Storyglossia Issue 16, October 2006
Winner of the Storyglossia Fiction Prize 2006
They Three at Once Were One by Kristen Tsetsi
Such privacy they'd created in just minutes with their clothing, their little things, their scents. The air was heavy with their presence and Nan thought of Christmas lights strung under snow, or of the soft melody made by a body moving under bathwater in a still room, and she was there, right in the middle of it, drowning in it, but not really, because even with her eyes closed and her fingers clutched around the girl's necklace and her breathing deep to take it all in and make it hers, it wouldn't take, and trying to be a part of it was like trying to throw a lasso around a ghost. It wasn't hers for the having, not for a long time, not until Marc came back, and he wouldn't be back. Not for a long time. She let go of the necklace and picked up the hairspray and sprayed it in her mouth because it was the only thing in the room she could ingest, but it didn't taste like grape, not at all. It tasted the way bug spray smelled, and it burned. "Fuck." She spit on the floor and felt her tongue and lips swelling. "Fuck." She started for the bathroom to rinse out her mouth when she heard movement, talking, outside . . .
Snake Dreams by Katrina Denza
The sum of what my mother left: one shell pink blouse with a rust stain near the bottom hanging on her closet's iron pole. I was eight when I ran into my parents' bedroom, so sure my father was mistaken. When I slid open my mother's side of the closet, the door catching for a moment in its groove, the emptiness of that rectangular space was the loudest thing in the room. And the shirt, still swinging slightly from the breeze of the door's motion, invited me to tear it from its padded hanger, to dive into its pinkness headfirst. What I should have done was mold it into a ball and stuff it into my mouth . . .
The Society for the Protection of Animals by Steven Gillis
The first time Uniss told me about the dogs, I was sudying for an exam, trying to wrap my head around Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg's theory—known as the Copenhagen Interpretation—challenged objective reality, insisted the position and momentum of a particle could not be predicted simultaneously with any consistent degree of accuracy as observation itself construed reality. I watched Uniss walk across the room. She showed me the newspaper, squeezed my arm, waited for me to read what there was then said, "It's real. Look at the pictures . . .
Waxing Razal by Theresa Boyar
Lucy, my sister's best friend, is there the way she always is—an unseen being amid the neat rows of trees. There's more of an awareness of Lucy than an actual physical presence. I know that somewhere in the groves, she too is bound tightly to a tree, only her head is hanging forward, her body is motionless, her taunting voice inexorably silenced . . .
In-Coming by Christiana Langenberg
People are always asking you big questions, in search of small answers. How are you? How's it going? As if you know. How can you take it? What strength do you draw on? Some people stare at you with faces dimpled as golf balls. Gosh, what keeps you from letting go of the end of your rope? You tell them "Nothing." As in, if you do that, you have nothing, but you know they don't hear it this way . . .
Roots and Limbs by Chris Sheehan
So yes, we had our own underground construction company—Sewer Connection, we called ourselves—but we weren't the type of characters you wanted showing up on your doorstep. I know I'd send myself away. I know I wouldn't pay however many thousands of dollars for us to work on your home. But like I said, we replaced sewers. It's the kind of work people have a fair amount of sympathy for. You'd be surprised how much business we turned away . . .
Vacancies by Gabrielle Idlet
In her room, Mom was practically yelling over the grinding fan, in the voice she saved for the end stretch. I curled and turned over and curled the other way in the wadded-up sheet on the couch. I spread my hands against my cheeks the way glowing fetuses did in fiber optic movies they ran on public television. The blood beating in my ears sounded like the thumping of a womb. "I feel you," Mom moaned. I pictured Rick climbing the stairs three at a time and kicking open the door to reach me . . .
Dumpster Digging for Daddy by Elizabeth Severn
I never would have lost my father if Social Services had not sent that letter requesting that I please call regarding our concerns about Reuben Stotz. I did not like the idea that social workers and police officers were expecting me to act with authority over my stubborn daddy, who had pretty much killed my mother and then begrudgingly fell by default into my care . . .
Gizzard Boy by Bonnie Roop Bowles
During the middle of the night, Heartense creeps down the steps, staying close against the inside wall so she doesn't make one creak, and goes to the bathroom with the plastic bag. She raises the fur covered toilet lid and drops the quivering liver and veiny gizzard bubble into the water. She shakes the bag around like she's preparing Shake and Bake, and throws blood over her legs, underwear, floor, wall and commode seat . . .
Hunting and Fishing by Hal Ackerman
The summer I turned fourteen I saw my mother's best friend naked. I had just come out of the woods and found her asleep in the glade alongside the cabin. Had I been more acquainted with the unclothed female form I might not have stared at her as long as I had, and thereby run the risk of being caught, which I was . .