“The helium’s rise” available at WhiskeyPaper

My story, “The helium’s rise,” is now available at WhiskeyPaper.

“Five-year-old Cornelia has hacked off her hair with pink scissors. Her mother walks in and sees long locks, peach-scented, corn-husk blond, scotch-taped to a doll’s rubber head.

The doll needed hair, Cornelia says, her voice a whispered poem, her scabbed knees cratering the carpet. Who knows why they’re scabbed? The girl is reckless, always running, always falling. The scabs never get a chance to heal.” Continue here.

“The final accident report filed by National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Maxwell Burns” ends its run at Novella-T

My novella, “The final accident report filed by National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Maxwell Burns,” ended its run this week over at Novella-T. It was serialized and sent to subscribers in four parts beginning Sept. 1.

“Passenger 1 is not afraid to fly. He is not afraid of anything. When he was twelve years old and his stepfather pressed the barrel of a gun to his temple and told him that he, the stepfather, was not be fucked with, Passenger 1 paused briefly for effect before responding coolly that he wasn’t afraid. He didn’t know why he wasn’t afraid. He’d somehow just always known that there isn’t anything in life he can’t handle, so there is really no reason to fear anything ever, especially not a pudgy repressed asshole like his stepfather.” 

 

“Vorkov’s Angel” appears in Juked Magazine

My short story “Vorkov’s Angel” is now live over at Juked Magazine.

Snow is swirling in suburban skies and piling up quickly on the sagging roof of the Perpetual Winter Hockeyrena. Inside the building, Coach Vladimir Vorkov paces behind plexiglass and smokes a cigarette against league and rink policy. His attention is divided. Foremost it is tracing the glacial action on the ice. Vorkov is at the same time thinking that the detention and torture of wayward human souls must be tricky, tragic business—a thought that on the surface seems to be totally unrelated to his primary concern but actually intersects with it, is intersecting here and now, in an entirely confounding but sort of interesting way, that is if the whole thing weren’t so dire on so many levels. Continue here.

“Leveling” appears in Per Contra

My short story “Leveling” appears in Issue 40 of Per Contra.

It was gray and cloudy but hot as shit. We were sweating through our t-shirts as we rode our bikes alongside the gridlocked highway, a stretch overrun by stoplights and big-box stores and Korean barbecue joints. Past the windshield repair place, past the massage parlor, past the tire store we rode through the heat and exhaust, half-inflated inner-tubes hung around our necks. I had a nice chrome bike because I’d stolen it, whereas Allen and James had nice bikes because their parents had money. Continue here.

 

“Impermanent Ink” appears in Hobart’s 2016 baseball issue

My essay “Impermanent Ink” appears in Hobart’s 2016 baseball issue.

In the summer of 1987, my father took me to my first minor league baseball game. At the time I only vaguely understood the hierarchy of professional baseball. It didn’t matter to me that most of the players I was going to see that night would never step on a Major League field – these guys were pros, and I was excited to watch them play.

I was seven years old. I had disproportionately large teeth and, potentially, a mullet (I know unequivocally that I had a truly horrific mullet during this era of my childhood, but the exact chronology is a little hazy). I was just learning to play baseball, blissfully unaware that I was already nearing the peak of my trajectory as a player. I topped out somewhere between the daily whiffle ball games in my backyard and little league, but I very quickly acquired the hallmarks of lifelong fandom. I collected baseball cards. I memorized stats. I watched my hometown team, the Seattle Mariners, consistently lose in the gloomy confines of the Kingdome. Continue here.

“Guardians” appears in Pithead Chapel

“Guardians” is now live over at Pithead Chapel.

“I’m so sick of this place.” We are standing sixty feet apart and our line of vision is blocked intermittently by passing shoppers, but I can see Prateek’s lips moving as he says this. The sound of his voice lags an imperceptible moment behind. “These people, these products,” he says. “The whole thing makes me want to off myself.”

This is our job: wear royal blue, store-issued polo shirts and pleated khaki pants while standing imposingly at opposite ends of the store entrance’s massive bank of sliding doors. Continue here.

“Some thoughts I noted while standing above a slow-moving river” appears in Gulf Stream

“Some thoughts I noted while standing above a slow-moving river” is now live at Gulf Stream.

I was with my sister the first time I jumped from the trestle. We were too young to drive, but she was pretty enough to have a boyfriend with a dented orange truck that smelled of vinyl and wintergreen chewing tobacco. It had a Confederate flag sticker in the corner of the back window. My dad had lectured the boy about the sticker on multiple occasions, because it was racist, first of all, not to mention utterly incongruous with 1990s Seattle. The boy pretended to take my father seriously, but he never removed the sticker. I was sitting across from Ty in the truck’s backseat, counting the stars on the flag and registering the boom of the speakers beneath me as we rattled down the gravel road toward the river. When we parked, my sister’s boyfriend told us to go on ahead. He and my sister were going to hang out in the truck for a bit. Ty smiled at me because we both knew what that meant. Then he caught himself and shrugged apologetically, because he was my best friend and the girl in question was my sister. Continue here.