Young Trace Gregson, thin and curly at eleven and generally happy-faced, cringed whenever he saw Dirty Molly Sadow. If there was such a thing as a bad witch about in the world, she was it. People said her toes were black with earth rich as The Hollow
by Jennifer Riley
Oaks towered over Tucker Body Shop, the only body shop on U.S.Highway 99 in Tuckerville, North Carolina. In 1952, acorns covered the asphalt welcome mat spread in a remote corner of Fletcher County. Most drive-ins, diners, and body shops used gravel, but the body shop provided the first smooth asphalt finish in
by Doug Hoekstra
Our children sit three rows in front of us, watching tornados blow across the ceiling of the planetarium in high definition. “Forces of nature” is the name of the show. Next to me, she dozes off. I gently brush the hair from
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 Julie Respress
I’ve heard it said that sometimes your closest friend can be your greatest enemy. I had no idea how close to home this was until a recent series of events taught me that sometimes the only person you can trust is
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