STORYGLOSSIA Issue 27, March 2008
Guest editor Katrina Denza's introduction
Hook Claudia Smith
We were at Rexall's drugstore down the street. He was behind me, in the hair section. I didn't turn around. I picked up a bottle of Prell shampoo and read the label. As I was reading, I saw a hard-glass reflection in my mind's eye; a view of me from the back—a small girl, in short pleated skirt, cotton blouse, penny loafers without socks that revealed nice ankles, thin legs, dark golden pigtail that showed a white part and slender neck. I knew what he wanted, too, and that it was probably only a passing thought. I thought I could change things . . .
Passengers Eugene Cross
She tells me again, how her father, when he was younger, had a wild streak in him. She tells me about the parties he threw, complete with gin baths and people jumping off the roof naked into the swimming pool and white lines from one side of the kitchen counter to the other. She has heard all this second hand from her father's friends. But after she was born, he finally got himself straightened out . . .
Timmy Is Dead Myfanwy Collins
For months Polly had harbored a secret crush on Sedrick. It was on a sleet-filled, pre-Thanksgiving day that sexy Sedrick had gone out of his way to stop Polly after a Feminist Criticism lecture and told her that he appreciated her moderate viewpoints and liked that she was not afraid to startle people with her passivity. It wasn't what he said that charmed her, but that he had grabbed her upper arm by means of getting her attention and with that touch came a worm of an ache from her groin up through her nipples . . .
Wanda Brandon Keat
People who weren't from Stormstown said the place was rank. But if you lived there, by some trick of the nose or mind, you couldn't smell the paper mill at all. Archie never smelled it growing up, but having been away for along time and recently returned, he was set apart. Now, he understood just what out-of-towners meant when they happened through Stormstown and declared that itsmelled like the town shit itself . . .
I See You in the Bright Night Liz Prato
The door to my building—four stories of red brick and black fire escapes, the kind that suburban kids dream of escaping to—is unlocked. It's supposed to be a secure building, but the lock has been broken for months and no one's bothered to fix it. Maybe no one's bothered to complain. I walk up one flight of starkly lit stairs and there's Kort, slumped-over sleeping in front of my door. Sable suede jacket, faded blue jeans with one ripped knee, black leather boots. I don't know how anyone could sleep in the bare light bulb bright, but his eyes are closed. He looks peaceful. Innocent . . .
Bad Ideas Rob Ehle
Tracy had a hard time making it through any day without crying. The only way she could do it was to swear at her children, and she didn't know which—crying or swearing—would do them less harm. After she'd told her thirteen-year-old daughter one day that she might have an easier time finding her favorite socks if she turned on the fucking light, Tracy decided it was time to find a therapist, even though she knew she could not afford one . . .
To Cure a Hardened Heart Miriam Cohen
My mother is of the second group. Hers is a strange, late onset case. The girls who sit icy eyed beside her on the softly upholstered sofas, slowly swinging their legs back and forth, are all teenagers. When my mother was admitted, they crept slowly from their perches on chairs and floors, windowsills, and sofas. They circled her like suspicious dogs. The girls didn't make eye contact and neither did my mother. That's how they knew, I suppose, that it was she, and not I, who was one of them . . .
The Golden Dragon Express Laura van den Berg
It was my daughter's job to assemble the game board, my husband's to shuffle the cards, and mine to make drinks in the kitchen: sprite in a highball glass for my daughter, whiskey with no ice for my husband and me. Every other Friday night, my husband had been the Banker, handling the money, buildings, and title deed cards, but for this game, I had decided to change things up. Before leaving the kitchen, I plucked an ice cube from the freezer with a little pair of silver tongs and dropped it into his drink . . .
Seven Reece Mews Terri Brown-Davidson
But I viewed it as a lover. As a lover who wanted to be annihilated. I pictured our white bodies clasped. Unrobed. I pictured that large white head, the face bloated with drink and drugs, against my shoulder, with a blurred intensity that came, I suppose, from dreaming of paintings and ships and Francis and snow. I dreamed of us sleeping—just sleeping—on that bedraggled green couch, our limbs entangled, our teacups drained . . .
Orlando Kathy Fish
Inside, he grips a corner of the bedspread and pulls. It slides off, stiff and shiny with the residue of sex. "These never get washed," he says. "I saw a news segment where the reporter put a square of hotel room bedspread under a microscope. It looked like an ocean full of confused protozoa."
"People don't want to mess up the sheets they're going to sleep on later," Lori says. She is aware of the note of authority in her voice. She runs her hand down the front of her uniform, as if to smooth out wrinkles, and removes her shoes . . .
The Cone of Possibility Gavin S. Lambert
Will could tell that Russ hadn't been to school at all that day, though his appearance would not have been that much different if he had. That is, his clothes would have been the same, but his face would have been very different; it would have been heavy with the familiar stress of a day at school—the taunts, the slaps on the back of the head, the cruel words, they all would have been there on Russ's face, like welts and gashes, like wounds . . .
Leng Lui Is for Pretty Lady Elaine Chiew
My lot could be worse. It could be like Eliza-Eunice who got spanked in the head with a frying pan because her employer thought she'd stolen thirty-two Hong Kong dollars from an ashtray—Eliza-Eunice who died in the hospital a week later from a bloodclot in her brain caused by a concussion. Even if her employer rots in jail, who do you think is the loser? Lucky for me, Mrs. Kong isn't really too much into using an apparatus to give one a whipping. She likes the knuckle maneuver, a sharp and hard rap to the side of the head . . .
Splinter Amy Purcell
My tone is authoritative and confident. I should have been a doctor. When Elizabeth knocked on my door last week and showed me what had happened, I didn't panic and call 911. I just sat with her and her Dan-foot, and surveyed the damage. I even brought my fingers to my lips the way TV doctors do when they examine difficult cases. We stayed that way for some time, me in my philosophical pose, Elizabeth with her foot on the sofa, Dan waiting for something to happen. Finally, I told Elizabeth her first problem was falling in love. It cannot be medically treated; it is something to be avoided . . .
Oldest Story in the World Matt Baker
I'm getting drunker. My mouth starts to not work. When I talk the sound is forced too fast for my lips to catch up and form the vowels the right way. I speak an entire sentence with my molars touching. Up until two days ago, it'd been awhile since I've drank like this. I'm so tired, I tell myself, and part of me is scared by this whole thing, by Kim and this place with people I don't know and this cigarette in my hand and the beer and the two pills I took in the elevator. Up and down, Kim said. One each, she said. I don't do drugs anymore, I said. I don't even really drink all that much. Too late now, she said and like she'd choreographed it, the elevator door opened . . .
Back Wash Alicia Gifford
Myrna likes sweaty, strenuous sex. She says it softens her edges, uncoils her springs. Afterwards, she often goes to sleep on the futon in her office because she doesn't like the wet spot. For a long time Jake appreciated her lack of sentimental chicky-shit, but now he wishes they could just slide against each other's skin, lubricated by warm water and fragrant suds . . .