Sunday Stories: “The Sunburned Cowboy”


The Sunburned Cowboy
by David Byron Queen

When I met the cowboy on the bus to Palm Desert, I had a few months sober still and life was open and full of possibility. This was 1995. Everything I owned was in a suitcase in the compartment above me—toothbrush, socks, underwear, jeans, t-shirts, a box of nicotine patches, my father’s meditation tape, a tambourine, and a 1971 Selmer Mark IV saxophone that had once belonged to my father in a plastic music case. I looked good. I’d shaved my beard, gotten myself a haircut, and wore a neat dark suit my father had given me around the time he left, told me to wear it one day at the start of my career. And well, it had taken longer than some but there I was.

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Sunday Stories: “The Unlovables”


The Unlovables
by Treena Thibodeau

Zenobia thinks we should get a dog.

I don’t want a dog, I say. Who’s going to take care of a dog? 

We both will, she says. My whole life I wanted a dog and no one ever let me get one. Come on, Tuck, it’ll make me happy.

Magic words: a way to make Zenobia happy. Something that will turn her toward me like the tumblers of a lock. We’re on the couch, and even after I let her pick the show and make her the popcorn she likes (coconut oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese, Zenobia frowning at the mess of the pot as if someone threw it sticky and smoking through our window. She loves messy things, like cheese popcorn and dogs, and hates mess), she still is not looking at the television but rather at an empty stretch of wall. I keep checking to see if there’s something crawling there. It’s unsettling.

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Sunday Stories: “Slopes”


by Winona León

On the last day of eighth grade, I itch to slide out of my skin. The air hits my throat like a match, and I scrape my nails underneath my desk, carving my name into the splintered wood so that I will be remembered. The last bell finally rings and we’re let loose like animals. I look for Cara. When I find her, we lock arms and break away from the other students.

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Sunday Stories: “TV Idiots”

"TV Idiots"

TV Idiots
by Lucie Britsch

My phone buzzed and I ignored it. It buzzed again. My boss was calling me. I answered it.

I bought a zoo, he shouted. He was outside somewhere, on his way to the office, or in a mental ward.

What? I said. I was just getting to work, my eyes barely open.

I bought a zoo, he shouted again. Well, it was a zoo, it’s empty now.

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Sunday Stories: “The Beltline”

Beltline illustration

The Beltline
by Bobby Sauro

The spirits in the basement were increasing in number. There was a man, a woman, and now, an orphan child. The feeling of always being watched shredded my nerves. The father of my child said I was acting particularly crazy about all this.

My family and friends got tired of hearing about it, but I could always interest the strangers I waited on at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in the tumultuous world of the spirits.

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Sunday Stories: “A Box of Incense”


A Box of Incense
by John Yohe

Gift from a woman he tried to become intimate with, which he felt could have been good—ie perverted—since supposedly she was into that but she was also into talking non-stop about her ex-boyfriend and despite that failure they continued to say hello at the café, talk about teaching, and she asked him to make comments on a grant proposal, which she used.

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Sunday Stories: “Classified”


by Josh Denslow

Haley and I had been broken up for two weeks when she asked if I’d drive up north to have dinner with her parents.

“They are looking forward to meeting you,” she said over the phone, and I could picture the wince that happened when she felt uncomfortable. The twitch of her cheek.

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