Sunday Stories: “Just Add Al”


Just Add Al
by Anne Booty

You’ve blunted Al’s eye liner and she’s gonna kill you. 

Still, you mustn’t forget your tennis racket otherwise your death will have been futile. At assembly that morning you pick at the black tape on the handle, sticky glue finger nails like molasses. Eventually, the Head calls your name and you move to the front, nodding to the P.E. teacher to press play. The opening is epic played this loud, dispatching magpies from nests, awakening a mass of two hundred children. When the organ drops out, you get your axe into position and begin to strum. You may only be eleven and this may only be lip syncing to Faith dressed as a bearded kangaroo, but a girl has to start somewhere. 

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Sunday Stories: “Swamp Country”


Swamp Country
by Travis Dahlke

Fenn leaves the permission slip for his field trip to the Mystic Aquarium inside my purse so I’ll remember to sign it. We eat dinner in front of NCIS. We’re almost positive the killer is a nervous day trader who goes by Grandma. When Fenn was young, he called his blanket Grandma and cried if it touched the floor. I look to him every time the suspect is mentioned, to see if my son remembers somewhere within his subconscious. He shovels spaghetti into his mouth without looking away from the screen. You used to have a blanket named Grandma, I tell him, and he says he knows that already.

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Sunday Stories: “Lily, from the Society for Absolute Music”


Lily, from the Society for Absolute Music
by Rebecca Givens Rolland

“Have you committed a crime?” the other women ask, in early morning, as we sit around in the sand on Watergate Bay and wash our long dark skirts. “Can you juggle? Do tricks like the sparrows overhead?” No, I say, trying not to laugh. That I cannot. But I can sing. I can replicate songs a thousand-fold, never tiring. Rocking, heading shoreward, I bring words out like wafers on my lips. I won’t call it Communion if you won’t. Belief sinks in me like blood into a screen.

“All that’s well and good,” they say, “but what about eating? About remaining alive.”

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Sunday Stories: “Cauliflory”


by Nat Mesnard

The night of the gala, I arrived to work at the conservatory as the sun was setting. The glass building appeared alien, as though it had landed on the hill to capture specimens of the waning December light. Tom dropped me off at the back entrance. I was late, but before he would let me out of the car, he made me put his cock in my mouth. I didn’t have to do anything with it. I think he just wanted to know it had been there, and that knowledge enabled him to drive away.

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Sunday Stories: “Each Day I Love You More”


Each Day I Love You More
by Brittany Ackerman

I need one more elective to graduate and the only option is a yoga class that meets in the basement of the Wildermuth Intramural Center.  It takes me twenty-five minutes to walk there in the snow.  All of my friends took their electives freshman year, but I had stocked up on as many writing workshops as possible.  I’ve never done yoga before.  I always thought it was an activity meant for tall, skinny girls to become even taller and skinnier, or for guys who drank coconut water had their tongues and penises pierced.  But I choose yoga because tennis, Pilates, basketball, karate, even water polo, are all already taken.  

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Sunday Stories: “My Foot”


My Foot
by Greg Rose

“You know Frank was considered a poet among painters,” said the woman. Statement, not question. She pointed at the sculpture with her walking stick like a professor at a blackboard.  

“I did know that,” I replied. Like her, I had read the text stuck on the wall in the previous room. I didn’t come to galleries to receive lessons from old ladies, but my mild surprise at the unprompted remark was sufficient to lure me into examining its maker. Her unmasked face was an omelette, pocked, lopsided and mustardy. Black designer glasses perched precariously on her upturned nose like a dare.

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Sunday Stories: “Temporary”


by Sylvia Math

What was strange about how I met him wasn’t just that it was unusual  in and of itself, but also that of all the many ways we might have met, that was how it happened.  We knew people in common.  We went to the same parties and events.  We had likely seen each other before; it seemed impossible that we had not.  Except that I always seem to attract notice so probably not. He would have remembered.  I have some weird quality of presence and stick out and people notice and remember me; I never get away with anything. There’s always a witness. But it was possible, we decided, that we were in dark readings at KGB bar a bunch of times together, where it’s too dark & crowded to make or receive an impression. That was the most likely explanation. We had to talk about it; rifle through the possibilities, worry the subject. There’s always something a little uncanny & compelling about meeting someone who for sure you should have already met; a sneaking suspicion that you passed by each other; that photos of this or that event you were at would depict the other one of you in the background, undetected…yet.  There all along.

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Sunday Stories: “Who’s Your Daddy?”

WYD image

Who’s Your Daddy?
by Rick Whitaker

for Dennis Snell

The biology of the sex act dictates that each of us has one and only one father; but biology does not necessarily identify the man whose sperm gave each of us life. Blood and DNA tests can confirm or rule out a candidate, but it has always been possible, given more than one man in the vicinity, for a new person to be, for all practical purposes, fatherless. My biological father, according to my mother, is either one man or another, but not anyone else—Rodney Whitaker, my mother’s second husband, or Richard Spencer, whom I’ve never met (and who was married to someone else when I was conceived). I was born with the name of my mother’s first husband, Hardin. My mother has had seven last names: Cooper, Hardin, Whitaker, Durham, Temple, Seaver, and Keller. My brother is Whitaker’s child, my older sister is Hardin’s, my younger sister is Durham’s. A half-brother I’ve never met is the son of Richard Spencer, one of my mom’s between-husband boyfriends circa 1967 and, it turns out, my biological father. This was confirmed by 23 & Me introducing me to Rich, my half-brother. We are not, so far, very close: I sent a message to which he has not replied. Rich and Rick, sons of Richard. I asked him, via 23 & Me, if his father was alive and whether they’d enjoyed a warm and happy relationship. I just wanted to know if he was a more decent man than all the other bullshit dads I’ve had to put up with. But since Rich hasn’t answered, my instinct says no, he probably wasn’t. In any case, I’m 61% Irish. That’s something to celebrate. James Joyce was Irish. So was Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde, who wrote my motto: The only thing worth living for is pleasure; nothing ages like happiness. (Though pleasure gets old, too, alas.)

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