Hopeful Old Man McFall by Chad Patton

Hopeful Old Man McFall by Chad Patton

I don’t remember Old Man McFall that good anymore, but I remember how he used to smoke his cigar—the one he’d never be caught dead without—on the porch, in the summertime where the townspeople used to walk by with their children and their dogs. He’d put the flaming stub in front of his face and pinch it with his lips, right at their pucker, and give a concentrated look as if he were blowing up a balloon. And sometimes, from the way the wrinkles formed around his face, it looked as if he were puffing his cheeks out, making a mockery of anyone unlucky to meet his eyes and see his face. I’m not as old now as he was in my youth, but my mind’s telling me that he had a stuffed creature he kept perched on his lap. It was an odd creature, something no man in his right mind would ever get stuffed, let alone keep perched ...Read More
Sitting Room by Chad Patton

Sitting Room by Chad Patton

Oversized Arm Chair It felt like I was in a darkroom, sitting in an armchair that was somehow too big for me, maybe from a lack of foresight or a narcissistic idea that I didn’t need to “try on” an armchair. Nonetheless, it was too big for me, or at least it felt that way, and the room was black with a solitary light shining overhead, and all I could do was sip my tequila, because tequila turned me mean. But, being that I was alone, I wasn’t mean, but instead angry, seeing as there was nobody to whom I could be mean. And I wanted to feel angry. It was my right to feel angry. So I waited in anger with the television turned off and the phone by my side, and maybe, just maybe, if I had a dog I would have been petting it. But I didn’t have a dog, and a good thing too, because I ...Read More
Internal Injuries by Marian Brooks

Internal Injuries by Marian Brooks

I hold your head in my hands, gently. Your face softens and I kiss you, just once. But it is enough. You turn away and I know. I want to bash your head against the wall until your brains spill all over the white carpet. I want to scream in your face about how you’ve ruined everything. I want to scream until my throat is raw. My journal falls to the floor, just out of reach as if the words themselves want to hide. I hear you slamming drawers and stuffing clothes into your suitcase. You go, leaving me with a cool draft from the future.
Iron Crosses by Marian Brooks

Iron Crosses by Marian Brooks

Carl and Joyce Walker could not imagine how they’d managed to create and cultivate a 24-year-old skinhead. Both were accomplished people in their own way. Curt taught math at Northeast high school in Philadelphia. He was a local chess champion. Joyce sang solo in the choir at church and collected spinning wheels. She took pride in preparing nutritious meals for her family. There were plenty of vegetables to go around. The Walkers’ political leanings were slightly to the left—conservative, in a liberal sort of way that was hard to explain. They lived in the western suburbs. The couple had three sons. David, thirteen, enjoyed spiking his hair and wearing peculiar outfits that looked mostly like Halloween costumes. He was an average student and had recently discovered girls. Steve, twenty, was finishing his last year at community college. He was engaged to a lovely girl, Jill, who was planning to attend veterinary school. Steve had met all of his developmental milestones ...Read More
Desire by W.F. Lantry

Desire by W.F. Lantry

  I’m not a good driver of horses. A black horse, a white horse, a chariot? No. The Greeks got it all wrong. I don’t want to pick between the two. I want to be one with both. Or rather, I want to feel myself feeling the experience of desire. Take strawberries. It’s not that I want to consume them, to enjoy the momentary taste. I love wanting them, I love the moment when I’m reaching out to take one in my hand, knowing its ripeness can be mine. Miranda says it’s a mistake to wish for specifics. I shouldn’t ask for strawberries, I should just pray for something to happen. Besides, I’m always asking for the wrong thing: horses or berries or jewel-tone skirts. Sometimes I wish everything golden: the trees outside, the voices of the birds, even the curve of her shoulder. There’s a certain stage of moonlight that seems gold in November. Miranda arrived at late morning. ...Read More
Reason for Being by W.F. Lantry

Reason for Being by W.F. Lantry

It wasn’t Mexico, the coast of France. I was meeting a girl, somewhere near Beaulieu. I had an address in my pocket for some bar. The train from Nice was empty. Three pm. Out the window, limestone dust coated every blossom. We didn’t go near the Chagall Museum. She’d told me on the phone she liked the place, but it’s a long walk from the station, and besides, I was going to her, not the other way around. I counted the stations along the way: Villefrance, Cap Ferrat. You’ve seen them in movies without realizing it. To Catch a Thief, Casino Royale. The whole place is like a myth, but with traffic. Next stop, Beaulieu. I descended from the train. There’s nothing there except the cliffside to the north, and the midland sea to the south. Oh, there’s a goat path up to Èze, and you could go up the steps to the Corniche, but other than that, just the ...Read More