As we did last week, we’re spending this Sunday reviewing some of the highlights from 2013’s Sunday Stories. New Sunday Stories will return on January 5th.
The factories are located in Durrës, Albania, north of Niko Dovana Stadium, whose blue fencing and seats always puts me in mind of the sea. I arrive at dusk, having traveled by train, hours in advance of my appointment with Thune. At the local tavern, by flickering lantern light, a kind of rusted light, I eat a simple meal. Then I move to a stool at the bar, where, having a beer, I notice a symbol carved into the wood. Not so much a symbol, it seems, as a code: 110 1101.
From Nicholas Rombes’s “The Pixel Trade” (October 27).
The babysitter taught us how to lie on the floor and line up our hips. She flipped us both over backwards on the first try. The babysitter’s legs were stronger than they looked. The babysitter’s legs were stronger than I remembered.
From N. Michelle AuBuchon’s “The Baby Visit” (October 6).
Before you leave, be sure to notice some small brownish-red splatters on the tile next to the toilet because it will lead to a flashback of you puking your guts out there last night. Feel sort of proud that somewhere in your wasted brain you knew this bathroom was the furthest from where anyone would hear you doing so.
From xTx’s “How to Deal With a Black Eye on Thanksgiving” (February 17).
The sound of distant pounding pavement, the man’s voice commanding, begging, the child’s scream reaching a continuous crescendo. All moving away from me, screams getting fainter yet more persistent until I can’t hear them anymore. I close my eyes again and strain to listen — a distant scream, a final shout, then nothing. Sun, sun, sun, dancing through the window, too bright to pale, pale eyes. Close them, sew them shut — click, click closed like dull doll eyes.
From Brenna Ehrlich’s “Adam Sleeps Through the Zombie Apocalypse” (March 3).
Each notch on them is a huger thing, a fatter fraction of life compared to the longer, further-spanning charts of scattered tics. With less life lived, each moment weighs more, though none of us can know that ’til we’re told it’s time to know.
From Sarah Lynn Knowles’s “Waitress” (August 25).
This is when things started to come back, or rather not things but the absence of things, the black ash between embers. He knows too much about the absence of things. He remembered a castle not heavy with princess but the absence of princess. He wanted to ask the old man if this was the same princess, the same castle or another castle. But there was the beautiful sword he wanted but could not let himself take. The memory of something that hasn’t happened yet chased him out of the cave and back to here.
From Adam Peterson’s “Another Castle” (February 24).
They would become the water fountain in their eager search to fill themselves of everything. What is this, Miss April? Okay, but what is that, Miss April? Where does the water the water come from? When I flush the toilet does the water go into here? What if I drink a fish!? Each kid would hover over the water fountain wearily, questioning all of existence, before devouring it.
From Gabby Bess’s “Experience the Fun” (January 20).
We get a little closer to the sun every time the planet turns and it is purgatory for us but absolute hell for dogs, who are still for the most part covered in fur, at least the ones that are still alive. I can understand why they in general have terrible dispositions these days. The prospect that one may catch on fire simply by going outside between the hours of noon and five pm is not likely to be good for anyone’s psyche.
From Nathan Knapp’s “At the End of the World, Where It Is Very Hot” (October 20).
Ten drummers doubled to twenty, then doubled again. Most of them played with little technique, but they bolstered the groove. I felt my pulse quicken, the sun hot on my shoulders, my hands beginning to numb, but I was locked into the rhythm. It compelled me.
From Justin Feinstein’s “We Could Have Been Cavemen” (January 13).
There’s plenty more to be read at the Sunday Stories archive.