Stories tagged coming-of-age


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Like gymnastics, shoplifting is a discipline of youth.

The Lookout

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Slipping past the jars of bubblegum and jaw breakers, I walked to the back of the store to the coolers for a soda. The wet swimming trunks under my tough-skin jeans had made a damp half moon on my rear end. I stuck my hand deep in my pockets. I…

The Lookout

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I had never seen anyone die. For first time in my life, I was afraid, even more than when my step-dad got drunk and roughed me up. When Dale Franklin got shot last year standing on the corner outside the laundry-mat it took the ambulance forty-five minu

The Long Grass

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Julius winced, knowing there was no way out. Amy showed him every worm, every insect, every dead mouse she’d found when they were in the fields. She pulled him forward, making his bruised shoulder burn.

The Summer She Turned 17

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The summer she turned 17, she had to hold all the pieces of herself together with a red ribbon she tore off an old dress. It wound its way around her neck, her heart and her throat. It snaked down to her hips, the curve of her thighs, and wrapped itself

All the Pretty Boys

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Somewhere along the line he had also become a junkie, so he had a plastic bottle filled with methadone. I took a swig of that as we decided to jump in a cab and go to a dance club. It was a total shit-hole...

My Hairy Thumbnail

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I was a gangly 11 years old, a year before the Watergate hearings pre-empted the afternoon cartoons on television, when I discovered an uncle's girlie magazine during routine reconnaissance of my grandmother's hall closet.

Rodney & Chelsea

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Chelsea's breasts are more the size of tangerines, but he likes them. He likes that she smells like Fruit Loops and that her front teeth overlap slightly. Her mouth is glossed. He slips his tongue inside.

Liquor and Older Women

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"What is a vageena?" I wanted to know.

Pubicly Humiliated

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I was a late bloomer in the pubic department. I used to stare at myself, practically counting the little blonde hairs that never grew and refused to darken.

Casualties of War

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When Jimmy – and Frank and John and all the rest – joined up, it all seemed a big lark. Little Mary – she can’t have been more than about five years old – was dead proud her Dad was going off to fight the Germans. I doubt she really knew who the

Life Experience

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Karen likes to make a big deal about life experience. Specifically how much more she has than me. What that actually means, she's never made clear. The definition changes and mutates as the years go by, always in her…

King boy

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“He had emerged from slavery, -- not the worst slavery in the world, not a slavery that made all life unbearable, rather a slavery that had here and there something of kindliness, fidelity, and happiness, -- but withal slavery, which, so far a human aspiration…

Denmark (or On the Death of John Updike)

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The impression old Updike left on a young mind.


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Right after my tenth birthday, Lydia Leavitt moved on to our street. I don’t remember meeting her for the first time or what I thought when I first saw her.