All tagged on the job

Pastoral

The smell of the powder they release in a pouf on our faces starts the alchemy, my third favorite scent. While getting our makeup done, Dave and I usually talk about our kids. He was such a kind man and his priorities were clear. His family came first and fucking came second.

@meaculpa

I’ve created him, but I’m not satisfied. He has a long, fleshy snout, flecks for eyes, and dust-colored pleated-front pants, but he still lacks something, so I re-open the drawing tool and stain his groin with a generous splash of red.

The Wrong Sort of Woman

PAPER DARTS SHORT FICTION AWARD WINNER: Men used to be explorers; they used to hike a county over just for ink. Like my favorite Neanderthal with his pat of ocher. He mixed his own paint with animal fat and blew it through hollowed-out bones. He was thinking of posterity—of us—as he tossed hair out of his eyes and inked a row of horses on his wall.

Nice Twitter

Anyway, around this time I read a story about a professor who got fired for his tweets about Israel. The college world is supposed to be leftist, supposed to be progressive, and I was in the process of applying for jobs in academia. My Twitter feed was just politics, Batman, the Milwaukee Brewers, and jokes.

My Noise Will Keep the Record

My home is a witch's lung or a giant’s heart. Puckered cracks of plaster snake up the walls from a half-­century-­old renovation. It palpitates from the constant drum the interstate highway just beyond a courtesy swamp once planted, then neglected, as a sort of apology for the highway. The swamp thrives, reclaims detritus for the realm of bio­organisms, while I am increasingly cybertronic.

Newfound Grace

Raj stood in the entryway of his cubicle, staring out of the office window, watching one of his coworkers try to back his car into a too-tight parking spot. The mid-sized SUV lurched forward and backward until its broad ass fell center within the two white lines and two much larger SUVs next to it. The rain had started with a sort of clatter—a large rumble, really—that had brought everyone out of his or her cubicle for a moment.

Rowdy Ron's

Gauge is undone. His Dragon Tails are missing from the invoice. Though he is sure he ordered them, there is no mention of them on the carbon papers he holds in his hands, which shake. His Juggler’s Jubilee Grand Display sets, all one hundred of them, sit plastic-bound on a pallet in the back room; all he can think to do is stare, stare, stare. Wait for the old hick. Hold a cigarette quivering to his lips. He should set right to work, stack them up into a pyramid, a tower, something fun. Instead he stares. Waits.

Cast Down Your Burdens

The animal scurried to a narrow creekbed and dropped its burden by the water. It was a small chicken drumstick stolen from the office dumpster. But what struck the researcher was how the raccoon dunked the chicken in the water before eating it. “It actually waggled the food in the water,” he reported to us as we ate lunch in the breakroom.