The Things They Were Wrong About

Melissa didn’t know why she was surprised that you could see all the gum stuck to the parking lot. You could see it right through the clunky gray snow and ice drowned by exhaust fumes. Every frostless patch shone with a newer squashed piece of color against the old, worn black tar. She imagined future…

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The Hungry Man

The burgers sizzled on the griddle. Bun, lettuce, onions and ketchup off to the side. I glance at the ticket. Drop the fries into the famished Canola oil. Nine more orders are tugging at my grease-tipped sleeves. Bring it on. I’m in the zone, slinging meat and killing potatoes. Sweat leaking from my ball cap….

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A Tattoo

She got a freaking tattoo! The nose piercing last year wasn’t enough. She had to get a Celtic arm band tattoo. She’s not even Irish. I blame Janice for this—introducing liberal ideas into our home like some greenie on a mission. Still, when I told her, I expected her to be upset. I should have…

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My Heart Grows Heavier

My center grows cold and heavy. In Nagasaki, the winter months move on slowly. With my cast iron heart planted firmly in my chest, I find that simple tasks have now become difficult: getting out of bed, grooming myself, getting ready for work. The heater has been on the fritz—that, or my Welsh roommate and…

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Racetrack Massacre

Look at it this way. They forced you to wear a hair net. Because your locks were too long for the rusted chicken-fried-steak trailer, that grease-pit concession-stand prison uglifying the edge of the racetrack. As if the orangutan with rotted-out teeth on the other side of the counter, the dude standing there with chewing-tobacco drool,…

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Clear Days

They scare me. Give me blizzards but not a blue day with a ground of ice and a T-Rex bite to the air. She enters the kitchen in a white tank and short shorts. The slink of corn flakes into her bowl stings. The stillness gets me most of all: inescapable frost that digs the…

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