IT’S A HALF-DAY PASS and Miss Crawford says it’s not a choice. It’s part of the pre-release thing. They want you to do things with your kid again to get them ready. Miss Crawford says it won’t be hard for me because I haven’t been gone that long. I’d like to say to her, how do you know, going home in that Acura every day–you can see it from the window in the upstairs can, all gold and brand new–but I just nod and say okay because I get to see Teresa and I’m not going to mess it up over her.
Published as “Endless Summer” in This Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, #14
for Paul Cody
THEY SAW ME AT THE LAKE, when I had the cast on, the one I made in the basement. They saw me messing with the trailer hitch. They came over.
“Hey,” they said, “need a hand with that?”
Guys and girls both, the young ones. That’s who went there.
a children’s story
A LONG TIME AGO in Ireland, there was a man named St. Patrick. But before he became a saint, he was just a man named Patrick. To become a saint he had to perform a miracle, and his big miracle was chasing all the snakes out of Ireland.
ALL RIGHT, SETTLE DOWN. We don’t have long so I need you to listen to me closely. Take notes if you want to but when you’re out there you’re not going to have time to check them. You’re going to have to know what I’m telling you by heart and trust it enough to use it effectively. With all the noise and everything going on it’s going to be very easy to forget things, so listen up now, all right?
Published in the Fall 1999 Issue of Ploughshares
WHY WAS IT, Janice thought, that everything took longer than you wanted?–like life. It was the last day of summer, their last day together, and all the way upstate her mother went on about Cornell–the boys she dated, the friends she made–going “oh,” and “oh!” over the radio until Janice’s head went completely blank, buzzed emptily like when she skipped her Mellaril. They’d eaten at the travel plaza Roy’s (her mother ridiculously ordering a salad), and Janice could still taste her onion rings. Outside the world ran by, bright and hot and sharp as a paper cut.