“But this shift was winding down. I’d spent the last bit of it sitting with the patients who hadn’t had any visitors, watching reruns of The Price is Right and betting on the over or under. Lance Corporal William Philips won a new car and my Caribbean cruise vacation in the Showcase Showdown, which made him happy because an ambush in the Anbar Province had taken his sight, so he didn’t drive anymore. I fluffed his pillows during the commercial break and folded his fingers around a chocolate truffle because I remembered when I was a kid how excited I was when someone paid me a bit of special attention just because. The truffle was wrapped in fancy foil with a famous quote printed on the inside. When we were little, my sister had a desktop calendar with a fresh aphorism printed on each page of the year. Lying shoulder to shoulder on our stomachs with our bare feet dangling off the edge of her twin bed, we’d look for meaning in the convoluted words. We’d look for significance in anything, we wishers upon eyelashes.” “Room 308,”–The Laurel Review
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Dad seldom gets tangled in tightropes of sentences. I give him my big
eyes and wait.
He goes into lecture mode to recover himself. “Biological factors involved in sexual arousal and response are crucial to understanding the intricacies and positive aspects of sexual experience.”
From entertaining to mind-numbing in a nanosecond. I have to interrupt. “Is this your birds and the bees talk? It’s okay. I know all about the positive aspects of sex. I’ve been enjoying them for years.”
He takes a long moment. “That’s not funny.”
“It’s a little funny.”
He says nothing. He looks as though I’ve just shot his dog.
“Dad, I hear you smiling.”
“I would appreciate your practicing abstinence, but I’m a realistic man.
I do, however, expect you to be smart and safe in your choices. You know
you can come to me with any questions or fears.”
If he were someone else’s father, I would ask him for hand job tips just
to mess with him.”–“Family Matter” – The Massachusetts Review
“Shut up, you fat kid,” the US soldier yells as he takes a crying Hamza into another part of the house to be interrogated. Again, the soldier asks him what he knows about the bomb that was planted on a street one hundred meters from Hamza’s house in Heet, northwest of Ramadi. Hamza thinks this is the moment to be brave. “If you want info, come get it yourself.” Smothering a smile, the translator turns Hamza’s words into something else. The US officer threatens him with prison if he doesn’t tell. “If you do that,” Hamza reasons, “you will be the terrorist.” —“The Monster by the River” – The Matador Review
“Moxie settles herself by my feet. She looks at me with these wide-open eyes. There’s a lump pushing up my throat, and I am tempted to kick her. Her blind trust fucking pisses me off. Grabbing my drink, I open the kitchen window to sit on the fire escape. The night hushes.” —Moxie (excerpt) – The Other Stories Podcast
“The delivery boy stares at me as if I were a car crash. ‘It’s from that table outside.’ He points at a cock-fuck sampling of post-college frat boys raising their beer mugs to me. They look like they’ve been vended by Mattel for eight bucks a pop.” — Moxie (excerpt) – Hypertext
“The quality of the exchanges has become frankly personal. When I asked a non-participatory student why he wasn’t answering the live video call, he said plainly, “Miss, I don’t have any clothes on.” –“Ode to WhatsApp” – Medium’s The Startup
“Don’t you want to come home?” He seems genuinely puzzled. Dad is a social studies urban legend come to life. He came to the United States in 1947, a World War Two refugee from Berlin, without education or language, and by sheer hard work, learned English at night school while working as a plumbers apprentice, earned a business degree from Northwestern University and made a comfortable, middle-class living for himself. Does he look at me and see disappointment?” –“As the Income Gap Grows, Fewer Women Can Afford to Retire” – BUST.com
“A bead of glistening sweat teases his belly button rim. I imagine lapping that bead with my tongue, like rescuing tequila salt from a shot glass. “ —“Feast Day” – The Molotov Cocktail
“You start to prosper from your crop of “green gold,” which is noticed. Men with big weapons, the kind the US military uses, watch you farm your fields, watch your son play soccer, watch your daughter, almost as tall as her mother, help your wife hang laundry. They watch; you wait, knowing it’s only a matter of time.”–“Los Desplazados: The Other Migrants” – Preemptivelove.org