Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. Waves of green light, like brisk streams in the air, flowed steadily. Someone from a long time ago told him that these soothing Northern Lights were actually the result of a quite violent atmospheric phenomenon: particles from the sun slamming into the atmosphere, sinking into its cracks at the Earth's poles, drowning into an endless sky. He didn't want to remember. He would've seen them if he had looked up before walking into the liquor store—but he stopped looking up a while ago.
A Meal In A Minute
Burned by a red bead of pasta sauce—a consequence of choosing to heat the contents of his can of Chef Boyardee in a saucepan rather than the microwave—Luca turned down the dial on the electric burner. He’d cut himself on the can’s edge a few minutes ago, and now the bleeding edge of his palm absorbed into his sweat-stained work shirt as he stirred the pot with his left hand. Steam tucked itself between his fingers, settled onto his bare shoulders, burrowed into the premature creases of his forehead, making him itch. Wiping the moisture from his eyebrows with his shirt-hand, Luca resolved to never work in an American restaurant. He was sweaty enough.
- V+ Fiction Award Winner
Girl Wants a CigaretteV+ Fiction Award Winner
That morning, Emma had stopped at the smoke shop on the corner of her block and impulsively bought a pack of cigarettes— a brand she’d never tried, since they had discontinued Nat Sherman’s that summer, and she’d been trying to figure out what she liked ever since. Nat’s, these were called. Close enough. She had wanted to try one as soon as she bought them— the cashier, after glancing at the clock, 8:13AM, had even offered her matches, she declined— but she had realized too late that she had forgotten her lighter at home, and so could only break open the plastic wrap and peek into the metal lining at the twenty neatly-rolled menthol cigarettes. Stepping outside, so entranced by the packaging that she tripped over the uneven concrete just outside the shop, she plucked one from its box. As Emma rolled the cigarette between her thumb and forefinger, Emma asked God to grant her a passerby with a lighter as she walked towards the subway station. The prayer was left ungranted.