How Good I Can Be

The cakes have cracked open and shrunk in their paper cups, letting out their final gasps of moisture while dying, still in the oven. 

“Oh, Betty,” I say into my microphone, looking at her with mock-flirtation, “you’ve outdone yourself.” Betty’s cheeks redden beneath their dusty powder coating. The audience murmurs in adoration. My timing is spectacular.

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Where Water Runs

We wrote a novel together. Leaps of imagination—gender, age—opened up points of view. Prompts took us into authentic dialogue, imagined conversations, compression and expansion of time, significant details, descriptions, revision, and research.

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SAD Season

Some of us aren’t meant to survive, even if everyone is constantly telling us how. Even if we have the blueprints for everything we’ll ever need. We just keep buying the wrong pants for our blood types.

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A Guide to Living with It

Walk among petrified cacti in Arizona. Drive through the disheveled planes of Texas where dryness has cracked the earth and made it buckle. Say, “I love him, but I think he has a drinking problem.” In the time it takes to cross Texas, resolve to ask this question, which isn’t a question.

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Chloe

We feared health inspectors. We feared someone with a clipboard and a badge coming in and asking to see the back rooms, the prep kitchen, the basement. At any time someone could shut us down because of the obvious rat infestation.

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The Procession

The tiger hadn’t reacted to the looming finger. Why not? the mother thought, disappointed. Just a snarl. Or swipe of a claw. Not to hurt the boy, of course, but because that’s what tigers did. The mother was pleased the beasts did not act like real beasts, but shouldn’t they at least have the instinct to protect themselves?

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Tragedies of the Week

Wednesday was quiet, for the most part. During lunch Jerry wondered if we might have a Clear Day (CD). It’s been nearly a year and a half since we had a CD. Sam, who sits in the Productivity Stall behind me, heard us talking and wanted to start placing bets. I didn’t think it was a good bet since a CD is so rare now. Sam is always trying to predict how things turn out. I stayed out of it.

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The Bear

She looked at the soapy water and up and there was the bear, walking along the row of arborvitaes at the edge of their yard. He took a moment to register as a bear and by then was through the trees, like walking through a wall. That was all—a few seconds of his ambling. If she’d been scrubbing a dish, he wouldn’t exist.

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