Sunday Stories: “Boundaries, Transgressions”

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Boundaries, Transgressions
by Seth Rogoff

When I joined the online faculty meeting a few minutes late, thirty or forty of my colleagues were already logged in and listening to the dean making nervous, over-caffeinated small talk before he formally commenced what was sure to be a pointless, tedious hour. The online version of these meetings was, on the whole, even more monological and irritating than its pre-pandemic predecessor. On the other hand, it was now easy enough to cut one’s video feed and do other things, or simply to fade away into a blissful state of non-thought while the dean, or some other administrator, droned on about college policies or, worse, tried to pat us on the back for doing our “part” to “avert a crisis.” 

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Sunday Stories: “Bamboo Breeze”

Candle

Bamboo Breeze
by Samuel J Adams

When I was fifteen, I used to smoke weed with my neighbor, Moustakas. Moustakas was seventeen but he’d taken the GED two years earlier and was already a working man. He repaired phones, working through piles on a table in his parents’ den. He commandeered that den like a man of importance and, like a man of importance, he was already hugely fat. And he sold weed, mainly to me, accompanying his sales with advice.  

“Friend George,” he’d say. “Weed is a trifling side-hustle. Phones—that’s real business.”

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Sunday Stories: “Beautiful”

Dental tools

Beautiful
by James Jacob Hatfield

The head and arms are wrapped with a high density plastic sleeve to protect the chair from any oral leakage. A metallic beaded chain (like the ones used for anchoring bank teller pens) nips at my neck hairs and is alligator clipped to a blue bib (also for spit). The paperwork I left with the receptionist details my checkered past with Lidocaine. 

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Sunday Stories: “The Absolute Antithesis of Lightness”

Hamster

The Absolute Antithesis of Lightness
by Megan Peck Shub

We were kids. We were idiots, even Daniel, who was less of an idiot, but an idiot, nonetheless. We were soldiers.

We were working for the propaganda department of the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Our military service was mandatory, and none of us drank the Spokesperson’s Kool-Aid, although I’ve heard we should retire that phrase, given its partially inaccurate reference to a massacre, which is not exactly something to joke about. (On the other hand, one could argue that a bit of levity now and then helps us cope with the relentless horrors this world has to offer.) 

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Sunday Stories: “The Flood”

Bricks

The Flood
by Jackson Saul

1.

Thomas Noonan catches a sweet whiff of it before he goes under, and it might make him have a thought. When it’s molasses that’s sweeping people away, they have a little more time to think last thoughts than if it were water. Noonan is a longshoreman, and he is strong from lifting things up and putting them down. But now he himself is lifted up from the shoreside cobblestone, and when he goes down, he stays down. He is strong, but not strong enough for this.

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Sunday Stories: “Listening Party”

Guitar

Listening Party
by Zachary Kocanda

I only remember the exact day this happened because it was after the last Adlai the Last show at Lincoln Hall two days before Christmas in 2014. I had seen the band open for Passion Pit in 2008 when I was fifteen, and my friends and I agreed the band was OK, but we were there to see Passion Pit. Back in high school, I read Pitchfork’s website every day, and my friends and I prided ourselves on knowing all the latest indie rock bands, tuned in for late-night new music on WXRT and local Chicago-area college radio stations with DJs who name-dropped friends of friends of friends. Unfortunately, we all lived in the suburbs, so we rarely made it to Chicago where all the bands played their shows.

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Sunday Stories: “Zeno’s Library”

Library

Zeno’s Library
by Nick Douglas

I got fired from the infinite library. 

My work wasn’t suiting the needs of our patrons, according to the head librarian. We were in his office again. He was giving me one more chance. The chance was to stop being the director of acquisitions and start being the director of decommissions. When I asked him how he said I could start with whatever I had last acquired and work backward.

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