Henry Spark by Jason Rice

Henry dreamt about Mad Men, and he had become a writer for the show and sat around and watched his words come out of the actor’s mouths. The one Tylenol PM he had taken before bed made his dreams more intense, but he couldn’t tell if it was the drugs talking or something trapped in his brain.

Buskers

At the time we had no money, our acoustic guitars, lots of cafes and bars to hang out at, friends to make, streets to meander and minds to expand and experiences to have, sights to behold, girls to meet, facts to unlearn, music to discover and ideas to mature. We were young and free-thinking and knowingly swimming against the current, and in all of that the world was our oyster, and we could just sit back on the beach and listen to the song of the sea.

The Wrath of Muscat from Tell Her She’s Lovely, A Novel

“Lots of girls get PhD's,” I say, doing my best to act like I’m not impressed, but I never heard of a PhD. Minerva impresses and intimidates me. She’s the first Mexican girl I’ve met who talks about going to a four year college and who knows so much. And she’s cooler than any nerd or stoner I’ve seen. I wonder why she was sitting alone.

When Yellow Leaves

Thursday

From afar Boyd could see it like the patched gray quilt his grandmother used to cover him with, saying, Good night, sleep tight, wake up bright in the morning light, and do what’s right. She must have learned those rhymes before the Wars of Excision, back when doing what was right was a credible notion. Now, as a gray cloud swallowed the hills and palm groves dozens of kilometers east, he didn’t need to remind himself that there was neither right nor wrong anymore. As he triggered his camera’s shutter, hearing it snap over and over, he tried to recall an old proverb, something to the effect that There is nothing either good or bad but Guv’na Brush makes it so—but he soon gave up. The railroad tracks, black lines that covered The Valley’s belly like surgical sutures, were beginning to recede. Whether the cloud had begun with the prevailing westerlies slamming into a cold front east of Mount Marvelous, or whether it had gathered force thanks to some unimaginably humongous fans constructed by the Looters on the shadowy northern slopes of the mountain, it was no still life. Its gritty gusts were approaching, though not as fast as a falcon. There was time to photograph dunes and rocky outcrops being obliterated, time to focus on sand dervishes reconnoitering, scouting out ever-widening swatches of ground. Although he couldn’t hear it, soon, he knew, the deafening whoosh of a prewar freight train highballing directly overhead would block out every sound. Too soon there would be nothing to shoot, nothing breathable, even with a bandana pressed over his mouth. read more

The Freest Man Alive

Chapter from High in the Streets

My whole life I’ve thought myself defective or at least peculiar. As a boy, I could do what the others did—with some effort I managed algebra, chemistry experiments, and reading Conrad. In this way I was not strange. However, there was one thing I simply could not suffer—foreseeing a future for myself, an attainable goal, something to strive for—as all my friends and classmates did. They saw themselves becoming doctors, teachers, engineers, and judges, and planned accordingly. Take this set of courses, get this certification, intern for this many years, keep your head down, work hard, and you’ll reach your aims. read more