Category Archives: Short Stories

Little Fear

The beach is ninety-eight percent humidity so that plan is shot down. There are seventeen mile per hour winds that nobody wants to feel with sand mixed in. A huge chance of rain. Everyone gets a say; we all say no. We decide to have a party. Someone gets the amps set up and the live wire crackles, bursts, and catches the carpet on fire. We put it out without much effort, nobody gets dramatic.

Someone hands you a red cup full of warm coke with rum. I feel jealous of the rum because I want some. After the fire we put the TV on and watch the trees through the window swaying over the tops of the houses. One of them bare and brown, moving less than the others, We talk about why that one is taller. We talk about why you are taller. I talk about how I think being short makes it difficult for people to respect me, which is why I walk around feeling like a child all the time. I think about how it must be psychologically damaging if all people ever do is look down on you, and to have to constantly be looking up.

For you the impulse to make music is always there. The music is playing softly while you ignore me. I ask you to hold me decently, you hold me, I ask you to hold me, you say, I am, I say you’re not, I push you away, it feels inauthentic. We are in a place where it doesn’t count unless you initiate. You say you like it when every song is short. I like it too, there is a pattern there that doesn’t get distracted. I can forgive you for starting the fire.

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mumble stories

POSTED 08/01/15 AT 01:20:21 GMT

tonight i posted three photos of myself to the subreddit community r/amiugly. i called it x-post from /r/whydontboyslove me even tho there is no subreddit community called /r/whydontboysloveme. it is made up. i made it up. haha. i got three responses and two upvotes. one response said i look like i am on drugs. i do not think i look like i am on drugs in that photo but also i think i was on drugs in that photo. i checked his comment history and the last comment he made was on a post in the subreddit community /r/rateme and it said “Small dick.” one comment said i was no troll but he’d love to see how the body might make up for the face. i replied it doesn’t. lmao. he said he loves the female figure and the parts of that figure. also he said peach emoji.

another user said i look average which made me feel ok and i felt like /u/YA_BOOBS_SHOWEMTOME is probably an honest and logical person and not a mean or good person.

then i got a private message from /u/wasssupbuddy which included a photo of himself and asked if he could enjoy himself to my photo. he said he needed permission but i said it sounded a li’l bdsm-y and that those days are far over for me. but i decided not to send that in case he would like it, i didn’t want him to like it i don’t know. then i replaced my tinder picture with the one he (/u/wasssupbuddy) said he would pleasure himself to and i only felt a little nauseated.

once in the tenth grade i wrote an essay about how being ugly isn’t the end of the world and i said that most people are 4s or 5s or 6s which i don’t believe anymore and also i mentioned stephen hawking in some context and it was published in the literary magazine at high school on the last page and /u/YA_BOOBS_SHOWEMTOME’s comment has more upvotes than my post, which is ok and probably honest.

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Lincoln Log Smoke Signal.

America was downright dirty.

So was an American named Shem.

Shem was at the CVS Pharmacy. He found whitening toothpaste and went for the least attractive cashier.

Shem got what he deserved, a shitty cashier. She didn’t ask how Shem was doing, but actually, Shem asked the cashier how she was doing! It was chaos, it was like Shem was the employee.

The cashier said the word Working.

How you doing? Working.

What the fuck, thought Shem.

Shem didn’t make a $5 donation to the Special Olympics (downright dirty).

Shem let everything he saw on the walk home go in his eyes. Most of it evaporated and some vague tracing of it went to his crackly God Sized Hole. When that happened, Shem pushed it back away. He was preoccupied, thinking about more important things than what he was seeing. Light, events, nature, buildings and random people, this stuff didn’t affect him. Maybe made a little wiggling insect leg shift in his God Sized Hole but would not affect his life. Could not would not harm him.

Shem was thinking about his genitals. The world revolved around them. The last time Shem touched his genitals was in the morning. No porn, not even using thoughts. His brain and body always seemed to come back to this, this directionless lust, this vague but screaming force field around his genitals.

Elsewhere on Shem’s body there was this dual itch, meaning it was the same itch happening on two body parts at the same time. Shem trusted the itch. It was just there, not to be judged or scratched (killed). He stared into the sun.

Shem was home. He was at the front of the house, taking his socks and shoes off. There was a spider on the wall. Shem smiled. A vague thing wrong with his genitals changed.

Shem stuck his hand down his shorts and rubbed his genitals. He was thinking about something really solid as a feeling but unnecessary—maybe impossible—to put into language in his God Sized Hole. Not that he wanted to—he didn’t. He liked it just as a heavy, thing. Some vague notion of rhythm, some consistent vibration of sights. Some, thing.

Shem’s genitals gushed. His God Sized Hole throbbed with pleasure.

The big bad thing inherently wrong with the world bounced forever down the sidewalk.

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Tweeeeet Tweeet Tweeeet

Something cute is happening in front of me and my manager’s roommate while we smoke weed in the back of the bar.

I ask, “Did I hear John say you two recently moved?”

“Yeah, we did.”

“Oh, where you living now?”

There’s a lovely pause in our friendly conversation.

“Park Avenue.”

“Oh,” I say. Our eyes twinkle and shine toward one another. “Very cool.”

“Yeah, we moved around two weeks ago.”

“It’s funny,” I say, “You have more money right now than I’ll have my whole life. That’s very nice for you.”

He thanks me and expresses profound humility.

“Yeah,” I twirl my thumbs. “I just realized I can’t relate with your life in anyway whatsoever. Have a great day!”

There is something nice about me when I meet Paul near Boston Commons.

“So, that made me feel really emasculated,” I remark to her.

“Stop it.”

“Do I smell bad to you? I haven’t showered in a while and all my clothes are dirty.”

“No, I don’t smell anything.”

We sit in front of ducks or geese.

“I just want to remind you that you can be completely honest with me.”

“You do smell but it doesn’t bother me,” she divulges to me in confidence.

A grand jury recently decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown.

“That’s terrible,” she says.

“I agree.”

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I Don’t Really Know Much About Rosh Hashanah Except That We Throw Bread at Ducks

“We need to do something for Rosh Hashanah,” said Hannah, hovering over me at my desk.

“Fuck, is that really this week?” I replied. I didn’t turn to face her, most of the conversation consisted of her speaking at me while I stared into my computer screen.

“Yeah, it is,” replied Hannah. “I thought you were Jewish.”

“I haven’t gone to temple in years.”

“Like, what even is Rosh Hashanah?” asked Hannah.

“It’s Jewish new year.”

“Is that the thing where they have the coke bottles with the yellow caps?”

“Dude, I don’t even know what you’re talking about.” I ground my open palm into my right eye.

“You know, when the grocery stores have the two-liter coke bottles with the yellow caps. My husband is really into soda made with real sugar, he buys like ten bottles every time they come out with yellow cap coke.”

“Oh, I think that’s Passover,” I said.

“Jewish Easter!” replied Hannah. There was a pause and then Hannah continued, “But anyway, we really should have something for Rosh Hashanah. We want to make all of the new students feel welcome. This is the first year we’ve had move-in during a religious holiday.”

I was going to mention Ramadan but I let it go. “We could take the students to a lake and throw bread to the ducks.”

“What?” said Hannah.

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Born Out of This

“Oh come on,” she says.
“No.”
“I bet you’ve never had your dick sucked by a midget before.”
“You win.”
“How old are you baby?”
“Twenty-two.”
“You’re so tan,” she says.“Such good skin.”
“I’m Greek. And Italian. And something else I don’t remember, mixed with some other something from the Mediterranean.”
“Ooo la la. Come on baby, let me do it.”
She pulls at the zipper.
“I just want to drink. Please, let me drink.”
“Alone?”

There are worse things than being alone. It takes decades to figure that out. And most times it’s too late. And there’s nothing more tragic than being too late.

In Memphis I paid for a girl from the yellow pages to come to my room. Only I never wanted the hand job. I just wanted her to sit with me and talk. I had been on the road for eight days, twelve hours at a time. I wanted to tell her how nice the girls were in Knoxville. And how good the food was in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I lived, then, on a candy bar a day. I ate it at night, before going to bed. In Tucumcari, New Mexico I found a can of white beans at a rest stop washroom and so I had it for supper sitting in the car, parked. I ate in the middle of the worst storm I’d ever seen. The crosswinds were rocking the car and I thought I was going to be flipped over in the parking lot. I was going to Hollywood to try to be something. I was too late.

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Things Your Mother Couldn’t Teach You

Maya sweeps in to my room and slams the door behind her.  “Take it all off,” she demands.  Her chest is rising and falling.

I get confused because my parents are just downstairs, but I start to pull off my skirt anyway.

Maya moans. “Kiri, I mean my hair.” 

I stop taking it off and leave my skirt at my feet.  I feel stupid and horny.  I should have known.  When I was younger I dismembered my dolls and cut off their hair.  Now I trim Maya’s every three months, cut dry, three-quarters of an inch off, per her mother’s request.  I usually do it with a ruler, because her mother scares me.  Once, when we were five, she caught us playing doctor under the dining room table and slapped me with her rolling pin. 

Maya’s holding her head in her hands.  She looks like a stick figure in distress.

“So you want me to take all three-quarters of an inch off?”

“No I want it all off.”

“The whole inch?”

“No, I mean all the inches.”  Maya tries to rip her hair out with her fingers, but it’s too thick.  She just grunts a lot.

I grab her hands and kiss her knuckles.  I speak to her like she’s a small child with a  bruise.  “Why would you want me to do that?  I know this isn’t what your mother wants.  She loves your hair.”  What I mean to say is, “I love your hair.”

But Maya is funny in that way and says, “Everyone loves my hair, but I feel it weighing me down.  I can barely hold my head up at all.  My back hurts.  It’s like having big breasts, but no cleavage.”  As she says this she rests her head on my shoulder and, true, I do find it difficult to stand upright.

I try to explain to her.  “Holding your head high is never easy, it shouldn’t be.  Besides, it’s the hand you’re dealt.  It’s probably big boobs or big hair and if I cut yours, you won’t have either.”

“I hear it’s liberating.  I want you to liberate me.  Maybe I can do the same for you.  It will be so romantic.”  She says it like I should want it.  I sit her down on my bed.  She immediately flops back; there is a thud.

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Reviews of the Corner Bodega

September 7th 2007

TWO STARS

1. flickering light, foggy deli case
2. animal noises behind onion bin
3. clerk with veiny neck never there
4. beer in case is warm and not beer we want. price is reasonable though.
5. even the toilet paper is expired.

November 23rd 2007

ONE STAR

1. nothing to cook here for Thanksgiving.
2. lobster ramen almost killed us once.
3. they’re out of beer.
4. meat in deli case is expanding inside it’s shrink wrap. Looks like a processed meat bomb. Sandwich guy has another tear drop tattoo.

March 8th 2008
ZERO STARS

1. sign on window:
CLOSED NYC BOARD OF HEALTH. PEST WASTE. MOLD. MILDEW. INFECTIOUS DISEASE.

July 10th 2010
ONE STAR

1. activity at bodega
2. crew removes deli case
3. removes the desk with register
4. rips up entire floor
5. have a ten minute conversation with worker out on the street while he tries to get me to leave him alone, explaining the situation, saying, “You have no idea how my life has degraded since this bodega has closed. I have to walk up the hill for beer. I have to get lousy sandwiches at the place over by the hospital.
6. rest of crew getting annoyed at worker who is standing there talking to me instead of helping lug the onion bin out.
7. I tell all the workers I love them.
8. they ignore me.
9. they drag out a soda case and one guy rips his hand open on the door, blood everywhere. disconcerting. bad omen.

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Gone Finishin’.

Clementine was on her back masturbating in her room. Her room was next to her dad’s. Yeah.

And yeah she was silent.

And yeah,

Somewhere it occurred to her that they were masturbating at the same time.

Clementine pictured nude men. She gave them the faces of the men on the poster on her door called The Rise And Fall Of Peoples And Nations For 4,000 Years. It was a timeline of world history with little portraits of the greats. Yes.

All the world’s leaders, all monsters, all heroes. Men.

Men.

On the other side of the wall Clementine could hear her dad.

She pictured her nipple as a little door her dad opened and stuck his finger in, doing a come-hither motion.

Clementine finished.

This was all over. Gone.

Clementine got out of bed and stood naked in front of the mirror. Behind her eyes there was a little picture of her dad’s head.

She felt like a dog.

To the reflection she was saying, “You wanna piece of me kid? Huh? Yeah okay I fuck you up good!”

Clementine could hear her dad going downstairs.

Clementine ran her tongue along her bottom teeth and lingered on the crooked ones. Then she rubbed the special teeth with a finger. It hurt. Clementine smiled.

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Something Pretty

One morning Sweet T’s Ice Cream Shop did not open, and it did not open again for a long time. I was seven years old when the owner shot and killed his wife, and then himself. Their daughter was in my second grade class. Her name was Casey. She was my friend. She did not come to school that day.

Somehow everybody knew what had happened. I don’t remember how I found out. Who would willingly impart such information to a child? What had probably happened was someone’s parents were talking about it over breakfast, the daily dose of gossip for once more satisfying than their coffee, completely unaware that their kid was right there, listening to every word they said. And while children may not be able to totally understand everything people say, they can still hear it. And they will repeat it. So, like I said, everybody knew.

In my head the scene played out like it would on television. Children know what violence looks like. There’s a statistic about how many murders the average child has seen on TV by the time they’re five. The number is in the thousands.

I had never been to the apartment above Sweet T’s where Casey and her family lived. In my head the scene played out in the ice cream shop. I had been there so many times, could picture so clearly the black and white checkered floors and hand drawn menu, cherry red stools covered in shiny plastic that I used to spin around on, my feet dangling in velcro. In my head the couple stood on opposite sides of the room, shouting words that I couldn’t understand, leaning forward with their chests shoved out, spit flying from their mouths and arms gesturing wildly, violently. And then it cuts to the glass case of ice cream, brightly colored flavors sitting untouched, waiting patiently for the closed sign to turn to open. Then the crack of a gun, twice.

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