A Different Way Home

A long, long time ago, there was a little town, and in that little town, there was a family,
and in that family, there was a girl.

The girl was not the sort of girl whom you would have noticed. She was neither beautiful,
nor talented. She wasn’t well spoken; she didn’t wear fancy clothes or get the best grades
in school. She did know people, and would sometimes even have lunch with them, but
she had never been invited to anyone’s house, to go for a movie night, a birthday party, a
sleepover…

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Activities of Daily Living

On the first day of his family leave, Roy locked the knives in the gun safe. He stared at the butter knives for a while, and deciding they were fine, put them on the magnetic strip Jenny hung when they moved in. He took a step back, crossed his arms, and appraised the new setup. It reminded him of a model kitchen he might see in Sears or something from a child’splayhouse. It would have to be enough, he decided; there wasn’t time to dismount the strip before he had to leave. He took the safe key out of his pocket and hung it at the end of the strip. He got in his car and drove to the hospital.

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Threshold

I was distracted reading a work email on my phone when I first pulled the letter out of my mailbox and didn’t notice the address until I reached my apartment. It was meant for my unit, 3A, but in the next building over–the twin of my own. Bold green font promising a special offer inside meant it had to be junk mail, and for a moment my mood fell as I considered tossing it in the recycling. Instead, I left it on the counter and went to change out of my shirt and tie.

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The Night Neil Armstrong Walked on the Moon

Ginny’s sister, Janet, took the photo, after the first pitcher of martinis, a black and white still in its Kodak envelope that I unearthed yesterday in my old Navy sea chest. In the photo Ginny sits in an Adirondack chair, the chair with the missing slat in the back. We’re in Annapolis, the backyard of Ginny’s parent’s house. You can’t tell the chair’s color or the house’s color but I remember the chair was green and the house, once a vacation home, was a faded brown. The house sprawled along the bank of the Severn. Water moccasins inhabited the riverbank – their presence never seemed to bother anyone except me.

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The Foster Child

They came trooping into my third-grade classroom dressed in red and decorated for the Holidays. Antlers set at action angles, reindeer with blinking noses on thick sweatshirts, and heads weighted with Santa hats. They brought sprinkled cupcakes in lonely plastic modules, fudge in pans crusted on the sides from last month’s party, and off-brand coke and orange soda in extra-large bottles.

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Cruise Girls

Kim gazed out the huge windows of Sea View Dining. Outside the cruise ship was blue without borders. No end to its sapphires. The window rose from floor to ceiling and on either side a line of huge, spotless rectangles of glass continued, rimming the expanse of the hall. Behind her on the various food lines was a profusion of cuisines and food displayed. Though she and Jawayne usually ate downstairs with other staff, today they enjoyed privilege—a dining hall meant for guests.

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Grandpa’s House

Grandpa was a hero and a martyr. During the war he fought with the Nazis, was caught by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp, where he spent well over two years. When the war was over, he struggled with the Polish communists. This, however, did not prevent him from having a career as he was arguably the best specialist in shipbuilding this side of the Berlin Wall

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Emergence

Snake fangs appeared in the mirror. Sharp and grizzled white, pointed towards the surrounding emptiness, drawing more from the dark space than the matter it occupied.
The powder room by the kitchen, small and poorly ventilated, smelled acrid, but still vaguely reminiscent of a home cooked meal, not the strictly bathroom smell of piss and shit, but like food that had only just begun to digest, a little too sweet.

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DNR

The first time Aras stumbled into the backyard, drunk and grinning, I didn’t think much of it. He’d no doubt found some hot dick and lost the ability to say no. I looked up and instantly knew the whole story. I’d seen gay men on television. No matter what you are, there’s a show made just for you. The house manager, Luther, had sprung for deluxe cable: movie channels, sports, music, whatever freaky shit TLC slaps on the screen.

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