by Leo Coffey
I never told you this before, but we knew about the pills. Jacob, Uncle Tommy, James, all of us. That night you came inside to rest. The rest of us were outside shooting fireworks by the barn. It was the Fourth of July and the air smelled like hotdogs and burnt wax. I drank one too many Mountain Dews and had to pee so bad I ran inside with one hand gripping my crotch and the other holding a Roman candle. Continue reading
by Franz Jørgen Neumann
The drives to Clayfield used to take only a few hours, back when Beth and Mira visited their husbands once a month. Now, nearly at the end of Dennis and Dylan’s eight-year sentences, neither woman lives in the same town anymore, and they must rise early in order to manage the trip to Clayfield in a day.
Beth picks up her daughter-in-law before dawn, the sky an ocher-to-indigo gradient that reminds Beth of the interior of a decorative bowl she keeps on her dining table. The ceramic piece holds peeked-at bills, house keys, coins and buttons, a matchbook, and whatever else can be emptied from a pocket. Here, that same gradient is uninterrupted, at least in the eastern sky.
by Elizabeth Fergason
My husband Harry and I are on vacation. It’s been a difficult year so we’re giving ourselves a little time off from the pressures of home. Our two daughters stayed behind with a sitter. The girls are three and five and they need a break as much as anyone. A break from our recent tensions, our troubles. Of course, our girls aren’t happy we’ve left them. Children never are. Ada threw herself up into my arms and clung to me the way kudzu clings to a tree. Anna stood at my feet, both hands clamped tightly on my leg.
by Kat Hausler
Chase has never seen Stella look so beautiful. Of course, she doesn’t usually wear much makeup at work, let alone anything that shows off her figure like that strapless gown. But more than that, today’s the end of an era. The day they both know they messed up.
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