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“There are worse things that can happen to you in life than getting divorced.” My mother pushes a box of tissues across the kitchen table, waits as I destroy four with devastating blows engineered to take out my frustrated tears, and then leans back in her chair to deliver her state of the potential dissolution of the union address. I can’t help but be reminded of another day she’d found me crying. She walked up quietly, leaned in, and whispered, “You do know you don’t have to go through with this, don’t you?” On that day, I thought about how... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2010 at Polite Fictions
There was a moment when his fingers snaked around her wrist that she considered yelling out her safe word. Motown Philly. The walls of her apartment were as thin as her mother had been trying to make her for years ("This half of a half a sandwich has made me so full! Why, I'll likely be satisfied until breakfast tomorrow!" she'd often say, serving up a side of guilt the girl would enjoy while downing her own 12" sub). Surely someone would hear a girl laying down some alarming new jack swing from apartment 312, right? When they did, one... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2010 at Polite Fictions
He said he was a cowboy and she laughed. Loudly and for several minutes until she realized she was the only one in on the nonexistent joke. Didn’t boys usually outgrow this phase? Her hips hit the compass points as she spun a quick circle around the bar and took in the collection of preppy boys and girls in Greek letters. “Looks like you’re the Lone Ranger here,” she said when she returned north. “Yes ma'am” he said. She thought she might start laughing again. What the hell. She’d watched enough westerns growing up to not help but find herself... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2010 at Polite Fictions
"You know, I read somewhere that it’s good luck to have it rain during your funeral,” said the grandfather as he stood with the girl under the awning erected over the grandmother's grave. The flimsy tarp, sagging at the corners like the old man's ill-fitting suit, maintained a steady beat as Mother Nature and her band transitioned into one of those long and ultimately pretentious solos while the parched summer ground beneath the pair humored the players with quiet applause by soaking up the sound. The girl, still too young to know much, yet old enough to know a few... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2010 at Polite Fictions
He rolled over and listened to the floor show taking place on the other side of the wall. The players- one resigned, the other raised - and their fine-tuned routine were respectable, but he could imagine how it might quickly grow old. Oh, this was a long-running show, of that he was sure, but sooner or later, one of the players was going to want top billing and the other would be a footnote in the archives. "Don't you know you fool, you never can win..." The classics. Don't let my surroundings fool you, he thought, burrowing in a bit... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2009 at Polite Fictions
For a transient moment, Slick believed he must be dead. The thought of embracing his eternal release snaked its way from his brain, warm and oddly welcoming. Please to join us? May we add another hatch mark on the body count tally? Slick thought, striking a flame that set fire anew to his neurons. The space was dark, but Slick still shuttered his eyes and allowed the thought of dying to drift down the length of his spine and course warmly through the fibers of his tired muscles before landing in his gut. Once there, he felt it spread out... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2009 at Polite Fictions
He didn't want to cry. Squeezing his eyes shut, Slick pushed aside the memory of his mother and her sweet dreams and waited for the fortune cookie wisdom of his father to emerge. "Tears are for pussies," he'd say every time Slick's tear ducts betrayed him. "And I ain't talkin' 'bout no goddamn kitty cats, you understand?" Of course he didn't understand. "He's only 8, for heaven's sake!" his mother would sigh, adding a number every year until Slick was 12 and actually started to grasp the difference. It would be another four before he clumsily grasped it for good.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2009 at Polite Fictions