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fiction

The New Corporal

It's dusk, the sky still light, but the sand at their feet in shadow. It slides away as they descend the dune, and ahead of him Karsten sees Wolf stumble, struggling to keep his balance with his hands up.

My Uncle Ezekiel

My uncle Ezekiel's body was discovered in a ditch early on Christmas morning, three years ago. Beside him was an empty bottle of cheap whisky; I still remember the red and green label on it, with the inscription: Christian Brothers. Because of the empty bottle and because of his drinking history, people assumed he had drunk himself to death; but actually it was the cold that killed him.

Release

No sooner had the taxi lurched into the traffic than Rowen's father leaned forward in the seat. "Oh, no, we don't." He put his hand on the driver's shoulder and said something in Vietnamese. Before the driver had fully registered understanding, Rowen's father produced a folded twenty-dollar bill from his breast pocket.

Bullies

"I am not smart, I am not pretty." This is what Kiyoshi Toyoda's sister had written before leaping from the top of their twelve-story apartment building some time before dawn, leaving her body to be discovered by an old man on his early morning walk. Kiyoshi woke to the sudden commotion of wails and pounding feet, the heavy clang of their apartment door opening and slamming shut. They did not find the note until several hours later; Mai had propped it up on her desk, next to a box of tissues. She had been fifteen years old.

Contributor’s Notes

John McNally was born in 1965. After attending a famous writers' workshop in the Midwest, he worked as a short-order cook, bouncer, grave digger, lumberjack, carnival barker, florist, disc jockey, and busboy. Most recently, he was employed as a groun [...]

A Private Experience

Chika climbs in through the store window first and then holds the shutter as the woman climbs in after her. The store looks like it was deserted long before the riots started; the empty rows of wooden shelves are covered in yellow dust, as are the metal paint containers stacked in a corner.

Lima, Peru, July 28, 1979

This story has three characters. Three important ones, that is; three worth mentioning. Others may pop in here and there, but they don't mean anything. There is the police officer, pointing his gun at me. Manolo Carrión, or so he told me from the barrel of his gun; he had a small mouth touched with a wisp of a moustache and dark eyes hidden beneath a heavy brow. He frightened me. I can admit that now.

The Immortals

In Chicago, while taking the El from Wrigley Field to Evanston, Rudy O'Hara was certain he recognized the woman sitting across the train's aisle, but he couldn't place her.

A Soap Bubble Hovering Over the Void: A Tribute to Carol Shields

I began reading Carol Shields' books many years ago, with The Box Garden. In that novel there's a passage that made me laugh so hard I thought I would do myself an injury. It's the chapter describing a mother with scant taste but a lot of energy, who spends her time like a down-market and rather crazed Martha Stewart, relentlessly decorating her modest house—papering and re-papering its walls, hand-painting its lampshades, dyeing its scatter rugs—much to the alarm of her adolescent daughter, who never knows what new, ferocious colour the house will be when she gets home from school.

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