All tagged Fiction

The Water Goblin

The girl's hair is getting long. Braid it like a pretzel, tight so it doesn’t break apart during the day. Name her Abigail, a hardworking name for girls who like hedgehogs and pretending not to understand Czech. 

Instructions for an Origami Infant

Depending on your age, you may have been born traditional or you may be the product of the first “paper babies.” If you are the latter, congratulations on carrying on the storied tradition and art of origami infants. If you are the former, congratulations on defying your parents and blazing a new and exciting path that no longer limits the biologically challenged to a life of sterilization or barren wombs. 

All Natural and Safe

Before they “met” (i.e., “pinged” each other on the forum, leading to the exchange of off-thread “private messages” and eventually a virtual consummation of real names and email addresses) and fell in love (via Gchat, on July 9, 2:36 a.m., when he typed his first “<3” and she responded with “ditto” and the kissy-faced emoticon “:-*”) both had resigned to lives of quiet, gadget-filled despair.

Tractor Beam

I wanted you to save me from the tractor beam, and I hated that I wanted it. You stupid hipster boy who looks like a pine tree had sex with an Urban Outfitters. 

Repeat After Me

The confidence of effective emergency medical response comes with repetition and practice. When you first encounter this advice, you are 23, still young enough to believe everything you read. You tab your EMT manual for easy reference. You cling to it like an infant.

This Is What It's Like to Die

The air turned quick. You might think it’s stupid to ride a hog in the pitch black night air of the mountains, and you’re probably right, but we don’t ride because that’s the easy way. You can smell it before it comes: ozone, crisp and clean.

Going Last

I can just make out the park at the end of the street where I met him, at a barbecue. It’s one of those body language memories—never learned English. All I get is this: The sinking of the sun into my skin, my first introduction to the easy settle of East Coast heat. Hot dog juice dribbling down my chin, a trail of shame tickling up my spine, wondering if anyone saw. A slow empowerment spreading up my shoulders, straightening my neck with every younger kid I meet.

Method of Exhaustion

On Pi Day, Mr. Porter brings pumpkin pie. Andrew brings Ding Dongs, Marcello brings whipped cream, and the twins, Hannah and Greta, bring spice cake. Oliver Banks was supposed to bring cupcakes but he came late and he brought a gun.

Biologists Study Grace

The biologists grow bored with the wild and want to study the angelic. The astronomers won’t trade their telescopes for microscopes, but the anthropologists are bored too, bored with Grace’s lunchbox and the way she doesn’t react to the dolls they throw into her room while she studies. They are happy to give up Grace if it means they can cancel their subscriptions to Tiger Beat, and so the biologists trade them gorillas who were growing suspicious anyway.

The Knight

He unscrewed his car’s radio aerial from the front fender and took it up as if it were a sword. He lunged forward with the blade outstretched as if thrusting at an opponent. Ducking an imagined swipe—sprightly for an old man—he sidestepped and withdrew.