Lonely Magpie

I watched his face, criss-crossed like alpaca tracks, grow paler each day, a yellow hue to his eyes that the doctor said was because his liver was quitting on him. When he died, I paid two hundred dollars to have his gold tooth extracted by a dentist from Cleves and another hundred for a Jewish jeweler to hang it on …

Drive All Night

My daughter lies curled asleep like a cat on the backseat and through the windshield I watch the hood eat up the long white line in the headlight beam. Janey sleeps too, head resting on my shoulder as I drive. The radio started fading in and out when we crossed into Utah and all I can see above the horizon …

All That Remains

My husband, John Ray Mercier, had a metal tooth. It shined gold, whenever the flames from the fire caught him smiling at me. John Ray died two months back, right before the levy broke. Doctor said it was on account of him chewing tobacco since he was a boy. But, I ain’t so sure ’bout that. Seems to me, God …

The Man We Never Knew

TERRI It’s the exact same time, each day. So regular, it’s comforting. I watch as he crosses the street, all bundled up against the cold. It’s miserable out there, gray and raw, a few snowflakes swirling in the air. He ducks under the barrier at the exit of the parking garage and cuts across mid-block, breaking into a jog as …

Wetbacks

Moonlight spills from behind the clouds, as I watch her emerge from the river. They don’t call ‘em wetbacks for nothin’. Her dress sticks to her, like a second skin, hair slicked back in a dark rope. I wait until she regains her breath, tired from the swim, then switch on the rack of spotlights on the roof of my …

Triple-J’s Bedtime Routine

My brother, John Jay Jameson, opens every door in the house before he goes to sleep. He even cracks the screen door on the back porch so, on windy nights, draughts of air roam around, causing other doors to slam shut, forcing Triple-J to get up and start his crazy routine all over again. Triple-J was the one who found …

Sad-Eyed Jesus

I take one final gulp, then dump the rest of the bottle of vodka into the sink, watching the liquid circle slowly down the plug hole. At AA, we talk a lot about each day being a chance for a new beginning. But, Father Leopold taught me that there can be no beginning without an end. He said it whenever …

How Was Your Day?

When I get home, I strip off my forensics overalls, exhausted. Another mutilated body. This time in a dumpster behind the lumber yard, bloody ligature tied in a pretty, little bow. Karolina is waiting for me on the couch, dressed in sweatpants, laughing at some TV sitcom. I lean in, and she kisses me tenderly, her hair falling forward to …

The Streak

It was the day DiMaggio began his hitting streak on May 15th of ‘41 that it all started. Every night the radio was on and I’d sit with Rat Face Lou on the tenement steps listening to every pitch. Man, it was hot that summer: over ninety every single day for two months; over a hundred some days. The kids …

Amelia’s Last Run

“Let the good times roll” shouts Amelia as she pushes her wheelchair off the crest of St Hilda’s Mount. She careers downhill, wheels clean leaving the ground as she bumps over the grassy moguls, like Franz Klammer on his gold medal run. Her hair streams out behind her, whoops of delight lost somewhere on the wind. “Crazy bitch,” I yell …