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They pile up, inexorably: There's that woman, riding the Teacup alone at the county fair, when your parents finally trusted you. All your friends' parents let them go unescorted. You promised not to eat too many corn dogs or...
For as long as time had a name, wind scraped a high plain down to its translucent skin. For nearly as long, a cottage on the haunch of the land sheltered a man who kept sheep. Wendell was known...
And there came to that town a man who was set upon by boredom, and fatigue, and ill-humor, such that his heart ached and his mind pushed toward expiration. And as he lay gasping among his companions, the priest...
We are surrounded by curtains. — René Magritte, 1929 I. They had just returned from Paris, where things did not go well. There was the spider, yes, but the end came at a party when the host confronted Magritte’s wife about...
When people ask where we live, people in town here I mean, and I say the big white house on the corner of Stiles Road and Route 104, they still say, "Oh, the Heaton place." And I just look...
Matthew was born a picky eater. His mother had blamed herself when he wouldn’t latch onto her breast, assuming the reason for his lack of appetite was due to the anesthesia she requested during a long and painful labor....
Her mother was humming in the kitchen. On her street, boys kicked a ball to each other, their shouts mixed with the sounds of her father and her neighbor's chatter. “Ah, here she is,” William said, when he turned to...

Downsizing

I take a sip of instant coffee from a paper cup, look up, and scan the clearstory, the seven rectangular windows that run the length of the great room just below the eighteen-foot ceiling. In a perfect world I’d...

Playing Chicken

I am a home health nurse for Williamsburg County. My present occupation has not caused me to be shot at, molested, or otherwise screwed with because I am six feet, four inches tall and weigh two hundred and sixty-five...
FALSE STARTS Writing this year was all False Starts and Premature Finishes. I could not find a character to tell a story. I could not find the story. Forget setting. Well, maybe not. So, I resort to the age-old plot:...
The real estate agent texted me to say the sofa wouldn’t fit through the front door, so the clean-out crew just left it. One of its legs gouged the doorframe, then gave one of the auction guys a splinter...
Phinn took a sip of rye. He wasn’t inclined toward hard spirits but he hoped it would quiet his thoughts, blunt his worries. He wanted to go out but the snow would make it difficult, if not impossible. Still,...
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