Everything is Better in the End

Dad didn’t want me to go. That was mostly because he had to stay home with mum, who was at the wrong end of a bad cold, meaning I would have to go by my lonesome. I offered to take Liza, but he said no because she was taking summer courses on a count of…

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Shadows and Shapes

James McGowan knew his voice was gruff and unapologetic. That’s how he usually got his way. “Tell us what happened.” The boy continued to stare at his own hands, he couldn’t see anything else. McGowan couldn’t even tell whether he’d heard the question or not. The boy just kept staring at his damn hands. The…

Picking Up Granny

  They weren’t knocking on the door. They were threatening to break it down. Alberto was shocked out of his slumber. Still groggy though adrenaline coursed painfully through his veins, he sat bolt upright. Half-immersed in his dream, Alberto spent a frenzied moment believing the room was collapsing around him before he heard the voices…

Mixtape Mishap

In the background, crowds of people chatter loudly. La Guardia Airport must be packed, which is understandable given that it’s about…5 pm there right now. Everybody’s heading somewhere at the same time my baby’s trying to get home. “Marshall?” she asks, because I’ve been silent. “You still there?” “Yes, ma’am,” I say and she laughs.…

Umbrella

When dawn broke, so did the clouds. Rain washed away sidewalk chalk and dirt. It cleared the pollen from the hoods of the cars and from the windows on the buildings. Upturned flowers collected water droplets in their petal cups. Cats shook the rain from their fur and took cover under bushes and vehicles. As…

Pumpkins and Pin Cushions

[Recorded by Bea O’Leary on 14 August 2016 in her home on Gillman Street in El Cerrito, CA. The following is a direct transcription.] So, why don’t you begin by telling me a bit about yourselves? Well, I’m Fabian. I’m a pin cushion collector originally from Arkansas. Been in El Cerrito for about seven years…

Chicken Olympics

Summer? Kinda boring sometimes. Friends? Total flakes, but that's alright. I do it too.  Waking up at four in the afternoon? Priceless. Pure. Bliss.  I roll onto my side, opening my eyes and gazing out across my room. Sunlight is streaming through the blinds. I guess Mrs. Welder was wrong when she said I was…

Annie Going Home

The sun has vanished behind the horizon of skyscrapers by the time I hit the city limits. One minute I’m in the orange glow of dusk, long shadows and hazy light, and the next I’m plunged into darkness. Colors mute. I switch on the headlights, which fan out across the dusty dunes on either side…