Fiction

Assisted Living

Mary’s not at dinner and no one knows why. Roy is limping but at least he’s up walking again after last month when he fell by the mailboxes and dislocated his new knee.

Car Wash

While I wait for him to pull the trigger, I drive to the grocery store. Pick up milk, chewing gum, sponges. Drop off the dry cleaning: the dress I splattered with a spaghetti stain at Shana and Calvin’s wedding last month. Ignore the stench of the rotting plant in the backseat and keep the AC rippling.

Death Defiant Bomba or What To Wear When Your Boo Gets Cancer

You’ll wear five-inch black pumps because they make that annoying noise that alerts everyone everywhere in the whole wide world that you’re arriving.

Remedies

As long as I can remember, it seemed like anything that could go wrong with the body, Great-Grandma knew how to fix, or at least ease away until forgotten.

Battenkill

Jim Windolf People need the company of other people. It’s how people are made. They…

Ghosts of Doubt

He stands before the class, the lectern his wheelhouse, the teen- or twenty-
something-aged students his sea, the sky in the back windows his horizon. The worn paperback before him lays open to a page. If he were to brush it to
the floor, the spine would strike first and the leaves would fall three-quarters right, a quarter left. The book would lay open on page 63, just as it does on the podium.

Mud

I saw the man before he died, under the front tire of my father’s truck.
He was pinned and the truck stalled and then settled in the mud and three
grown men were not enough to push the truck forward or backward to stop
the man’s pain. I was not a grown man. I was a girl, fourteen, puny, under a
hundred pounds, not useful to their efforts, so I crouched by the man under
the tire and tried to distract him from his fate.

The Foreign Cinema

One day in those first months after her mother’s death, Cenem resolved to finally see Los Angeles. She’d spent the afternoon at one of the cheap matinees, seeing Casablanca yet again, and after, went directly to the used bookstore off Taksim Square in search of a copy of Baedecker’s California.

Step-Down

I don’t mind the night shift. I’m still new here, granted, so it doesn’t really matter whether or not I mind it.