Two Stories

34 is the slowest in the pool, which shouldn’t surprise anybody, because he’s new. He started swimming a month ago, probably because his mom told him to lose weight. He has these chubby cheeks, and his swimsuit is a size thirty-four, hence the name. All of us wear thirty-two or smaller, and 34’s suit hardly even fits as it is.Continue Reading

Did You Eat a Lot of Paint Chips as a Child?

A year ago he had no clue what it was like being a single parent or what it meant to run a small business. Then his wife decided their marriage wasn’t fulfilling. He didn’t blame her for wanting more. In order to live close to his children, he’d rented a studio apartment in the neighborhood near their school. The day he signed his lease the city reduced the library’s hours. He became even less. Continue Reading

Glass Wall

He saw her see him. Her face said: I know this person. Then he knew he was positively identified, though her expression didn’t change. Baffling she should still be here, still on campus, all these years later. In this gaudy, sun-drenched glass box. Except not really: that was obviously a student sitting beside her, workingContinue Reading

Hippo Brain

You can’t outrun being born poor anymore than a rabbit can outrun being born a rabbit. Get as far away as you like, you’ll still spend the rest of your days listening for the wolf at the door, watching for threatening shadows on the ground. Being poor is being hunted. Forever.Continue Reading

A Man, a Woman, & a Fetus Walk Into a Maternity Ward

The day my child came into this world lifeless and cold, I was writing jokes for my standup routine. I didn’t love the woman who was crying in the bed next to me. I mostly thought of her as the wrong end of a bottle of vodka or the face next to a trashcan. Sorry,Continue Reading

Urchin vs. Televangelist

I am coming to your city to save you, said the handsome man on the TV. He wagged his finger at the camera, at Gabriel and his corpulent mother fused to the pleather couch, and he said to them that he was coming to their city to save their souls. Mark the date! In fairness,Continue Reading

Special Night

Brenda stands up and looks out across the hotel’s back parking lot. Past the dry, cracked asphalt and patches of brown weeds pocked with plastic bags and broken bottles. Neon lights flicker on from the fast-food restaurants and gas stations along the main drag three blocks over. She watches them, but then focuses on a group of teens that cuts through, leaving a trail of vape smoke in their wake. She turns to me and says, “I’m gonna need more cigarettes. Some more vodka would be good, too, don’t you think?”Continue Reading

The Witch

She would always wear the same outfit—battered tan trenchcoat, leather boots and a dazed, trance-like expression. Every Tuesday, at exactly 4 o’clock, she would saunter through the East entrance, ride the escalator up to the first floor and sit on the right-hand side of the three-seater, stainless steel bench that overlooked the concourse. She sat for exactly an hour. She did not read a book, nor did she Crush Candy on her smartphone. She merely sat, twirling strands of greying hair between her fingers as she observed the throng of panting commuters.Continue Reading


Kneeling by the animal on the ground, feeling the thin hard things in his hand, he imagined them hollow, so that if he snapped them from the skull he could drink with them like straws. Continue Reading

They Call Me Sack

Seriously, I felt bad—you know, about the guy’s ears and everything—but guess what, if your ears’re that messed up you shouldn’t give a flying sack what kind of oil’s in your car. I mean, isn’t shit like having shriveled up ears supposed to make you realize what’s important in life? What’s the use in having bad stuff happen if you just end up like every other douchebag?Continue Reading