Author: David Joseph


One morning, Kind-Responsible-No-Baggage-Man isn’t in bed. He saunters in at 10AM with cappuccinos and he’s not wearing his mask. There’s a purple bruise ringed on his cheek like fish lips. “I need to tell you something,” he says.

About David Joseph

David Joseph lives in Philadelphia with his wife. He served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Susquehanna Review for its 2012 and 2013 issues. His fiction has appeared in Hobart, Big Lucks, W.W. Norton's Hint Fiction, and elsewhere. Most recently, David story "Anna Karina Floats in the Ocean" was awarded 2nd Place in CHEAP POP & Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters' 2015 Micro-Fiction Contest. Connect with him on Twitter: @dfhjoseph

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Mercy Rule

Prologue The spring before my father came back I sprouted up to five-five in a hurry. The week after finishing seventh grade the growing pains kept me in bed for three days, but by Independence Day Felix and I were at the Mill Creek courts hustling preppy jocks from all over. The net-less rims stained the backboards with streaks of rust and dropped flecks of sun-faded orange paint onto the blacktop with every shot that didn’t slide through on nothing but air. We’d play twos—Felix always driving, driving, and me hanging back for open jumpers. Felix wasn’t subtle about winning. A celebration dance after a particularly demoralizing juke and score wasn’t uncommon. He had an extra tooth above the canine on the left, and when he laughed it pointed straight out as if to indicate the butt of every joke. The losers would stare and shake their heads as Felix salsa-ed, but they never had anything to say about it. Felix and I would head home with paint chips stuck in the sweat at our hairlines, rimming our scalps like crowns. “Fucking thespians,” Felix always said. That was his favorite damn word—he was always calling rich kids thespians. If he knew what it actually meant he might have toned down his sore-winner theatrics, but to him the sound mattered more than any definition. These kids piled out of their...

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