The Girl Who Glowed

When the bell above the door tinkled, Miguel came out of his reverie long enough to say hello to the girl. She was slouching over the time clock in the corner, one hip against the wall. She didn't seem to want to work today, which was odd because she was usually bouncy. But there had …

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Tether

Cal noticed when I walked into the bakery. He wiped his hand on the black sky of his apron, and a shy smile had spread across his face before the doorbell finished chiming. The smears of flour at his hips made me think of sex. I decided to sit as far from where he was …

Three A.M. Cannot Find You

Your scream jolts me from bed. I crouch, ready to wrestle your terrors, but then the pall of absence returns. Only light dispels it. Luckily, my laptop is exactly one candle, and the green dot beside your name, syrupy relief.

Periphery

Red oak leaves circled the edge of the parking lot next to Ben’s head. He watched them swirl in mid-air like cardinals, zigzagging from hedge to fence to light post; all of them seemed to be searching for anything but him. A few leaves finally gave in and fell to the crowning his bleeding head. They didn’t …

Muse

Poets pine for my touch. Choreographers claim that I am a walk in the woods. Musicians mistake their soulmates for me. Fools. I am that green-aproned siren in the café down the street; I am that tendril of steam rising from the mug she holds.  

XP

“Repeat it,” Brian, the seventh-grade DM, says, holding a cigarette lighter directly under my fist. “I can’t play until I’m 14.” “So stop asking.” His grip releases and I shake the pinpricks from my fingertips. “Now hand it over.” I pull a folder crammed with notebook paper from my backpack. Brian yanks out a character …

Souvenir

“You sure you’re cool with us?” The cigarette in our neighbor’s mouth bobbed as he spoke. Heather was in the kitchen rustling pots. “Us?” I asked, setting my beer down on a coaster, a souvenir from happier days when I still bought Heather gifts. “You know, with me and Heather?”

Drakkar (A Noir)

"Darling Jesse," she says—her voice is a bassoonist playing in the back of a concert hall—and then she ashes her cigarette into a waiting urinal.  The wide brim of her sun hat and her five-o-clock shadow obscure her face, but I recognize the mole on her right bicep just below the hem of her puff sleeve. "Where've you …

Red Dot

"What did your father say?" my mother whispers. I watch her gaze flit from my eyes to the painting of a peacock on the wall and back to a spot just left of my nose. Her drink is crooked in the hand that isn't clutching me. I look past her cashmere shoulder to my sister’s television in …