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For the fourth and last time, the man stumbles over the rise and into the small clearing. He carries only what is necessary: the rope, a candy bar, his cell phone, and his wallet. He is breathing heavily and sits down on a boulder to rest.

            The sun is disappearing behind the peaks above him. It sends probes of light into the darkening sky. The man looks at this as he catches his breath. For a long time he looks.

Up in Clouds

My name is Roland McCaffrey, and I watch clouds. The perky bleached white one that has two symmetrical lumps that I swear look just like boobs is Jennifer. All the other clouds want to sleep with Jennifer, obviously, but none get a chance because Jennifer is saving herself for that special cloud that has the perfect amount of water droplets. But that’s all crazy because clouds can’t have sex. They reproduce asexually; everybody knows that.

Theories on Pressure

I would wake up in the cold mornings, always white, always windows open, up and at ‘em. Folding stark sheets, unfolding, folding again. She was obsessed. Frost cracked on the window. She would knock on my bedroom door, come in, rip the pillow out from under my head. Glasses clinked in the kitchen before I came down. Early morning coffee, toast only, everything else had too many calories. If you didn’t want toast and coffee you could have water and fresh fruit. Whatever it was that week.

Punch Line

I had seen the pirates when I was younger. We took a trip to Disneyland. Or world? I think it was land. We went to see the mechanical things they wanted us to see. We went to feel the mechanical things they wanted us to feel. But we wanted them too, I guess. But they weren't real. I wonder sometimes if they're even real. Not the pirates, but the other they.

The Fence Post

Nineteen years and seventy-seven days after his birth, the young man is shot suddenly in the chest. There is a moment of surprise; he looks down at himself in curiosity and wonder. His hands reach up slowly to finger his clothing, to witness the shreds of skin and the pumping wetness that he has never before experienced. For a handful of ragged breaths there is no pain, just a strange sort of hollowness that he is unable to express in words, even to himself.


Her momma used to sing Robert Johnson and Billie Holiday around the apartment in layers of turquoise and black fabric, crocheted chiffon. Arms floating, serpentine and feathery, alongside a voice that warbled like a caged bird. This is what Elyse tells you after reshaping the foam leaf in her cappuccino into one of Dali’s melting clocks. Slow sips.

Records of Middleton

Grant Scott hadn’t meant to stay so late that cold winter night, but with all the layoffs there certainly were plenty of things not getting done that had to be. Blades to be washed, floors to be swept, accounts to be balanced, doors to be locked. Of course, it helped that production was down, but it was tiring none the less.

City Limits

The window of the bar had a view of urban verticality. Steel buildings—rewrapped every ten minutes by black bus exhaust—stretched north and south cutting off any view to the sky they supposedly scraped. Converted warehouses turned swanky lofts shared sidewalks and walls with rundown motels and flophouses. People in the mix walked here in silk ties, in ripped up jeans with doped up pockets while newspapers kicked around in the city’s wind tunnels.

The Kitchen

Carni was by no means a gourmand and her kitchen in the small, aluminum sided house did not inspire much. The smoker’s-teeth wallpaper flitted at its edges with each oscillation of the seasonal space fans and heaters that failed to adequately circulate the smell of Freon and beer through the mildewed hallways. Despite this scene, she had in that kitchenette dabbled in the midwestern art of the casserole and so the oven aromas sometimes cut through the dank stench of the place.

Happy Easter

“In the spirit of the holiday, would you care for a Cadbury egg?”