Fiction and Drama

No One Fought Back Then

No One Fought Back Then

We had a different attitude back then. Decency, friendship, family. Now—fuck—everybody’s fallen into the money trap.

Back then you would say, it’s raining, the roof is leaking over here, and the union would send a couple boys over with a wheelbarrow and a bit of tarpaper or a tarp. Problem solved, and you can keep on living there. See if anyone gives a shit now. You could sleep on the streets for all they care. These days? The union? Fuck. Some fucking union it is these days. Now they’ve got the union name but no substance.

Ward’s Fool

Ward’s Fool

A memo on the ruins

By the time the twentieth century was yielding to the twenty-first, the worry had been replaced by one strangely analogous: Was a rational agent ever really free to choose a course of action that failed to maximize his economic self-interest? It was to politics that people generally went for an answer, in those years. The philosophers were, as I say, then preoccupied by the problem of the hypothetically powerful computer.

The Golden Age

The Golden Age

I know how to build and if it was lost it is not really lost, it is going back better, just fabulous.

These are almost all very small little bombs, and even the ones that are a little more serious, even those, ours are much, much bigger, so people can understand that we are in control of the situation, and we are going to have a very, very successful number of days.

Where's Your Boyfriend?

Where's Your Boyfriend?

“Oh, he died, I think.”

Tristan held on to the bench with both hands as they jerked into reverse and pulled away from the dock. Treble Island had come and gone. The boat hit the waves harder without the weight of the other passengers, and he felt each wave as a blow to the stomach. From his stomach a bad feeling rose into his chest and spread across the tops of his shoulders like big hands pressing him down. He was soaring and drowning, or he was crying, that was it.

Longviewers

Longviewers

The save-our-street strategy

At least we’re not learning about Helen Keller anymore. Sometimes I write invisible letters on Kira’s hand in Integrated Studies. T-H-I-S (flat palm) S-U-C-K-S. We’re not making fun of Helen Keller, just using her techniques to get by. We have our own handicaps. Boys who crack Helen Keller jokes ignore our collective lack of breast. They’re probably from Longview.

Calls

Calls

The healer is here

The water wasn’t too cold. I drained the cup and went over to the girl. Pulling the saltwater bucket toward me, I dipped and rinsed both hands before I arranged her head next to the man’s. How many times had he arranged them just this way, I thought, the head of a predator along its prey. Then I started on her with the loam. I went over each of her eyes before filling up her mouth. Then Wezile handed me a fresh blade, and I placed the disk on her chest. Her skin was soft, and it didn’t take much to peel a piece off.

Episode 23: Inherited Disorders

Episode 23: Inherited Disorders

“It started as a normal novel about fathers and sons, one of those, so I always knew I wanted to write about fathers and sons. And I thought I could do it in a realist way, tracking a father and a son through a relationship or whatever, and I was completely unable to do that. There were two or three years where essentially, everyday, I would start from scratch. I liked the starting out, I liked having a father and a son in some weird situation, and then I would sort of try to maneuver them in a realist way, and it would fall apart and collapse. After a couple of years of this and feeling crazy, probably under the influence of some other books that had somewhat similar forms, I realized I could just sort of take each of the beginnings and turn them into their own mini story and have the relationship kind of come out of the way the stories interacted with each other.”

After the Bomb

After the Bomb

"What happens when you grow old? Will your individualism save you?"

He began to wonder if there was something to Ayub’s notion that the pain was partly mental, seeing how it had jumped after the diagnosis from the doctor. At home, on his bed, enclosed by a life-size poster of Tendulkar on one side and of Michael Jackson on the other—old posters from the age of fourteen he had never taken down or replaced—he began to read the book Ayub had given him, The Religion of Pain.

The Outfield

The Outfield

The baseball wives know it’s best if you call ahead, tell the people that take care of things you are coming, give them a week to make things spick-and-span. They have services for this, not just for the baseball wives but for all the wealthy part-time residents of Scottsdale. Advance crews with Windex and Lysol and rubber gloves and an endless supply of garbage bags. Doesn’t matter how clean the wives left their homes when they were there last, they will be dirty, the autumn sandstorms, those funny-sounding haboobs getting grit everywhere, even under the lips of the rubber-sealed, triple-paned windows.

Ships of Stockholm

Ships of Stockholm

“It’s a lovely city,” the woman said.

He smelled the brackish water and the sharp sting of diesel coming at him in the wind off the bay. It was the first Tuesday in July, a week after his father died, and the city was crowded with tourists and locals off of work for summer vacation. The sun was out and the day was warm.

Two Stories

Two Stories

This was definitely not what Ken wanted.

The palm reader, when she arrived, moved in a way that suggested she was not in too much of a hurry to arrive in the future. She was like some piece of human clutter purchased to give the room more character. Ceramic roses were clipped to her earlobes and beneath her black crocheted dress her breasts strained to get away from each other. On her left hand was a diamond the size of a Brussels sprout. She was between 40 and 65 years old. I was the guest of honor and I got to go first. She led me away from the drinks and the stereo and the cheese to the corner under the skylight, and sat me on an egg-shaped orange chair. The palm reader sat herself on a low wooden bench, a Shaker pew that had been bought at auction.

NO YOLO

NO YOLO

New York Does Kaitlin

I’m sitting in my new friend’s room at her grandparents’ house overlooking Washington Square Park. She writes poems; I ask her why she’s feeling underappreciated. She takes a pill, and says, quite seriously, “You know there’s this feeling in New York that, like, I’m just going to be an insider secret.” I don’t think that, I say. “Yes! Yes, you do think that,” she says evenly. “You think I’m going to be a person that only people in the know know.”

“Sometimes I feel like an art handler,” Rachel says, of other people. “You know, a little to the left. Better.”

ECKEETA

ECKEETA

Now he saw that the dog wasn’t barking at the contractor at all, but at the sinkhole. It was like he was waiting for something to come up out of the ground. “Weird little guy you’ve got there,” the contractor said. “His name’s ECKEETA,” Edgar said. “We just got him yesterday.” The contractor stared at the dog while ECKEETA bared his teeth at the sinkhole, barking and barking and barking.

Calcium Commune

Calcium Commune

Harry the Tooth is a good five meters in front of the women. His heavy backpack drags his osteoporotic shoulders down almost to his knees. Big beads of sweat soak his worn cotton shirt, grinning out from which is the ecstatic face of long-dead pop monster Robbie Williams. “Prosciutto, Pomodoro Secchi, Ciabatta!” He groans at me, grinning and doing his name justice. At almost 81 years old Harry the Tooth still has a complete set of teeth, all his own, and as such is the sole resident of Calcium Commune, as we call the apartment the six of us share, who wasn’t named for a bodily flaw.

No One Fought Back Then

No One Fought Back Then

We had a different attitude back then. Decency, friendship, family. Now—fuck—everybody’s fallen into the money trap.

Back then you would say, it’s raining, the roof is leaking over here, and the union would send a couple boys over with a wheelbarrow and a bit of tarpaper or a tarp. Problem solved, and you can keep on living there. See if anyone gives a shit now. You could sleep on the streets for all they care. These days? The union? Fuck. Some fucking union it is these days. Now they’ve got the union name but no substance.

Ward’s Fool

Ward’s Fool

A memo on the ruins

By the time the twentieth century was yielding to the twenty-first, the worry had been replaced by one strangely analogous: Was a rational agent ever really free to choose a course of action that failed to maximize his economic self-interest? It was to politics that people generally went for an answer, in those years. The philosophers were, as I say, then preoccupied by the problem of the hypothetically powerful computer.

The Golden Age

The Golden Age

I know how to build and if it was lost it is not really lost, it is going back better, just fabulous.

These are almost all very small little bombs, and even the ones that are a little more serious, even those, ours are much, much bigger, so people can understand that we are in control of the situation, and we are going to have a very, very successful number of days.

Where's Your Boyfriend?

Where's Your Boyfriend?

“Oh, he died, I think.”

Tristan held on to the bench with both hands as they jerked into reverse and pulled away from the dock. Treble Island had come and gone. The boat hit the waves harder without the weight of the other passengers, and he felt each wave as a blow to the stomach. From his stomach a bad feeling rose into his chest and spread across the tops of his shoulders like big hands pressing him down. He was soaring and drowning, or he was crying, that was it.

Longviewers

Longviewers

The save-our-street strategy

At least we’re not learning about Helen Keller anymore. Sometimes I write invisible letters on Kira’s hand in Integrated Studies. T-H-I-S (flat palm) S-U-C-K-S. We’re not making fun of Helen Keller, just using her techniques to get by. We have our own handicaps. Boys who crack Helen Keller jokes ignore our collective lack of breast. They’re probably from Longview.

Calls

Calls

The healer is here

The water wasn’t too cold. I drained the cup and went over to the girl. Pulling the saltwater bucket toward me, I dipped and rinsed both hands before I arranged her head next to the man’s. How many times had he arranged them just this way, I thought, the head of a predator along its prey. Then I started on her with the loam. I went over each of her eyes before filling up her mouth. Then Wezile handed me a fresh blade, and I placed the disk on her chest. Her skin was soft, and it didn’t take much to peel a piece off.

Episode 23: Inherited Disorders

Episode 23: Inherited Disorders

“It started as a normal novel about fathers and sons, one of those, so I always knew I wanted to write about fathers and sons. And I thought I could do it in a realist way, tracking a father and a son through a relationship or whatever, and I was completely unable to do that. There were two or three years where essentially, everyday, I would start from scratch. I liked the starting out, I liked having a father and a son in some weird situation, and then I would sort of try to maneuver them in a realist way, and it would fall apart and collapse. After a couple of years of this and feeling crazy, probably under the influence of some other books that had somewhat similar forms, I realized I could just sort of take each of the beginnings and turn them into their own mini story and have the relationship kind of come out of the way the stories interacted with each other.”