Skip to main content

Washington DC

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?”

Illustration by Gosia Herba

Other People’s Birthdays

Whatever it took to make it an arduous trip, and of course you couldn’t say the obvious, you had to smile and say there were worse problems blah blah blah. The mediocre glass of wine for thirteen dollars at the airport bar was one of them. The candy bar she ate on top of that, an hour later, made her sick. 

Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden

Special Agent B. W. Molloy, now retired, tells the following story: One morning the body of a child was found in the Rose Garden. The sun had just risen. A concert had been given the night before in celebration of the National Arts and Humanities Awards, an event held every year in May. The body was discovered by Frank Calabrese, sixty, the groundskeeper, who had arrived in advance of his workers to oversee the striking of the performance tent. Dew was on the grass and the air was fresh.