New Grub Street
Kevin O' Cuinn
But then I’ll have a bad day and being touched will seem like a necessity.
A Sport and a Pastime
Riding on Duke's Train
Kendra Grant Malone and Matthew Savoca
The Physics of Imaginary Objects
Tina May Hall
Letters From New Orleans
Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
Mikey Fatboy Delgado
I'd rather be a tree than you any day. She drew diagrams whenever she was nervous. Made lists and stuck them everywhere. A tree stands still. That's all. A tree doesn't mind distance or noise or earthquakes or babies.
Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick
The Giving Tree
Thomas Jefferson – now recognized by scientists as a disease that only coincidentally took the shape of a man in early America – has been detected in a number of household objects. Shipments of Chinese toys are reported to be contaminated with the politician and are being recalled due to isolated incidents of fatal child legislation. A vaccine is being developed – but is years from completion. Some speculation has arisen that Thomas Jefferson accumulates in closets and under beds. Children have demonstrated profound ability to recognize the viral presence. Adults are asked to avoid areas wherever there is a screaming or frightened child. Some religious conservatives have suggested that there are no people, but only the many manifestations of Thomas Jefferson – humanity merely a temporary accumulation of a hive-like intelligence that we have only just glimpsed and can never hope to understand.
Philip K. Dick
In 1987, we sold life insurance. After selling family and friends and the few easy marks they referred us to, we cold-called, my partner Mahoney and me. We stalked the chiseled streets of Chicago, coked-up predators in wool-blend suits.
We overcame objections: You don’t mind your wife whoring herself out after you’re gone? We closed with: No one plans to die, but you can plan for death. We carved the hearts of guys with mahogany desks and suburban aspirations.
Once, between pitches, I heaved in a gutter; vomit freezing on contact, pizza chunks glittering like rhinestones. We summoned guilt, conjured insecurity. It’s okay if your kids shop at Goodwill? We created dreams and painted nightmares. Pay me a little today or the tax man a lot tomorrow.
The Great Lake lay gray and flat as a policy binder. We cut lines with razor blades on its indelible surface, inhaling them in the marbled Men’s Rooms of venerable law firms. We saved the souls thrown from the Sears Tower, catching them in our financial safety net.
We explained the difference between term and whole life. You can rent or own. Landlord or tenant; what kind of man are you?
Gary V. Powell
Andre Dubus III
She keeps saying, “Neti Pot” and it’s all I can do to not scream and cover my ears.
Neti pot. Neti pot. Neti pot.
It’s every fifth word. Every fourth. I want to make her stop saying it, but her hospitality keeps me quiet.
And now she’s describing how it works. And now she’s describing how it doesn’t work. And now she’s demonstrating how it works. And now and now and now.
She leaves and comes back with the Neti pot. It’s in a small box. It’s out of the small box. I want to get up. I want to leave. Saline solution. Warm Water. Fill levels. More demonstrating. Nostrils. Head tilt. Nasal cavity. Flow. Drip. Flow.
I cringe and hold back my real face. The one hiding under the nice face. I sip my drink. I eat a cracker. I eat a piece of cheese. My real face is begging her to please stop saying it. Please stop. I don’t want to hurt you. Please. Stop.
I am on the verge of. I know what that means now. I know I will now be able to sympathize with certain horrendous news stories. I will whisper, “Neti pot,” after I read them and then try to fold the paper away without tearing it apart with clawed hands.
Laura Ellen Scott
once upon a time we took every living piece of us through every dirty trench we ever found and lost and discovered it was dead weight, that whatever the uniform or code of light, however we angle ourselves, it’s still just a grab at kite wind, mercury, but it’s okay; none of this has been gentle for a very, very long time.
'Nothing or Next to Nothing'