Trump Rally

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I glance at my mom, who is squinting and fanning herself with a MAGA pamphlet, and I’m not sure how much she’s understanding. There are thousands of unmasked white people around us and I’m so paranoid my chest is throbbing, but this is precisely the point.More

My Lost Decade

My Lost Decade

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I spilled milk where one was not supposed to spill milk, soiled myself at the most inopportune times, incessantly chewed a green rubber ring into a slobbery mess, and cried in the middle of church services, head after angry head turning to see my parents whisking me away down the center aisle. “Shhhh,” my parents whispered, but I knew they really wished to say, “Get yourself together, dude. You should see yourself right now!”More

Two Stories

Two Stories

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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.More

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

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

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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. More

Glass Wall

Glass Wall

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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, workingMore

Hippo Brain

Hippo Brain

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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.More

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

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

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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,More

Urchin vs. Televangelist

Urchin vs. Televangelist

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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,More

Special Night

Special Night

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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?”More

The Witch

The Witch

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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.More

Horns

Horns

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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. More

They Call Me Sack

They Call Me Sack

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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?More

Crossing Fingers, Folding Hands

Crossing Fingers, Folding Hands

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Cal wants to be a “good guy” badly and he is, around 64% of the time. Back of the envelope math, etc. There’s just some times where his brain doesn’t go quite right and for one reason or another he’s less “good guy” and more “not-so-good guy,” according to what he understands the parameters of the “good guy”/“not-so-good guy” paradigm to be. Much of it is that he can’t forget about the things he’s done wrong over the years.More

Safe Word

Safe Word

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We’ll talk, talk, then we’ll play.More

The Sting of God

The Sting of God

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I listened to the still waters that weren’t really still and stared up at the stars. I thought, if you could corral them all in one place, you might call it a starrcade. I laughed at that. I had a habit, even then, of laughing at my own jokes. I looked around, but I was alone.More

Fiction, Supposedly

Fiction, Supposedly

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Suppose you discover in your 60th year that your father was a molester, had been molested himself. By his father. Suppose you discover that your grandfather, whom you never knew, was not only a molester but most likely had been molested too. By his adopted father. Suppose you learn all this over conversation with your cousin whom you barely knew growing up, being 19 years older than you. Suppose he asks you if your father had ever hurt you, as you sit at his kitchen table drinking coffee looking out over DC at the sunset-lit horizon through leafless trees. A city with all its history that you love so much.More

“The car had been through a reconstructed transmission, a busted carburetor, and was an absolute lush for Valvoline.” – Jordan Farmer, “Brothers”