Christmas In July
When mom left us, dad said she went up to the North Pole to do some marketing work for Santa Claus and she’d be back as soon as her contract was up, so now every time one of those used car commercials comes on advertising Christmas in July, I say to dad, “I bet that was mom’s idea,” and he laughs and laughs.
A Revolution of Things Colliding
Sitting in the faux-leather swivel chair in his bedroom, laptop open, the fly of his jeans unzipped, his wife out to lunch at the Tabard Inn, finally, finally he understood why, day after day, Jillian Jenkins allowed him that funny half-cocked smile as they passed in the third-floor hall of the Biology building, why her eyes squinted or squinched or created something like a sunset wink, not afraid of his furtive gaze, not at all afraid, because he, Mr. Martin, Professor Martin, was the one who’d been caught, not the other way around, and no matter what variation of the question or accusation or dumbfounded declaration he put forth—“That’s why you look so familiar”—her studied charcoal voice would say, “Everyone has to work, you know,” as if it were all that simple, as if, you know, “Who are you to judge?”
Eventually, you become so good at expressing yourself that you have to stop talking.
It took weeks of answering questions on a nationally televised game show I somehow ended up on, though I never watch it, and beating out the competition by sheer dumb luck; but I have won, and I am going to be Telepath for a Day (they can do that, though the headaches are terrible and after a day you die); or at least that is what everyone around me—studio, streets outside, apartments in this and every other city in the nation—is thinking, and who am I to argue?
Artists Need to Eat Too
Dorothy folded her dreams into a box and promised she’d be back for them later, her black loafers silent as she descended the folding attic stairs.
A stranger’s knee touches mine; I didn’t ask for it to be there—but it’s the only warmth I’ve had all day—so I press into it and read my book: on the next page, a forgotten birch keeps on living.
Mom asked me to text you to let you know that she survived, and also that she’s coming for you.
The sudden onset of infertility in the country inspired mixed reactions—some couples (statistically older) despaired, while others (statistically younger) rejoiced—but in either case there was a decrease in contraception, an abundance of fucking.