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Content Categorized ‘Fiction’

All We Have is Where We’ve Been

Alicia Dorman folded the candy packet over three times, stuffed it back into the box upside down and pushed it toward Casey: “Put that away where I can’t see it. If I can’t see it, I won’t remember we have it. If I don’t remember it, I won’t want it.”

Jericho

Of course he loved the story of Joshua in the Bible the best. He had been named for him, after all. And there was a magic about it: the idea that the voices of the people could cause the walls to crumble.

A Specific Position

I am waiting for Phil to tape my eyes closed, to get it over with. I have already applied cloudy-white ointment to the right eye and shut both eyes for the night, so when I flinch, I don’t see the look he gives me. He says, “I’m a real doctor, you know.”  

Horse

It was Thursday, the week after Thanksgiving, and she was driving to work in the dark because a half-steer was waiting to be butchered before the store opened. Her hands gripping the wheel were bare, and numb from the bitter…

Organ Cave

Randy Colburn shifts his case of beer from one hand to the other and tries not to pay attention to the children. The world is full of children. It must have always been this way, but he’s noticed it more lately. All he wants is his twelve-pack of Natural Ice and he ends up in line at the gas station behind a family of four.

Waltz

Up until her fortieth year, there hadn’t been a season of Marian’s life she hadn’t had to grovel and beg, send off invoice reminders couched in manic cheer: Just checking in! At forty, an unexpected windfall changed all of that. She bought a house in a town in the Hudson Valley that seemed occupied solely by arty people, and made a hobby of overpaying for furniture. She spent $5,899 on an antique chest of drawers, laughed as they loaded it into her car. “What’s funny?” asked the guy with the dolly. “Where to begin?” she said. The children adjusted instantly. They shrugged off their old lives like winter coats on the first real day of spring. Marian never caught them pining or calling the friends they’d left behind. She bought them anything they asked for, and they asked for a lot. Sophie wanted a horse and Dan wanted a BMX bike…

Love Triangle by the Sea

The deep-sea fisherman was always squinting into the sun. The marine biologist studied the hearing abilities of longfin squid. The gift shop clerk wrote poems on the backs of receipts customers said they didn’t need. The clerk was pale, wiry,

Parkway

We find bodies all the time. Lots of folks come up here to die or kill, or get killed. My first one came in the summer. We were up Back Branch, near the Virginia border, where the treeline thickens above the bald. It was me and Coralis, who trained me when I started with the Park Service. Coralis taught me pretty much my whole job, and the only part I’ve ever questioned is whether he taught me how to deal with the living and the dead the right way around. That first time, Coralis and me were heading from Back Branch to Sugar Knob. This was back in ’83, my first month on the job, before I got my own vehicle. I was one of the only woman rangers in the whole state then. We were heading north, coming out of an early morning fog, and we saw a flash off to the right, like a gleam off somebody’s smile in those old toothpaste commercials. We thought that was strange with it so gray and misty, so we checked it out.  Coralis pulled over in the grass near a mile marker—the old stones, white and square, the ones you see all…