Sunday, October 30, 2011

one hundred word story #34: Party Line

The unmarried woman on the block began fielding mysterious calls from a Frenchman. The party line crackled to attention. When their conversations swerved out of English, the ladies listening in assumed the worst—no one else on the block spoke French. The ladies cut each other off, some in English, some in Yiddish, sometimes saying the same thing, sometimes not. And then: a thin, restrained question. “What is my life to you—a party?” The line went silent for a full minute, quiet enough to hear glasses clinking. And then: French, less plaintive this time, followed by a gentle click.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

one hundred story #32: Superwoman

This morning, while running through frost, my toe clipped the curb and I flew. I remembered my last fall—the unnatural way my wrist flung toward my heart. The way dead cells collected underneath the plaster cast. I remembered all the trips and falls, scabs and scrapes. Today I soared: arms outstretched like warnings, head cocked like a trigger. When I hit the concrete there was no thud, no smack, no break. I sat in my bruises, the sidewalk cold with morning. My muscles had been trained; instincts rewritten. I considered the rooftops, the sky, then took my running start.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

one hundred word story #31: Like

Basically he’s all, I like you, and literally she’s like, are you kidding? And basically he says that like is just a word, right, like is that random space between I don’t know you yet and I’d really like to, you know, like you. So then she’s all, that’s creepy, and basically I don’t go out with people I don’t know, and even though I know you, I don’t think I want to, you know, like you. Like that. You’re likable, but you’re literally not my kind of guy. He’s like, that’s so random. No, she says, it really isn’t.

Monday, October 24, 2011

one hundred word story #30: Jack-o'-lantern

Cassie puts the pumpkins next to her door, their smiles broken with missing teeth. When the witches and werewolves and Harry Potters knock on her door, Cassie’s bowl is empty. The astronauts and Wonder Women pout, refuse her boxed raisins and green apples. Hours later, her driveway is draped in toilet paper. The next morning she spots Milky Way wrappers littered around the pumpkins, their faces buttery. How could you, she starts, stops. Notices the peony looks peaked, the ground parched. Compost, she says, but when she reaches for them, the pumpkins bare their new teeth, whispering “Trick or treat.”

Sunday, October 23, 2011

one hundred word story #29: current events

"Don't think I will give this to my son," the bank clerk said, propping the rifle against his boot. The son smiled and the reporter thought he knew why. The night was ripe with adrenaline. Blood spilled like good milk. They say that for hours the men chanted “keep him alive,” hoping, as some soldiers do, that blow by blow lives can be rebuilt, lies undone. But the boy was too used to loud sounds and closed doors. He imagined the new sounds, the fresh milk. The horizon was orange with a new kind of fire. They kept themselves alive.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

one hundred story #28: workshop

It’s a relationship of subordination, one poet says to another. She—the speaker – expresses guilt, see, and he—the listener—demands something. Money, maybe, sex. No, says another student, what we have here is a special form of tenderness. What throws me, says the teacher, is the penguin—what’s he doing here? What do you mean, he? Asks another. The writer, the guilty one, stays quiet, her icebox hidden. They are blind to her visible parts but still they spear her to the page. She considers prostration in all its poetic forms, though her wings stay close to her chest.