Sunday Stories: “The Autobiography of Gertrude Stein”

The Autobiography of Gertrude Stein
by Iris Smyles

“It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.”
Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography


I think I was a genius in my last life that is that I was the author of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas who was Gertrude Stein which is partially why I quit my job. The Aquarium is no place to cultivate genius.

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Sunday Stories: “Pet Culture”

Pet Culture
by Aditi Natasha Kini

Every time she had been broken up with before — because Karishma had never ever broken up with anyone, it was too difficult — her friends seemed to not care. It was funny to her, actually, how little they cared, and at its core, comforting. It made those breakups feel inevitable. But maybe it meant her friends didn’t actually care.

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Sunday Stories: “Pet Buddha”

Pet Buddha
by Francis Levy

No one paid attention to me. I was invisible. I was just one of those guys who spend their life filling out forms, paying bills, filing taxes on time for fear of being imprisoned, and dealing with the next minor emergency—the dead car battery, the leaking radiator that seemed to define the passage of my days.

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Sunday Stories: “The Trash Man’s Daughter”

The Trash Man’s Daughter
by Vic Sizemore

She was one grade above Malachi, but two years older. Her name was Lydia Cumba, and in Malachi’s fifth year, she showed him that life was more than toy cars, bicycles, and baseball. Lydia was seven and Malachi five when she tried to teach him about sex. To Malachi, sex was still a strange and forbidden world: his dad was a Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Malachi heard an older boy at church call another boy a cunt, and carried the word home to use on Matthew—his mom rubbed Ivory soap on his tongue, made him rinse and spit, then did it to him again. His dad would not even use words like panties and boobs unless he was quoting an unsaved person.

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Sunday Stories: “Pruitt-Igoe”

by Grant Maierhofer

We snuck in I think cos my friends we wanted to die. One of us thought maybe he’d  write something about the place, some poem or something, I don’t know. My friends and I we didn’t think much then, just sort of did what came and went like that, but when we heard they’d decided to destroy this massive space we thought maybe we’d sneak in and let it swallow us. I remember looking through the windows of this like old husked-out building walking home from school without much else to do. I’d stare and my father’d say whatever he’d say about the black families and poor families who lived there but it never stuck much, I didn’t care. My friends the young ones mostly were black kids with sneery faces not unlike my own—I preferred to keep around a crew of unhappy-faced weirdos and we’d hound St. Louis for better guts and it was great. The 70s are piss but I don’t know. My father didn’t work and my mother barely could. The house we lived in wasn’t far from school and school wasn’t far from the buildings and I can remember sometimes going in there to eat dinner at friends’ homes and it wasn’t a big deal at all. We heard adults talk left and right about the politics or something. We’d drown it out like anything and just couldn’t be bothered to care. I love my city, maybe, some days I guess. I don’t know. Sometimes I think about it and still get sick over the noise. We’d almost been caught for so much young bullshit it was odd when it was over, like the city upped and wiped away our sneaky nights in dead sunlight as the community watched confused. I feel tormented that way sometimes. Like the back of my neck might shove through my Adam’s apple and go spattered on the wall. We had endless cans of spraypaint and the city sounded like it might set half itself on fire over “racial tension” or something. Women cried in streets and in front of the buildings. Families and young men screamed out for their fathers like it was all that was left to do. I don’t know. I remember school feeling sort of tense before they came down. I remember that kid who thought he’d write something about it all doing all sorts of research. It was him, he was Jeremy I think; it was Jeremy, Michelle, Mike who we called Igor (a black kid from East St. Louis who didn’t live in the buildings but went to school with Michelle and Mike/Igor loved old horror movies) Enny this girl who always followed Jeremy to sing his praises, and myself, that is Terence, who went to school and set small fires and loved so much to die.

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Sunday Stories: “Become Magic”

Become Magic
by Gessy Alvarez

At home, I face a predator. I am in the living room. A plush rug is under my bare feet. Nick is in his club chair, the one he took from his father’s house. Our TV is on, but its sound muted. The cat sits on the rug next to my feet. Where is the dip in the floor? The dip that we feel when we walk from the dining room to the living room. It’s a dent made by 80 years of feet stepping on it. I pace around the room hoping to feel that dent. The cat stalks my restless feet.

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Sunday Stories: “Still Andrew for Denise”

Still Andrew for Denise: When young love turns into middle age loss
by Andrew Skerritt

The news arrives as it often does these days, via Facebook messenger. It is timestamped 10:45 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 20, 2016.

It’s from my former high school biology teacher in Montserrat, the small Caribbean island where I grew up.

Her message is saturated with grief.

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