Exotic

Exotic

Rita Zumpano was the topic of neighborhood gossip, a widow who’d gotten over the death of her husband a decade ago, a woman who lit no candles at church, who favored floral patterns over black, who took tango lessons at the community center.

Rest Stop

Rest Stop

Jacee worked at the Waffle House on I-95 in Haswick, Georgia going on five years. She’d started the day after graduating high school when her mother told her to get a job or “move on.”

Feras Terrae

Feras Terrae

As if to remind you that, regardless of what they say, you yourself are an island. Nothing but the grass grows there.

The Backlands

The Backlands

Sonny, face deadpan, flings his ballpoint across the reflective marble of the conference table. It flies with unintended precision, hitting his older sister Maya in the center of her chest like a dart. A tentative smile twitches across her face, because he’s fifty-six and he’s never been good at anger, never had reason to be. The pen was the best he could manage.

Death Sure Changes a Person

Death Sure Changes a Person

    The first time I saw Lucille after she died, she told me, “You better find someone new, Harlan, or you’ll be lonely.” Needless to say, I was surprised. Just three weeks after she’d passed on, here was the world’s most jealous woman telling me I should...
Unacceptable Conventions

Unacceptable Conventions

  Before she died, Dr. Candice Mittleton, an employee of Friendly Morgues Inc., the body storage facility that is associated, somewhat loosely, with Upper Valley Hospital, was habituated to addressing me as someone many years her junior. She acted in that manner...
The Invisibility of Wealth

The Invisibility of Wealth

  Sylvain, a man of thirty, sat at the table drinking coffee. He scrutinized the tables surrounding him on the patio, moving his focus methodically from one to the other. Several tables away, two men sitting across from one another were handed menus. One took a...
How We Die

How We Die

    I’m lying awake at night, again. My breaths are short; my diaphragm seems to have been lassoed in a familiar way. I dread to look at the alarm clock for the fifteenth time in thirty minutes. Those bars of orange that continue to laugh in my face, or...
Daymares

Daymares

  Declan planned to have a nervous breakdown. He had studied the DSM-IV and ICD-10 and knew that there was no formal definition for a nervous breakdown or a mental breakdown, but the terms were synonymous. Some ideas struck like lightening. Other ideas took time...
Tenancy

Tenancy

  The largemouth bass snapped back and forth on the line as Von pulled it out of the water, but after a minute he was able to get his hands around it. He dropped the still-shuddering fish in a plastic grocery bag, shouldered his pole, and began heading towards...