Month: April, 2011

“Weather,” Devin Pitts

     My father’s name was John Brown, my grandfather and his daddy before that. But that is not what they called me. Back in the war, my father beat a German fella to death with a stick of firewood out in the cold and the snow. He took the boy’s Luger as a souvenir.
     My mother said that he came back something awful, came home thirsty, a drinker. I guess I never knew any different. She always said that that was the devil down there in his belly. But I think with all that drinking, the devil can probably swim better than folks let on. Click here to finish Devin’s story.

“Loneliness,” Robert Vaughan

     The two lovers recline, sweaty, exhausted, bodies entwined.
     He clears his throat, says, “That was great. You’re really something, ya know?”
     She arches her back, moves her leg off his. Whispers, “You too.” Now is not the time to get into it. She forces a smile, says, “I’ll be right back.”
     “I’ll be here,” he says. Pats her butt as she stands up.
     She stares into the bathroom mirror above the sink. My god, how you’ve changed. It’s not the deepening lines. Or her marble green eyes, getting weaker, fuzzy. It’s not the minute scar on her neck, her last melanoma removed.
     Nothing will appease the growing pit in her stomach. It gnaws at her from the inside out. No longer a blind spot, it defines her.

“The Beach,” Tegwyn Annick

     Cut gray hair enclosed the sky while cut white hair mixed with the ocean. Clumps of sand stuck to my wet black boots. Some grains took refuge under and on my laces, most however called to me in a scratchy polite panic from my soles. I bent down to wipe the sand off. My pants; wet from the ocean water, caused the skin on the back of my legs to itch. I imagined once I arrived home and removed my soaked clothes I would find moulds and mushrooms growing on my body. The dampness, heat, and darkness offered perfect real estate for those lives. Brushing the sand from my boots felt harsh against my skin; like a cat’s playful bite. The small microscopic rocks fixed to my hands, so I stepped forward toward the ocean to rinse the sand off; cautiously, in order to keep more particles from rising above my soles. Once I reached the edge I stretched my arms out and allowed the ancient waters to remove my earthly warts while small dying waves leaked through the stitches of my coffin shoes and filled a well of flesh and fabric.

“In Flew Enza,” Matt Schirtzinger

     Robby tucked the last bite of greens into his mouth and munched them down to thin little strings that he swallowed with a drink of milk. Under his breath he hummed that little tune the Turner girls next door used to sing when they jumped rope in their yard. When he was sick and stuck in bed he had liked it when he woke up and heard their voices outside. Sometimes when he woke up it was light and sometimes it was dark, but it was nice when they were singing outside. The song was very simple, and repeated over and over in his head as he fell back asleep. Click here to finish Matt’s story.

“Act Your Age,” Dylan Davis

     “I got em’,” Bailey said, sitting down on the swing next to me. Its chains rattled, and tightened. “I couldn’t find a lighter, so we have to use these.” Reaching into the pocket of her sweater, she pulled out a box of nine inch matches. They were the type of matches my mom used to light her candles, the ones with wicks so low that her hand couldn’t fit far enough down to reach it. Click here to finish Dylan’s story.

“Red-Eye Cicada,” Ellis Purdie

     Susie sat outside of the Dirt Cheap store, the left side of her rear end pressed into a narrow ledge of white brick where the wall and shop window met. On the other side of the glass, pairs of blue jeans were lumped together in stacks, behind neon cutouts that read “Old Navy Fire Sale,” the words in Sharpie with lots of exclamation points. Dennis crossed the store and slung his apron into the back office, stopped at a series of switches and flicked them down. The ceiling lights went out a couple of rows at a time and the storefront went black, mirroring the parking lot—the old blood-red Ford Bronco the sole car on the ragged asphalt. Susie had trouble imagining that she would not show up for work tomorrow, that anybody as good as Dennis would be beside her the next day, the wind from the road blowing through the Bronco, Vicksburg, Mississippi, behind her for good. She was done. In Montana, she would be more of a whole person, away from the aisles of bad paperbacks in no order, the one-armed Barbie dolls, and the clothes strewn across dirty tile that raked dead flies from the shelving when she picked them up. Click here to finish Ellis’ story.

“First Tulip,” Donal Mahoney

Sometimes you sit for days
sucking yourself in
praying the right words
will fall in your ear
toboggan over the whorls
pierce the canal
and settle in your brain,
an embryonic delight.
Sometimes you sit for days
and finally the words come
and they’re always a surprise
like the first tulip in April
or a sudden
orgasm for your wife.