Astrid bought the Voigtlander at Ms. Fischer’s yard sale the summer after Mr. Fischer’s funeral. All winter, Ms. Fischer – she had never invited anyone to call her by first name – had kept the home exactly as it had been when her husband departed, and as old as she was, neighbors expected she’d keep it that way until she joined her husband in the hereafter. Thus, it was a surprise when the tiny old woman knocked on Astrid’s door and asked if she knew anything about hosting a yard Read more [...]

The Key

It was only a matter of time before they turned on each other, and 40 minutes into the search, that time had come. This was their third day at the no-frills cabin they'd rented through a classified ads in Sports Afield. “Outfitted for the real outdoorsman”, the description promised, which they learned on arrival meant it had all the amenities of an ice fishing shack. When Earl expressed his disappointment, Ray declared, “Did we come here to play house, or to fish?” As soon as they Read more [...]


Lacey wanted to get the walkway done before Jenna arrived. If she did, she could say Phil did it earlier and Jenna wouldn’t make a thing about it. Unfortunately, she was still shoveling when she heard Jenna’s Honda crunching the snow at the curb behind her. She turned to see Jenna, still in the driver’s seat, pointing her phone at her. “I know that’s my good side, Jennabug,” Lacey said as her daughter got out of the car. “But I prefer when you include my face in the photos.” “Mom, Read more [...]


James focused on the waves washing over his feet, whisking the sand from around them, the world slipping out from under him. There wasn’t much to enjoy about the water in Oregon, frigid on the even the hottest days, but he reveled in this. Wave after wave sinking him in tiny increments, his feet settling further into the sand. Even as the holiday crowd with their Frisbees and Pomeranians and tablet cameras encroached in every direction, he found solitude in the soft swirl of the sand and water. Read more [...]


If you grew up near Plainville, you probably heard about the Park Terrace pool incident. That’s what people called it, an incident, because what else could they call it? If it had been a gunman, it would’ve been a killing, but a lightning bolt? God-fearing Christians wouldn’t want to imply that their lord and savior was involved in a massacre. They wouldn’t say it aloud, anyway, but the whole thing was such a fluke that a lot of locals suspected the higher power’s complicity. I’ll Read more [...]


It was Sarah Means who brought it to Jeannie’s attention that she was going to be all over that year’s Prism. Sarah didn’t tell her directly, because Sarah no longer talked to Jeannie, but she’d heard Sarah and her friends complaining that the yearbook was going to suck this year because it was already February and the nerds with the cameras hadn’t come to any of the cool events. Sarah said she hadn’t had her picture taken all year, other than group shots of the cheerleaders. This Read more [...]


I wanted Mom to see me nodding in the rearview mirror. She looks in the mirrors as much as she does through the windshield, so I’d moved to the middle, putting my head directly between the mirror and the world disappearing behind us. I preferred dad’s driving style, focused on the things hurtling toward the car, but mom's constant glances allowed me to silently support Leo as he nagged her to drive through the Photomat on the way home. “They won’t be ready, Leo." Mom made sure to catch Read more [...]


Everything Kelly does is stupid. At least that’s what her brother David tells her. Lions and giraffes don’t play together, that’s stupid. Spiders don’t have 10 legs, that’s stupid. A volcano wouldn’t still have a point on the top, that’s stupid. I pull David aside every time I hear it. I try to explain how unkind he’s being and how his little sister looks up to him. Or I yell at him and threaten to take his comics away. Whatever I do, I still hear him whisper it when he thinks Read more [...]
November 15, 2016Permalink 3 Comments


  As the phone rang at their flat, Liam read the scribbles on the booth wall, wondering if Elizabeth was tired of the calls from curious strangers, or if this Jack fellow could actually perform the unusual act he was being credited for. He was running through the Jacks he knew when his wife answered the phone. ”Mags, don’t hang up, please. I need you to hear me out.” It felt strange to call his wife from a pay phone and actually have something to say. It was usually just to apologize Read more [...]


If she was asked what led to her divorce – an uncommon question considering the delicateness of the subject – Gabby would laugh and say, “Mostly it was the ice cube trays.” It was a clever response because it gave the impression that she’d already answered the question too many times, her emotional exhaustion winnowed to a single, pithy punch line. It also gave the topic some levity, which doubled as silent forgiveness for the intrusion into her personal life. Most people would laugh Read more [...]
November 13, 2016Permalink 2 Comments