Luke | Sean Ewert

It is so hot. I am crying on a pay phone in the burning sun on the corner of 18th and Columbia Road, the center of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington DC; I am eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger and telling my friend back in Chicago my world is falling apart. I can still smell the mustard that is running down my arm. I am feeding quarters like mad into the phone to keep the call alive. I had just […]

Incinerator | Lauren Catey

For me, being a kid was the best thing ever. I know for a lot of people that is not the case at all and I’m really sorry, but for me it was great. I’m pretty sure my happiness peaked at around seven years old. My mom was a schoolteacher and my dad was a farmer, so I grew up around all of this open land with nobody else around. I lived like a fucking animal. I could just run […]

Burrito | David Barish

I had a deposition near the corner of Ashland/Milwaukee and Division. Anybody who has been there knows that when you open the car door you are greeted by the essence of La Pasadita, a treasured taqueria. Like the characters from a Warner Brothers cartoon, you are lifted off your feet and carried to its source.  I had not waited to be summoned: I knew I would be in the neighborhood, and planned to pick up a Burrito de Asada to bring […]

What’s in a Name | Miden Wood

The barista looks back up at me, Sharpie aloft over a half-caf venti soy latte. “Megan?” There have been times when I’ve allowed myself the small joy of just telling the barista: Yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, my name is Megan! And what is yours? By your nametag I’m guessing Tyler? Tyler, isn’t that nice, isn’t that a blessing, such simple names as ours? And then we would rejoice, Tyler and I, in the ease of it all.

As Easy As… | Sara Norris

American English has so many colloquialisms; expressions that have been grandfathered into our conversation. As busy as a one-armed paperhanger. He looks like he was rode hard and put away wet. It beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I could go on, but why? Whenever any of us wants to compare the task at hand to something so amazingly complicated that mere mortals should not even think about attempting it, we say, “Well, it’s not like […]

Sink, Swim, Party | Mara Sigman

I’m five and my swim class group is three levels below “Guppy.” While others are “Swordfish” and “Stingrays,” my day camp doesn’t even give us an aquatic creature name: we are “Basic Beginner – non-swimmers.” I visualize myself in “Pre-Guppy” or maybe one day “Guppy,” and eventually “Starfish.”But my little body won’t float or retain heat long enough to stay in the water for an entire swim lesson. I cling to pool gutters during swimming lessons and birthday pool parties, […]

Mozos | Bill Hillman

Excerpted from the book Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain I woke at dawn when an officer kicked my foot and walked away laughing. Laborers finished standing and securing the barricades fifty yards away. I wandered to Telefónica, the section of the bull run course near the bull ring. Beautiful young Spanish women swept past by the hundreds. I stood in the center of the street as they passed. I met eyes with them, told them bonita. Some […]

Every Single Trumpet | Maggie Andersen

The pregnancy was lovely. John and I were more in love than ever. I wore my girlfriends’ hand-me-down maternity clothes, craved apples and apple juice and applesauce. I read Louise Erdrich’s memoir about early motherhood and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I would be lying propped up in bed reading when John came home, he would tell about his day, and the baby would start to kick at the sound of his father’s voice. Every. Single. Time. We celebrated […]