She watched the men hassle the American whose painted toenails were dirty from the street. "Leave her alone." Bhai let her burka fly open. Beneath it, flowered pajamas and slippers. She kicked a coconut, a cap. All she wanted to do was play futbol. "Either wear a burka, or don't," one man yelled.
--Manjula Stokes, Santa Cruz, CA
He fingered the parcel in his waist pocket, waiting her out. Something about the neighbor cat, and the tea kettle, drew her away like a siren. He eased open the bureau and nestled the paper package in folds of linen, grunting bemusement at her shouted story. He heard cups clinking faintly and smiled.
--Jeff Eberly, Los Angeles, CA
A MATCHBOOK MEMOIR
The casino lighting was unkind. I tore a single match to light the cigarette that dangled from her mouth. Tiny words inside the matchbook cover caught my eye, and stayed with me as we stumbled inside her musty trailer. The story of a lonely man revealed in a matchbook. I hate people who smoke.
--Kathleen Parvizi, Scotts Valley CA
He found her address on the internet, bought a road atlas and drove. In Utah, he got a haircut--likely his worst ever--and asked where Young St. was. Back then, they agreed to have it. When she came out slow, he up and ran. Now, a mile more, the sign says ROAD CLOSED. How much snow buries that road?
--Decker Marshall, Charlottesville, VA