Sunday Stories: “The Wall”


The Wall
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? 

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Sunday Stories: “Mister Softy”

Mister Softy
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. 

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Sunday Stories: “Cinnamon From Pakistan”

Cinnamon From Pakistan
by Francis Sanzaro

Spices are nature’s tantra, Caitlynn would say.

On a typical Sunday morning, Caitlynn, naked and barefoot, would tip-toe around their kitchen floor. She would dab fennel pollen or crushed fenugreek on her chest, then wait for Jon to take notice and lick it off, which he did, and which she would pretend to be bothered by, but wasn’t really.

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Sunday Stories: “The Last Migration”

The Last Migration
by Keziah Weir

Alvaro Sáez grew up in the pink and gold dust motes of San Pedro de Atacama. He built houses with his father, and then hotels and roadways after his father’s death. He married a red haired American woman named Sandy who came to his town seeking some other God than the one she’d known in Western Massachusetts but found, instead, a husband. 

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Sunday Stories: “Solitaire”

by Brandon Sargent

“What are you going to do if I tell my daughter you’re smoking cigarettes around me?” Ethel stared into my soul, and I stared at the East River.

“What are you going to do if I tell your daughter that I found an empty Dunkin’ Donuts box under your bed?” I asked, taking a drag of my cigarette.

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Sunday Stories: “Symbols of A Self.”

Symbols of A Self.
by Sarah Millar

January, and it’s raining in Mexico. Warm rain but still, rain. I sit in the window of a split level motel room and wonder what I’m doing with my life. Sunshine adds purpose to idleness. Without it, the rain calls into question the entirety of my existence. A rhythmic tattoo on a thin roof, adding cadence to my freefall. An endless freehand roll, injecting a violent heartbeat to my flatline. The rain is knee deep and I am up to my neck. 

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Sunday Stories: “Paper Scissors”

Paper Scissors
by James J. Hatfield

((( )))

Mrs. Sasser stood behind me with her arm over my chest. The back of my head at her belly button. The woods behind our house looked like it was at the bottom of some ocean full of fire. 

In the haze of the smoke and the orange and yellow backlight, I saw a dark shape come out. It looked like one of them stories from the Bible, I don’t know which.

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