STORYGLOSSIA Issue 26, January 2008
Beat the Peak AJ Hare
'Beat the Peak' is a game that starts far from home. The driver drops a dot or two, depending on distance, and races to a safe point against his own sensory degradation. Tonight, we're playing without a safety on dangerous streets. Bird, the designated clean, took eight hits without warning and locked us into a restless trip. Wrong turns get you booked or jacked as difference thins between oblivion and redemption . . .
The Finish Line Janis Hubschman
Grace battled local rush hour traffic to make an 8:15 vet appointment. Judy, the golden retriever puppy, rode shot gun. Like a methamphetamine addict, Judy twitched and sniffed, and then slid off the seat whenever Grace applied the brakes. It looked up from the floor, surprised each and every time to find itself there. Grace sighed with frustration. Pavlov would have hated this dog, but a poor memory would be useful after today's ordeal . . .
Transubstantiation Blues A. Ray Norsworthy
The anti-climactic goodbye outside the airport terminal is sweet, formal, and awkward—like their hello the day they met. No swelling music. No Casablanca re-enactment, no twitch, no grimace, no cigarette. No here's looking at you, kid, hands in the pocket, upturned collar, or fog. Just coffee breath, whispers unheard because of the roar in his head, feeling her eyelash-flicked tears on his neck with their last fevered and trembling embrace . .
Crowbar Josh Capps
In the heartland, Sir Laugh-a-Lot's shuts down their comedy club after 9-11. A month later, when they re-open, management cut Max's three weekly gigs to one. They wonder about their customers' desire to laugh—even that mix he attracts with shock tactics and subversion . . .
Bright Sky, Blue Waters of Rio Terry White
It was that Rio guidebook that started it all. If I hadn't passed that window at that precise time of day, I never would have seen it. Some second-hand, end-of-its-tether bookstore with stacks of Agatha Christie scattered about. Sad bait. I know about baiting hooks to lure customers, because marketing was my profession . .
Any Given Monday Laurie Koozer
On the Monday morning after the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Chicago Bears, Patty Salvatore waited until her kids had left for school, locked the door to her bedroom and pulled out a box full of panties . . .
The Ataturk of the Outer Boroughs Jacob M. Appel
Twice already he had lost everything—once to the creditors who'd bankrolled his late father's gambling sprees, once to an electrical fire—so the prospect of dispossession, which in the past might have conjured up traumatic images of refugees pulling featherbeds with horse-carts, now merely vexed him like a minor rash. Transience was the price for breathing American air, for doing business in Jackson Heights, Queens . . .
My Contribution to Irish Literature Steve Nelson
Looking for a story? Well, I've got one for you. With a lovely young girl and a parish priest, lots of rain, a reputed miracle, and a hint of scandal. At any rate it's an Irish story, set right in Ireland, so when you're reading it you've got to picture everything green. Well, not the girl, who's got red hair. Or the priest, who's got blue eyes. Actually, there's lots that isn't green at all. But you should picture the background that way. Green. Irish green . . .
Turbulence Pierre Hauser
The plane entered a bank of gray clouds that were unusual for this altitude. Then it lurched and dropped precipitously for several seconds, eliciting gasps from a few passengers. A flight attendant—not Angie, she must have been aft—stumbled toward the back, barking sharply at passengers to take their seats, looking legitimately concerned. Every few seconds, there was that elevator dropping sensation as the plane hit more pockets . . .
Paint Aliya Whiteley
I picked up the tester pot that's been sitting by the garage door since Mum left. It was primrose yellow, the colour she was going to paint the downstairs toilet until she decided it wasn't worth decorating a place she couldn't stand any longer. I unscrewed the lid, took out the mini brush that came with it, and held it to my face. The fumes were potent, but I kept it close to my lips . . .
Hands Michael Yang
The surgery took twelve hours, the recovery two months longer, but when they unwrapped the bandages he knew it had been worth it. Even though he'd expected his skin to be raw or damaged, the only evidence of the surgery, beyond the color difference, was the pruning of his purpled digits and the ugly black stitches along his wrists . . .