Storyglossia Issue 14, June 2006
Girl in the Rain by Shabnam Nadiya
At first we just knew that one day Zinnia didn't come to school. Like any small town, our varsity campus loved having its nose in other people's crotches like a dumpster dog and the news that the girl had gotten herself in trouble raced before the wind. By the end of the school day we all knew. I don't remember how, or who told me or who got the news in the first place; it was just that by the time we walked out of school on our way home, instead of our regular giggling and fooling around we were all whispering . . .
A Jubilee by James Waine Carpenter
I have that particular Saturday night on tape. My daddy had brought home a second-hand Philco tape recorder for my 15th birthday . . . A few moments later, if you put your ear up to the speaker of the Philco—as Joe-Neil hummed softly and Aunt Or sang Simple Strand Of Pearl—you can hear Tassie ask me to walk her home. I used to rewind the tape and listen to that part over and over as if I still couldn't believe it . . .
You Go by Alicia Gifford
A date? You haven't been out on a date since Quirky Larry. He marched to his own drummer; that's what you thought of his panicky fear of live chickens and wax, or when he'd stay up for three days working on two or three huge, brilliant canvases. He adored you, made you hot-and-sour soup and taught you Tantric sex. "The science of ecstasy," he whispered, raining sweat down upon your face . . .
Pulse by Eileen Donovan-Kranz
He had remained in his swivel chair, staring hard at his VAX terminal, waiting for the knot, or whatever it was, to work itself out, to wear away. Sat there for nearly two hours, he in the glass-walled room, simply concentrating. And although a few other professors and acquaintances walked by, or peered in, that day they did not stop to say, "How are you?" They did not say hello. Gavin thought for certain-sure that he might die there. And wouldn't it be ironic for it to happen with people smiling by him, with him inside a glass case? . . .
Michael Sennet by Henry Baum
There was only one good reason to live in L.A.: Hollywood. The city was lit by a union of sunshine and studio light—a strange, artificial light like a nighttime sporting event that was so bright and electric that you couldn't believe any of it was real. Michael owned this city. Everyone wanted to meet him, be him. He could see the desire in everybody's eyes, a kind of breathing hope. Even the failure that existed here—and there was more failure than success—was lifted up by his presence . . .
Conquer the World by Scott Cook
Chris got there at three-thirty just to be safe. At the door of the basement apartment he smelled something and stopped, looking at the bottom of his Nikes to see if shit was in the tread, but it wasn't. He looked over his shoulder for the crazed dog, or its steamy, powerful bomb. He didn't see anything, so he knocked . . .
Bright Water by Aimee Bester
As he pulled out of the driveway he looked in his rearview back at the house. She used to stand there, wave to them. But she didn't stand there like that anymore, it was just the kitchen blinds, closed shut, reflecting the thick yellow color of morning. The clock on the dash read 8:47. He still had to drop the kids off and get to work by nine. He knew the traffic on the bridge would be thick by the time he got there so he gave the car gas as he pulled out, spitting a little gravel back at her . . .
The Boyfriend by Andrew Roe
Instead, as he holds her, growing impatient in spite of himself, smelling her unwashed hair, his mind races with all kinds of weird, unrelated stuff (like how her hair smells unwashed, and who but him is dumb enough to talk smack to a cop after you've already had two DUIs this year, and what's up with all those celebrities who are into Scientology?) that boyfriends most definitely should not be thinking of at a time like this, and just now he detects the slightest, smallest hint of nipplage blooming underneath her blouse, but there it is, what can he do—not notice? . . .
Junction Regale by Colin Fleming
It was in the middle of my roamings today, in the middle of a crosswalk, before leaving one place I cannot stand for a journey to one where I would rather never be, that I closed my eyes and so skillfully settled upon my decision—post-medicine—which I am now seconding as quite right, in my thoughts, in principle, with the able council of brother Gabriel . . .
A Burial by Jai Clare
He never went anywhere or saw anything. Everything he knew about the world was from his books, his TV, his PC and phone-calls. He grew as wide as his armchair and as sagging, his face florid and cheeks puffy, his body atrophying, his mind, though filled with facts and ideas, morphed into frantic hatred while around him his books grew, his kids grew, Marcy grew, and the kids' things grew. Soon it was impossible to tell where the adults began and the kids ended . . .