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The King of Sola Mesa

Posted on September 30th, 2013

We left a little after sundown, skipping like a stone on glasswater down the old road that used to lead to other settlements, up north of the bay. Now it just spills out from Ciudad and empties at Tierra de la Agua, past the borderlands. Mostly it’s only used by water-truckers anymore, but we hustled down in a beatup old van we’d found on the outskirts and fixed up in secret that summer. In the dark the fires in the borderland shacks winked and flickered through aluminum doorways and the whole desert seemed to twinkle like dust in new light. We were poisoned with bloodrush; I dug my fingernails into the cracked plastic of the seat cushion as the van shivered its way past…

The Melon Thief

Posted on September 30th, 2013

One morning, the melons were gone. The evening before, they sat right where intended – attached most certainly to the lovingly-tended but misplaced vine that refused to grow past spindly. We had done these melons wrong in planting them where the neighbor’s garage and dusty red Jeep stole the sunshine for most of the day, and despite our best efforts and our loving applications of worm tea and compost, we could only watch with anticipation as a few melons bulged slowly, grudgingly, into being. And one morning, they were not there. Sheared cleanly off the vine, leaving no clue or hint as to where they might have gone. Our melons were somewhat stunted and most definitely unripe, but they were ours, and we lost…

The Cream of Unknowing

Posted on September 30th, 2013

I’ll never see it again. I’m not sure it was there in the first place. It may have been a dream, or a summer night’s hallucination. On a lonely stretch of unmarked road somewhere outside of Montague, MA, walled in by dark trees and the whisking of bats overhead, I found, or thought I found, the world’s perfect soft serve.   If you’ve spent much time with your head inside a broken-down soft serve ice cream machine, you’ll understand that it is not a commodity often associated with perfection. Soft serve begins its life as an unwieldy sack of upsettingly viscous milk product weighing perhaps forty or fifty pounds. It sloshes like the innards of a giant squid as you drag it from the…


Posted on September 30th, 2013

The air felt different. I had noticed a single tree with leaves that were starting to turn, crisp, brown, die. I wished that the afternoon would never end. The sun was still warm but the breeze from the river had a certain chill to it. At first I thought this story was about a boy. I realize now that that is fictional. I made it up. This is something different. I’m not actually hungry. Food tastes different. I can’t handle the thought of it anymore. I was so lonely. I could never really count on people. They judge. They disappoint. They sleep all day, or don’t call you back, or think you’re something else. The food never judges. It is comfort, reliable, company. I…

Fatherless in Ypsilanti

Posted on September 30th, 2013

The chief problem with Michigan was that there was so goddamn much of it. And, as with anything large and obvious, its sheer accumulation of facts made it difficult to see. Which is why its disappearance at first registered only with startled birds, farmers, lake lovers, that June. Miles away, on an eastern shore, Milo would tell himself later that he felt the echo of it going when it happened, the way Kepler claimed to have felt the faint warmth of moonlight on the backs of his hands some solitary evening. Mostly because it was a good story, and mostly because of Kate.   They’d only dated for a few months, when he’d worked on Abner’s lobster pots, and she’d had the misfortune to…