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Situation 75 –

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That includes new tales by Lydia Conklin, Darby Jardeleza, Matthew Neill Null, Roger Reeves, Eric Schlich, Caroline Schmidt, Jackie Thomas-Kennedy, and Emma Törzs.

Lydia Conklin, “Belong to the Night time”

A hangover was already working her down, her lungs stuffed with fiberglass. En path to the subway, a rat skittered from below a bulkhead door down the sticky, empty road and into the neon mild of a taco signal. The rat carried a mouse in its tooth. The mouse’s eyes had been factors of sunshine straining by way of his fur. He was alive.

Darby Jardeleza, “Signal for Animals”

My state of affairs is quiet house with walnut flooring and Carrara marble within the lavatory. My state of affairs is reserve wine and journeys to Europe, dinner events, customized fits, fountain pens, signed books, and area of interest cologne. Lasca says my watch seems like a pleasant automotive. It does comprise a forty-piece tourbillon and it doesn’t make a sound. A tourbillon is not any scientific achievement, however I put on the watch as artwork, and performance is ancillary to aesthetic on this and most respects. I work at a bookstore. I don’t make a considerable dwelling. However I stay just for myself, so I’m a wealthy man.

Matthew Neill Null, “The Roots are Formed Like a Man”

Robert’s actual title was Cheung Xi, which Troxell knew solely from the customs varieties and wasn’t certain how one can pronounce; Troxell at present had $29,000 value of dry-weight ginseng that Robert wouldn’t be buying, together with lesser piles of yellowroot, mayapple, and cohosh. The coal miners of Nicholas County stated of Troxell, “He getting wealthy as a result of some males can’t get their dicks onerous––that’s why there ain’t no native demand!” Sure, they stated, he needed to journey internationally to search out soft-enough dicks. You by no means met a coal miner had that downside! They talked like this within the bathhouse, soaping themselves. However allow them to make enjoyable, Troxell didn’t care, they received’t be laughing after they’re coughing up black lung within the hospice and he’s dwelling it up into ripe outdated age.

Roger Reeves, “Ram within the Bush”

Elle’s thoughts roamed like this, shifting off into fast snatches of story, into what she typically referred to as “foolishness.” Typically, she allowed herself forays into “foolishness” as she swept, dusted, mopped, hurried in regards to the Otis’s home. She allowed herself speaking snakes in swamps, bears popping out of the woods and carrying off kids into caves, rams that conversed with God, argued with God. And, for arguing, God imprisoned the rams in bushes to be sacrificed on a stone desk later. Even romance. Elle allowed herself slightly wandering into romance, which had been so removed from her since her husband took sick. A tick of sweat, the guidelines of a person’s fingers shifting alongside her ribs till her breast sat his palm and his mouth in opposition to her neck. “The blood of Jesus, the blood of Jesus,” she’d whisper to herself, hoping to stave off lust.

Jackie Thomas-Kennedy, “The Wing”

Henny’s teasing had been one among their issues. They didn’t share a humorousness. They used to do the Sunday crossword, and as soon as, when Henny was bored, she crammed each sq. in order that the phrase fuck repeated itself, then folded the web page and tossed it again to Patrick, who stared at it, blinking.

“How are you not laughing?” she’d stated. “Not even slightly?”

She was immature. So what. She had a excessive voice, wore a dimension six shoe, seemed good in overalls. Typically she wore her hair in two braids. She wouldn’t attempt new meals. Immature, sure. Additionally lovely, or so he used to inform her. Additionally good at her job, Director of Alumni Relations for a faculty she hadn’t even attended. She was good at merely deciding to belong someplace and patiently ready for everybody else to catch up.

Emma Törzs, “Onerous Mom”

A couple of weeks after we met—within the MFA program the place she taught and I studied—the novelist advised me she’d first been drawn to me as a result of I reminded her of herself at my age: twenty-three. She was then sixty-eight. When she advised me this—“I appreciated you since you jogged my memory of me”—I practically cried, as a result of I knew that at twenty-three she had hated herself. I knew this as a result of my mind was actually a precise copy of her personal twenty-three-year-old consciousness, and I cried as a result of it moved me (in each course) to suppose you might love your self higher from the surface.

Caroline Schmidt, “Explicit Luck”

I’d heard this story of the earthquake earlier than, embellished slightly extra every time. Nonetheless, as I watched my spouse lean throughout her abdomen to achieve her plate on the kitchen desk, I envisioned for the primary time the shuddering of the earth, the motion of stone and soil. We’d gone that morning to my mom’s home for breakfast, had made the sluggish trek to the suburbs. The boxy yards and mailboxes, the hummingbird feeders. The spindly our bodies of the deer showing within the street. The home itself I can’t recall now: it was so acquainted to me that I’d by no means stopped to review it. This was the place I’d grown up, the place my father had died, the place—in 5 years—my mom, too, would die. The place had we saved the magazines? What colour had been my bed room partitions? What portray hung above the lounge sofa? Typically, a flash: my mom within the pale morning mild, a cracked blue teacup within the sink, a comb, tangled with hair.

Eric Schlich, “My Stunning Bearded Spouse”

As soon as it reached Rasputin-length, she went pirate stylish, knotting it into beaded ponytails like Captain Jack Sparrow. She went by way of a part of beard artwork (additionally a factor) by which she’d mould it into attention-grabbing shapes: spirals, zigzags, tentacles. Holidays had been significantly torturous. Our nieces and nephews beloved seeing what she’d provide you with. At Halloween, she hung bats. At Thanksgiving, she formed it right into a cornucopia and crammed it with miniature gourds. For Christmas, she strung battery-operated lights and tinsel, clipped a star on the backside for the ultimate contact: an upside-down tree. I’m nonetheless monitoring glitter from New 12 months’s. However Easter—Easter took the cake. She braided it with flowers. Easy, I assumed, elegant—till I heard chirping.

ASF Situation 75 Cowl Artwork by Eric Uhlir.

 



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