Clare’s father gives her more coins for the claw machine. There’s a stuffed Pokemon she wants to win. “These things are designed so you can never get the good prizes,” her father says.
We’re stuck inside Po-po’s one bedroom apartment in Guangzhou. The windows have metal bars to deter the robbers even on the 9th floor.
There’s an owl outside the window. He hoots at 1:00 a.m. The tenants toss, turn, and fume. 3B opens the window, aims a flashlight at the leaves. 2A stomps out with a tennis ball and hurls it at the tree.
It starts like this. Not the way she imagined it when she was young and didn’t understand the slow murder that can happen between a man and a woman.
The lead crystal decanter, a wedding present, reminds the girl of a genie’s bottle. Wide at the base with a slender neck, it glints, throwing rainbows when the sunlight catches it.
You were one car over, all curls and eyes. I was just four wheels, an engine. This was at the stoplight – Western and Milwaukee. I pulled up, and it was like you’d been waiting for me in someone else’s backseat all night.
Dale knows it only takes four hours for a body to bloat in the desert. One day for flies. Three for maggots. Six for the skin to slip around the eyes.
What to do with this memory that visits her at four a.m. of being “Ultra girl” in Aikido? (In truth she was only average, but she was the only girl, having chased away the other girl by borrowing her boyfriend.)
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are taking tranquilizers or sedatives, it’s last call, one of your friends recently coupled, or you are approaching a milestone birthday and in danger of marrying your backup partner.
The word of the day is chartreuse, a variable color averaging a brilliant yellow green. Origin: Once Latin, now French. Used in a sentence: Elyse knew why the chartreuse sweater was on clearance—the threads were starting to fray, and it clearly wasn’t well made, but Elyse bought it anyway because she found something about it charming.
It was the meanness—like embalming fluid shoring him up.
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you as you stoat down the street, hungover, shoes not tied.
‘Ho, Mary!’ he shouts over the traffic.
Between hits we hang out at the beach, perched naked on salt-rimed stanchions, cocking a leg high like we’re the Karate Kid, before tumbling into the waves’ icy maw, where we bawl so hard even the gulls are offended.
In the development, nothing grew except concrete, asphalt, pink ranches, and brown split levels.
It’s illegal to shoot pigeons in the suburbs; maybe it’s illegal in cities too, or in counties, or maybe across the whole state.
Ignis, the flaming wreckage, bubbling rubber, liquified cloth, her skin charred and blistering, acrid smoke, the tiny thunders of survival’s kicks
The old man fell asleep in his car, his nostrils pressed softly against the steering wheel, but the car kept going, because the old man’s foot was not asleep, was still pressing down hard, and later they would say, it’s not really his fault, he’s such an old man.
In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.