A hot summer wind blew through the half-opened window of Ronnie’s old battered Jeep Cherokee, whipping Sheila’s platinum blond hair across her pale blue eyes. She yanked a white ponytail holder from her wrist
by Ronald M. Gauthier His little sister slipped and spilled words bubbling with family secrets, and now he could get expelled from the Richard Wright Academy, a special charter school that had a coveted waiting list to get in. His usually tough young face
by Carol O'Dell The gas station door strains against my pull. Wafts of mildew and burnt coffee. Middle of nowhere. “Welcome,” a woman says without looking up from her paper. She’s perched on a stool, a wall of cigarettes behind her. Her bleach-blonde hair spun like fiberglass. Short shelves come into focus.
by Niles Reddick For Muddy, scenes she relived and imagined in her head were more of a reality than anything on the TV or around her now, but the third doorbell chime in the faux wood box next to the front door brought her back
by Susan Muensterman I tattled on my sister, Amanda, who was ten and a year older than me. I tattled on her for mooning the neighbor boy. Mom didn’t let us go over to the neighbors’ house after that; she didn’t let us play with Matthew and Molly
by Brad Koski John Adams called to say he’d be visiting my town soon. He’d be speaking nearby, at a convention in New Orleans, and he wanted to have dinner with me at some point. He said something that made me laugh. I don’t remember what had been funny, but there was an awkward silence afterwards, and then I remembered that I had stolen his laugh. It made him stop cold in his tracks - he never regained the thread of our conversation. John Adams was a rommate from college. He had been on the fast track since birth. I stole his laugh years after college, shortly after he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the youngest head coach to win the NCAA basketball championship. I didn’t feel bad about stealing his laugh. John lived 800 miles away, and I knew he’d probably never find out. Besides, I had rationalized, he’d probably stolen it from somebody as well. John called me the week before his arrival. He unveiled his plans regarding me: we’d meet for drinks Saturday, go to dinner, and visit some jazz clubs. The day before John arrived I woke earlier than normal. In a series of previous apartments, it never
by Barbara Donnelly Lane She met him at one of those small town barbeques: neighbors milling around the grill amidst thick smells of burnt hamburger and bug spray. He was hunched in a plastic chair like an old bird perched in its nest,
by Amanda Inman The room quivered like rising heat on asphalt. Mary gripped the edge of the counter, dropping the spoon she was using to stir green beans. Tiny black spots crowded her vision like a swarm of gnats and caused the trees outside her window to look like ghosts. She held on tighter, but her grip gave way and her hand hit the metal pot on the stove on her way to the floor. A searing pain gripped her hand and shot through her arm and she couldn't help but cry. She screamed behind closed lips. Needle-like pain pricked her arm, but she couldn't get up from the floor to run her hand under cold water. She saw her husband pushing himself toward her in his walker. His face wrinkled and his glasses intensified his wide eyes. “Honey, what happened?” he asked, coming to her side. “I’m all right,” she said as she tried to get up from the floor. “Just have a little burn is all.” She covered her burn with her other hand. “Let me see,” he said, trying to help her up. She took her left hand off and revealed the burn. Her skin was raised and red, and torn in
Dare taught me all the really important things: how to throw rocks, keep from flinching when playing chicken, walk in the woods without making noise, shoot a gun and maybe the most important, how to spy on people. He was the one who saved me from my stupid name.