998 Slices
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9781574411850

worship for shut-ins

Rebecca Meacham University of North Texas Press PDF

110

let’s do

grew high—spring in southern Ohio. Then, like the accident, she turns a corner into the path of a shattering blow. She stands helpless against the pull of water, of gravity. Before she wakes, everyone cries out to her—an ugly, baffled sound—and Valerie can only listen.

Her waking hours are just the opposite, silent as empty pockets. The mornings are quiet when Cass should rattle her tags; the floors are still. No one watches over her small apartment, discerning threat in noises, and Valerie is a bumbling keeper, shaky as

Barney Fife. With one exception—when the dog fell mysteriously ill this winter and had to be hospitalized—Cass had been with her every day for seven years. After the divorce, when Valerie started buying wine in gallon cartons, Cass was excellent company. The dog sat close as Valerie watched T.V. and rode shotgun on scenic drives, and out of gratitude, Valerie would walk her through the pet store, letting her sneak bones. Wherever Valerie took the dog, people stopped to talk. They asked about Cass’s spotted tongue, her tail curled like a question mark. In this way,

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253015464

Chapter 6

Gabriella Ghermandi Indiana University Press ePub

AT THIS POINT, SHE SUDDENLY INTERRUPTED HER STORY and asked me if I knew the time, but I was not in the habit of wearing a watch. She proceeded to stop the worshipers, asking everyone for the time, until she found someone who was wearing a watch. It was past ten o’clock. “Woine! I’ve been here a really long time. Well! Ciao. I’m off. Italians say ciao, right? Ciao when they meet and ciao when they leave. I’m off. We’ll meet again.” She got up and walked away with her purple scarf half untied, flapping in the wind. Passing close to the hedge, she saw the turtle lady and called out to her, “I’ve done it! I did what you wanted, I kept her entertained.”

Half an hour later, preceded by the usual clanging, Abba Chereka appeared. This time I perceived the noise as he was approaching. There was just a faint sound of metal clinking, but I was able to make it out. I turned around and saw him. We greeted each other with a slight nod.

He sat down by my side and, remaining silent, we both turned to look at the church courtyards. A little later, slapping my knee, he said, “Let’s pray.” He took my hand, and I closed my eyes and began to recite the psalm. I immediately had the sensation of plummeting into an abyss, but this time I was able to control it. I prayed, and as had happened on the two previous days, the tension gradually dissipated, overtaken by images from my past. I cried. But this time they were just tears of tenderness for my deep longing for what no longer existed.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574414660

Reinventing Olivia

Tehila Lieberman University of North Texas Press PDF

Reinventing Olivia

A

s soon as I woke up, I could tell that

Olivia was already gone. The smell of freshly ground Sumatra was only barely discernible. There was none of the tight rustle of the Wall Street Journal that reached me most mornings from the kitchen. There was only the rising hum of my own anxiety as I realized that today marked the end of the summer in which I was supposed to have finished my novel. That I would need to place that dreaded call to my agent, and then at night, begin teaching my fall adult ed class, which was, my advance long since spent, my only current income.

Olivia had left me some coffee. The Journal sat plucked and plundered on the table. I should remind myself to include it in the growing list of items I wanted to ban from the house along with that new dialect, “corporatespeak,” she was beginning to spout.

I threw on some clothes and walked the two blocks to the café where I usually did my writing. The walls, previously old chipped brick, had been knocked out to accommodate floorto-ceiling glass so that it wasn’t clear whether one was within or without, object or voyeur. The inside had been done up in bright blues and oranges, its piping exposed, its modern industrial look startled by its own offerings—the folds of rich cakes

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574413311

A Bright Soothing Noise

Peter Brown University of North Texas Press PDF

A Bright Soothing Noise

P

arked at the scenic vista, Smithy watched the fuel truck through his binoculars. The operator went back and forth as if in slow motion between the gauges and the couplings at the far end of the hose. Smithy put the binoculars down on his passenger seat and lit a cigarette. He sat for a while, staring absently until the long gleaming tanker pulled away, moving east down the canyon. He watched as Mayor Goode drove in to top off his new Power Wagon. Goode got down and no doubt set the nozzle on the slow notch. He circled his truck and kicked the brand-new radials. With a finger he probed for nicks in the paint.

He took the squeegee and wiped it with a rag and with an almost effeminate precision pushed it across and through the round corners of the windshield. He set the squeegee back and beamed for a moment through his sunglasses at the mountains mirrored in them like diamonds. Then he released the nozzle, slapped his gas cap on, and disappeared inside the MiniMart.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870665

Johnny Longsword’s Third Option

Fawcett, Katherine Thistledown Press ePub

Johnny Longsword’s Third Option

THE MAN AT THE GATE TAPPED his pen on a clipboard in a rhythm that reminded Johnny Longsword of the opening bars of a certain AC/DC song off the Highway to Hell album. Or was it Back in Black? Didn’t matter. What mattered was getting the fuck out. Getting back. That’s all.

“We have an established protocol here, Mr. Longsword.” The man spoke as if through a pinched nose. “It is the same for every living soul. Until we process your claim, check your credentials, and go through due process, I cannot authorize you to pass.”

Johnny Longsword clenched his jaw and smoothed his eyebrows with his index fingers. It was bullshit. Normally he would simply slip the bouncer a fifty and be let through pretty much anywhere. Apparently the rules here were different. Besides, he didn’t have his wallet. “You can’t take it with you,” Moira had once said. Turned out she was right.

He nearly bit it twice on his way back to Seating. His bare feet kept getting caught up in the stupid cotton gown they had made him put on at Threshold. Everyone was wearing one. Made it so you couldn’t tell the men from the women. That’s not true. You could tell. Just made it so you didn’t really want to.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253220042

7. Honor

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM JORDAN

 

Yasmine speaks …

I was not exactly thrilled when the biology teacher teamed me up with Wafa Ar-Rahman. We’d be working in pairs, she said, when we started cutting things up—a learning experience I really did not look forward to one bit. And now I had to do it with Wafa. Not that she was obnoxious or stupid, but she was new in school, and so conservative and quiet and shy that she really sort of stuck out.

When I got home, I told my mother that my biology partner would be this girl Wafa, whom I could hardly even see, she was so covered up by her hijab. “She wears her head scarf over her eyebrows, and she doesn’t say a thing. She’ll be so boring, Mum,” I moaned. “I’ll hate that class.”

But my mother was the wrong person to complain to. She was a hard-hitting investigative journalist, and she saw opportunities for social change and noble struggle in practically everything. She was so good at her job, in fact, that she’d won a special fellowship to study in London the previous year, and we’d all spent six glorious months there.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781942496656

Chapter 27

Charlotte Jones Solution Tree Press ePub

Shira drew a deep breath as the Iniskroun shackled her hands. It was all she could do to contain the excitement and relief flooding through her. She had seen a foggy wind, she was convinced of it. Conrad had realized something was wrong, since she was not responding to his letters. She was right to have put her faith in him. They were going to get her out. All she had to do was hold on. Suppressing a smile, she shifted on the stool to which she was chained. There was nothing Kaelo could do to hurt her now. Very soon, she would be safe and sound back in Sunburst.

From his throne, Kaelo watched his prisoner closely. Something had changed in her since the night before. The ghost of a smile hovered on her lips as she tried to straighten, tossing her head defiantly as she kept her stare straight ahead. Her eyes glowed with fierce determination.

Irritation pricked him; his relatives were growing impatient. Shining Shira was proving far more difficult than any of them had expected. He needed to break her, and soon. According to General Shevo, she had another day to live, maybe less, before the sunlight burned her through. Trying to overthrow his father and take control of Sunburst would be far simpler with the Eshan power than without it.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008183

3 Townie

Jason L Brown Quarry Books ePub

Roderic Crooks

AT THE DEADWOOD INN, THE WOMAN on the bar stool to my right whistles when I tell her I’m from New York City, then starts in on a long, rambling spiel about the five seasons of Iowa that leaves me unclear as to what constitutes the extra season. A football game is playing on a set above rows of multi-colored bottles lit from underneath, but this woman cannot keep her eyes off of me. She says, “So you visiting then?” She points her drunk, glassy eyes at me while the guy at the seat on my left mumbles about the ineptitude of whatever franchise is on the television. I can’t tell which side is ours or if they are winning.

I tell her that I live here now, that I’ve taken a job in town and wait for her to turn her attention back to the game, or to the man on my left, or anywhere but at me. She keeps her chin turned up and her gaze locked, so I add, “At the university museum.” I hope this helpful detail will satisfy her curiosity and send her back to whatever she was doing before she told me I didn’t look local.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253002365

Chapter Nine

Gregory Schwipps Indiana University Press ePub

By Sunday afternoon it was raining again. This time it came gently over the woods to the west of them, descending slowly like a down blanket being laid over a sleeping child. The rain fell on the leaves of the trees and each drop formed a soft rhythm, a million tiny heartbeats advancing through the woods. Frank cocked his ear to the open door of the barn and listened to its approach.

They always got a lot of rain in July—thunderstorms, mostly—but this summer felt more like a monsoon. He stood in the barn and watched the rain fall first on the garden, then the yard. It hammered the metal roof overhead. He’d been cleaning up the boat, and was about ready to stop anyway. Now he’d get wet on the way to the house. He shut off the lights and grabbed a piece of plywood to serve as an umbrella. With his cane in one hand and the other holding the plywood over his head, he walked out into the rain. He looked down at the wet grass and remembered how he would gather nightcrawlers for bait on rainy nights when he was a kid.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412529

8. Cannibals in the Basement

James Mathews University of North Texas Press PDF

cannibals in the basement

M

y wife invited them into our house, the cannibals. There were three of them. Charlie and Tom were brothers, two squat men with phlegmatic, darting eyes that always appeared desperate to escape the clutch of their faces. The leader was Reginald. Wanda introduced him as “Stitch” because that’s what Charlie and Tom called him. To my wife, they were the interview of a lifetime, a sure number one bestseller that she had always dreamed of writing. To me, they were three fishermen who ate their captain and were now living in my basement.

“It was actually the first mate,” my wife informed me later.

“The captain went down with the ship.”

Wanda had read their story in some supermarket tabloid (“Just

Like Chicken: Fishermen Recount High Seas Horror” ), tracked them down and found them unemployed and homeless in South Port— not an uncommon condition for someone living in the depressed fishing village and, I suppose, for cannibals as well. She saw no reason (the whole eating-of-human-flesh taboo be damned!) not to ply them with bus fare and invite them for a little exclusive in our cozy home.

See All Chapters
Medium 9789810861131

It’s a Wonderful Lie by Felix Cheong

Goodwin, Temari & Hoye (Editors) Monsoon Books ePub
"It’s a Wonderful Lie" by Felix Cheong

A romance short story set in Singapore, first published in "Love and Lust in Singapore" (Monsoon Books, Singapore)

We always believe we’re extraordinary. That the world could be wooed and moved if only we found its fulcrum, hit the dead centre and shifted our weight. But we end up exactly where we fear to tread, the black hole which draws dream and light to its tailspin denouement. Would a second chance, a retrial, ever change the outcome?
*   *   *
I flinch as my coffin feeds the fire. So, this is cremation, the tail end of creation. But I can barely feel the heat as it eats its way through my skin. Afterwards, there’ll be coffee and tearing tales, gathered like so many starry eyes, so many sunset remembrances. There’ll be time to eavesdrop on versions and revisions of stories.For now, I watch these flames mulling over flesh and wood, hungry and generous to a fault.
 *   *   *
It’s been two minutes since my body broke down as my death broke through. On the eve of Christmas too. What ass luck. What arse timing … See All Chapters
Medium 9780253001801

Reply All

Robin Hemley Indiana University Press ePub

TO: Poetry Association of the Western Suburbs Listserv
FROM: Lisa Drago-Harse
SUBJECT: Next Meeting
DATE: July 17th

Hi all,
I wanted to confirm that our next meeting will be held in the Sir Francis Drake Room at the Bensenville Hampton Inn on August 3rd. Minutes from our last meeting and an agenda for the next meeting will follow shortly.

Peace and Poetry,

Lisa Drago-Harse

Secretary/PAWS

TO: Poetry Association of the Western Suburbs Listserv
FROM: Michael Stroud
SUBJECT: Re: Next Meeting
DATE: July 17th

Dearest Lisa,
First of all, I love your mole and don't find it unsightly in the least! There is absolutely no reason for you to be ashamed of it (though it might be a good idea to have it checked out). But please don't remove it! Heaven forbid, my darling! As I recall, I gave you considerable pleasure when I sucked and licked it like a nipple. A nipple it is in size and shape, if not placement. That no one else knows your mole's position on your body (other than your benighted husband, poor limp Richard, that Son(net) of a Bitch as you call him) is more the pity (if Marvell had known such a mole, he undoubtedly would have added an extra stanza to his poem). But my coy mistress is not so terribly coy as all that, if I remember correctly (and how could I forget!). You were not at all what I had expected in bed—not that I had any expectations at all. When you started massaging my crotch with your foot underneath the table in the Sir Francis Drake Room, I was at first shocked. For a moment, I thought perhaps the unseen massager was none other than our esteemed president, the redoubtable Darcy McFee (makeup and wardrobe courtesy of Yoda). Is that terrible of me? I have nothing personal against her, really, except for her execrable taste in poetry, and the fact that you should be president, not she. And her breath. And that habit of pulling her nose when she speaks and that absolutely horrific expression of hers: twee. As in, “I find his poetry just so twee.” What does twee mean and why does she keep inflicting it upon us! So imagine my horror when I felt this foot in my crotch and I stared across the table at the two of you—she twitching like a slug that's had salt poured on it and you immobile except for your Mont Blanc pen taking down the minutes. Ah, to think that the taking down of minutes could be such an erotic activity, but in your capable hands, it is. To think that mere hours later, it would be my Mont Blanc you'd grasp so firmly, guiding me into the lyrical book of your body. But initially, I thought the worst, that it was Darcy, not you. My only consolation was the idea that at least I had her on a sexual harassment suit, her being my boss after all at Roosevelt. Another reason I thought it was her and not you was because I know you're married and she isn't and I knew that Richard is a member of our esteemed organization, too (and he was in the room, seated beside you no less!). It was only that sly smile in your eyes that tipped me off. I, too, love the danger that illicit public sex brings, as long as it's kept under the table, so to speak. And yes, maybe someday we can make love on that very same table in the Sir Francis Drake Room, my darling. But I must ask you, sweetheart, where did you learn that amazing trick. I have seen people wiggle their ears before, but never that! What amazing talent and such a pity that this is not something you bring out at parties or poetry readings to awe the dumb masses! Would Darcy find that too twee? I think not! Thinking of you now makes me so hot. I want to nibble you. I want to live in your panties. I want to write a series of odes to you equal in number to every lucky taste bud on my tongue, every nerve ending (no, not endings but beginnings!) on my body that live in rapture of your every pore. No, not poor, but rich. I am rich. I make metaphors of your muscles, of your thighs, of the fecund wetness bursting with your being and effulgence. I must swallow now. I must breathe. I must take my leave, my darling, and go now to relieve myself of my private thoughts of you and you alone.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574411850

the assignment

Rebecca Meacham University of North Texas Press PDF

the assignment

89

city’s inaugural marathon, and she was the hometown favorite, and as she bounced past each checkpoint—tiny, freckled, sinewy but not stringy, wearing an orange sports bra and her hair in a ponytail—he could focus only on her. So much so that his producer wondered, watching the tape, if any other runners had shown up that day. She had placed second, but told everyone, as she winked at Carter—a woman who winked—that she’d gone home with the real prize. Lately, she was running twenty miles on

Saturdays. But last weekend, she had been spooked on a long run through the park. She had been dwelling on it. For his part,

Carter was keeping an eye out, escorting her nearly everywhere, installing chains on her doors, staying over.

Still, attacking his girlfriend was a whole other matter. He said, “Jen, haven’t you had enough of that already?”

“That’s why I want you to do this, Carter. To condition me.

In case I need to defend myself, again.” She put her legs together and reached over her toes. The other night, he had painted her toenails, the only part of her that seemed to get kind of ugly.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253010247

Chapter 2

Jesse Lee Kercheval Indiana University Press ePub

When the front door bell rang again, I jumped as if the live wire were wrapped around the red muscles of my heart. It was March, less than three weeks later—no time at all, forever. All around the house, daffodils were poking up that my family would never see. Spring comes, no matter. The door to the basement apartment and the door to the main part of the house were side by side on the front porch. From the apartment, I’d watched neighbors and friends come by with casseroles and leave them on the porch. Sometimes I ate one or put it in the fridge for later. Sometimes I just left them for the worried neighbors to retrieve.

But the bell wasn’t a neighbor. It was my Aunt Zinnia at the door, my mother’s sister, the woman who my father had always called the Terrible Aunt Z.

She was standing on my front porch with her rolling suitcase. She was dressed in a sleeveless white linen dress, as if she hadn’t planned on a cool Hoosier spring. She was a tiny woman with a silvery bowl of hair and a soft Southern accent. She looked helpless; she looked sweet. She was neither. She was a regular storm crow, drawn by bad luck. I’d sent her a note after the funeral, telling her what had happened. Now here she was. I watched as the airport shuttle that had dropped her off pulled away from the curb. “Let me in, Emma,” she said, banging on the door. “I’m spending the night.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574415384

You Are a Good Girl I Love You

Jessica Hollander University of North Texas Press ePub

You Are a Good Girl I Love You

A note posted on my fourteen-year-old sister’s door, a warning: Our house has walls and doors like any other house and inside each house are rooms and inside the rooms are beds with covers and no matter how much you kick the sheets mom shrink-wrapped to the mattress the covers are heavy on a chest.

My sister’s explanation for why she now slept on her bare mattress naked.

p.s. if this is a problem i will gladly sleep clothesless in the backyard.

My father pounding on the door yelling Beatrice If I’m Late and Beatrice You Think I’m Impressed You Are A Child. He dropped us at school since my sister ditched from the bus stop every day for a week, so I took my time getting ready: putting on makeup and blotting it off. My father wanted order and my sister systematically disordered. It was a home theater Mom and I gossiped about in the driveway and stairwell: who had said, who had shifted, who had asked us to communicate something.

See All Chapters

Load more