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The Wild Laughter

July 24, 2020
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 Book

October 30, 2019
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.

Anne of Cleves

September 19, 2019
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.

Better

August 12, 2019
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.

Doppelgängers

May 28, 2019
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.

Nugrybauti

April 24, 2019
In Lithuania, going astray while picking mushrooms is a common experience, with its own word. The same word is used to describe veering from the plot of a story—like my father did when he talked about his time in Vietnam.

Iceland

April 24, 2019
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.

Princess Bari

April 15, 2019
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.

Come With Me

November 22, 2018
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.

A Very Good Man

November 12, 2018
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.”