Biriyani jumped off the diving board and broke the surface of the swimming pool in a clean arc. Pale pink fluff rippled over the pool. Her legs kicked a trillion tiny dark blue jewels into the air that melted back into water.
Death and silence you decide after unzipping your pants. You put your hands on the top of the urinal and steady yourself.
Morcella is her name and we’re twelve in Miss Conway’s science class talking kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species of the kangaroo.
We should have known Eduardo would be the type to tattle. He was a hyperactive, annoying child with a tendency to boss us around, although at 8 he was younger than me by a year and had been held back in school.
The Jellyfish Yosa was doing all the usual things with his hands but I felt nothing. With the [...]
Her mom’s idea of good music was Kirk Franklin and Beyoncé. More than once Kenzi found her mother in the living room stumbling along as she tried to “get in formation” or convince Fat Dave to put a ring on it. She even had a shrine to the singer in her bedroom, photos taped along her dresser for “inspiration.”
In July, the spare room on the second floor of their rental fills with flies. They try getting the landlord to do something—anything—about the flies, but they’ve only been in France a month and can’t remember how to say please. They keep the door to the Fly Room shut tight.
Everyone was shouting this on the first day of the summer of 1993, so loudly it took us awhile to realize we were shouting it too.
The test began. The students worked diligently to fill the bubbles they deemed appropriate. Livia watched one young man methodically draw frowny faces within each bubble and then cover them over with a flurry of graphite.
His date had neon pink shellacked fingernails. Lance couldn’t stop staring at them. The glare off them from the overhead lights was almost blinding. It reminded him of headlight beams bouncing off a rain-slicked road.
My therapist says to remember that I’m young and only human. My mother in our last phone call said that I’m a narcissist. My father wants the money back from my wedding.
M takes it from him. It sits in her palm, a squat little thing that's very white at the top but bloody at the root. She tries to remember what the different kinds of teeth are and which one this is. Around them, the other kids are screaming and prancing but M and V are still, staring at the tooth.
The city is sinking and about to go underwater. You don’t understand that the city is sinking and about to go underwater. I can smell the trash outside getting wet with anticipation.
Sound exposing floor tiles, drumming to ceiling, embattled floor. Recorded music—Tchaikovsky—wolfs me down. I shut it off and beg myself to play. Baseboards [...]
After the disaster, we were shuttled in busses to the elementary school. We were a soft-footed herd. They turned us towards the entrance, [...]
I knew little about Brad when we arranged to meet. Demographics, mostly. He was thirty-seven, an adjunct with abundant graying hair. A childless [...]
So, they decided to go to the dinner thing. And now Audrey is looking across the table at her husband next to her oldest [...]
The best thing about the city was the train home in winter, after she had spent the day behind the circulation desk at [...]
They get him on the way out of Trader Joe’s, with a bag of groceries in his hand thawing slowly in the summer [...]
White knuckles knocked on the glass. Tanya flinched then looked up to find a thin woman with an angular face, watery blue eyes, [...]
Every night at 8 p.m. I wait for the beautiful telemarketer to call again. Her voice has a radio liquidation. She’s lowered it [...]
Once upon a time, there was a mother, a father, a child, and the police. MOTHER: Don’t lick your lips. CHILD: Why? MOTHER: [...]
Every day is a gift my mother would always say last December when we returned home from the Christmas tree lot with [...]
A coat check girl with deep pockets sits across from me. She’s excavating the night’s ticket stubs, dropping them on the [...]
Luxury The narrative is only conflict or complaint. I ask my friends, If a vagina had a facial expression, what [...]
I met Ray in the summer of 2014 while I was visiting my father in Greece. My father had moved there six months prior, [...]
I am telling a woman, in a dream, that she fell into my life through contingency. I am telling her that she [...]
My own mother wore the same handmade clothes until the day she never woke up. Try as I might, I am nowhere near the [...]
Months after using my camera, I developed a roll of film and found you on it. I thought of Sontag writing, “The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is increased by distance.” I felt obvious and became embarrassed.
After rereading it you feel a weakness that draws out of you like a low tide until there are only raised boats in the mud and incredible want. Why didn’t the character in the story predict that? What did she know that you don’t?
Even when he doesn’t look as good, he still can’t quite look bad. Right after he broke up with you, he bought you a drink.
He reached into his briefcase, pulled out an apple, wiped it on his shirt, and took a large chomp. He watched himself chew in the rear-view mirror. He ate the apple’s core too because he had nowhere to dispose of it and he didn’t want to chuck it out the window in case the client pulled in at exactly that moment.
If you think I see Sibley, if you think I see Ruze, if you think I see Gran or my mom or Ms. K – sorry, you lose. In Gran’s town, the streets don’t care if you are desperate or sad – the streets, like the dark houses, like the faraway sky, like the trees, do what they’re gonna do. They keep quiet. They keep calm – each intersection on auto-light: red, green, yellow. Stop, go, slow. Green, yellow, red, green. Go slow, stop, go back…or go home.
Under her keyboard was a faint eeee. Feeble warble weakly insistent like a dog shut outside. The eeee was deep in her laptop’s guts. Her brother Mark was on video chat, her famous and handsome brother, mouth-breathing due to his rhinoplasty and making tattoo suggestions. But she could hear it between his sentences, the eeee.
There’s nothing wrong with your life, other than the obvious things. The other girl is rich, though, the kind of rich with soft hands and chauffeurs. You meet her outside her mansion, a baseball cap tipped over your face to hide it.
I also occasionally fell into a coma. I would dream of Las Vegas past, when I was a kid, when I flew down with my grandparents and we could still go to the Sands and the Silver Slipper and the Stardust. They would spend six weeks in the desert every winter in a motel two blocks off the Strip with a pool and a large Yiddish clientele. My grandmother, a smoker not a swimmer, would sit out in the sun and trade two-fers with the other ladies from Cleveland and Cincinnati and Saskatchewan. My grandfather was interested in the sports book, the horses in particular. Once we heard on my grandfather’s pocket radio that someone had jacked the bank across the street with a shotgun. I was afraid, but to prove that we were safe my grandmother marched me over to Smiths and bought a six-pack of pepsi and she gave me a can and then drank a mickey of bourbon in the rest of it. Bank robbers never hurt little kids, she told me. Remember, this city is full of people who just want to have fun, they don’t want to hurt some little kid.
Within a few minutes a woman in a red sweatshirt came to collect Tammy. Anisha left soon after, and then, to my consternation, so did Daniel Park. By lunchtime half the class had gone home. At the time I had a strange fondness for carrots dipped in ketchup, and it was this I was enjoying when my father appeared in the doorway.
The grandmothers walk through the front door, two and three at a time, bonding over talk of the weather. They lower their umbrellas, brush raindrops from their shawls and smooth their sheen grey hair, propped up in helmets or draped over grandmotherly shoulders. Cats and dogs, they say. Absolutely cats and dogs.
They weren’t hippies, they were monkeys. I went downstairs to get a soda and they were attacking the vending machines. It was around two in the morning and the dorm was so quiet, like another place completely, an abandoned place full of emptiness and silence, not students and all their useless noise. So empty I probably could have walked downstairs in my underwear except that it was a little creepy all alone in those great big abandoned hallways. Like post-apocalyptic zombie movie creepy especially since it’s always the girl in her underwear who dies first. So I was wearing boxers, a sweatshirt, and socks when I walked in on them. There were glass and candy and chip bags everywhere, the colors and reflected light all piled up on the floor like pirate treasure the hippies were gathering in their hairy arms. At least five of them were monkeys and I’m not sure what kind. I’m not a monkey expert and it was hard to think around the gash in my foot and all that blood. I kept telling myself they had to be hippies because that made more sense than monkeys running around the dorm, but the hair and the eyes made it difficult to call them human. The fact that they didn’t say anything wasn’t such a problem, because it wasn’t unusual for people not to speak to me, especially in the middle of the night since I got Ricky busted for dealing (I really didn’t mean to, it’s my job. Well, not so much my job now as the job I want to have next year -- RA). The small, hairy hands and bodies were probably the most significant indication that I wasn’t dealing with my own species anymore, but I try to be open-minded about appearances. If they don’t want to shave, that’s their choice and their right, right?
First of all the name of the creature who follows me around: Agvagvat. Watching my mouth in the mirror call her, “Hey, Agvagvat,” I can’t stand it—Agvagvat isn’t an attractive word to say. When my mouth makes those guppy sounds I look very middle aged.
In Marko and Ana’s living room in Astoria hung a framed piece of Paška čipka—Pag lace—attached to a piece of creased cerulean paper. Last year when they were packing their bags to leave Croatia, Marko told Ana not to put it in her suitcase but she was hurried and stuffed everything in.
From THE IMPOSSIBLE FAIRY TALE, by Han Yujoo. Copyright © 2017 by Han Yujoo. English translation copyright © 2017 by Janet Hong. Reproduced with [...]
The first reason the Mistress chose you from all the rest when she discovered you abandoned like a seed lost in the rye was [...]
Born landlocked, the animal trainer had been plagued all his life by whale thoughts. It made no sense. He had never seen one, would [...]
Sheri shakes me awake. She’s half out of her sleeping bag, a flashlight pressed under her chin. It’s spreading shadows across her fleshy face. [...]
Two weeks ago, we packed our bags and left the civilized world. We moved into an Office Max. One with trouble maintaining full lighting. [...]
Her parents had moved to a retirement community with low humidity and warm sun. There was tennis and golf, indoor calisthenics and shuffleboard on [...]
Charlie breaks up with you over the phone but later you fly to Seattle and insist he do it in person. The initial conversation [...]
I. On the first day it rains, we smoke in Arif’s basement. The table between us looks like it should be caving under the [...]
Before anything else, he realizes he is a person. He has somehow reached this point in his success to consider the question of what [...]
Alex, suddenly cold and awkward in own his skin, clicked play on Jolene. Once Dolly was well into her desperate plea, he moved away [...]
From THE GRINGO CHAMPION, by Aura Xilonen. Copyright © 2015 Aura Xilonen Arroyo Oviedo. English translation copyright © 2016 by Europa Editions, translated by [...]
In the Retreat Club Diner, Bud Howard drank his second morning coffee while watching the morning news on a small television set secured in [...]
Excerpt from Jesse Ruddock's story collection Shot Blue, out February 20, 2017 from Coach House Books. Available for order now here. Her mother tried to show [...]
After dusk in Seattle, look for the moon. Sometimes it burns pale fire over the tree line, other times it hangs crookedly nailed to [...]
Listen, I know I said I'd go to meetings. I know I said I'd get a sponsor. But I'm busy. My work is [...]
There was once a man who had a love. And this love lived somewhere far away from his small corner of the world (a [...]
Sitting in the chair means the mouth of it swallows your ass. You don’t take to the chair, it takes to your body and [...]
Future Vision I take myself to a movie because I think I deserve it. I go to one of those big chain cinemas downtown, [...]
Gutting a pale fish with my father, the strongman. He turns it in his hands once, twice, plops it on the chopping block, belly [...]
. Excerpt from Edie Meidav's story collection Kingdom of the Young, out April 11, 2017 from Sarabande Books. Available for pre-order now here. Don’t worry, I [...]
They don’t do it small in India. Even a regular thundershower is mounted on the scale of a Hollywood disaster movie, shot on 70 [...]
Since Ray got sprung from Bellamy Creek Correctional, it’s been better and worse and the same. Delia, for better or worse. And the same [...]
The girl is dead. Is she a girl? She’s old enough for shimmer lipgloss, for a boyfriend. There she is in photographs, her brother’s [...]
Roland was a Marxist—probably the only Marxist in Lagos or even the whole country, he was sure. He believed that there was a “ruling [...]
Excerpt from Gabe Bump‘s forthcoming novel Get Down, Claude. July before I started 8th grade, Paul had this scare. A fuzzy blemish on an x-ray. [...]
At the Meet-Up event, most of the women wore sexy tribal costumes, but I dressed up as Pumba from the Lion King. The elastic [...]
It was April again, and the feet were getting ripe. They hung from our large tree’s lower branches, emitting a scent similar to an [...]
Moths died in daylight, nocturnal no longer. That summer. It was always one hundred and two degrees. The moths and their noon wing death. [...]
Lizzie sits in a room because everything is a room. Right now, the room is a field and the field is corn. The sun [...]
It is 6:56am PST, and I watch a car drive across a bridge. The passenger, who for this record I will call Child, presses [...]
Bound to the earth ten paces from the willow, Frankie calls to her mother. A dream of what she might have been appears solid, [...]
One day, when they were giving the dog a bath, he proposed. He swished his arm around in the tub and produced a ring [...]
We weren’t in a barbershop. He sat in a wooden slat-back chair on our mother’s kitchen floor and looked up at me. His face [...]
1. The neighbor had upwards of eighty succulents laced around the wood beams of his staircase. You saw him every day watering the plants, [...]
When I was a kid, you were an idiot if you wore shorts in this city. The only times I remember having them on [...]
I am Seth Rogen’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and I’m obsessed with the words “harlequin” and “inquiline.” The caryatid stops by our table one [...]
Early on in the summer, my mother, my father and I ran out of adjectives to describe exactly how hot we were feeling. Then [...]
Excerpt from Michelle Tea‘s novel Black Wave, released in September from Feminist Press. Michelle wasn’t sure when everyone started hanging out at the Albion. She had [...]
INAUGURAL COSMONAUTS AVENUE FICTION PRIZE WINNER After much thought, Pam and I decide to fix our faces. We save up until we can afford [...]
No one should ever speak to anyone else if they aren’t willing to risk total exposure. Alex had a nasty habit of twirling her [...]
We used to come here for driftwood. That was when Sidney first took me in, when I wasn’t sure yet whether or not he [...]
Pamir roared from the bottom of his stomach, clapped loudly, pounded his feet on the ground and screeched, “Keeeeeeek! Keeeeeeek!” But the crows lined [...]
Ben blows through a stop sign and I say You’re a goddamn jackass Ben. Two states from home and he’s already giving the cops [...]
There were no flowers near the house, no decorative plants. Just grass, cut short enough to kill it in some places and several trees. [...]
Excerpts from Meredith Alling's story collection Sing the Song, out November 18, 2016 from Future Tense Books. Available for pre-order now at futuretensebooks.com Symbiosis [...]
Charlie really wasn't stalking her. Really. It took daily talking-to-self to convince Charlie of that, but Charlie knew. This wasn't stalking. This wasn't the [...]
Do you know what is boring? Do you know what is really fucking boring? Watching your high school boyfriend practice with his hardcore band [...]
She planted a single seed in each of his ears while he slept, tweezing in the first, then waiting patiently for him to turn. [...]
Out where we’re from, anything unpredictable is female. Countries, weather, the sea. “She’s gonna be some hot,” Henry would say when we climbed aboard [...]
"A morbid streak runs through the whole of my family, but for you I could put it to rest." — Vampire Weekend Survive Low hums [...]
Reeking of pond scum and cedar smoke, the alien asks for divorce. He looks like Alexander, yes. Squat, bow-legged, with a low centre of [...]
When it’s hot, I think of Michelle. Usually, when she crosses my mind, I’m filled with a regret that makes my pores sizzle with [...]
When I wake up my eyes are crusted shut. When I wake up under a cotton candy sky my eyes are crusted shut. When [...]
The sound wakes me. A dull thud. I pop up in bed like one of those inflatable air dancers, the kind used to advertise [...]
When we came upon Number 15 the last time, he’d already been killed, having been shot fatally by local law enforcement in a Northwest [...]
She grips the handle of her suitcase hard, so hard her fingers begin to cramp. The wave of passengers buoys her toward Arrivals. A [...]
I woke up this morning thinking about David. I woke up this morning, next to Graham, my sleeping husband, thinking about David. I woke [...]
Marla was a polite woman. If a man wanted to sleep with her she never refused. With each new man, she adopted a cat—Fluffers [...]
These are the things that have changed about Toronto since I left it. There are about 239 new identical 25-floor condos, where young urban [...]