The city was empty. It was early Saturday morning, the sky was grey and rain fell lightly. Almost imperceptibly. This was his favourite time. It felt like the entire city belonged to him. He would wander down abandoned streets, look into windows of the closed shops, sometimes he would even sing out.

He started humming loudly as he walked. A pigeon heard him and thumped his wings and took off, landing a few feet away.

He hopped over a puddle next to the curb and sang out load. "They call me mister Pitiful, baby that's my name."

This is freedom,...

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There was a comma where a semicolon should have been. This drove her crazy. She thought of actually shooting herself in the head but that would have required a 3-day waiting period; besides, she hated guns. So she kept going through the papers, red slashes here, smiley faces there. But many more slashes than smileys. Soon she just started making slashing smiley faces. Her students wouldn't know the difference, she thought.

After all, they couldn't tell the difference between simple punctuation so how could they get her irony?

John, her favorite student and best writer in her Senior Classics class...

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It was the fall that surprised me most. Stumbling, suddenly in darkness, in a vile body that felt alien, so different, so limited, so odd - nothing to...before.

They never believed me, never believed what I said, when I tried to explain where I belonged (this tongue is clumsy and cannot say the words I need - I use words like "sky" and "stars" and "above" and "far" but none of them even begin to describe home - home is the closest approximation I have, but it is, I find, unhelpful)

They tell me that such things - I -...

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Until now, she’d never thought of herself as pretty. She though of her body as a reclamation project. One of those trash dump sites that had filled up and had to be pounded down, covered over and made to look like something else. Something stable and pretty. Like a piece of ground someone would be willing to invest in - maybe build some houses on and raise kids without ever knowing what was underneath.

She couldn't fix everything, of course. Those scars...well, there just wasn't much she could do about them. Long sleeves, not tanning too much so they wouldn't...

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"I really don't see why your dollhouse needs to be 1:10 scale," Jose grumbled as he surveyed the wood-and-glue staircase that Sandra had erected in the middle of the garage.

"I'm thinking it needs a bit more support here," Sandra pointed to the middle stair, ignoring his complaints. "Pass me the staple gun, will you?"

"When are you going to make the dolls?" Jose wondered.

"Silly," Sandra chided him. "I'm not going to MAKE the dolls. They'll come by themselves."


Sandra smiled mysteriously. "You'll see."

Jose shrugged.

"By the way, you probably shouldn't come down here at night."

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"Mister Cloone?" said the sergeant as he sat down. "You know why we're holding you, right?"

Cloone shrugged and leaned back. "Fascism? Something something smokes?"

Sergeant Miller took off his own glasses. "We're stopping you here at the Richford/Quebec crossing because you were smuggling Cuban cigars into the country. Why would you do that? You didn't even try to hide them."

"It's the Hemingway in me. Cuba. And 'fuck the system'."

"You think that smuggling cigars makes you Hemingway?" asked Miller.

"I think it's a good start," replied Cloone.

"We have the boycott in place for a very good reason....

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I looked up from my book. 'Huh?'


'Can I what?'

'No, the country. Kenya.'

'Yeah, okay, in Africa. What about it?'

'We found him there. He's working in an aid camp for Somalian refugees.'

'Him? Who?'

'You know who I'm talking about.'

I put the book down, forgetting it. 'How certain are you of this? There can be absolutely no mistake, understand?'

'Positive identification. No question.'

'Anecdotal or visual? We need to be sure.'

'Oh, absolutely visual. A low flying drone picked him up leaving a market. He had a couple of bags of veggies and a rack...

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"Come here," I whisper loud enough for her to hear me.
She gives me a look and laughs, tilting her head up to the sky.

The bark of the palm tree leaning over the ocean against my hand is hard but smooth.
Like the shore's winds blew away every crack and bump.

"Here," I pat my lap as I prop myself against the tree.
Mocking a shocked look, she kicks the sand up so it sticks against my wet foot.
I stare down for a moment as she comes to settle on my lap.
Her hair smells like salt...

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An old sepia photo can be a bullet. It can tear through the lineup of neurons, neatly lined up like socks on a bed. It can make you aware that you are your latest incarnation. That you have been here before.

A mother and her child. Doesn't that child look familiar? Who remembers his own birth? Especially when it was 70 years ago? Today I am 27. I have been 27 many times now, projecting myself a year into the future so that I could live as 27 for a year, then my past self projecting himself a year into...

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The Potentate surveyed his creamsicle tower cooly.

"Were my instructions not clear," he asked in the calm manner so many of his associates found so frightening. "Was the language I was speaking truly so difficult to decipher?"

Nobody spoke up at first, though everyone knew two things: the longer he went without an answer, the angrily the Potentate would get. The second fact, whoever spoke first stood a good chance of receiving the brunt of his displeasure. As was often the case, everyone opted for an intense anger spread over the whole group, then face being a direct target of...

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