The British Way of Dying

In Issue 71 by Trevor Mitchell

Friday afternoon. Although the wind was whipping viciously up Baldwin Street, the sky was an agreeable shade of blue, the colour of infinity, and as I walked home from work, I sensed the subtle change of mood in the city. For forty-eight hours everyone could forget about their crummy jobs and dull, shitty lives. The quotidian nightmare was about to go on hold.


Pa Bliye Haiti

In Issue 71 by Christopher Parent

In the summer of 2010, my wife, Melissa, and I set off for Jacmel, Haiti, a port city of around 137,000 people that sits on the country’s Southern coast and about 40 kilometers from Port-au-Prince. It was seven months after an earthquake had made a desperate nation look apocalyptic and ravaged an already fragile infrastructure. Jacmel was damaged but serene in comparison to Port-au-Prince, where the streets were blocked by debris and traffic medians were filled with displaced residents sleeping in USAID tents.


Dead Weight

In Issue 71 by Linda Boroff

Robinette Alcorn slept poorly at fourteen; her body did not seem designed for comfortable repose. When she lay on her side, her bony hips grew sore. The back of her head grew numb when she lay supine. Phantom itches sprang up on the backs of her thighs, the soles of her feet. She sweated or froze. Come morning, she left for school puffy and sullen, red creases in her face, her hair awry. Weekends, she slept until noon, waking ferocious and unrested.


The Strange Case of the Love Contract

In Issue 71 by David Kennedy

It took everything in Justice Stephen Field’s power to restrain himself from laughing.
“In the City and County of San Francisco, State of California,” the document stated, “on the 25th day of August, A.D. 1880, I Sarah Althea Hill, of the City and County of San Francisco, State of California, age 27 years, do here in the presence of Almighty God, take Senator William Sharon, of the State of Nevada, to be my lawful and wedded husband, and do here acknowledge and declare myself to be the wife of Senator William Sharon of the State of Nevada.



In Issue 71 by Trina Chapman

The rush over, the news relayed, decisions pending, I peered over at the sack hanging on the side of the bed that held the blood leaking from my son’s kidney and felt helpless. I looked down at his body on the hospital bed, the size of a man now. As a teenager, he hadn’t really wanted me near him for a couple of years, but there lay his hand, so small to me now, though an adult size.



In Issue 71 by Christopher Adams

The first time I stayed with Jack, I was in distress. A lover had unceremoniously turned me out of the house, and, as my parents were dead, I had nowhere to go.
‘Jack, may I stay with you?’
‘Are you in distress?’
‘I am.’
Jack was a friend since childhood, when we lived two roads apart along the Harringay Ladder. We attended the same primary school before going to separate secondaries.



In Issue 71 by Vincent Casaregola

Angela was smiling, not at anyone but to herself, a quiet, satisfied smile that reflected her increasingly relaxed mood. She would bend, grasp a jar, lift it, and place it on the shelf beside the similar jars, all in neat rows and patterns. It was satisfying work, bringing order, if not to chaos exactly, then at least to the ever-changing ebb and flow of randomness of the center store shelves of Barone’s Family Super Store…


The Dollhouse

In Issue 71 by Brandon Daily

The night before he left for the last time, he gave the dollhouse to her.
It was late. Abby had settled into her bedcovers and turned her head to the window. Outside, the sky was dark from the clouds that covered up the moon and stars. She knew she would wake to fresh snow on the yard—not the first snow of the season, but with the cold, it could be the first big snow.


Stand Still

In Issue 71 by Hart Vetter

I’m a trucker. My own boss is how it feels. Fending for myself. Have done it all my life. Sitting high up in my silver leather, long-haul cockpit of a seat, on top of the world. Surrounded by eighteen speakers, as many as I got wheels. Because I like things organized in a cosmic symmetry. Three thousand of my most-favored alt tracks in a bottomless, random shuffle, just loud enough for backdrop entertainment…



In Issue 71 by Carisa Pineda

My father took me to boxing matches when I was a child. I was skinny, knobby kneed with a stern look on my face. We walked side by side on sidewalks with cracked uneven pavement until we reached a temporary ring set up at El Parque de la Soledad. A crowd of men would gather. Some greeted my father yelling, “Badilla!” or “Oscar!” They made wagers, slapped each other on the back and laughed from their stomachs.



In Issue 71 by Priscilla Thompson

It was the perfect day—until the fat neighbor ruined it.

Emily had just returned from a thirteen-mile jog and was sitting in her rocking chair by the window, thinking about what she might—or might not—eat. She imagined placing a chicken breast on a bed of lettuce with cherry tomatoes and perhaps a slice of the avocado lying on the window sill, so perfectly ripe from the sun. Or, perhaps not. She could let the avocado shrivel and darken, turning to mush on the inside. I don’t need to eat it, she thought.

Then the doorbell rang. Less than a minute later, again. Each time, cracking the silence like an egg.


Autobiography of the Bomb: Teller in His Own Mind

In Issue 71 by Jim Shankman

The magazines and newspapers were saying all kinds of provocative, beguiling things about the man. He was Prometheus who stole fire from the gods for the benefit of mankind. He was Aladdin who let the genie out of the bottle. To the naysayers, he was the Dr. Jekyll whose potion transformed us all into Mr. Hyde. The guy had press like nobody has ever had press. He was a warrior saint, a holy knight of the realm.