TWO STORIES by NATHAN DRAGON

 

Sunny

 

I made a list yesterday of things that I needed today, or rather, like a list of things that amounts to something a stranger will need over the course of a year, or however long the lease is, so that this particular stranger might live comfortably and use the provided amenities efficiently, particularly the new bathroom vanity. This list was made up of all relatively minor things that all fit into a 5 gallon bucket construction store bucket: Philips head, small can of white paint and putty (for touch ups), wood shims, contractors’ trash bags, 3 crowbars, 2 measuring tapes, flexible drainage pipe, Brillo pads—all indirectly related to that one bigger thing, that bathroom vanity, to hold it together in place.

I was in the passenger seat of a car on the way over there. The car was an old pick-up, not mine, and we drove straight towards the lake anticipating a left somewhere in the grid since we couldn’t turn right. I looked over my shoulder from the passenger seat and I saw the building I thought we were going to; it was made of light yellow and tan sun-bleached bricks. MMMh, the smell of bleach is pretty good, I thought and I wondered if it should’ve been added to the list, if we would need it for cleaning.

You never know. Continue reading

“LUCY AT HER DADS” and “THE ARTIST” by JIM GIBSON

LUCY AT HER DADS 

 

And here I am. ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ on her t-shirt as I tell her to fuck off with all that shouting and that I’m here to see me dad, not you ya dirty sket. And she huffs and seethes as I push her to one side and walk in. I shout and shout before she chirps in with how he don’t wanna see me, how he’s got enough on without me coming round causing problems. I tell her that he shoulda thought of these problems before he had two kids, before he left us alone with a piss-head mam but I know how he really feels. We’ve spent some time together without ‘Dirty Deeds’, sat across the table at Maccy’s, when he said how he wanted me to live with him, how he’d get rid of this ‘bit-on-the-side’ and sort me n Jack out. I think he means it; it’s just not that easy so he’s working it out and not letting on to Her. I shout – DAD, GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW and ‘Dirty Deeds’ laughs so I give her the look and – WHAT THE FUCK YOU LAUGHIN AT YA… and that gets him to the top of the stairs with a – hold on, hold on, I’m coming. She tells him to kick me the fuck out but I stand there and smile as he ushers her into the living room and we both go into the kitchen: without her.

He sits me down at the table and I ask him when he’s gonna kick that bitch out and get me n Jack in and he just shakes his head so I tell him how mum’s been acting up again, about the men that’re always round; how last week we had to eat dog food and brush our teeth before we went out so we didn’t stink of it, then all he ses: I don’t want you comin round here anymore. His words are slow and me head can’t quite grasp them.

_______I

_______________don’t

want

_______________________you…

I tell him how Jack’s got this part in the school play, I mean, only a small one cos he’s not that good at stuff in front of people but he’s got a couple of lines and everything and I tell him the dates and how he should come with me and watch and cheer him on cos Jack’s never done anything like this before and he’s dead nervous and everything so it’d be good if he could come and he ses: I can’t, Lucy. So I say, well you can send him a card at least, I can pick one and bring it round, you just have to put your name on it and I’ll take it, he’ll be well chuffed: No. Continue reading

THREE STORIES by SAMUEL STEVENS

Summer Evening

 

They stood on the porch. He leaned on the railing, into her. She was poised away from him in a pink skirt and bikini top. He had bought them for her. The humid night air hugged their skin. They were sweating. Moths strafed around them pining for the porch lights.

“I can get a job at the plant,” he said.

“Daddy’s the head of the bus company,” she drawled.

“You say that to everything now and didn’t say that the night we met dancing.”

She crossed her arms and glanced at the front door. Music from the radio piped out from the half open windows.

“I’ve got a good job already and the skills to get a better one.” He swiped a moth away from his face. He almost yelled at the little bug. “Can I talk to him?”

“No. And the pastor wouldn’t agree to it to begin with.”

“That pastor’s—”

“That’s a lie and Daddy says it’s your Roman tricks to suggest such a thing and that he didn’t vote against Al Smith for no reason.” Continue reading

THREE WORKS by Z. MARGARET

Internal’s House

 

(media res counterpoints)

“Show me someone who doesn’t warrant inspection and I’ll grant you your hormones,” the father says.

“Oh and which sadistic pill is that?” the daughter screams.

“Hey now, knowledge is not the answer, we both know that. Perhaps a little tipsy in the granulated downtime, but that’s all, I can assure you.”

“Did not!”

“Um yes, did two. Two pills with one swallow.”

“Have you even been bickering with me? what do your words—uh!” flapping hands.

“I see it as kind of like those days where when the day begins, with a sort of groggy eyesight. The first thing you hear from your mother’s mouth is—hey, woah, where do you expect you’re. Stop, okay—the very first noise you hear is some insect-y reminder from your well-intentioned mother, that the garbage disposal ate your garments. Or even your undergarments, like panties, and she forgot—hey, where.”

“F-you!..and hey, in case you didn’t know, plants have hormones too!” the daughter projects over her shoulder, down and out the staircase.

(out the door with her)

(back to the father, portrait)

“You know, I never dreamt about notebooks or that kind of thing, mainly (melting.horror.). But it’s all working out fine right about now. Really. Not so much as a gaper in the sky tell you the truth,” he pauses, waiting. Continue reading

THREE WORKS by JOSEPH FREDERICK GARCIA

LINES

 

It is my new goal to fall in love with someone while waiting in line.

I’m done with dating and hook-ups and I just want to become intimate with someone waiting in line with me.

My ideal partner is someone who is ahead of me in line, but, honestly, I would gladly take someone who is behind me in line—especially as I am nearing 30 with little to no career aspirations.

With this in mind, I scan the people, ahead and behind.

I happen to notice someone scanning as well.

We meet eyes.

In some sort of unspoken agreement, we decide to give it a try.

We don’t have to connect on any one issue.

We don’t have to have anything in common. Continue reading