by E. Y. Smith
Every morning, despite the fact they could have just as easily called each other by cellphone, they called each other through tin cans attached by a thin wire that ran between their windows, and they talked for hours. Most mornings they seemed to even run late to work, but they didn’t seem to mind—laughing together after they kissed each other hello and ducked into one or the other’s car, then swiftly swerving into the street.
How We Lived on Main Street
by Christian TeBordo
Of course, none of us actually lived on Main Street. Main Street was for commerce. Main Street was for you. For us, Main Street was an opportunity, the opportunity, mostly, to serve you. And what a delight it now seems, not to have served you — none of us ever found ourselves missing that aspect of it — but the things we were privileged to serve.
by Jeff Schroeck
Nancy and Renee and I were like sisters growing up. We’d roam unsupervised around town as kids, later trading that for more dangerous activities, like drinking at night in the woods behind the school or sitting on the billboard next to the highway, throwing rocks at cars. One time we got so drunk we dragged our friend Bridget face down from the woods all the way home and left her on the doorstep. When we told her about it the next day she thought it was as funny as we did. None of us wanted anything other than to feel like it was summer all the time.
by Mina Odile
The next day, the usual rags ran bloody eager by the subway mouth and, trampled in the gutter, still folded, showed headlines muddied by soles, ran SENSELESS for a quick grab, commute, and toss, as every New York morning.
Well might you ask if senseless means there’s sometime death more meaningful. To which I’ve no reply, as senseless’nt quite cut it either by my thinking, nor never do I see the sense in it, all told, ’til what I’m finding’s neither more or less than meaningless—there, now it’s out, damn dot and done with it. As all I know is how I like to be toddling up to the lioned library round about 10.14, so sitting long the length of one in many wooded tables, and there to read the murders.
by Emily Hunt Kivel
My mother looks just like her father, and I look exactly like my mother, which in turn means I look exactly like my grandfather, who, I’ll point out, had a dowager’s hump and a wart over his eyebrow and a purple vein like a spider spread across the left half of his face for more than a third of his life. My brother looks like my father, which is ironically more, well, a lot more, like a woman. Black eyelashes. Mole on cheek. My grandfather died only at sixty-one, speeding recklessly between one place and another but he had lung disease anyway. My mother keeps a picture of that unholy looking man on her nightstand, and I squint at it in the dark from the two twin mattresses my brother and I have on the floor. I dream of headboards. That face looms above. I suppose that’s what we have to look forward to, my mother and me.
What Happened in Namaqualand?
by Leila Green
A twelve-year-old boy shows up to his father’s doorstep with one pair of jeans, two t-shirts, a toothbrush, a hairbrush and a bar of soap. He’s come from Cape Town to Namaqualand with everything but memories; he’s never met his father. But he got invited and his mother insisted, so he boarded a bus and held his breath.
He knocks on the door. It opens. The father, Mychal, stands with his arms anxiously ajar. Wisps of rain sneak through the threshold as the boy, Shane, enters the neat home: a tiny rondavel on the edge of a vast veld. Farmer’s quarters. For one month, this will be his home. After, school will start again, and he’ll take the bus back to his mother’s home in Cape Town.
by Judy Darley
The landlord shows us the code to unfasten a padlock leading to our own square of garden. “Always keep it locked,” he tells us. “Even when you’re in here.”
Christopher and I smile and promise, dazzled by the lush strip of lawn and sunshine-glimmered pond. A scarlet goldfish bobs up, goggle-eyed with amazement, I presume, because it hasn’t seen people for so long. Our new apartment has been empty for more than a year, and the rent is low as a result. We’ve chosen to enjoy our good fortune, rather than ask why that might be.
Succumb Yr Thumb
by Ben Bush
I was standing in the bathroom stall of a dive bar with one my students. I took the lid off the top tank of the toilet. Eight beers were bobbing around, staying refrigerated in the fresh, cool water. I’d snuck a twelve-pack past the doorman when we came in and we’d already drunk the others.
“How much would you pay for one of these at the bar?” I asked.