Most recent stories

Red

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Erwin came into the kitchen through the back door and went straight to the sink to clean up. Black mud and dried blood crusted his fingertips and caked the callused whorls of his knuckles.  He used the round of strong-smelling soap he kept for…

One of Them

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Who the hell wasn’t aware by now? What about prostate cancer awareness? One out of six men got prostate cancer, but you didn’t hear them whining. They weren’t waving blue ribbons in your face.

To See the World in a Grain of Sand

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What’s it like, sex? I ask her. You see that picture? she asks, nodding to the large canvas covered with a film of dust propped up against her bedroom wall. That picture’s the only thing she never sold. She hocked it a few times but always got the

Autobiography of a Head Bully, excerpts

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On Saturday nights, they dream of you. You are the gas station they can’t own, the lottery they can’t win. You are beating up their boss, giving him a headache that will last through Wednesday morning, keep him home half the week.

Eight minutes, twenty one seconds

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Well, I turn the car off, the song turns off, I gather all of my stuff, turn off my lights, inevitably drop something as I’m getting out of the car, shut the door, lock the car, fumble for my house key, walk up the stairs, unlock the front door, set my

In the Jukebox Light

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At first we envied Tom and Betty’s dancing. Friday nights at The Big Club, Saturdays at Mickey’s, and none of us can remember a time we saw them in the arms of another partner.

A Man

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A man’s been in jail for six weeks awaiting trial. Lillian doesn’t say his name. A man kidnapped her from the grocery store parking lot. He raped her at his house, and again in the desert, chopped her hand off with an axe and left her for dead in the

Mesmerized

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Those eyes – they held a lost blue sadness that enveloped her and stopped her mid-movement.

Playground in the Fire

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People questioned my motives when I became a smokejumper again. They said I had a death wish, or that somehow by going into battle against the big Pacific Northwest forest fires, I was still trying to put out the flames of the burning car in which my sons Jake (age…

Mirror Mirror

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At night I go into the forest to look for her, to strangle her snow white neck with her own dark hair. She is seven and soon to be married. I am brier hearted. I am old.

Far As You Want

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At a rest stop in Montpelier, they stopped to buy Cokes and gum from the vending machines. He was showing off, trying to jimmy one of the locks with a safety pin but it stayed locked and she laughed at him and he said goddamn, look at all a them Milkyways

Junebug

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James had chosen to stay home. It had been five years since he had missed the parade(then for fever), and he thought about it all now. About the sickness and

Inelegant Corpse

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I lay naked on the floor, feet toward the door, so that when my wife entered she would immediately see that leggy thoroughfare, ending at deflated buttocks and chicken-skinned scrotum, and in her repulsion repel me from her life. How wrong I was.

Gipetto's Sin

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The boy grew frightened when his grainy wooden skin began to melt, every fiber humming and softening.

Today the Smell of Worms and Wet Pennies

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Martin Heidegger wore hearing protection out on the tarmac at JFK. The runways were broad and he danced and leapt with the freedom of a Cats performer while he guided planes to the terminal.

Fiction with Teratoma Preserves

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In Nebraska, we found a dead man lying between the furrows of a field. He’d been there awhile in the heat and the sun, the only shade provided by a cloud of flies. The dead man lay on the ground, decaying, disappearing into the dirt:

Distractus Refractus Ontologicus: The Dissemination of Michael Martone

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1 Michael Martone is Michael Martone. 1.1 Michael Martone begins, middles, and ends Michael Martone.

A Marriage of Bodies

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In sleep their bodies drift between the sheets until they find each other.

what you do best

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You're auditioning women to replace Gabrielle.

Baby Love

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She wanted one, she said. She wanted one who looked like me. I wanted one, because I wanted her. I wanted her for everything; I wanted her to fill every crack and space inside of me.

Better than Chocolate

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Teddy laughs like a machine gun. People back away when they hear him. Every time I see him at work, I try to make his skinny body rattle. I would never back away.

September Morning

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Helen’s mind is not on business. It’s on a pinpoint, a potential, a something so microscopic it’s more a nothing. In her center, it hums.

Blueberries

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Cold water shocked Ernest's face. The evening with Gracie had his nerves hot and popping. She was his fifth date and the closest to his memory of Sadie in college so far. He looked up at himself in the bathroom mirror with his mouth agape. Redness flooded…

We Talk in a Roundabout Way

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You are a boy with a birthday bike smiling like our son, standing in a photograph surrounded by other sons, who turn rocks over and over, who keep snakes in plastic bread bags, who find the bones of something wild in the woods. You smile that way still.

Unattended (novel excerpt)

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A sticky glass. An open copy of Outside magazine. A flat part of the meadow that reeked of blood and cologne. A dog (my dog) hidden in the closet, shivering so hard the hangers jangled.

Hello and Thank You!

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She didn’t think of herself as an undesirable, no, she didn’t, but did find herself cowering in face of the presumed judgment of those around her. They had more money, more clout, more everything.

Officer Friendly

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The last time Ray and I broke up, I flew my flag at half-mast. It was the kind of thing that pissed him off. He was very big on flag etiquette: how the flag should be folded, the fact that it should never touch the ground, when to fly it at half-mast, the rules regarding…

Breach of Faith

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You love your wife and would never do anything to hurt her. In thirteen years of marriage you’ve never been unfaithful, never done more than glance at another woman. Until tonight. Tonight you got lucky. Oh God, how you got lucky!

I know a moustache

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“Hey there!/ Here I am, a fucking moustache!/ I’m the biggest damn moustache/ you’ll ever see

Hitler's Mustache

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“Where do you want your mustache?” Melanie asked. “You can have it on the side, you know, or, if you prefer, across your labia, in which case it will also look like a cross?”