Right out of high school after Dad died I inherited eighteen acres down the road from Mom’s house. Raye, who I now call “The Old Crow” married me quick after that. I started building for our great future. I framed the house around and over top of the trailer, then took the inside trailer wall out. We trucked in water from Mom’s place. My friend Elton and I constructed the septic tank, a fifty gallon drum with pipe holes at both ends, pushed down in a rocky hole. My brother Jackson helped lift the roof trusses. My life pinnacle topped there, Raye and I bouncing on the bed by the wood stove, sex and drink and rock and roll in the custom made residence, and then came three kids, Raye and my mighty sperm created them two girls and a boy.Continue reading “My Plea For Solitude by Harrison Kim”
‘And all of this is replicated across twenty datacenters.’
With a flourish, Davide draws a large rectangle around the messy, sprawling diagram he’s drawn on the whiteboard. He turns around. ‘Any questions?’Continue reading “Boundless Growth by Simo Tchokni”
Not long after Mike and Katherine moved into their spacious St. Louis county house with pillars and brick facade, its value plummeted. But it was a nice house, woods in the back, nice deck.
“What will we do when they’re gone?” Katherine asked, brushing a tangle of brown thinning hair.
“Who?” he responded. She was talking about their kids. Two more years and both would be in college.
“All this space,” she said. “Empty.”Continue reading “The Scary Lady by Jeffrey Penn May”
Holly More first got drunk at the reasonably late age of nineteen. On a late summer Saturday night in 1977, he dropped in on a pair of college classmates who shared a shithole studio apartment at the base of Seattle’s Capitol Hill. The roomies extolled the virtues of “Bokay” apple wine, which sold for sixty-nine cents a bottle. Ritzy nectars such as Boone’s Farm, T.J. Swann and, Allah-forbid, Lancer’s were too fancy-pants pricewise for students who earned $2.10 an hour at Work Study jobs. That left MD 20/20, Night Train, Thunderbird and Bokay. Since the first three were what the Pioneer Square bums drank, the guys went with the Bokay. Holly later found out that Bokay was the wine of last resort amongst the Pioneer Square bums.Continue reading “Elbows With Fishes by Leila Allison”
To this dying man whom the wolf already scents
And whom the crow watches.
Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil
As I stood on the top of the tower and looked down, I wondered if I should jump.
I decided against it, for the fourth night in a row, and headed downstairs for a cup of tea. I wanted tea more than I wanted death, so things worked out great, all things considered.
I couldn’t help thinking, though, while I sipped on my tea, that, right at that moment, I could have been a bloody, broken pile on the concrete path, perfectly, precisely between the two spot-lights aimed up at the tower.
After finishing my tea, I went to bed and, before I feel asleep, thought: maybe tomorrow, then.
I’m rolling my head back and forth back and forth for hours at a time, sometimes against the wall, sometimes along the bed. I regard my first morning view, freezing ice frost patterns on the inside of my single window. Then it’s back to blankets awhile and rolling my head. To be free you must connect with people, withdrawing with my rocking is disappearance in my trance. But it is also liberation. I conjure up visions from the pace. My intent: to take the randomness of life and organize it, to picture by motion daily happenings and rhythm out a purpose. I spin through a back and forth reverie sweep of prairie sky, the colour and thought of the blue turning in my mind, imagine the bridge over the South Saskatchewan river, take that bridge to wilderness, to antelope leaping over the Great Sand Hills. I have $42.39. I’m 24 years old. I have a college degree. I lie on my bed and rock.
Sadie puts a bottle of white wine in the fridge before she goes out for a long run. She figures that if the run doesn’t help purge her of the toxins from the day then maybe the wine will. And if that doesn’t work she always has that fifth of bourbon on the bookshelf that girl from work gave her for Secret Santa, red bow taped to the top, and a few oxy left over from her thumb surgery last summer stashed at the bottom of the clothes hamper. But she figures the run, or the wine, should do just fine.
Mum opens the windows each morning to let the birds in and closes them at night to keep the darkness out.
Distraction by Sharon HajjIn the morning, I like to bury my dreams under the pillow so I can immediately check my to-do list:
- Go to store for soy milk, oatmeal, and dog food
- Buy paint and stencils for bookshelf
- Make an appointment for a mammogram
- Call and wish Mom happy birthday
- Dump your belongings in the trash