I could just, like, die. It’s my birthday, right? I’m sixteen! We’re having a great time, and my mother, like, totally barges in my room with a box. Now, it is a pretty beautiful box, so I’m thinking, HELL YEAH! I’m gonna get that new boombox, you know the one, and the Debbie Gibson Electric Youth tape, right? Maybe even keys to a car are hidden in there ‘cause she’s tricky. But nooooo…she tells us we are going to have a “talk.”
By Raymond Deej
Daniel woke alone and crept down the hall, discovering Jill with Bill in Bill’s hammock, where the two bounded through a jailbreak monkey screw.
“Daniel, shit!” said Jill.
“Oh man,” said Bill. “Oh man!”
Daniel went for Bill and got him by one arm and one leg, dragging him to the floor. He gouged and head-butted Bill. He spit in Bill’s mouth. Then he flipped Bill over and stood, stomping at his neck and between his shoulder blades. Meanwhile, Daniel’s initial lunge and wild elbow had caught Jill flush. She’d spilled from the hammock and come up with mouth gore and several teeth in her hands. She wandered about shrieking and babbling, as if casing a village massacre, while Daniel finished working Bill over.
By Linda Murphy Marshall
Looking out the family room window of her Eisenhower-era rancher, an elbow on her hip to support the weight of her son, her free hand brushing stray cereal flakes from her blouse, Kate watches her mother as she makes her way up the driveway. Seeing the older woman fills Kate with longing.
Fighting the impulse, she does a visual run-through of her home, seeing it through her mother’s eyes with its couch’s too-busy palette of orange-rust-yellow-colored designs that seemed like such a good idea when she and her husband bought it five years ago to jazz up the room. There’s also a beige corduroy chair with telltale food stains, a slight odor from her son’s recent bout with the flu, and who knows what crumbs under the cushion, as well as the once off-white wall where the faintest outline of red magic marker scribbling is still visible under fresh paint, a remnant from the no more than two minutes when she let her son out of her sight and he channeled Jackson Pollock. The house looks beat up.
By Chris Hannas
Maria boarded the second car on the train just like she always did, finding an empty seat on the left side of the back half, just like she always did. There was no reason for her routine. She did it once, then again the next day, and then, well, that was how she rode the subway on her 25-minute commute from the first semblance of suburbs to the concrete box she worked in downtown.
By Michael P Lambert
Scooter Gillette was the greatest hitter to come out of the Peach State since Ty Cobb.
Great hitters are not made. They are born. And Gillette was born with one of those swings fans are privileged to see once in a generation. His swing was unconscious. On his locker door, Gillette had plastered a quote from Ted Williams, “The Splendid Splinter.”
“If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.”
Ballplayers harbor more demons than most mortals. At the rarefied level of the game where they ply their craft, it is a constant struggle for them to keep these demons in check.
By Elliott Gish
You said, “Trust me,” so I closed my mouth and let you do it.
For once your touch was gentle, your fingers pressing my lips together like a delicate fold of silk. You hummed a little as you worked, each note buzzing pleasantly in your throat. A familiar crease appeared between your eyebrows. That little furrow could mean any number of things; it all depended on context, the wheres and the whens. There, then, it meant concentration, a deep absorption in the task at hand.
Gentle or not, it still hurt, and I could not help the whimper that bubbled up and out of me. The crease between your eyebrows deepened. Your gaze caught mine like a clenched fist.