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California

Illustration by Chad Wys

The Partition

Mainly, she wanted to be left alone. She didn’t want a husband or a wife or a partner or a lover, she didn’t want a companion or a pet or friends, she didn’t want to be closer to her parents or siblings or relatives. She enjoyed her solitude, relished it. She had plenty to occupy herself—her work, her house and garden, her hobbies. She was not at all lonely. She was thoroughly happy, being alone.

This perplexed people.

Photo by Ryan Bradley.

The Air Keeps It Interesting

1. In the darkness it was nothing but a thin low thrum, moving to a higher pitch as it neared. The Goodyear Blimp was somewhere out there. I stared into the sky off Venice Beach, California, trying to locate the thing. A woman in a polo shirt (Goo [...]

Illustrations by Jen Renninger

Total Loss

Fire does not abide by reason. In its destructive trail, there are empty bank accounts, unreturned voice mails, FedExed checks, hours upon hours of smooth-jazz hold music, fine print written in inscrutable jargon, and the summary Laurie learned to say for expediency’s sake: “My house exploded in a catastrophic fire. Can you please help me?”

Kimberley Ross

Keller in Effects

Keller Introduces Himself: 1953 The golden age of animation came to an end slowly for Adam Keller. Once, for a film called Fantasia, Keller had created lovely images: lava flows boiling over rocks, jellyfish pulsing through a primordial sea. But pr [...]

Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

Whereas the proto–science fiction of a century past (H. G. Wells, Octavia E. Butler, Edgar Rice Burroughs) looked to a bright if complex future, we can now scarcely imagine one that’s not irredeemably awful. 

©iStock.com/Buretsu

The Men We Used to Be

A man in drag holding a baby walked into a diner. Sounds like a bad joke, I know. But it wasn’t. Standing near the front door of Rosie’s there was an honest-to-goodness cross-dresser cradling a little boy, holding the bundle so tight that f [...]

Illustration by Andy Omel

Bull Shipping

We all owe our lives to someone’s vision and someone else’s blind spot, but it’s seldom quite so literal: I owe my existence to that tumor and the sight lines that developed around it.

Illustration by Amy Friend

Late-Night Bloomers

Evelyn watched as Lawrence put the plastic bag over his head, snapped the terry-clothed elastic around his throat and affixed the tube to the helium tank beside him. She sat quietly, neither interrupting nor egging him on. She was simply there so th [...]

Jungle Jangle

sic on it, the cameras: witch-green greasepaint canopy—
pan down: the thick bamboo lattice
twine-bound—pan down: dirt with rags to gag up,

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