When Peter Left the House

Peter left the house as I was slipping a screwdriver into the flaked hinge of an oyster, bracing myself against the corner between the stove and the wall. He yelled goodbye as the screen door slammed shut.

Salinger Kids

Do you think Wes Anderson has kids? The guy is asking this other guy sitting across the room. He's not asking you. He has hardly acknowledged your existence, even though you've been sitting next to him since the beginning of the party. Well, maybe that's not true. It can't be true. He must have at least nodded hello when you sat down.

How to Date

Did you know that in some versions of Sleeping Beauty he rapes her awake? My date tells me this as if trying to truly understand me and spark some sort of interesting conversation on the nature of messed up fairy tale endings and the ways they may play out in contemporary expectations regarding romance, princes, and sleep. 

A Floater

A couple of guys at the home said she lured them to the cornfields at the edge of town spitting sugary promises between her few good teeth and sneaking peeks at their pleated bulges. Those same fogies would come back panting in the night, leaning hard on their walkers and crying wolf something about that witch bringing a rusty Fiestaware blade to their shriveled okra. I ain’t scared.

The Holes in the Backyard Are Not Where We Bury Our Dead Animals

There was no green life inside of me, no bud pushing upward from my belly into words that made sentences, no reply to shout to my mother who was calling me from the kitchen, no flowers to paint over the empty wall of day, no question to ask. The birds would lend me nothing. They hoarded their song inside of them, hanging mutely in the trees outside my window, their voices growing heavy in their plump, little bodies.

The Inventors

Finally we got the jetpack. “What took so long?” we shouted. “You senseless dolts! Is this the future or not?” We’d been shouting disparagingly at the inventors for years, long enough that it now came reflexively to us.

The Lights

I see those lights, those bright fluorescents and a feeling burns in my chest. It fills me up, a total euphoria that is paired with a hungry longing. Taco Bell, McDonald's, GameStop, JC Penney, Gino’s Family Dining, Target, Walmart, Kmart. They come galloping out of the horizon like cowboys of old, delivering me that rush, that sense of fulfillment.

The Dream Work

The obstetrician is a lesbian too, or at least you think she is.“You’re almost forty,” she says while she examines the paperwork you filled out in the waiting room. “Have you been trying to get pregnant?” Tell her that your husband is a lady and that you’ve been trying a lot, with no luck.

Taylor Swift and the Wormhole

I made a small shrine to Olivia, who I ate after three months. To her credit, that was far later than the group who were in the recording studio with me. I killed them immediately. Some of their meat, preserved, is still left. Maybe enough for another seven or eight months.

Arlene

Arlene was only a year older and thought everything was out of date. She cut up pillowcases and sewed them into dresses. She said, Hurry up, and I followed. Sixteen and seventeen: We knew the bartender’s favorite song on the jukebox: “World on a String.” Home was a block away from the bar. She worked at Erotic Cabaret, where pretty girls sold lingerie. We talked on curbs while taking sips of joints. We played pool wearing garters under our jeans. 

The Accumulation

She dipped her pinky into the silken gray dust and examined it. She once read that domestic dust contained billions of human skin cells, pollen, dust mites, and mite feces. After ten years, the weight of a mattress doubled due to the accumulation of these things. The fact that people could live so obliviously amazed her—little pieces of themselves falling off and floating away, or being trapped in beds indefinitely.

Girlies

In this episode, the models' challenge is to stay photogenic while spiders crawl all over them, creeping on their flat stomachs and toeing their belly buttons and climbing their breasts and making homes in the little shells of their ears. It's the tall girl's turn.

The Migrating Words

Every year, we watched the words leave. Lana stood on the roof edge. I leaned against the chimney; the bricks were like tree scratch. We didn’t have much talking left. She said something and pointed to a bit of sky I couldn’t see. I inched closer, my feet wobbling on the roof tiles. She gripped my arm. I gazed over the town. We saw the words rise. 

The Weight of You

Death by a thousand cuts, the headlines read. Seventeen slashes with a paring knife. Your wife tried to carve the truth from you. But I’m the guilty one. I’m the one that dreamed of all the ways to lose you so that you could never find me.

Clip

They did not tell me her name. She was my aunt, born in what my parent’s generation of Jamaicans called the Country. She didn't cry much at six months. But I knew what she looked like. I knew because my father's family was a deep brown. Theirs was the type of complexion that held fast to its hue even in New York’s winters. She had black hair that curled on the top and lay slick below the bend of her cranium. She had almond-shaped eyes—the pupils dark enough to shine black in the night. Her feet were smaller than baby-small and her cheeks were round. And under no circumstances did they speak her name.

Taiping Bright and Clear

“Maybe we should stop,” I said, not wanting to meander further down unfamiliar little mud roads. But my mother misunderstood. Her lips clamped, and her butt shifted on the driver’s seat. The car moved on. Pebbles sent flying by rubber wheels hit the underside of the old Proton Saga and clanked gratingly.

George Clooney, Do You Miss Augusta?

It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that George Clooney and I could meet. We’re both Kentuckians. He went to Northern Kentucky University for a while, which is where almost everyone I went to high school with ended up. It’s where I went to take the SAT. George Clooney and I have both stood at the center of that campus and felt like we were trapped inside a concrete fortress made by people with cold and barren souls.

Rag

There was a moment when he could have taken me out of her throat, or at least not stuffed me in so far, but he needed to cross the line. I helped him, I admit. He left me inside her; that is where they found me, distending that narrow passage. Covered in her cells and his.

Benevolence

The middle finger went first, straight through her skin. It wriggled out the back of her neck. Soon, the others followed, emerging one by one, flipping away strands of her hair. The whole hand crawled from the back of her neck. She gagged on the wrist as it slid out of her skin, the fingers drawing closer to the buttons. They snatched the top eye and pulled the first button through.