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Fiction

Fireworks

Robinson sat over his cup of coffee. His eyes moved in time to the jazz playing over the stereo, flicking back and forth in his paunchy face. He was thinking about his wife's nose.

He had just been brought two eggs over-easy, wheat toast, and strawberry jam, the same breakfast as always. The waitresses at the restaurant knew him by name. When he came in he sat down at the counter and waved and they brought him his breakfast and a cup of coffee.

All Yours

She remembered every moment of the first time they met. The images flitted constantly across her mind like an age-old newsreel, broadcasting tame comic book versions of the too-real world. It wasn’t a spectacular date–no slow-playing orchestra, no moonlit kisses. But something he said at the end of it burrowed itself deeply into her. When he walked her to her door that night he said simply what a wonderful time he had.

Sinew

            In Northern California, there is a scenic highway known as the Avenue of the Giants. It curves through Rockefeller Forest, containing some of the largest, oldest trees in the entire world. The tallest, Hyperion, has been growing for over sixteen hundred years. Its brothers and sisters are not far behind. There are one hundred thirty-seven giants in the forest that have grown over three hundred feet tall.

What Rough Beast

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.

                                                  –W. B. Yeats

 

"It's the largest ever recorded, and no it's not a hoax."

"OK, so it's the largest beached whale ever found. But why is that so earth-shattering?"

Ponderosa

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.

Lackluster

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.

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