Tag: Family

Fireflies by Jason Fisk

The day was barely there, full of mist and humidity, full of future ghosts that posed as inaccessible emotions. “Grab a few toys,” his mother said, “and put them in this. She handed him his father’s canvas duffel bag.

“That’s Dad’s,” he protested.

“Do as I say,” she said. “We’re going to visit your grandmother for a while.” He did what he was told, but thought it was all a bit unusual. His grandma only lived a few miles away, and they had never spent the night there. He did love visiting her, though; she had her own yard, unlike the small apartment that he and his parents lived in. 

Come Away From the Window by Thomas Morgan

The mirror in the bathroom is foggy with condensation. It’s like this because he’s just stepped out of the shower. He puts a towel around his waist, then he breaks off a square of toilet paper and wipes the mirror clean. He stands over the sink, puts the plug into the plughole and fills it up with warm water. Then he starts rubbing some shaving gel onto his face with his fingers. You see, he showers first, then he shaves. Some people might think this is odd – and maybe it is – but it’s how he’s always done it. For one thing, it gives his body a chance to dry on its own. Plus, he’s heard it’s supposed to be better for your skin, doing it this way.

He starts with the right side of his face, beginning just below his sideburns. From there, he moves onto his cheek and his chin and then his neck. He’s about halfway through his shave when he hears his wife scream.

Stinky McGuirk by Rick White

Stinky McGuirk will not be remembered as an exceptional guinea pig. Never really more than a novice climber, his problem solving skills were in the lower percentiles for the Caviidae family. Averse to water. His aroma, questionable.

He had the appearance of a perpetually shell-shocked rodent — twitchy, trembling. Bug-eyes staring vacantly into the middle distance. His ginger and white hair stuck out at every angle, like some demented throw-cushion.

The last guinea pig in the pet shop, he looked like he needed a good home. And Jessica, suffering twin indignities of living through high-school and her parents’ divorce, was in need of a loyal friend.                                    

Genesis and Revelation by Carl Tait

Bubba Cantwell’s a better salesman than I am. He even sold me on selling Bibles.

His daddy’s a preacher. A real boring preacher, even as preachers go. Oh, Lordy, don’t tell Bubba I said that. It’s true, but don’t tell him. He thinks his daddy is best friends with Jesus.

Anyway, Reverend Cantwell is connected with a company that spreads the Word of God to regular people and heathens. Every summer, the company sends teenage boys to towns all over Georgia to sell Bibles. The boys earn some spending money and the church helps save sinners. It’s a pretty good deal all around, I reckon.

What We Left in the Caf by Katharine Coldiron

Not until a month later does your mother ask about Hannah, and even then you are able to deflect her easily. She’s been out of school a lot, you say, and it isn’t really a lie. Hannah has missed some school. That isn’t the reason you haven’t talked about her to your mother, nor is it the reason you haven’t gone to her house for a sleepover since the one in February. And it certainly isn’t the reason you’ve been looking away from Hannah eating alone in the school cafeteria.

You have thought about how much better it would be if you could go to a different middle school. Just so you wouldn’t have to see her there, eating alone, most days. Your lunch periods are still the same, you and Hannah and the girls who shut you out of the clique last year and the white-trash boys who smoke cigarettes and hunt squirrels on the weekends. Travis Putnam got killed doing that on New Year’s Day. Didn’t come back to school after winter break. Shot in the head.

The Public Library Love Letter by Rebecca Stonehill

1

Age seven or eight, I receive my first public library card of
hard, green plastic with black letters emblazoned across it and
I look at no other words apart from these precious two:
Book Token.

I wobble up and down the streets between my house
and the mobile library, perched like a mirage
between roaring cars and the curly slide I stand atop for hours,
unsure if I am brave enough to hurl myself down.

These clouds here taste like by Charley Barnes

I have started to research clouds and how they might taste in different cities. Grandad tells me the clouds are bostin’ around here though: “Full of flavour, wench.” He tells me how he’d scrage his knees terrible to reach the top of the Wrekin, racing his mates to taste the sulphur on the peak. The whisp of the factories they’d come to work in. But Nan says: “He’s yampy, bab.

Bijou by Darcy L. Wood

Biological reproduction was passé.

Elma, a wide-eyed brunette, and June, a knockout blonde, waited for their little package. Their surroundings were white and clinical, conveying a sense of purity. Beyond the glass was a sea of cots, each with a blue or pink pupa tucked inside. It was the age of human synthesis, but the imitation of cultural conventions — the gendered colours of the blankets and the hospital aesthetic — were designed to provide comfort for visitors.

The Fish and My Father by Kevin McGowan

On a moist autumn day, long before the nicotine dressed his lungs in black for his funeral, my father severed the line with his pocketknife, set down his rod, and lit another cigarette. Mayfair from the newsagent: he had always been a man of quantity over quality. I traced the castoff line, limp in the water, back to the tree that had claimed it. Neither of us could fish, but fishing, maybe for reasons of primal origin, was seen to be one of those father-son bonding experiences. Well done, kid, you killed something. High five.