Black as night and cold as daylight after an acid trip. This is what it felt like walking down the street after a hard night drinking. I was thinking about my cubicle, post-it-notes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and my broken stapler – when it hit me. A car, not a life changing epiphany or sudden moment of lucid awareness that my life meant nothing. No, the opportunity to kill myself once I realized that, was suddenly taken from me when a car hit me in the dead of night. Now I can’t even lift a knife to slit my throat.
Phantoms of light dance across my lids in a tangerine dream, but they flee when the golden morning pries its way into my eyes. I take a deep breath. I smell the remnants of your presence lingering in the air: bacon, coffee, herbal shampoo. The house is quiet except for settling noises, the hum of the refrigerator, the clock ticking, and the wind brushing against the window. It is all quiet. I roll to your side of the bed, wrapping the sheet around me like a caterpillar spinning a cocoon. Your pillow smells like you. I bury my face in it.
By J.L. Riddle
Everything I have worked for I have lost. How can I work more than forty hours a week and still have my home taken from me? Two years back sub prime meant nothing to me; now I wish I never heard them. I feel sick in my stomach when I think of the kids. The bank still sits all splendid down on 9th St.
I’ve got a gun. Maybe I’ll go and find a convenience store and get me some cash. Maybe I’ll make and end of the kids and me. Maybe I’ll throw it in the river. God help me.
By Peter Hitchmough
We were the most innovative pair of pubescent hooligans east of the Mississippi. It was your idea to tie an oversized stuffed teddy bear to a giant makeshift crucifix in the back yard just to see the neighbor’s reaction.
The bear, with its head lolling to one side and its tongue sticking from its mouth, sat out in the rain for three days before anyone noticed. Then we were simply asked to take it down. It was very anticlimactic. We were disappointed so we set the entire creation on fire. I don’t think that’s what they meant by “take it down”.
By J. L. Riddle
I live in a building on the corner of Piedras shaded by a large tree, the muchachos gather beneath it to practice their lines. Their whistling, along with the hum of traffic and stifle of heat, are just a part of the air here.
There are three doormen, only one of whom I ever understand. Short, stout, middle aged they sit in plastic white chairs in the lobby listening to the radio, or stand outside leaning against the brick wall, smoking lazily waiting for the heat to subside they mark my coming and goings. Sometimes they open the elevator for me.
“I waltzed into town, a whirlwind of artifacts and petty insects, the wind of the plains grasping my straw hair. My boots clacked out the rhythm to a song even the Gods couldn’t comprehend. It was the five eternal children who came to greet me, to bear witness to the Known Wanderer. The nameless, faded tumbleweeds that were their parents hung back with eyes as empty as the desert, pleading for me not to look upon them.
The children reached out, winding my gears, and their own cogs ground. The world turned more slowly. I smiled my smile and moved on.”
– Jack Homer
Georgia always did first. She never asked; she just did. There was never any doubt about whether I would follow. Whatever it was, I would follow. Thank God she was somewhat rational. But she was also the hero. And she was only five-foot-six.
Except today. Today, she didn’t go running.
Two men, one with a gun and the other with a knife, were robbing a college-aged male. I think Georgia realized we wouldn’t win this fight. So did I. But the college student wasn’t going to win it, either.
So I went running. For the first and last time, Georgia followed.