the evenings she opened the chest and pushed aside the unused bedspreads, the heavy cloth exhaling stale lavender. She took out the box and opened it with care. [...]

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The Bear

The first time Sandy saw the bear, in her panic she let him inside. She and Henry were in the cabin, about to go for a walk in the woods. Standing by the cabin door, hand on the doorknob, Sandy was queerily reminded of a horror film. “If this were a movie,” she said, “we’d [...]

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