I hadn’t talked to Jim in years, not since the band broke up, so when I answered the phone and heard his gravelly voice, I couldn’t place it. “Bear,” he said, “Howz it going, dude?” “It’s going,” I answered, knowing it was a voice from the past, since everybody I knew now called me Barry. Read more in the Write Launch
Rays of a Divine Inner Being
All Carly felt like these hot, summer days was melting into a lawn chair and looking up at the sky. She was on the verge of something—something big. It was an irritating feeling, like when you want to sneeze but can’t.
She searched the shapes of clouds. She had one rectangular patch of sky, through which blackbirds flapped and jets secreted silver vapor trails. Concrete buildings and slithering black transmission lines blocked out the rest. Read more in the Foliate Oak
My father defied gravity and tested the limits of flight and now he is dead. But he’s not really gone. He still buzzes around my skull’s higher altitudes, pesky as always. Read more in Howl
Review: "The Refugees"
In The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen continues his exploration of war’s effect on Vietnam and its people. The characters in these eight intimate, densely woven stories are scarred in a multitude of ways, psychologically damaged from their traumas, yet doggedly soldiering on in their daily struggle to survive in a strange land. Read more in Four Ties Literary Review
Night is a black screen, something soft to sink into, the comforting velvet darkness just before a movie begins. My hands are on the steering wheel of a car, but they could just as well be clasping a tub of popcorn and a Coke, waiting for the feature flick to start. I’m driving into a picture I don’t want to see, events flattening onto film that will be wound and rewound. This movie will be sad, and make us cry.
To the electric chair. That's where Bleitz pretends they go after he straps them in and slams your cage. "Did you remember to kiss your mommy and daddy goodbye?" he'll say. Or the old standby, "Hold on, a bolt's come loose." Hawk pulls the lever that sends them up. There's the grind of gears, a sharp jerk, and they're gone. Read more in Penumbra
First and Broadway
Gabriel is turning into a tree. It didn’t take long for his filthy hair and beard to grow matted as moss, for the dirt encrusting his skin to form rough bark, for his feet to swell to the thickness of an ancient trunk. But this morning while taking a whizz in the planter box, Gabriel realizes the final conversion is taking too long. Read more in Verdad
Breathing in Blossoms
Carla whisks off the black plastic cape and touches her sleeping customer’s shoulders. “All right, Mrs. Garabedian. You’re done.” Mrs. Garabedian opens her eyes slowly, appearing startled to find herself in a beauty salon. Read more in SN Review
Red Rock Canyon
Nineteen is hard, my mother tells me. So are twenty and twenty-one. It's late afternoon, a glittering crystal of time when it's just the two of us. My mother, home from another day of changing sheets at White's Motel, kicks off her shoes and rests her bare feet on a kitchen chair. Read more in Sunspinner
Up until now, Lena has not thought much about Heywood's head. She's considered him a package deal; smooth muscles kept toned by gym workouts, strong jaw and crooked smile, the physical force of a jungle ape. But now she understands, it's his head that counts most. Read more in Storyglossia
Jumping the Tracks
Rafe sits in an antique kitchen chair getting his head shaved. Each time Harrison takes a swipe with the clippers, it creates a new patch of cold scalp. The buzz is deafening, but not loud enough to muffle Fern's sniffles. The fine fringes falling on the Congoleum seem like the end of something, she says. Read more in Toasted Cheese
Agriculture Escapes Water Restrictions
With all the focus on tearing out urban lawns, one thing that has not been mentioned is the immense use of water by the livestock industry. It’s estimated that raising livestock for food uses up 30 percent of water resources globally. Read more in LA Progressive
How to Recover from a Job Disaster
Losing a job is everyone's worst nightmare. But when it actually happens? Taking time for self-reflection may be your best strategy for a speedy rebound.
Sooner or later, it happens to the best of us. Maybe a reorg means you’ve gained a nightmare boss. Or you’ve accepted a job that’s a bad fit and need to quit for your sanity. And then before you know it, you’ve cruised into a full-on job disaster.
Losing a job ranks high on the list of most stressful life changes, just behind divorce and losing loved ones. And it comes with a boatload of anxieties: How will this look on my resume? How long will my bank account hold out? And of course: How will I land a new job? Read more in Career Contessa