I’m always thinking how to escape death. Somehow, like that Mesopotamian maniac, the mythic prince who asked for tips from his barista before his story was written in clay; we’ve heard the screech and the scrim of the snakes shedding skin that proves it’s not simple to grant a desire.
Thank God and Greyhound by Jan Stout
It was raining cats and dogs when we ducked into Le Carafe. Ted said it was the oldest bar in Houston. He ordered a Lone Star on tap, made a beeline for the john.
An Approximation of Melody by Tommy Dean
I wanted to live on an alley when I grew up. My nose flush against the cool glass, shadows cast over darkened brick, bottles broken, and the shuffle of running feet, the smell of sewage and greasy food waving into the room, mixing with the bunanabun of the Law & Order score.
Green Sleeves Under the Mermaid by Gay Degani
A heatwave smothers Texas like a ten-gallon hat so I abandon the three fans rotating in the apartment and speed out the door, my Dallas Stars tee-shirt as damp as warm teabags.
Hands Off by Jason Jackson
Ben sits in the back of the car, chewing popcorn so it squeaks against his teeth, and little Janey sits up front, sucking on a peach.
Three Micros by Pat Foran
Dear Apollo C. Vermouth: I heard “Miss Daisy Hawkins” recently at a Red Lobster in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Flake by Lucien Desar
Up far above, I was worthless and small. Bouncing from cloud to cloud, the cold winds carried me for miles.
Helen Keller Lives by Leonora Desar
I am not special either. Maybe this is why she chose me. She said, you are going to help convince them that I’m real. We go to protests. Rallies.
Just Us Two by Jayne Martin
The morning sun warms our one-bedroom apartment. After bouncing from relative to relative, it’s just Mommy and me.
Location by Patricia Q Bidar
My dry cleaner proposed to me at El Matador Beach, over Malibu Country Mart’s second cheapest bottle of prosecco. We sat on a bench in the blufftop parking lot. I was queasy from the motorcycle ride.
Lucky Lucky Tinsel Cake by April Bradley
When we shut the front door behind us, we shut up Tinsel Cake alone in the kitchen to gaze upon fresh, cooling Gingerbread. This is Claudia Fleming’s Gramercy Tavern gingerbread made with a cup of stout and a cup of molasses.
Lunar Landing by Sara Hills
I go with Gary from Housewares up into the hills after work. There’s a comet coming, the news says, and Gary’s promised to show me the stars.
Man on the Street by Al Kratz
Charlie, Mitch, and Bob worked downtown at the big insurance company. Charlie and Mitch liked Bob because he knew things about life they hadn’t even thought to learn.
On Fire by Riham Adly
On the day Samantha found out her cancer hadn’t metastasized and was still in remission, there was a fire in the house.
Pancake by Mary Thompson
The man who is unable to love has left his girl again, vanished like a feral feline. ‘I hate the way that Pancake stares,’ he said before he left, complaining about how the cat would glare at him with unblinking eyes.
Conversation in Hotel Lounge by Lydia Davis
Two women sit together on the sofa in the hotel lounge, bent over and deep in conversation. I am walking through, on my way to my room.
The Girl In Purple by Bobbie Ann Mason
Café Mozart Dreamin’ by Tracey Meloni
Judie bangs on my hotel door. “The dressmaker is here! Hurry! You have Christmas lunch with Noah at Café Mozart at 1PM!”
Initiation by Stuart Dybek
The doors snap open on Addison, and the kid in dirty hightops and a sleeveless denim jacket that shows off a blue pitchfork tattooed on his bicep jogs forward beneath a backward baseball cap and grabs the purse off a babushka’s lap.
Hermit & Bleeding Faucet by Ana María Shua
With the population now well aware of the physical and mental benefits of asceticism (low cholesterol, bradycardia, a delicate sense of happiness, spiritual fulfillment), everyone wants to become a hermit.