The next day I felt all right, so I split a strip between the two of us, but she was still too sick to come with me to the food pantry. I used to go every Wednesday for my community service and after it ended I just kept going.
Believing she had fallen asleep, he was about to stretch across to switch off the lamp on her nightstand but found she was lying with her eyes open looking at him over the top of the book. Her gaze was quite calm, yet there was something about it he found unsettling, something distant and simultaneously searching.
Your son will smile with half his mouth because he is seventeen and unaware of what sorrows lie ahead of him, and also because a girl in his Advanced Topics in Social Justice told him he looked cute doing so.
And the phone rang, and it rang, and the woman screamed once more, and I connected to another number, and told her the ambulance service would answer as soon as they could, and it rang twelve times while she screamed and the siren blared above the windows while the rush-hour crowds streamed through Hyde Park.
I am gruff. I’m mediocre. I’m not good at getting what I mean into what I say. Mostly, I’m tired. The same lines, the same debates. Different stages. I’ve been dragged across too much of this country and I know it’s not getting better.
This country, Gold’s mother thought. This country. This country. She didn’t know what to feel. She didn’t need to see it to know: outside, something was starting. The sun had slipped out and the law was standing in its place in the sky, beating its chest and roaring.
I change my avatar from a catgirl with blue eyes to one with green eyes. The new catgirl still has short black hair, but instead of a schoolgirl outfit, she’s wearing a black triangle bikini with white edging and her breasts are huge.
He kept meaning to get back to Boston. From Texas. From Florida where he was before Texas. He hasn't seen his daughter. He's ashamed that it will take his own mother's funeral for him to see her, to see Kate for the first time in four years.
I won’t make excuses for the Chief—he shouldn’t have heeded such an infested-arseholed skiving prick, but they’d copied each other’s algebra sums on the school bus, so why shouldn’t they copy each other’s assumption sums on the train to Dublin?
The shed is dark except for the triangle of dusty sunlight that reaches through the crooked doorway. You and Adam are huddled in the back, breathing hard. Notice the dark: darker than the empty baseball fields in moonless winter; darker than sleep.
Emilio looked prophetic for a moment. He held up his forefinger like he was shushing me and I thought he was pointing to the sky to tell me, God will provide. But then he just shrugged and scratched his scalp. “Soy is pretty nutritious,” he told me.
An excerpt of the novel by Tom LutzJanuary 16, 2020
Much later, after everything that happened, Frank no longer found much pleasure in the Great Books—he suspected they mocked him, that they, in a way, had written his own downfall, his own eventual exile.
One night, when he was seven or eight, she read her son a story from a book called These Bad Things. It was surprisingly scary, and she knew she should stop, but they were so far in. She wanted to see how it ended.
I shouldn’t leave her alone in the trailer with the dachshund when she’s just threatened to kill him, but I can’t stay; I just can’t. I push past her, out the door, keys still in hand, and start to drive.
The Gah Men were from the island. They were at once of the people, but not the people. The Gah Men used their Oxbridge training on one hand, earnest rabble-rousing speeches on the other, to broker a deal with the Ang Mohs.
The book said “Let’s talk about your new-found liberation” and I wrote “Fuck men” and the book said “Elaborate please” so I wrote “My whole life I’ve been shaping myself around boys and men” and then the book said “Show your work” so I did.
At first it was a pale shrimp curled pink inside V’s belly; now it is a mammal the size of a small cat. V feels its gnawing paws claw at her ribs, feels the burrow of its skull between her legs, a thrashing angry animal fighting at the cave where it’s been kept.
She’d cried because she had expected it to be awful, and it hadn’t been. But she felt embarrassed about the kiss, and she’d asked Sigrid if she could just lie there next to her, if it was all right just to be in bed together, and Sigrid had said, Of course, of course which had felt both like an act of mercy and an act of contrition.
The thing was, she had wished a thousand times for a different child. In moments of crisis, she wished passionately that he could be someone else, someone calmer, or more adaptable, or more like her. She hated herself for these wishes because he was also precious to her beyond reckoning.
The sun was ruthless, impressing a sense of danger with each step I took away from the road. The heat was primordial, baking through my skin, drying my muscle and bones, desiccating everything but my darkest, wettest core.
Those third and fourth nights, I cried and wailed. On the morning of the fifth day, my eyes were so swollen my father took one look at me and said, “Shiori, your face—it looks like the goldfish put a curse on you.”
Later, when the rest of the girls said they were dipping out to another bar, Fiona stayed behind. “Use a condom!” Tish had whispered in her ear before giving her a slap on the butt, like a coach sending a player out on the field.
I admit I felt something strange as I listened to the popping of the bones as they were devoured by the fire: Murad spoke, and I saw. It was grief. Grief squeezes the heart till you feel you’re about to die and your heart bleeds tears into your eyes.
We exchanged stories of our hosts in a sort of competition, observing everything they did like anthropologists or comedians. One of us slept on a fold-out couch in the kitchen. One suspected that the “uncle” who visited the family weekly, while the father was away in Switzerland, was actually the mother’s lover.
The whole right side of Nancy’s body, the side closest the ledge, prickled with horror and disgust. The wind lifted and tugged at her hair, and her head echoed with her own ineffective shouts. She stood frozen by the ledge that the baby bird had just tumbled off.
Grandmother searched the house inside and out, but I was nowhere to be found. Fearful of how Heaven might curse them and filled with pity for her daughter-in-law and poor little granddaughters, she filled a porcelain bowl with cold water, placed it on a small, legged tray and sat out back, rubbing her palms together in prayer.
I didn’t tell G that the Corporation hardly ever brings back the corpses of employees who’ve died in space; that they just collect them up for a while then thrust a batch out through an atmosphere to incinerate them.
I remembered that I’d learned Swahili, that I spoke French and German fluently. Was I a spy? I also knew Russian, Arabic, and Spanish. It was obvious that languages came easily to me. Who is this man? I kept asking myself. Who is Abby?
And a flood of racist memes, Trollface with turban and beard, Nyan Cat with turban and beard, worries about MS-13 rampages and looting, the “illegals” who are waiting to murder your family as civil society cracks.
But there was no Goldilocks in his story. There were only the Wolfs, who lived together in a cave above a town. Big Wolf, Middle Wolf, and Little Wolf. Big Wolf was a brute. Little Wolf was timid. Middle Wolf was the peacemaker.
The first three months of the start-up they’d worked out of Donny’s room in the “Entrepreneurs’ Dorm,” but that hadn’t lasted long. Thank God, really, because it smelled like a dorm room, and there was always pee on the toilet seat, just like in the twins’ bathroom at her house.
How funny to hear Grandpa Zhang say something other than, “I’ve got candies!” He seemed very excited to have some duties at last. When I stuck my head out of my window to greet him, he put on a serious look and shouted, “The typhoon’s coming. Close your windows, little Qin! Stay safe.”
For that one night, the moon takes away our animal memory and illuminates our past, our present, and our hopes for the future. It makes you feel sick and deranged and filled with unbearable and exquisite longing. It drives us nuts.
She banged on the elevator door with her left fist and then fumbled through her purse. All she had that approximated a weapon was a ballpoint pen. Her purse revealed some tawdry, ill-conceived faith in human nature. The elevator door made a deep, echoing thud as she hit it, and the doors remained shut.
Before a seizure, I’d get really cold. It felt like a chill, one that crept up on you while lying in bed or washing dishes, just a shiver. But the chill didn’t shake a limb. It’d lay me down and take minutes from me. It’d put me on the moon.
You’re twenty-two in 1975, and you’re with your bud walking past the candy store at the beach where the kids hang out, and you see two eighth-grade girls hanging out. Do you say: a) nothing b) anything or c) “Two more years.”