STORYGLOSSIA Issue 18, February 2007
Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear
by Michele Lesko
On stage in stiletto cowboy boots, I set an aggressive tone right away. At center stage, I gave the audience a long, hard stare like I was inspecting them. Then I turned away and swayed to my music. I distanced myself from them, knowing their eyes would not leave me . . .
Tattooed People by Seth Harwood
The tattooed couple live below us on the hill, on a street parallel to ours. Our balcony overlooks their small back yard from three floors above. I watch them sometimes. They're the kind of people you notice . . .
The Man in Africa by Michael Davis
It's an indisputable fact of life that we all need to be watched. Webcams, surveillance, the sense that somebody has an eye on us is a good thing. It helps us flag the warning signs. It helps protect us from ourselves. That's why, when Susan Thorrson called me and said "What's that clicking on the line? Do you hear that clicking?" I checked my Caller I.D., saw "IDENTIFICATION BLOCKED", and knew immediately it was her. I also knew that the clicking didn't matter. In the new openness of a perfectly surveilled culture, everything, even sexual fetishes, will be style points—like gourmet beers or a choice of socks: are you really going for the argyle today? You're so naughty. . . .
Anna in the Graveyard by Caroline Lockwood Nelson
She floats on her belly through the water, tainted smoky green from the algae, wearing only SPF 4 and reading her brother's old RL Stine books, grubby horror novels with not many pages and all the same plots. Sometimes she drops them into the water and lets them dry on the edge of the pool because she likes the way the paper browns and wrinkles . . .
They Hail from East Lansing by Adam Cushman
When they leave baggage claim, Roger carries Deb's suitcase to the cab and to the hotel on Washington Avenue. Deb and Rachel are sharing a room next to Grissy, and Roger has a room on a different floor. After dinner at some Argentinean restaurant outside of the Lincoln Road Mall, Deb, Rachel, Grissy and Roger kick things off at Club Hedonism. Roger is wearing khaki shorts, a fluorescent green visor and has a disposable camera in his pocket. Deb and Rachel are wearing skintight dresses they bought at Express back home. Rachel's is tiger-striped and tighter than Deb's, plus it shows more of her tits. Rachel is more conscious of her tits than Deb is of her tits. Rachel is more conscious of Deb's tits than Deb is of Deb's tits. Rachel makes sure to hike her dress up to make her tits bulge. Rachel doesn't mind that this is painful . . .
Prom by Gina Ventre
I think it's safe to say that I spent my formative years wondering what it was about me that scared the crap out of people. During one memorable recess in sixth grade, I carved a circle in the mulch around Erin and Megan and a few other bitches whose names I can't recall. They were going on and on, whispering so I couldn't hear, and there I was pushing mulch with my foot to form my circle of protection. Later that day, I thought about lasering them inside that circle. The thought evaporated when I looked in front of me and saw lice crawling around in Lisa's hair . . .
Love Me, Love My Doppleganger by Tom Schwider
Large silver propeller planes rumble overhead dropping bombs in slow motion over the North Side of Chicago. An unshaven man wearing a hooded sweatshirt beneath a black leather jacket approaches me. He smells like a hot dog loaded with kraut and sweet peppers. His face is covered in shadows and his thoughts enter my head without speaking a word. "I am an alien. You've nothing to fear . . .
Tick Fever by Rhea Wagner
I opened my laptop and read another message from Dan Arendt, my half-brother from L.A., whose existence I'd only just learned about a few weeks before. It turned out my jerk of a dad had gotten some woman pregnant, way before I was born. This woman gave Dan Arendt up for adoption . . .
Lillian by Fred McGavran
If I have had a good night, he helps me out of my plastic wrappings and to the toilet and then the shower, where he sprays me with warm water. If I have had a bad night, well, we do the same things, but he sprays me first and talks to himself about why he gets all the nasty ones . . .
Doing Without by Jane Darby
Sal turned to Jack. A sling cradled his right arm. He held it in front of him as if it was an injured creature he'd rescued in the woods. The swelling on his forehead had gone down a bit, but the black thread, still crusted with dried blood and disinfectant gave it the appearance of bruised fruit. She longed to whisper an apology to it. Kiss it . . .
Loop by Scott Garson
Four days ago, I hid a small tape recorder in a bookcase at about five minutes before the hour when our sitter was due to arrive . . .
A Detached Observer by Mary Miller
I get off work early and go over to his house. He's out back in the dark with a pair of binoculars in his lap. "Stars pulse," he says. "Planets don't. That's how you can tell them apart." From down here everything seems to pulse but I don't say that. He has recently discovered how far away the sun is, how fucking far away, or maybe he knew all along but didn't care before . . .
My Old Lady by Mary Miller
Denis called his fiancée my old lady. Growing up, his mother dated bikers.
Denis' fiancé was in Panama City with her girlfriends, in celebration of her upcoming nuptials, while the two of us were in his bed, landlocked and naked . . .