A Good Neighbor
Something evil overcame Larry on Thursday. It went like this: Larry, an Eagle Scout, a churchgoer, a part-time trombonist, systems analyst and news-watcher, was also a watcher of the neighborhood. Elbows pressed against the silver star in the center of the steering wheel, hands at something like 12:00 and 12:30, he passed through the Cottonwood Cove gate at a crawl (the gate kept out all the unsavory characters who might try skateboarding, or listening to loud music that wasn’t jazz, or doing drugs, or otherwise ruining the neighborhood). In front of the McMaynerberry house, the grass was an inch too long. Giraffe topiaries at the Bernards’ place had overgrown ears and tails. The Prescotts were patronizing a lemonade stand surely established without a vendor permit, as the proprietors were children. And, worst of all, the brown paper box meant for the Northrops was still an eyesore on the kitchen island. He’d hoped it would do away with itself. Just disappear when he came home. But the package didn’t have legs and nobody else in the house was using theirs, so there it stayed, ugly, beckoning, a curiosity with no return address or shipping information. Larry wanted it open. The problem was putting it back together.
- Top Story - December 2023
Unsung Hero Top Story - December 2023
I hung out at Madigan Park all the time when I was a kid. Back then it wasn’t Madigan—it was just the park, the place my friends and I went to get stoned under the bigass birds-of-paradise that sang after a few joints. Now it’s nothing. Those birds-of-paradise—most of them older than I am—burned in the fight. The stinky torreya the mayor planted for his birthday is black and barely standing. Faulkner’s founder is flat on his face with a broken nose, which my partner has been trying to slip into my pocket for the last ten minutes. Even the playground is now a McDonald’s-colored puddle and the lawns are black where the last embers aren’t glowing.
The Last Apocalypse
They’re all dead. Every leaf limp and bleached of chlorophyll, every flower shriveled and brittle, every stem hunched and wilted. Why now? Why, after weeks of normal growth in the Martian soil, do crops that were bred for this planet look like they’ve been poisoned? I pull a leaf from a skeletal tomato plant and run my thumb across its dry veins, shattering it. The right answer is often the most obvious.
Starfield Makes Me Feel Like I’m Fourteen Again
Fourteen was a rough age for me. Isn’t it for everyone? My dad had just passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I had always been a straight A student and now I was failing my classes. My awkwardness rivaled that of Tina Belcher.
- Top Story - June 2023
I Got a Pilot’s License and a Bachelor’s Degree. Then I Got a Job at Walmart.Top Story - June 2023
I first encountered classism in the third grade. While all my classmates read silently after lunch on Friday, I, a gifted child, went to my special program down the hall. We did artwork, made movies, learned things the other kids weren’t learning. Why? Because of meaningless standardized test scores.
He Wanted a Son
2006 The airplane with the long tail and longer wings turns toward the runway and soon it will be my turn to occupy the right seat. I’m shaking, walking in circles with my arms folded over my chest. Daddy loves to fly but I’m not so sure. I’m only six, after all. I’m not even sure I know all the days of the week yet.
How to Take Great Selfies
Have you been feeling down about yourself lately? Maybe you’ve been wondering why everyone else looks so stunningly gorgeous in their Instagram posts and feel ugly in every photo you take. I used to feel the same way. Then I discovered their secret.
TITLE The International LOGLINE In this mockumentary-style sitcom, a bright-eyed university student accepts an internship at an international airport. While she explores the ins and outs of its operations, she begins to see the truth: the airport’s biggest sponsor may also be its greatest enemy.
The Drowning of the Phoenix
TRAGEDY IN SIN CITY — LOS ANGELES MAN FOUND DEAD IN PHOENIX CASINO POOL July 8, 1972 — Michael Powell, 34, was found dead in the Phoenix Casino pool last Wednesday. Preliminary investigations have ruled his death an accidental drowning, likely a result of intoxication.
On Birds at the Airport
It’s 07:30 and I’m still not awake, which wouldn’t be all that concerning except I’ve just driven thirty miles and I don’t remember any of them. Now Bobby is driving me around the abandoned golf course just south of the international airport, creeping over old golf cart tracks I don’t see until we’re on them.
Tashi walks Nima outside. Dawn paints the valley in shades of grey—she’s leaving even before the colors wake. Low, wooly clouds cling to the peaks, spitting rain on the aluminum awning. He pulls Nima close. Hopes it won’t be the last time. Makes note of how her body feels against his, just in case. Then he lets go.
- Runner-Up in Unexpected Uncovering Challenge
DualityRunner-Up in Unexpected Uncovering Challenge
The neighbors’ chickens have escaped again. From his place on the sofa, Leo watches them peck at the front lawn. Mindless little prehistoric creatures with only one motivation: finding food. It’s the same reason Leo keeps his stupid job at the stupid bank in the stupid part of town with all the stupid mistimed traffic lights. Food. That’s one thing they have in common.