By Brian Druckenmiller
The uncle jerry-rigs a leash for Walter, his hamster, using fishing line and the rubber band bracelet his niece wove for him a month before she drowned. The bands have begun to wither, some singeing away like slow dynamite fuses, and the colors have dulled—even the once vibrant teal, his niece’s favorite.
“Teal is my favorite, too,” he remembers saying as she sat cross-legged on her bedroom carpet, alive, fashioning a fishtailed bracelet with her rubber band loom. Using a long plastic hook like a dental tool, she pulled teal on top of black on top of gold on top of teal. Continue reading
by Landon Houle
Those of us who saw it first stood stunned and still. Every eye and mouth hung open. Every hand fused into a mitten of clumsy incompetence. In that deceptive peace (because no one spoke or moved and yet inside us something began to build like breath upon breath), we were nothing more than blow-up dolls down for anything but real love. Continue reading
by Mark Conkling
There are many paths to a full-blown narcissistic personality. Jeff’s journey was unique because it began at such an early age, on his second birthday. His morning featured a steady stream of poopy diapers, the sour smell of milk, and yet another bowl of lumpy oatmeal. In the late afternoon, Jeff’s one-month-old wailing sister was the only guest for his celebration. Mom tried to make the party nice, but after burying his hands in the cake, Jeff smeared pink frosting on his face and ears, licked his lips and hands, climbed down from the high chair, and tottered into his bedroom, clearly disinterested, aloof. Continue reading
by Leah Jane Esau
They said there were faces so ugly that “only a mother could love.” But there were faces even uglier than that apparently. For when the nurse put the baby in Bria’s arms, she frowned.
“This isn’t my baby.”
“It is,” the nurse said.
“This can’t be my baby. Where is my baby?”
Bria’s husband, Michael, pulled the doctor aside. Continue reading
by Corey Pung
Coming of age in Samoa, twins Masina and Lanuola believed their father to be an Olympian. This was the story their mother told: Natia had met Toussaint when he was a merchant marine picking up cocoa beans and copra by the ton and dropping off crates of furniture, clothing, paintings and books to the American consulate in Pago Pago. Natia was leading a dissolute and unrewarding life at the time, running orders and scrubbing dishes in a Europeanized cafe within walking distance of the docks. Local boys didn’t thrill her, she said. Her daughters were at the age they simply thought boys were vasti–stupid–and didn’t catch her drift. Continue reading