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A summer night, a porch swing, Grandma Clara gently rocking. A girl comes out from the house. She stares in the dark. “Mom wants you back inside,” she says. “Now.” “No, baby, not yet. Come sit with me.” Clara makes room for her on the swing. The girl stares. “Just one minute, Izzy. I promise.” […]


Firing Squad

Lord knows I didn’t want to shoot Mendez. Hell, he was only a green kid, a frontline infantry replacement just up from boot camp. He acted gung-ho, but he’d never been exposed to live action before. I knew the stark terror he must have felt a few days ago when the enemy tanks rolled over […]



First we’ll clock you in on the computer and then you can start following me around. Your clock-in number is always the last four digits of your Social Security number, but for tonight you’ll need my number to get to the tables on the screen. Ever use Aloha before? It’s a pretty straightforward system. Go […]


Deconstructing the Nihilist

I asked Evan once what he believed. He paused, scissors in one hand, photograph in the other. “Everything,” he said. He touched his tongue to his lip, all his focus flowing to a point, and he snipped a near-perfect circle out of the picture. “What did you do that for?” The picture had been taken […]


The Whole of the Brush

I found Uncle Jim in his workshop at the end of his garden. “Hello, Paul,” he said, “what’s the problem this time?” I blushed at this but he was smiling so I sat on a three-legged stool next to his bench and said, “Julie wants a divorce.” “You’ll have to talk while I work,” he […]


The Perfect Mark

The old lady was almost the perfect mark. Sasha held back an urge to smirk, and instead leaned forward to listen with polite interest. “Do you like cats, Miss… how do you pronounce that?” Sasha nearly grimaced, but caught herself. “Oh yes,” she said quickly, glancing around the condominium. Nothing in sight but good solid […]


In An Old Man’s Lap

Colleen Kelley relaxes in the visitors’ lounge of the Barnet Convalescent Home in London. The facility is immaculate, even if the history of the neighbourhood around it is rather sordid. She writes Tuesday, 1 December 1959 in her diary as her granddaughter Jacqueline scurries among the residents, making a nuisance of herself. Old age is […]


Surface Tension

I hate it when she does this. Brianna lies in the bathtub on her back, one knee bent and leaning in, making the lines of her hips twist and beckon. She lies in deep water, her eyes in calculating slits, the exhalations from her nose rippling a tiny current atop the surface. I refuse to […]


How We Met

Now come dessert and coffee and each couple telling the story of how they met. From across the table, you send a hint of a smile that is for me alone. We know how these stories go, and these couples keep to the conventions. “She was working at the bank, I knew from the first […]


A Place for Passions

Four. That’s how many suicide attempts it took to get me committed to Pleasant Gardens, where I scratched at my wrists and tried not to look at my older brother Pete standing a careful foot away. We walked along smooth stepping stones, my brother and I, trapped by walls of flowers. “Oh, look,” said Pete […]


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