Category Archives: Fiction

The Next Best Thing

Brent’s last roommate left behind a case of Tanqueray, so Cate googles “what to drink with gin” because she’s tired of juice and hates the taste of tonic.

“They used to use quinine for abortions,” she says, reading the internet.
“That’s interesting,” Brent says.
After a while she suggests they just shoot it. “To hell with it,” she says and demonstrates her disgust by holding her nose and tossing her head back as she swallows the liquor and lets it burn down her throat.

Continue reading The Next Best Thing

Note to My Seventh Grade Self

As you drive to Rose’s house, the water-bottle filled with vodka cold against your calf, you will think these moments are your entire world. As you drive, don’t think about how free you feel when you’re drunk; make a list of other things that matter. You’re going into this believing that these giggly firsts can last forever, and, worse, you want them to.

You reach the house and hop out of your mom’s car. She is telling you not to stay up too late, not even thinking about what could be in your red canvas bag. You wave goodbye and skip up the three porch steps, because you’re still a little girl—even if you don’t think so. Rose opens the door, Kay standing just behind her. Continue reading Note to My Seventh Grade Self

Hold It Like a Butterfly

When I was nine years old, I received a love letter from the son of the man that came to build our deck. While I no longer have the letter, I still hold on to the memories from those few days.

* * *

The deck wasn’t very large, but it was a big deal at the time. We’d lived in that red brick house for years and my parents hadn’t done anything to it, not even paint. The walls were still builder’s white. Dad used to say that the house belonged to the Royal Bank of Canada. Continue reading Hold It Like a Butterfly

No Sugar Tonight

(1970)

The Seeburg movie jukebox was delivered to the Venice Café in Kent, Ohio in the fall of 1969. It was the first of its kind, an innovation that was as much of a draw to the bar’s college crowd as the genuine Italian pizza. When Alex and his bandmates went there to grab late night meals on the weekends or discuss plans for their shows, they inevitably ended up standing shoulder to shoulder around the jukebox, popping in quarters.

The way it worked was this: you chose your song, then watched the small TV screen in the center of the jukebox, waiting for the machine to select a filmstrip to go with it. There were four movies total, in grainy black and white, and all of them involved girls dancing in different locales—a Go Go dancer doing the Monkey on a brightly lit stage, a bikini blonde digging her heels into the sand, a pale woman skipping through a wheat field in a nightgown-like dress. Continue reading No Sugar Tonight

Cold Feet

My feet are so cold.

I am stuck in this hospital bed, enduring the dull interval between what they call “lunch” and what they call “dinner”. Around here, meals are more of a way to keep time than a culinary experience—especially when your diet is so limited. I’d say it’s about four in the afternoon.

Through the fifth-floor window, I’ve been watching heavy equipment operators working the cranes, swinging around twenty-foot lengths of steel I-beam, building the skeleton of the new wing of the hospital. The sun is low in the sky. Almost quitting time. Continue reading Cold Feet