I met Toad during a rough time. I mean, I wasn’t sick or addicted or anything. Nobody I knew had just died, and I wasn’t living on the streets. It was just that Jen wanted kids as fast as she could have them, and she was letting me know this as often as she could. […]
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[Editors’ Note: An embryonic version of this piece, titled “Me, the Other,” was originally published in Spanish in a small circulation magazine. The following translation is by Michael Parker-Stainback.] Finally, after years of anonymous toil, my talent has been publicly recognized. And no one—literally no one, except my cousin Vincent, Professor Thaddeus Lazarus and I—knows it. He—Vincent—turned […]
This is how it happened. It was early in the evening. William was home, practicing his piano, when his older brother Rhodias and his squadron comrades, seven of them, arrived. The moment he heard the door and recognized voices, he shut off, afraid, and hurried to the sofa. “Did I stop on time?” he asked […]
The Nobel laureate Zoroaster Zigsari was gunned down outside a tapas restaurant on Calle Cava de San Miguel on the eve of his seventy-sixth birthday. There was no question who was responsible. He was one of the regime’s fiercest critics. He had become, he told me, inured to their constant threats of death. Twenty years […]
“If a dollar was only ten cents,” our middle child, Carmen, says as she digs into her purse, “everything would be a lot cheaper.” I turn to her, ready to respond, to correct her mistaken notion. But then I pause, my mind suddenly locked up. Her mother squints, lips moving, she too attempting to work […]
That was the summer three years after we bought the small modular home and I was unexpectedly laid off from Curly’s Plumbing, where I had worked as an apprentice the previous four years, the summer we discovered Sarah was pregnant with our first child. But this story is more about my neighbor Jim, who hung […]
A marine steps on the metal plate of an IED. His legs fly in opposing directions through the air. He lands on the ground with a thud, blood and exposed bone where limbs used to be. Jess switches off the TV. It’s just a movie. Just a movie. The days leading up to Cal’s […]
I came back to help during storm season. My father suggested it—less a suggestion than a thinly-veiled plea, really. I had a few minutes late one afternoon and we were chatting—text only; the ancient comm-links at the lake don’t support visuals. We usually just use audio—it skips, although not too badly—but for some reason we […]
There’s an underwear catalog on the boss’s desk; you notice it when you’re in his office filing invoices. Not Victoria’s Secret or anything. It’s not some pathetic substitute available for men too embarrassed to buy Hustler or even Playboy. In fact, there are no models in this catalog at all—it’s just underwear. Men’s and women’s. Boxers and panties. […]
I flew to Florida because Laura, my cousin, my best and only friend, insisted I had to. The family was gathering for her mother’s funeral. I didn’t want to go—trembled when I thought of the ghosts waiting at the cemetery. Ghosts of my past were better left interred. But Laura dug her heels into my […]