Espresso Fiction: A Collection of Flash Fiction for the Average Joe by Sabrina Ricci - HTML preview

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sideburns had to go.

want you either.

And so they did. Maybe that’s what pissed

off Bailey so much.

Thus my life as a jock was strangled in the

I would say these were the roads taken and not

womb. Apparently I really pissed him off. He gave taken, if I were now making a living as an actor, but me dirty looks for the rest of the year, muttering

I’m not. However I did become a runner again, at 53,

stuff about hippies and trolls. Luckily we never had midlife crisis or something. It came back easily enough.

him as a sub as he probably would have had me

“They shall run and not grow weary,” (Isaiah 40).

running discipline laps. Coaches were always telling As for Bailey, one Saturday when he was 43, you, Go run one. Sometimes more than one.

he went for his daily six miler. Halfway into it he

I did not mention to him that my motive

had a heart attack and dropped dead, literally. He

in going out for track was really that I wanted to

was on a popular jogging trail, and an ambulance

be part of a team, to be cool in some way. I’d have

was quickly called. Thing is, nobody knew who

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he was as he had no identification on him. Some

runners had seen him before, but no one from his

teams, none of his men. Four hours later the police

got a call from his concerned wife: I’m a little wor-

ried about my husband, this isn’t like him...

Poor woman, especially having to find out

Born in San Francisco, Peter McKenna has lived there most

the way she did. Still, Bob Bailey died doing what

of his life. He taught English composition until everybody

he lived for, and if no one recognized him at the

realized he was better at composing than teaching.

hour of his death, practically everyone remembered

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t do, teach.

him afterward. Obituaries were profound and the

Those who can’t teach, teach P.E.”

bleachers were packed in the service held at the

track and field. Testimonies were many. Mr. Bailey

coached about life as much as running. Hard work,

team work, discipline, discipline…but he didn’t just

bark orders at you. You could talk to him about

anything, you felt like you had a friend, you felt

family, you were part of something.

Just west of the bleachers, overlooking

the track, stands an obelisk with a bronze plaque

bearing his profile. It’s not a bad likeness though

his hair’s longer than it was in 1968; more like ‘78.

One likes to think of it blowing in the breeze.

After his name and his dates are three simple

words: Go run one.

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Whispers in the Night

Fiction

By Monica Mendelson

Beep, beep, beep. Message delivered.

moved, but they were alive and waiting. The bedroom

Somewhere in the gray mass, sparks were flying. A

door was closed. Would I be able to open it in time,

warning screamed along its circuitry, but there were saved by the light, or would darkness claim me once no clues as to where or when the danger would

more? Beep, beep, beep. Why did I have to be cho-

begin. And as the darkness closed in, I remained,

sen?

lying broken across the bed.

The Chosen were often ignored, cast away,

The night was quiet, foreboding. Even

or locked up. Nobody wanted anyone to see past

the storms fell under hush. The stars were lying

their perfect world, but we saw through their façade.

beneath darkness, and no moon shined tonight. A

We saw the mistakes planted that would lead to

gentle buzzing crept across the sky and slipped into their destruction, the lies that would blister and my room, chirping in my ear, but I didn’t want to

peel, and the hands to tear them down. We saw

listen. I couldn’t listen.

the waves crashing, the lives lost, and the buildings

Click. Something scratched against the

falling, but those that tried to save the world were

window screen. Click. Red eyes shined in

either killed or labeled enemies. The rest of us just

anticipation, but fear held me still. It wanted me to hid away, trying to escape fate, but fate found me know that it was there. It wanted me to know that

here tonight.

death was coming, and if anybody laid eyes on the

And fate was waiting. The bruised X on my

monster outside my bedroom, they would surely

arm screamed with every single beep. People were

die. And I did not want to die.

going to die. Tragedy was coming. No clues would

The buzzing in my ear continued. Despite the be given, but when the hour came, I would know overwhelming sense of fear, the knot tightening in

everything. But would I save them, or would I let

my belly, I sat up and faced the darkness. No shadows them die?

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There was no Superman. He was buried

but my past mistakes were alive and well. I hurried

under rubble, and the people that he saved quickly

by closed doors, trying not to disturb the innocent,

forgot about him. They were lost in gratitude of

and now I stood beside the front door. My hand

being alive, but humanity was sand in the hour-

shook badly as I reached to open it. I didn’t want

glass, slipping away. There were no heroes. Nobody this. Nobody wanted this. Nobody wanted to know, wanted to risk their lives because nobody saved

so why did we, the tortured Chosen? I stepped

them. Why should I be any different?

outside, but the monster was gone. Relief swept

All I had to do was go to sleep. The

through me like a cold breeze, and I knew that I

beeping would stop. Fate would pass me by and look would not be the hero nor villain in the coming for another, someone willing to listen. This world

events. I would just be its keeper, locking the dark

had already gone to hell. Her heart was ripped out

secrets away until fate returned for me.

and torn apart. We were living the dog-eat-dog style,

but somewhere in the darkness, someone still cared.

Someone would risk all to save them. They would

die for them, but for those saved, would they even

know? Would they even care?

I tossed and turned for awhile. The beeping

finally went away. Fate no longer held her breath, and

like a ghost, she was gone. The monster hovered

Melissa was a newspaper reporter for the Smithtown

outside, disappointed, but it would not have me

Messenger Newspaper and its sub-issues, The

tonight. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to save

Brookhaven Review, The Ronkonkoma Review,

anyone because nobody saved me, and that thought

and Medford News . She later freelanced for The Photo

was a dagger to my heart. There would be no sleep

News and wrote movie and television show reviews for the

tonight. There would be no peace to find because

film-making website, Wild Sound. She currently works for

tragedy was coming, and people were going to die.

the State of New York and writes for Associated Content,

I sat up and ran from my bed. I threw open

now known as Yahoo Voices, and has finished her first

the bedroom door. The hallway was dark, shadowed, novel, a collection of three novellas tied together.

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Passing Lane

Fiction

By Brandon Meyer

I stare out the window at another

vegetable enfilade, a general inspecting his troops.

Endless rows of verdant corn stand at attention,

awaiting orders that will never come. In the

distance, wisps of cloud skirt the mountain tops,

looking like the furrowed brow of some ancient

and displeased demigod. My breath fogs on the

glass and I draw a heart, smiling at the girl in the

car next to ours. She smiles back, holding up her

Brandon Meyer was born in Redlands, California in 1985.

hand to show me her ring with an apologetic shrug. After high school, he attended UC Santa Barbara, where he But her eyes linger on mine, and before we pass her earned a BA in English. While there, he worked as a copy she breathes on the window to draw her own heart reader for the Daily Nexus campus newspaper. He earned for me. As her car grows smaller in the rear-view

a teacher credential from the University of Redlands after

mirror, I file this moment away along with a

graduating from Santa Barbara, and currently teaches

hundred other warm memories to keep me

high-school level English in San Bernardino, California.

company in the cold and dark hours of life.

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In the South of France We Split Hairs

Fiction

By Brittany Newell

In the south of France we split hairs.

set sweetly aside from the streets courting grief.

The hotel managers never believed we

Edelweiss, slimmer than I and for the

were brothers, identically browned by the sun as

moment empowered by the forgettable charm of light

we were and bound by our cheap Grecian sandals;

freckles, would rest gently against the Steinway’s black

still, they looked us over with monocular wrath and body ‘til some jokester, all-eyes, suggested he tip.

plunked the ring of keys with suggestive slowness

Smiling quickly, he’d inherit the bench, and I, cross-

into my hand, seeing as my hair was shorter and

legged with coffee number good-god-knows-what

sparser than his (damn the Navy Man fad) and I

pressed against the skin of my throat, would hunker

was therefore assumed to be older. Behind polished down in the indifferent din and succumb, just like doors, we sat knee-to-knee on the bed with the

a tourist, to the lavender crystals of sound he set

windows flung open, tossing Canadian coins to the loose—bombs wagging through the air and smashing gawkers below. We were especially fond of the girls lewd jokes in the Louvre, earnest pleas for the stray with scarves on their heads; we counted the flower- calico, borrowed clothes returned late in unimaginable like specks from our balcony, and pondered their

states, and the tenth vertebrae of gruff morning voices

shadowy faces at night.

upon my bent brow, until my coffee grew cold and his

The afternoons were spent hunting cafes with welcome was worn by the need of a carousing fiddle.

pianos; Edelweiss had tricky fingers. Ostentatiously

We would stand and exit single-file, the irrepressible

primped in our collegiate blue, we ambled down

sun stabbing bellies gone soft but still brown. I would

cobblestone streets ‘til our ears caught a stand of

tackle him then, golden freckles denoting a plan of

prematurely embezzled Beethoven sonatas, and like

attack. He’d spit in my eye and I’d bellow, “Celeb!” for

cats we would dash towards its low-ceilinged origin,

the army of Sabines and Brigittes in their kerchiefs to

notes held aloft by self-satisfied oceans of smoke and catch.

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Arms linked, we would board the metro and

Like a girl I drew the covers tight around

ride for twenty-five minutes to the nearest McDonald’s. me; fucking Edelweiss liked the room to be subzero.

By then, we were sleepy and high as wet posters. The

Every night he burrowed beneath lumpy patchwork

wind blew a kodachrome dream with no sound.

mountains, so it came as no surprise that the kaboom

On our sixth night in France and our third

couldn’t touch him now, already departed in his casket

night in Paris, there was an explosion.

of starched sheets. I watched for a moment or so as

The sound of it echoed throughout the city,

he slept, longing to wake him, or whatever remnants

dashing like a kitten with singed fur through the sleep-

of him existed in dream—just a tuft of blond, like a

slackened streets and finding ways to squeeze, with

pre-war memento found in the grass, poking out from

otherworldly craftiness, between cracks in the tene-

the mauve and unconscious mound.

ment walls. I shot up in bed; it was a boom, a gusty

I opened my mouth. It felt like a fleet of

cartoonish ka-boom! that roused me, and, as I sat with black balloons was fretting in the space between my knees pressed to my chest, continued to resound

my joints. “What was that?” I managed to ask. The

in me in the most curious places, like in the webbing

largeness of my voice shouldering through the

between fingers, like in the slits between my teeth.

darkness put the rest of me to shame.

I squinted out the window. These days

A stranger’s voice, testy and malformed,

Edelweiss couldn’t sleep without it open, having

replied. “It wasn’t nothin’ man.”

spewed about his circulation and “good air.” The

“Edelweiss,” I whined. I knitted my hands

static blue mass beneath us, speckled here and there together and muffled a scream when my knuckles with cinema signs and streetlamps, looked just as

began to glow, ever so tastefully peach, in the dark.

foreign to me now as it always had. Our French

It reminded me of a game me and my brother used

was terrible: we would not know that less than one

to play: I’d coat my hands in honey, stick them out

hundred miles away a nuclear reactor had exploded

the window as he hurtled down the road behind the

until a day after returning home, when our giggling

county dump, and pull them back inside the car when

mothers would shove us awake and tell us the news, we reached the empty 7-Eleven parking lot. “Hands oh my darling sit up, the unimaginable news.

up,” my brother would bark in his best imitation of a

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back-county cop. As I raised my hands, I’d see his face romantic, then one-of-a-kind, worthy of a snapshot or soften to inhabit some semblance of wonder, a gentle a scant line of coke. I didn’t yet know for certain but expansion of his facial bones second only to the

it wasn’t hard to prophesy what we could encounter

clement tiredness which follows sex and the wretched once dawn’s light disproved the density of darkened gloss of meth. In pulsing silence we would look down breasts: we would wander the vacated streets like ex-at my hands. They’d be crusted with fruit-flies, dead

cons, scarcely daring to believe our good luck.

and dying, the fine hairs of their legs waxed off and

We would marvel aloud at how hot the

their translucent wings tinged blond.

bricks of the buildings became when we touched

“Something’s wrong,” I croaked.

them.

The

We would

heap rolled

pierce the

toward the

waist-level fog

Something’s wrong

window. It

with our calls.

slurred, “I’ll

We would

protect you.

hoard the pâté

Everything’s great, so shut up. OK? Thank you.

left on patio tables and drink ourselves sick on

Love you. Bye.”

every bottle of cognac we could find in the dank

I closed my eyes and squeezed my hands

unlocked pubs.

between my thighs. I knew that morning’s light, with

Drunker than we’d ever been, we’d dare

its subsequent nicks on the cheek and bare bodies

one another to jump off the bridge and backstroke

seeking caffeine, could not soothe me. I hoped with

through the slow-moving Seine. Its viscosity was

a childlike zeal to never have to get up again. We

inviting, its surface like a thick and shiny tarp against

were OK for now, due to the groggy and bottomless which we’d ricochet. We would jerk off at the subway explanation of nighttime, when logic took a backseat station and make our cum criss-cross the tracks, such a to shapelessness and dim dimensions made even the

contrast as we’d never seen except in silent black-and-

shoddiest of scenarios seem romantic, and if not

white movies. Edelweiss would vow to play at least one

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rural diddy on every piano found in Paris. We would

before I could even retaliate, before I could even

crawl into a pink chateau to which some part of his-

wet my finger to deliver unto him a cataclysmic

tory was inexorably fixed, and Edelweiss would threw

raspberry, it might all be over without so much

himself at the piano, the largest I had ever seen, and I

as a last cuss, the heart might cease to churn and

would plunk down on the Persian rug as thick as hotel the trees shyly fidget, it might all be lost, like dogs mattresses and spread my arms and weep. After

loved more than Father, in the impetuous blink of

weeping I would puke and after puking I would doze,

an eye.

as all the while he twinkled Ravel and our unsteady

But what did he care?

bodies dripped green river-water to warp the wood

For now, he was young and all the girls in

floors and have the hard-breasted portraitures begging gray headscarves would love him. He had only to for hell.

play them a tune and their accents would thicken,

But first, I listened to Edelweiss breathe.

their bra-straps would melt, and their eyes would

For the moment, there was nothing else to

zone outward like sagacious TV’s.

do. Sleep felt like the rejection of an out-of-your-

league kiss. What was possibly the pinnacle of

Edelweiss’s elbow, propped up on an elevated hip,

was at once the pushiness of God. I worried that

the beating of my heart might wake him, irritate

him, cause him to disfigure the conclusions that his

ignorant bones drew.

Here was a boy steeped in the sweetest of

solutions.

Brittany Newell is an underaged naval-gazer. She is also a

He didn’t give a shit, not yet. To him, the

classical singer and slam poet hailing from the San Francisco

world was endless. At dawn, he might awake and

Bay Area. You can read her work in Polyphony Maga-

beat me with a pillow, try to stick his toothbrush in zine, Talkin’ Blues Journal , and The Interlochen my asshole, flop down beside me on the bed and

Review , among others.

bawl, “Did someone have a nightmare, huh?”, and

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Shrinking Husband

Fiction

By Vincent Rendoni

I first noticed it during a shave. Faye is

one on each other’s forehead, a bit of a consolation

five-six and when we designed our house, I gave

prize if you will.

her free reign. This house fits her dimensions well,

But our ritual was always best. It wasn’t

and mine well enough. Except for our bathroom

really a ritual at all. Faye would come up to me in

mirror. It sits low, low enough to where Faye can sit her nightgown, just after we had brushed our teeth, down and put her face on. I’ve always been forced

and put both of her hands on my chest. She would

to bend over

give me a long

to get a good

look over, as

shave. I was

if she was see-

Your husband will become smaller and smaller, until

going to tell

ing me for the

his size is best described as subatomic

Faye that we

first time, and

should recon-

would give

sider the mirror, but I never got around to it.

a little jump and kiss my cheek. The day we knew

So anyway, I’m about to bend over to get

something was wrong was the night she put too

my chin and I realized I didn’t have to. My back

much into it and hit me in the head with hers, and

had been feeling stiff and I first assumed it was

down I went. I checked Faye’s head and there was

just bad posture. It didn’t come up again until a

a little bump, but nothing more. She looked at me,

few weeks later when Faye kissed me goodnight.

slowly rubbing the back of her hand against my

Faye worked long hours and I kept odd ones, so

cheek.

sometimes we missed our little ritual. But whenever

“I think something is wrong,” she said.

I snuck into bed, or when she was off to work in

“Really wrong.”

the morning, we’d always make an effort to plant

After a little bit of fighting, a little bit of

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Faye pushing me, we went and saw Dr. Reynolds.

living, but we certainly can’t say for sure.”

He had treated me for everything from the chicken

He couldn’t even look at me as he said that

pox as a kid to swine flu a few years back. I always

last bit.

hated when he had to take my blood, but whenever

I looked into his eyes, eternally sallow but kind, I

Faye and I chose to go on like normal for

always felt a little bit better upon leaving. But the

a time—the way I wanted it—but after about one

day we saw him, Dr. Reynolds couldn’t take his

year, I noticed that she no longer had to jump up

eyes away from my folder. He told me what I knew, to kiss me before bed. We were at the same height.

but wasn’t ready to hear from somebody else: I

It wasn’t real before. It was then. Dr. Reynolds said

had been shrinking. Faye burst into tears and I was the shrinking would be aggressive, but still.

incredulous.

When I began to have trouble looking over

“At 34, it’s a bit unusual,” Dr. Reynolds

the sink in the morning to shave, that’s when we

said. “You see it typically in the elderly, and in them broke down and had to buy my first stepping stool.

it could be for a variety of reasons: Water loss,

When I couldn’t make it onto the bed anymore,

tissues diminishing, one’s vertebrae becoming not

that’s when we had to head on over to the Ace

unlike rubber. But you, well, have none of these

Hardware for a ladder.

things. You are just shrinking. Shrinking in perfect

Faye was so strong. I had read articles

proportion and symmetry. If it’s any consolation,

about how husbands shrinking just killed families,

it’s becoming increasingly common in men your

left spouses unable to cope. I’ve known Faye since

age.”

when we went to college at Washington State. She

“What are our options?” Faye spoke for

used to cheer me on during my basketball games,

me.

when I was the best point forward the Cougars

“There are no options. Your husband will

ever had, in the times when I was a giant. Maybe

become smaller and smaller, until his size is best

I doubted her a few times, thinking she’d leave. I

described as subatomic. There will be a day, even

wouldn’t have blamed her. But I was wrong. Faye

with the proper equipment, where you will be un-

held my hand in public through all of it, completely

able to see or hear him. We presume he will go on

unashamed of her shrinking husband. She looked

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at me with love as she placed me into my high chair all the flashing lights and dry ice,” she said.

at the dinner table. When I had trouble making it

“Football games decked out in crimson and

up the steps, she would pick me up and hold me

gray,” I replied.

close before placing me on my side of the bed.

“The casino on the reservation where they

“You were always too tall for me,” Faye

didn’t card anyone.”

would say to me at night. “I could get used to this.”

I didn’t like to talk about old times, but

Faye did.

Faye never left my side, but I could see it

was taking a toll on her. When I was no bigger than

I know why Faye was so reluctant to leave

one of her fingernails, that’s when she stopped

my side. We had to have our talk soon. We agreed

leaving the

long ago that

house entirely.

I wasn’t going

She used to go

to just keep

on morning

“You were always too tall for me”

going the way

walks, meet

I was

her friends

going. No,

at the Tully’s around the corner, and chat with the

Faye and I thought it best I go out with some

cashiers at the Safeway. We would get our groceries dignity, that going unseen and unheard to her, delivered now. The friends would sometimes come becoming smaller and smaller until I was the most by for coffee, but they were tossed out in a rage

fundamental of fundamental parts, doing battle

after they gave Faye a pamphlet on a hospice care

with all that’s unseen—fleas, bacteria, electrons—

for shrinking men in Southern Idaho.

was a fate worse than death.

We spent most of our days lying in bed, the

That much Faye and I agreed on, but we’d

television on low in the background, with my body never gone much into specifics. After I was no larger up close against Faye’s eyes, remembering.

than one of her fingernails, we saw Dr. Reynolds

“Skating at the roller disco in Colfax with

again after putting it off as long as we could. I told

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him to be honest with me.

her even as it grows cold and I realize I’m sus-

“Not long,” he said, unable to even look at

ceptible to even the slightest change in

Faye’s palm where she held me.

temperature. I’ll tell her there’s no other place

for me but the labyrinth of her ear where it’s

The day has finally come. It’s no secret

warm and I can hold tight to the strands of her

that Faye has been having trouble seeing me lately;

cilia. In there, Faye can hear me loud and clear

that’s why I have to be so close to her eyes when

for the last time, even though it will sound so

we’re in bed, even though she knows it makes me

much like the first. I’ll be with Faye for as long

uncomfortable to see her trembling under the face

as she can hear me, until I become smaller, small

she puts on for me.

enough to slip through the fault lines of her

But I think now Faye is having trouble

cells and body, and become a part of her.

hearing me. She smiles and nods at whatever I’m

saying, as if she’s some visitor in a foreign country.

Last week:

“Honey,” I asked. “I need to pee.”

“Mmm-hmm.”

“Faye.”

“Mmm-hmm.”

When she’s sleeping and I can’t, I quietly

rehearse to myself how I’d like to go. I want to

tell Faye to get up and go for a walk, to grab

coffee with her girlfriends, and make nice with

the butchers and fishmongers at the supermar-

Vincent Rendoni is an MFA candidate at Chatham

ket. I want Faye to leave the house. I want Faye, University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and teacher of even though we’ve talked about it before, even

creative writing for the Words Without Walls program of

though there’s an inherent risk, to take me with

Allegheny County Jail.

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There’s Always All That

Fiction

By Allie Rowbottom

Andrea was standing at the kitchen sink,

didn’t matter though, the paramedics arrived in

scrubbing the face of a cast iron skillet with a wad

minutes and pretty much figured things out for

of steel wool when Loren came home and put a

themselves. They siphoned into separate groups,

baseball bat into the small of her back. It was the

four for Andrea and six for Loren, still holed up

morning of my first day of ninth grade so I wasn’t

in the trench with a hunk of his calf missing from

home to help her. It didn’t surprise anybody, what

where he’d caught it on the lip of his shovel.

Loren did. That sort of thing happens a lot around

The night before it happened I hadn’t

here and he’d

been able to

already gone

sleep. I was

three tours so

all nervous

The night before it happened

it was almost

about the

I hadn’t been able to sleep

expected.

day to come.

When

I lay awake

I got home and found Andie that way, sprawled

for hours, looking up at the glow in the dark stars

out on the floor, her legs scissored in front of her

pasted on my ceiling and thinking about high

pregnant belly and Loren squatting in a trench he’d school, the bigger building, the kids I didn’t know.

dug out in the back yard, spooning with a shovel,

After a while I got out of bed and sat up on the

I walked to the phone, picked it up and dialed. I

roof. I do that sometimes. Nobody knows I’m up

don’t really remember what I told the operator. I

there except me. I bring a bag of pretzels or chips

think I just said that I needed help. I think I just

and just hang out, looking down at the front yard.

said, my sister, and, her fiancée, when the woman

The big truck tires full of dirt and weeds my Dad

asked what the nature of the emergency was. It

dragged into the lawn when I was littler and packed

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with sod from a pile out back. Andie and I have

engine. There’s always all that, always the breeze

made gardens in those tires every spring for years

moving through tree branches. The vibrations

now. Kneeled next to each other on the warm black of the house, ticking and whining and falling, rubber and sprinkled marigold seeds into the tiny

still again, underneath me.

holes Andie scoops in the dirt then covers it over,

tenderly, with soil and water.

So the night before it happened, I set

myself up on the roof. The stars were out

like always and the Milky Way had smeared

itself over them, like somebody just ran by

and dragged it along behind their outstretched

fingertips. For some reason up there, I started

thinking about what it might have been like for

Loren when he was away. Whether or not he got

lonely at night, whether or not he got scared. I

pictured him, dressed in green and sleeping in

his boots, curled up on a cot, thinking about

Andrea. The night there would be filled with

sounds, wailing sirens maybe, screams

sometimes. Not like the night is here, full of

small, familiar sounds. The dogs at the

McAllister’s house trotting by, collars jingling.

The snap of studded tires on the road. The

Allie Rowbottom is a first year PhD candidate in

whine of breaks before the crunch of gravel

creative nonfiction at the University of Houston. She

when the older Lucky brother comes home,

received her BA from New York University and her

pulls his truck into the driveway and cuts the

MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

46

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Networking

Fiction

By Jessica Simms

I am the girl with the boy-cut under a

black-and-white checked hat, sitting in the back

row, waiting for a cigarette.

You are the man at the on-stage podium,

sonorous voice intoning from your new novel.

I’m the one who sneaks out the back when everyone

else is queuing up, waiting for your signature. You’re

the kind of writer who’s already outside, holding a

Jessica Simms is a candidate for the MFA in Fiction at

lighter to the tip of a Marlboro. So I tell you, “Great Chatham University. Her work has appeared in Tidal reading.”

Basin Review and Sex and Murder Magazine.

And you say, “I know.”

I am the girl who’s making eyes. You’re the

man who writes down your hotel room. I’m the girl

who shows up.

47

fictionbrigade.com

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Not Totally Passive

Fiction

By Louise Farmer Smith

I tried to warn them, but now all eight of

The poor hungry tourists are looking

them have ordered the crab. Leo’s happy because

toward the kitchen. Who’s gonna save them? Leo’s

it was stinking up the kitchen. I told the folks the

grinning, teeth like a shark. Maybe it’s time I take

chicken was real good, but no, they had to have

a cigarette break, one butt tossed at that pool of

crab because they’re here on the Eastern Shore—

grease under the grill.

big defenseless tourists from Minnesota. I shoulda

“Folks, y’all might want to step outside so’s

suggested a designated driver order the chicken

you can catch sight of the flying fish. Yes, yes,

so’s he could rush them to St. Anthony’s while

flying fish right here in Maryland.”

they barfed and pooped all over the car seats. Food