Storyglossia Issue 17, December 2006
The Randomness of Love by Xujun Eberlein
Many years ago in the countryside's winter field, a boy—also an "insert" sent down from the city—hugged me, both of us in thick, fashionable army greatcoats. Other than the pressure against my clothes, I felt nothing. Still I worried. "Did we do anything wrong?" I asked him. He let me go and replied in an annoyed voice, "No, girl! We haven't done the wrong thing yet!" . . .
Tokillya by Sandy Shwayder Sanchez
His mother said she had to work and couldn't go so she made Philemon responsible for reporting back to her any monkey business with strange women. Philemon knows the difference between hugging and kissing on aunties and staying out all night after being last seen with some girl from Albuquerque. Philemon also knows he'd prefer his Dad get his sorry ass home before Philemon has to get up to pee and can no longer claim he was asleep and didn't know what time his Daddy got home . . .
The Venus Game by Patricia J. DeLois
I'm in the kitchen dishing out cat food for Sid when Daddy comes home with his latest squeeze. She looks just like all the others, small and blonde, like Mama. Like me. Closer to my age, probably. Daddy looks surprised to see me. He's always surprised to see me, because he forgets that I live here . . .
Sugar Bowl by Jason Rice
The Complete Tales of Santa Claus, the Boy's Life Christmas Edition, covered in blood. It's ruined. Why did he use that? It was just a bloody nose. He used it to wipe up my bleeding nose last night, how come I didn't get a tissue? Now this is ruined. It's crusty and the pages are stuck together . . .
Globs of Possibility by Carol Quinn
Several times after the food arrives Jim opens and closes his mouth as though to say something, then changes his mind. I am drinking the last of my wine when he finally makes his decision. He takes my hand across the table, his face serious. "I love you," he says. "And I'm so proud of your work here, but . . . we've had our little adventure. Let's go home. This is not where I want to grow old." . . .
Donkey Basketball by Alex DeBonis
I'd flown up to cover this weird pastime called donkey basketball, a goofy farm-burg stunt to raise money for high-school sports programs. Dad had been going to these games ever since retiring last year as head basketball coach of the Keokuk County Warriors. Since then, he'd been driving two or three hours to out-of-the-way gyms for these events. He'd also left my mom a tearful voicemail message the previous week, though they'd been divorced for ten years . . .
A Tree in Winter by Kate Shaffar
What he really meant to say is that I had no right to talk about his father. Which might have been true if he had been the one who took care of him. Sat by him day after day, while he was ranting endlessly about how lenient people were with children nowadays, especially me. Or maybe he could say it, if he had cooked for his father, or wiped his ass once over the last six months. Which he couldn't say . . .
Elder Care by Carl R. Brush
George's fist caught her on the shoulder, knocked her sideways. She floated above herself for a moment, sure she'd imagined the blow. She stumbled, but didn't fall. Her husband clenched his fists and stuck out his jaw like a pugnacious schoolboy. She struggled to cover the whimper in her voice . . .
Earthquake Season by Jennifer Trudeau
I love bad weather and lightning strikes and tornadoes and tremendous storms and acts of God. Last year we went to Yosemite in the spring, and the valley flooded. The river overran its banks. It was late March, early April. The evacuation was orderly; there were no signs of panic. I watched, hopeful, for total breakdown and bottleneck. Not that I wished for anyone to be hurt, I didn't wish for casualties. What did I wish for? . . .
Snow on the Golden Gate Bridge by Rita Kasperek
The vodka was making him nervy, and with the memory of the rude treatment from those swinia, those spoiled girls in his cab, he was afraid that if he opened his mouth he would do something terrible. Scream and curse, strike out, wreck the place like a madman. He had it in him. He had done something like that to a dog once, his faithful companion for many years, cursed at a wrong someone had done to him and beat the dog so hard with a stick he shattered the animal's ribs like twigs. He felt the same way now, all tight inside and mean, like he wanted to rip all the knotted up entrails out of his chest and whip someone raw with it . . .