by E.H. Jacobs
I don’t know when the nickname “Pelican” completely replaced my father’s given name, but that’s what he’s been called since before I was born fifty years ago in a community hospital in Brooklyn, a hospital whose name has disappeared into the chasm of memory. My Mom, his second wife, the one who stuck with him long enough to procreate, called him Pelican–not honey, or dear, or even asshole, which was how I heard his third wife refer to him. The first time I remember actually hearing his name was when I accompanied him to a doctor’s appointment and the assistant called out “Earl?”–and I looked around to see who was being summoned–before she called out “Earl Roberts?” and I saw him stand. Continue reading
by Lenny DellaRocca
The woman downstairs has hired a man to tear apart everything
she owns. Since her husband died
she carries grief around
in a suitcase of birthdays.
by Darryl Halbrooks
“When was the last time you talked to your dad?” Jennifer asks.
“I don’t know, maybe five years. Something like that.”
“I know you don’t want to, but maybe you should call.”
“I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than talk to Dad.”
She ignores my oft-used Monty Python line.
“He’s in the vulnerable population you know.” Continue reading
by Daniele De Serto
Translated from Italian by Wendell Ricketts
The whole inside of the car smells like French fries.
Sophie is extracting them one by one from the bag and then, after examining each one carefully, threading them into her mouth. I’m driving one-handed. My left arm is out of commission, and I’ve got it propped against the edge of the window, my elbow sticking out. Every once in a while I use my driving hand to reach for a French fry, which means I have to let go of the steering wheel for a few seconds. I’m doing it because it’s part of a show I’m putting on for Sophie, so she can see exactly what kind of cool and simpatico dude her dad really is. Which is also why my left arm has to stay put. Little details like that are important, especially because we’ve only got another dozen or so miles together before it’s bye-bye. Continue reading
by Robin Schauffler
When we were young my sister read a book where the heroine believed that if you could count one hundred white horses in a summer you would get your wish, any wish you wanted. This seemed like powerful magic. Continue reading