How could he have known that as a drugged up satanic metalhead, killing & burying a cat in a building site one night so long ago with friends he’s since lost track of, that now, after 13 years as a financial advisor, to give his kids more room, he would be buying the house that stood on its grave.
--Julian Baker, London, UK
Hiking Out of South Feather
At Post Creek we 3 shouldered our boats and climbed out. The others eased downstream 1 mile and got a night in the starlight suite with inflated pillows, maybe a space blanket. Lessons of the day: don't be the leader of the clown show, and know when to thumb a ride with bear hunters from Willows.
--Daren Commons, Santa Cruz, CA
Dr. Strangelust and Mr. Love
My neighbor's cat is passed out on the ugly, orange couch my ex-girlfriend suggested I buy for $25. (Reduced to $20, after I bargained with the guy at the thrift store.) My neighbor's cat got into a patch of burrs the other day. I picked each burr out, one by one, while he purred and loved me.
--Sam Edmonds, Spokane, WA
They left me at the place of impact. With the electrons swirling around the center, she yelled back "Must you always be so still when we crash."
--Fish Fishtofferson, Alameda, CA
For Your Grandmother
Your grandmother does not like Calvino. She is letting you know this right now. “You’ve read Calvino?” you ask, frankly amazed. She has. In fact, unbeknownst to you, she started reading your copy while you were sitting right there at the kitchen table, line editing a story.
--Megan Fitzgerald, Santa Cruz, CA
Soon You Lose Touch With Both
His beautiful wife killed the year before in SUV rollover, your friend says he's doing all right, but he can't relax. Talking to your wife, a dark fresh young Colombiana, your friend gives her his full attention. Your wife's friend is put off, she has enough problems with her boyfriend. She turns.
--Sesshu Foster, Alhambra, CA
The Last Cigarette
As he finally caught a first dim glimpse of the cave's fabled wonders, Roger thought he'd earned a smoke for his travails. As he greedily put a cigarette to his lips, he tried to recall Evans' warning about the place. Too late, he realized it might have had something to do with matches.
--Seana Graham, Santa Cruz, CA
Here's t' You
That bottle told the cops. I said she’d be back, but they’d found the body and then me, drinking her bubbly. What I’d shot was shot already, though, before the gun, back when she said, “Y’re dead’n’gone f’ me” and raised a fluted glass with that sharp-ass smile beneath the eyes I’d fallen into once.
--T.C. Marshall, Felton, CA
I could kill that bloody bird. I imagined tying it up and leaving it by the cat flap just like a villain trussing up a heroine and leaving her on the train tracks. When I returned I found it in three neat pieces. I stared at the cat flap. I was standing by the tracks. There was blood on my hands.
--Richard Ross, San Francisco, CA
Everyone has to hold on to something during the apocalypse. We need it, to keep us human. We have lost so much, scattered across the land. And why not? There are so many parts to choose from.
--Katie Sparrow, Santa Cruz, CA