by Ingrid Nelson
“Agnes, let’s pluck out your eyebrows and the hair on top of your forehead,” says Codre. I don’t say anything. She’s my maidservant, and my best friend, though it’s difficult to understand this relationship. Sometimes we’re awful to each other on purpose with an intensity neither of us acknowledges, though other times we act completely normal, like best friends, or like she’s my maidservant. We’re in my room, in the castle, with its heavy green velvet drapes and matching bed canopy. Codre and I do everything together, including using the bathroom. She helps me take care of my pet bird and my pet monkey. She’s been working for me since she was seven and now we are both fourteen. Every night we sleep in the same bed. She knows me better than anyone.
by Chris Molnar
There is a disorder that arises from the reading of a certain medical text. This text describes a disorder, most common in the unorganized territories of mid-19th century North America, in which a patient experiences transient global amnesia, in conjunction with an obsessive, persistent compulsion to organize an expedition to the North Pole, creating polar amnesia. An account from the 1890s tells of a young gold miner walking north from Dawson. Months later pale bones and a pickax are discovered by incredulous Inuit near the Arctic coast, his remains scattered along gravel shores and pingos.
Men Who Gut Animals and Build Shelters
by Monica Shie
For most of her life, Gina had dated academics. She liked to think of herself as someone who could see beyond the superficial, someone who could ignore a lack of social graces or even poor personal hygiene to appreciate the genius of men who, prior to meeting her, might have been overlooked due to their eccentricities. She was attracted to men who could expound upon a topic, men who others might find pompous or long-winded, and men who liked to provoke by defending unpopular positions in aggressively pointed arguments, prompting listeners to deflect, saying, “Let’s agree to disagree.” During her marriage, Gina grew accustomed to looking up from a book or news article to inquire of her husband, “Who were the Bolsheviks again?” or “What’s the difference between Shia and Sunni?” and without consulting Wikipedia, he would explain the world around her, in substantial detail, making her feel as if she, too, owned this information.
by María Alejandra Barrios
While locked in my boyfriend’s closet I think about what the bruja told me earlier this year. “Nena linda,” she said, in that particular cartagena accent of hers, her tongue fixed to her palate. She was standing up straight, and her uncovered black shiny shoulders looked imposing under the sunlight that entered from the window. “Baby girl,” she said, “that smile is going to be your downfall.”
by Justin Maurer
When I was 16 years old I had my dad thrown in jail for physically assaulting my sister. I fell completely out of touch with him until he heard that my career as a touring punk rock musician had fallen on its face.
“Son, your uncle and I want to retire. I’m offering you a unique opportunity to run the family business.”
Murder on Beach Road
by Sam Axelrod
Last week we were in Kaikoura, a small town on the South Island. There’s one main strip that runs through it, just off the coast––Beach Road. We went to dinner there––me, Zach, and Soren, the core group of dudes––at Black Rabbit Pizza, which shares a doorway with the sensibly named Kaikoura Indian Restaurant.
by Efrén Ordóñez
Come back and make up a goodbye, at least. Let’s pretend we had one.
A woman on a staircase
The wall is about twenty inches high. The construction worker and I didn’t talk before he started this morning. We locked eyes a few times as if he understood my situation and his role in this story: making a few extra pesos out of my misery. Nothing more. We didn’t say a word, but the CNN en Español anchors helped break the tension between us. I hadn’t turned the TV on before he came in. She’d left it on this morning before going out to run some errands that probably didn’t exist. Argentinian, Venezuelan, Costa Rican, and Mexican reporters have all been talking about Mr. Toupee’s inauguration, dissecting the implications of every decision made since he was sworn in as president. All week I’ve been hearing about bans, tweets, and plans for building a much bigger wall; a greater, more expensive wall than this one being built in front of me, a wall that’s supposed to separate two countries and keep out a horde of bad men and women who could very well be brown monsters with a thirst for white patrimony. Bad hombres, the President called them. I usually keep my distance from politics and avoid such discussions, but even I knew they were absurd—all these ideas, all the theories being tossed around by the Latino anchors. Was the project even realistic? Might it be idiotic as this wall in our apartment, this fake-cardboard attempt to send me away, to lock me up in my own space?
by Andreas Trolf
We were having drinks one night, Dan and me, at the old Sweetwater, which if you remember that place was maybe the last real bar on Brooklyn’s north side before the assholes moved in and fucked it all up. Before the machine shops and meatpacking places closed down and the boutiques and Thai restaurants moved in and all the old families went God knows where. Dan’s in Jersey City now, if you can believe that.