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Fiction and Drama

The Assignment

The Assignment

The farmhouse, or mansion, or whatever it is, looms in front of her, like a sunken ship raised for salvage

The approach to the farmhouse is not meant for walking, and Bibi feels that she is barely making any progress. The haze blankets her surroundings, giving her approach a dreamlike quality as images come into focus like memories and dissolve like dreams. Slashes of moss-green lawn, the sharp, blue inhalation of what is perhaps a swimming pool. Bibi wonders why swimming pool floors are always painted blue and if this has anything to do with the sky and the ocean. She wonders what it would be like to swim in the ocean and look up at a blue sky.

The GrubHub of Human Affliction

The GrubHub of Human Affliction

Soul and speed aren’t two words you hear together too often. But here . . .

We had a color-coded system for managing the hierarchy of suffering: green was for welfare snafus, lead paint violations, legal procedural errors, fertilizer-related illness, corporate malfeasance and minor environmental damage; yellow was for assault in jail, wrongful conviction, citywide poisoning, retaliatory solitary confinement, grievous and preventable workplace injuries, strikebreaking at the national scale, anti-labor espionage of any kind; red was for police murders, police or military torture, counter-radical operations involving violence or murder, war crimes (many of these last categories pertaining to refugees who had lost their homes or family members to American military campaigns).

Little Miss Bigmouth

Little Miss Bigmouth

Summer has always been problematic for me.

When she’s in a state of panic, my mother bargains with the Lord and imposes fioretti on herself: no eating sweets, no going to the movies, no reading magazines, no listening to Rai Radio 3, for weeks, months, years. These days she can’t go to the hairdresser’s or watch TV. Sometimes the combination is no Radio 3 and no sweets. Or no coffee and no new shoes. She mixes them, matches them — it depends.

The Ellipse Maker

The Ellipse Maker

There was an asymmetry, but he couldn’t find it

It was disappointing that these devices didn’t operate on different principles. The sameness suggested that the mystery in them was limited, that the idea behind them was a known form that Jacob hadn’t encountered before only because he didn’t know very much about the world.

Ace

Ace

Tonight was SmackDown!

We transformed the living room into an arena. Hauled the coffee table from the center of the room and carried it into the dining room. Removed objects that could cause a freak accident — a statue sitting on a low mantle that my parents picked up on their honeymoon, the fireplace poker we never used. We took the cushions and pillows from the couch and spread them across the floor, covered sharp edges with throw blankets and with my bedroom comforter.

Area of Isolation

Area of Isolation

Stand over the toilet. Sway

So much of life is spent not having sex. Put the kitchen in order, clean the bathroom, print the report, return the call, keep the dental appointment, get the car out of the shop. But this isn’t about us at all: it’s about some deal. So let it happen, see what it really is. Watch the ball go up, up over the formalized landscape, lost in bright overcast.

Baby

Baby

I guess when someone drinks your piss, you feel like they know you a little

When things were slow on the floor, I liked to duck into the locker room and study the clipboard. To me it was like poetry, this ever-changing list of all the girls on that night. Angelina, Kitty, Buttercup. I tried to memorize them all. Who could make the whole world bend to her? Scarlet, Candy, Foxy, Grace.