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 Tom Honea
Even for a week night the crowd had not been good. None of them seemed to understand music. Warren did things with the guitar that he knew none of them had ever heard before. He played Jimmy Rogers railroad songs in a four–four beat, played it again in an eight–four beat.
by Dixon Hearne
“Where you headed, Miss Lizzie?” a familiar voice calls. “On ya’ way to town? Visitin’? Ain’t no need keepin’ it to ya’self.” Swish-swish-swish goes her straw bag, never breaking stride. Skeet Rouse is a no account heathen in Lizzie Fate’s estimation, an abomination lower than Judas himself. Not a day goes by she doesn’t say a quick-prayer to shield herself from him and all his kind. Folks off in the woods make potions and spells to throw on you if they wander into town, and Lizzie Fate doesn’t go near any of them. Especially Skeet Rouse.
Lizzie’s mama said when she herself was just a girl – back when boogers and haints were strong on them – she found herself lost one day out in the woods and halfway to Vicksburg with the sun getting ready to sleep. She wandered around all night long, chasing the moon and losing her mind. Come morning, when she stuck her face over the black bayou water to wash it, she was plumb white-headed in the reflection. Next thing she knew, a woman the color of swamp gum popped out of a tree hollow and cast the evil eye at her, and when she woke
by Frederick Charles Melancon
“And then, she cheeked me.”
“Cheeked you? What does that mean?” Gabe asked as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
Louis put the shovel down against the huge oak tree with ancient meandering branches as he thought. “Well,” he finally began, “We had a great night. We were outside her front door. She was smiling. I thought that now was the time for a first kiss, and when I went in for the kiss she turned her head. And I kissed her cheek instead of her lips. That has never happened to me before.”
Gabe shook his head knowingly. “One time I kissed a girl, and she slapped me.”
“So what did you do?”
“What do you mean what did I do? I didn’t kiss her again that was for sure. And I think you could use that advice.”
“But we had such a good time,” Louis protested.
“But did she kiss you back? No. So you need to move on.” Gabe all of a sudden pointed at the sign on the ground. “It is just like the story on that sign and the whole reason we are sweating our butts off out here moving this sign: to keep people from touching something
by Shome Dasgupta
Greg sat at a booth inside the Cottage – a poorly ventilated bar and coffee shop, where one puff of a cigarette can make your eyes water, your hair smell like ash, and your skin wrinkle. Nonetheless, it was one of the few places in Lafayette, where people can smoke inside an establishment.
He sat with his elbows resting on the table and his head between his hands. He looked at the glass ashtray, full of yellow cigarette butts. He looked up and saw Circus standing at the bar, in front of the video poker screen, unbuckling his belt and unzipping his pants.
“No, Circus,” Greg said. “Don’t.”
He didn’t hear Greg and started to pull down the front of his boxers. Greg shouted his name and walked towards him, putting his hand on Circus’ shoulder, who was, at 6 feet, a few inches taller than Greg. They were both slim guys, but Circus had a bit more muscle than Greg. Circus was one of those guys who could eat plate after plate of foods full of fat and never gain a pound. Greg had gained some pounds since his freshman year of college and just recently was able to