Apr/May 2024

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(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Drives That Are Not Towards Health

Most of our babies today do morph. The morphing (or "going aquatic") may cause great distress. They may even air-drown, if they grow their gills suddenly and are not transferred quickly to the big tank. We maintain the nursery with its direct access to the big tank for this purpose. I did not know before I began working here that sometimes they anticipate the morph on their own. It must be down deep in their infant bodies somewhere. Days or weeks ahead, they will begin to build bogs for themselves, claw out the bottom of a good bassinet, nudge sippy cups of water over to create muck. Suffice it to say there are a lot of false bottoms here in the nursery, not enough firma in the terra. These babies cause real issues for us.

Rachel Hinton


It was on that pink bed that I was born, having decided to emerge into this world two weeks ahead of schedule, on Christmas Day no less, the year the Berlin Wall fell. When my mother's water broke, our geriatric Maluch car refused to start, taxis were reporting wait times of over two hours, and the ambulances were too busy saving old lives to cater to new ones, so Joanna Kwaśniewska made an executive decision, ordering her daughter-in-law to be moved to the best bed in the house: hers. A nurse during WWII, she proved more than capable in this time of crisis and delivered me into this world with all my toes and fingers intact.

Adam Mieczyński

Jae Kim's Korean Market

Many years later, once Hong passes away, his daughters Sara and Leanne will be dumbstruck by the amount of money their dad has left for them in his will. While they eventually do figure out the source of his fortune, they'll never understand why he kept the money under wraps his whole life. Or, why he continued to work at Jae Kim's right up until he died.

AJ Francia

My Mother and Your Mother

Cripple Creek is not a big place. Our mothers would have known each other even if we hadn't been next-door neighbors. They probably would have been friends no matter what. And maybe they would have stopped being friends no matter what, too. My brother says they fought about money, something with money, but that doesn't seem likely to me. My dad thinks it was to do with some boy from their past. No one cares that much what they fought about, though.

Jessy Randall

Kitchenless Houses

He had another house though. It was custom built in the desert outside of Indio. When the lawyer who drew up the trust pointed it out to me in the document, I was taken aback, and then, after a few seconds of thought, overcome with this uncanny feeling he had led a secret life. The lawyer could only shrug. His office was in a Westminster strip mall. I remember parking there was difficult. You had to park in an alley, and I dreaded going there. It's the kind of weird detail that sticks with you.

Bryan D. Price

The Last Blue-Tailed Skink

My mother slams the book shut and turns the radio up, drowning him out. A soothing NPR radio voice reports they've opened the new underwater Disney World in Orlando. Bobby asks if we can go, and my mother immediately snaps that we can't afford it. I get it, she doesn't like being confronted with her own limitations. Me, neither. Despite her pissy mood, the day is full of promise. Sitting behind her, it's hard not to imagine my fingers reaching out and flicking her in the back of her head. My fingers reach for my earlobes instead, feeling the hard masses where my ears are pierced, squeezing until my eyes prick.

Lauren Mirzakhalili

The Rat

Later, when I was telling this story, I added a knife. But the truth is, there was no knife. I think I added the knife to seem braver than I actually was.

Yura Riphyak