2 231
Grant Bailie

I was lying in the tub the other morning, trying not to contemplate the ever increasing amount of water I displace, when I chanced to look up at the bathroom ceiling. Believe me, this was the best of my chance-looking options.

And glancing at that ceiling I remembered as a young boy fantasizing about walking on ceilings in general, as if this would be the greatest of supernatural powers: to look at the world anew all upside and excitingly foreign. In my youth I could imagine happy day after day strolling along the ceilings of the family home, surprising my sister, freaking out the mail-man, finding out what all that stuff was that my mom put on top of the refrigerator.

John Hicks

I seen you know who back there. Set fire to a TV and took pictures.


Poured gasoline on it and burnt it up. Seen him do it.

Wheres them pictures?

Where what?

Them pictures.

It was him took pictures Harmon.


John Hicks

It’s a beautiful fall morning in Hillbilly Paradise, Alabama.

Oh, goodness. I always have too much to write about and on top of that people are always giving me good ideas, which I never write down and often forget.

When I do make notes to myself, they are cryptic and worthless. I was working on a story not too long ago. I’d finished writing for the evening. I’d already powered down the PC when a story thought zinged through my brain. The thought seemed so crucial I decided to write it down.

Here’s what I ended up scribbling in pencil on the back of a bank statement: EVERYTHING THAT COULD POSSIBLY MATTER. (Block letters. I’ve been printing in block letters since junior high. I thought it looked better. Perhaps it was a cry for help. That’s entirely likely.)

Yes, that was my crucial thought in all its glory – EVERYTHING THAT COULD POSSIBLY MATTER.

Jimmy Gabacho

It was windy when we left the museum at Daley Plaza; we walked several blocks trying to decide what we were going to do. Since that section of Dallas doesn’t have much going for it until after dark, we caught a cab back to the hotel. When we arrived, we found my youngest daughter had been traumatized into semi-catatonia by the noises coming from the suite next door. She was in shock, her face was white, and her hands were cold. We revived her by putting her hands under warm water and promising to take her shopping. Soon after, she explained what had happened. After a terrible, overpriced breakfast at the hotel, she returned to bed with a stomach ache, hoping to get some rest. The young couple with three little children next door had other plans. The little monsters had been wailing like banshees since seven o’clock that morning and they hadn’t even come up for air. They were slamming doors, jumping off the bed, and screaming at each other all morning.

By ten o’clock the grandparents showed up to take the three little bastards out for the day, and try to run some of their energy off. So, for a few brief minutes, things were quiet. Nonetheless, as soon as the kids were out the door, the parents decided it was time for butt-spanking, headboard-banging, and livestock-sounding sex. The cattle sounds echoed down the hall.

My youngest daughter exclaimed, “It was horrible! What do people do that for?”

John Hicks

Communicating with mother is tough. Sometimes you just have to sit there and listen to her yammer.

You know you can’t get out of the conversation. It’s your mother, who carried you in her womb for nine months.

Splattered with unpleasantness, you just sit there in it, because someone must.

I’m in the yard, next to the clothesline. I was walking away from another pointless exchange, but I have stopped, because mother is not finished.

I always stop at least once. Then I feel I have performed my daughter duty for the day.

She is leaning out the screen door, yelling at me to do something about my hair. Yammer yammer yammer. You hope, stupidly, for a significant event. A mushroom cloud, or the sudden return of Christ.

The sky is blue and the zinnias are in full bloom. Pink, orange, yellow, red, purple. The breeze is exquisite. I’m in my grass-cutting clothes, a pair of my father’s khakis and a blue-cotton work shirt, satiny to the touch.

“You can’t tell me how to wear my hair. I’m an adult. I’m lucky to even have hair, mother, because you are enough to make anyone’s hair fall out. You don’t understand boundaries. That’s why you don’t have any friends. People don’t, you don’t … You say things only a crazy person would say.”