Patrick was a roguish lad, alone in the world but for his mother. Come winter, he fueled their fire with palings stolen from their neighbor’s fences. The drunkard, Beavis, almost caught him last week, but Patrick was undeterred. He tore loose another paling and saw through the gap Beavis pounding his wife with gnarly fists. Patrick remembered then: another angry man, another frightened woman. He landed that paling not in his mother’s hearth but to Beavis’ head. As he helped the battered lady to her feet, he fancied he’d meted out justice and thought he’d like to see his father again.
They found the nine-year-old little girl’s body wrapped in cellophane, tucked into a back passage of her favorite seafood restaurant. She was wrapped tighter than the stiff lipped tilapia they used to cultivate their fresh fish special. Her father, a lumber mill worker, saw her lying there disposed of like shameful debris, arranged in a position where one could see the murky outline of finger marks on her gray tinted neck. The day she was born her half-drawn moon eyes drank in his face. The day she died those same eyes, calm and quiet, made him question everything about the world.
— Nashae Jones
Look…y — you don’t have to do this. I could — I could pay.
I have no interest in money.
A car? I could get you a real nice car.
Nicer than the one you arrived in?
A woman? I’ll get you one. Any kind you want.
I have the only *kind* I want. Arlea’s the reason you’re here.
Arlea? From the clinic? But she’s —
She says you’ve already exposed your wife.
I’ll stay away from her! Please…
And the others?
I’ll quit! All of it. You don’t —
You’re lying. And it’s too late now. You might want to bite down on this…
The boat left the dock at seven thirty and by seven forty-five they were in deep water. The ocean shelf dropped off like a poem; it was two miles to the bottom. Schools of fish were stacked like cars in a Japanese car park. She went in first and he followed. I am the only shark in the ocean. Then the sudden impact of bone-flesh against his leg. His wife stopped dead, her shoulders came out of the water. Dolphins, he thought, diving deeper. She was panting with laughter when the vertigo spooked him and he drowned without a parting wave.
— Julian Hanna
Dan was gay. Females only served as listeners or shopping companions. He hated being the wingman. His monosyllabic friend since childhood was a hopeless hetero and had been single since forever.
So the plan was for Dan to reel the girls in, his mate to show off half-reasonable dance moves and all of them to drink up. It’s often assumed someone who has the moves on the dance floor will have the moves in bed.
But alcohol rendered them all incoherent and broke. So the girls didn’t get paid or ply their trade that night. And his friend went home alone.
— Catherine Ewan
When you arrive, do keep in mind that I’ve just had the surgery and I’m still a bit loopy from the pain medications, but not such bad company if you can get past the smell. You might wish to bring along a handkerchief, perhaps spray it liberally with some nice cologne.
The procedure was rather an ordeal, I’m afraid, requiring umpteen hours and entire teams of surgeons. All rather experimental, but they’ve done such a marvelous job.
I should be right as rain in only a matter of weeks!
I’m so looking forward to finally being comfortable in my own skin.
— Vela Damon