A chronological archive of short stories published in Cleaver’s quarterly literary issues from 2013 to present.

BIRTHING LESSONS by Rebecca Ackermann
BIRTHING LESSONS by Rebecca Ackermann The woman on the screen howls in agony and communion as her partner reaches into the water to grasp their child’s crown and pull him free. They are all three naked, swirling in blood and insides. Sunlight pours in from a round window above the blue-tiled tub. All three cry, the woman and her partner whisper a few words to each other, then the screen cross-fades with a video of the ocean before it turns black. “Does that bathroom come with the class fee?” jokes the pregnant woman in the multi-colored jumpsuit from the other ...
Read More
THE SOFT ANIMALS by Nathan Willis
THE SOFT ANIMALS by Nathan Willis There are four deer in the garage. They’re made of metal and they don’t have heads. Mom’s been sneaking out at night when she thinks I’m asleep. This is what she’s been working on. She wants to take them to the craft show, but she can’t get them in the trailer by herself. They’re too big. There’s a utility bucket in the corner with the leftover pieces she didn’t use. I tell her I’ll help in the morning and take the bucket. On my way upstairs, I stop in the dining room, where we ...
Read More
THE UNDERCURRENT by Mariana Sabino
THE UNDERCURRENT by Mariana Sabino The Czech woman had returned to the wrong place, that much we knew, and we weren’t about to watch out for anyone, especially this pearl smeared with oil. She arrived in one of the local public vans, not in her own car as you would expect. Taking the van could only mean money was scarce. She stepped onto the street in front of our bar, at the route’s final stop, having trouble with her bulging suitcase. We figured she must be over forty now, her face thin and pale like paper, her hair streaked with ...
Read More
INTUITION by Maggie Mumford
INTUITION by Maggie Mumford 1. An acorn appears. The orb centered on the welcome mat in the curve of the C, the WEL and the OME forming a bracket. I decide the placement is an accident of nature and that this tree part was sent by the combination of a loose stem and a strong wind. I turn the knob on the door I painted green. I step over it and into my house. The soft jazz my husband plays warms the kitchen, where he is cooking potato leek soup. I say, “It’s the strangest thing.” He nods. At this ...
Read More
NO NAME ISLAND by Lara Markstein
NO NAME ISLAND by Lara Markstein In the beginning, in that first month that they’d lived with their uncle on Aorere Drive as kids, Hamish and Kylie passed whole days in the bay. Before Stuart could go on about the cost of diesel with the lights they left on in every room, they kicked free of the breakfast table and rushed down the hillside into waters that clouded with each step, their feet skimming the soft surface of the earth. Hamish scanned the sea for stingrays, pale sprats, and sea snails with perfect spiral shells. When the tides turned, the ...
Read More
URGENT by Gemini Wahhaj
URGENT by Gemini Wahhaj When Polly’s father died, she received an outpouring of love from his friends. She was grieving by not taking any calls—no tears, no ceremony, just silence, and a total loss of appetite—but these were international calls, coming from Bangladesh, in the middle of the night, from strange-looking numbers. Her father had died in Bangladesh. Her mother had died a year before that. Polly was an only child, unmarried, living by herself in faraway Houston, where she knew few Bengalis, certainly not anyone from her parents’ past. She had left home two decades ago for a master’s ...
Read More
EXTRA CREDIT by Colette Parris
EXTRA CREDIT by Colette Parris The three of us together constitute a smidge of impurity in what would otherwise be an unadulterated cup of salt. Not the Himalania Fine Pink Salt that will run you $8.99 for ten ounces at Whole Foods. (That’s right. I just googled the price of pink salt at Whole Foods, because I’m all about precision. And while I was at it, I checked to see if gluten-free blueberry waffles are back in stock. Alas, no.) I mean the regular iodized salt that you can get for less than a dollar at Target, the salt that ...
Read More
THE CONTENTS OF MY EXES’ REFRIGERATORS by Michelle Ross
THE CONTENTS OF MY EXES’ REFRIGERATORS by Michelle Ross Andrew It was a mini fridge, so not much. Also, it was college, so mostly beer most of the time until we drank those Heineken, one by one winnowing down to whatever else remained: a package of sliced extra sharp cheddar; a Yoplait with its silver, reflective seal that you peel off, making me think of Andrew’s tube of anti-itch cream; a crinkly plastic bag holding a few wrinkled, mushy green grapes. “Are you going to eat those?” I asked him that afternoon. Unless we were making out, I sat on ...
Read More
RUNNING ALONE AT NIGHT by Charlotte Moretti
RUNNING ALONE AT NIGHT by Charlotte Moretti She chewed on a jagged piece of skin that she had pulled along her thumbnail as she drove, her right wrist dangling limply on the steering wheel. She drove quickly as she snuck glances at me—sharp, suspicious looks. I watched through a shaft of sunlight coming in from the windshield as dust billowed in through the open windows of the Jeep and settled, lazy and drifting, on my lap. Her arm was freckled like I remembered, but now the skin was loose, bunching and drooping. I wanted to touch it, to lift it ...
Read More
MEANINGFUL DEPARTURES by Eric Rasmussen
MEANINGFUL DEPARTURES by Eric Rasmussen I. McKenzie sees it coming. The party’s host is drunk: she’s laughing loud, touching everyone nearby, gesturing with the knife she’s using to cut whole pickles into spears for bloody marys. McKenzie should say something or take the knife, but this woman is the boss of the guy she came with. By the time the host raises the blade again, it’s too late. Her pinky is in the exact wrong place. McKenzie tries to yell, but her synapses can’t work that fast. The woman slams the knife down and cuts off most of her finger. Besides ...
Read More
ABLATION by Lisa Lebduska
ABLATION by Lisa Lebduska Faced with a choice between freezing or burning, my mother chose burning. Her decision surprised me because she hated Florida, where she had never lived, and she hated summers in New York, where she spent July and August with a crochet-edged hankie tucked behind her ears to catch drips of perspiration. Never known for her tractability, my mother, daughter of an odd-jobs man, had a heart that insisted its own wild beat, and a passion for cheesecake, chianti, and despising my father, who had, as she put it, "traded her in for a newer model" at ...
Read More
N ̓X̌AX̌AITKʷ, 1984 by AJ Strosahl
N ̓X̌AX̌AITKʷ, 1984 by AJ Strosahl A monster named Ogopogo lived in Lake Okanagan and Sylvester’s father Clyde had once seen it drown a bear, face first. It happened a few years before Sylvester was born, when Clyde was almost a boy himself. Clyde told Sylvester that it happened as these things do, which is to say: out of nowhere, on an unremarkable day. Clyde was fishing for perch on a stretch of shore where you could wade in, waist-deep, with your feet anchored in the silty lake bed. It was late in the day, with the sun high and ...
Read More
THE OTHER SIDE by Ann Stoney
THE OTHER SIDE by Ann Stoney When you wake up in the night, don’t flush or wash your hands. Go straight back to bed. This helps. You’ve been awake on and off. Dreams take the shape of lightning. Exaggerated versions of yourself, they crash unexpectedly, then fade away—a tide that rips, then spits you on the shore of waking. You think of tomorrow. You’ll divide the day into three parts: (1) a business activity, something practical, (2) a bit of exercise, (3) something creative, whatever that is. But when tomorrow comes, you fill the day with useless things and once ...
Read More
HOOPS by Maggie Hill
HOOPS by Maggie Hill We’re going to jail for Christmas. Sing Sing. Ossining, New York. My brother Bobby and I ride in the back seat, the both of us held captive by images of branch, stone, sky going in the other direction. Our mother and father—the both of them, together—ride up front, not talking. It’s supposed to snow. “Kate, crack your window a little to get the smoke out,” my father says. She does. It is immediately freezing. Bobby, whose seat is behind the front passenger, my mother, looks at me as if it is my fault. I got sick ...
Read More
WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP, WHY DON’T YOU SPEAK UP? by Amy Savage                                                   
WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP, WHY DON’T YOU SPEAK UP? by Amy Savage “What do you call the men? Ballerinos?” Sophie’s mother asked at intermission, frowning. “Some of them need another layer down there. You can see all their parts.” She ran her fingers through her bushy gray bob and sighed. “I’m just so lusty for men,” she said. “I’m never satisfied. And I’m dog-tired of being teased.” It was Sophie’s turn to sigh. She’d saved up as a receptionist at the women’s clinic downtown to take her mom to Swan Lake for Christmas, and this was the first thing ...
Read More
CONCERNING RITA HAYWORTH by Kim Magowan
CONCERNING RITA HAYWORTH by Kim Magowan “So what do you do?” George says, then winces. “Sorry! Reductive question.” “At least you waited until we each had a glass of wine.” Cora examines her hands, the body part she used to be most vain about, though now even the candlelight picks out age spots. “Since that question always involves paying jobs, I’ll start with what I did.” She tells him about the newspaper, the many years when she felt like one of the lucky elite who actually enjoyed her job. Then, more recently, the grim years, the waves of layoffs, the ...
Read More
LEFTOVERS by Regan Puckett
LEFTOVERS by Regan Puckett I almost had a husband once, but we never made it to the wedding. Now, he’s someone else’s husband, with a baby announcement on Facebook and a house two towns over. Our last date, we went to an Italian restaurant that served brown bread in gold baskets and didn’t list prices on the menu. A couple’s restaurant. You can always tell who the married ones are. The quiet ones who sit like crumpled napkins and don’t share dessert, eyeing everyone but their own lovers with unreserved curiosity. Visualizing each new body, craving them the way my ...
Read More
SEVEN STARTS TO THE WOMAN WHO WENT OVER THE FALLS IN A BARREL by Frankie McMillan
SEVEN STARTS TO THE WOMAN WHO WENT OVER THE FALLS IN A BARREL Annie Edson Taylor, 1901 by Frankie McMillan 1 Picture the cold dark inside of the barrel. Annie feeling her way over the padded mattress to a harness hanging from the side. The barrel sways in the water. Picture her fastening herself upright into the harness, pulling the leather strap tight across her chest. Picture Annie flailing about, she can’t find her lucky heart-shaped pillow. Now picture the barrel picking up speed, with the current, heading straight towards the falls. 2 It’s not as if falling was something ...
Read More
NIGHTS WHEN I’M TIRED by Peter Amos
NIGHTS WHEN I’M TIRED by Peter Amos Mom fell asleep around Labor Day that year and the slumber was deep. Dad bagged the recycling, drove to school on weekdays, spread his papers across the living room floor in the afternoons, and asked me often if I needed anything. I always told him no, but each Sunday when I’d finished my chores, I’d wait at the kitchen table for the chunk-chunk-putputput-whirrrrrr of the lawnmower in the backyard, then venture upstairs to see if Mom had stirred. One Sunday evening in October, Dad was changing the mower blade out by the shed ...
Read More
AUTOPSY OR, THE HOUSE OF YOUTH (LIKE A RUSSIAN MOUNTAIN) by J.M. Parker
AUTOPSY OR, THE HOUSE OF YOUTH (LIKE A RUSSIAN MOUNTAIN) by J.M. Parker I kept a hand-written note, on creased but still clean typing paper, wedged into the pages of a book Dear Sweetheart― You’ve got the tv program and today’s newspaper― some white wine in the fridge, and the end of a bottle of red one on the table, and another one and pastis in the kitchen― I don’t know what time I’ll be back but until that moment I kiss you― Frédéric Also, if the phone rings let the answering machine answer―see you― I’d kept a photo of ...
Read More
LAB RAT VENGEANCE by Sarah Schiff
LAB RAT VENGEANCE by Sarah Schiff In the neuroscience lab where I worked as an undergraduate intern, we were studying what makes mice experience the sensation of fullness. You can just imagine who’d want access to those findings—the know-how to regulate people’s appetites. The primary investigator, Dr. Hillbrawn, suspected a specific subnucleus of being the moderating agent of satiety, so my job was to locate and then lesion it (which is fancy scientific jargon for destroy, and, just so you know, I am pretty fancy). Once I could do the surgeries without supervision, I started coming in late at night ...
Read More
THE SKULL by Marc Tweed
THE SKULL by Marc Tweed Marv. Teenagers found him washed up on the sand, bloated and bright in his favorite Hawaiian shirt. A crowd gathered and called the police, but not before those who found him took his wallet, wedding ring, car keys. The car itself. Authorities appeared, took pictures, bundled him up and drove his body past the palm trees and liquor stores to the morgue in Oakridge on 31st. There were several other bodies already there so he waited his turn, something he’d always found difficult. ◊ Lorraine. Around dinner time, a Broward County detective came to Marv ...
Read More
LOAVES by Lizzy Lemieux
LOAVES by Lizzy Lemieux My daughter tells me her dream while I pack her lunchbox. What a terrifying nightmare! I say and kiss the top of her head. She narrows her eyes. Mom, she says, It was not a nightmare. It was a dream. She smiles, showing off two lost teeth. I do not correct her. Even though it is polite, when you dream up terrible things, to pretend that they are unwanted. But she is still learning, still puzzling over the sound an 'o' makes. When is it a short exhale? When is it a sharp howl? I add ...
Read More
PLENTY OF FISH by Dylan Cook
PLENTY OF FISH by Dylan Cook Matt felt the morning dew jump against his legs as his feet flattened the seagrass in his way. He had his fishing pole slung over his shoulder like a bindle and his tackle box swinging at his side. The sun had crested over the ocean, already strong and getting stronger as the light shifted from orange to white. On a good day, no one bothered him on this beach. He could expect to see one or two old retirees fishing too, but they usually kept their distance and never said anything to him besides ...
Read More
SAN ANDREAS HEAVEN by Nick Olson
SAN ANDREAS HEAVEN by Nick Olson I remember back in the day Nick used to try to get to Heaven. Heaven was a glitched-out place in San Andreas where nothing made sense or seemed quite real, and Nick would come home most days, boot up the PS2, and try again to get into it. There was a specific building in San Andreas where, if you went inside and used a cheat code to spawn a jetpack, you could fly through a certain part of the ceiling that didn’t have proper clipping. There was just one spot where you could fly ...
Read More
GIRL IN THE ENCHANTED KINGDOM by Sandra Florence
GIRL IN THE ENCHANTED KINGDOM by Sandra Florence We are playing Concentration. First, she finds the Jacks and then the Queens. Her head was lopsided when she was born, and she stared up at me with rolling grey eyes. I unwrapped her and thought, this is the pure one. Lightens up my life. Released. Escaped from personal injury. Potatoes. Ducks in a green sky. A turquoise moon. All these things in her. My daughter in red rubber boots crossing the street in rain. ◊ She has not seen her father for some time now. They used to watch prize fights ...
Read More
ADDING APPETIZERS by Claire Oleson
ADDING APPETIZERS by Claire Oleson She was sitting on a stool in the basement of the restaurant watching the octopus spin. It was on a cold/cold cycle in the washing machine. This was how they tenderized it, Ellis had told her, overjoyed he had something genuinely interesting to offer. It was this nauseous moving smudge, the octopus, not his telling. She was coming to adore it, the borderless slosh. No, more than that, she could believe she loved it, adjusting her over-the-knee pin-stripe skirt in the cold-damp of the concrete room, it was good. A man she also loved was ...
Read More
two women back to back
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL YOUR LIFE? by L. L. Babb In a minivan borrowed from Connie’s sister, Connie and Lori were on their way to the town of Locke. Connie drove, keeping her eyes straight ahead. So far there had been no road signs for Locke. On the first leg of the trip, Connie had jabbed at the radio buttons, changing the stations—music, talk, static, music—then, somewhere around Antioch, she seemed to reach a detente with the ominous murmur of NPR. Lori’s hearing was not the best, but she hesitated to ask Connie to turn up the volume. The ...
Read More
tall grass against a blue sky
THE GREENER MY GRASS by Dylan Cook Maureen could clearly remember the day in December the two young professors moved in across the street and how much more she respected them back then. It was a shame that Mrs. Graham had passed, really, but Maureen liked the idea of two yuppies coming into that stuffy, gray house, sprucing it up a little bit, and bringing some fresh energy to the neighborhood. And professors, no less! With any luck, they’d be the first step in turning Manasquan into a kind of cultural center along the Jersey Shore where intellectuals and artists ...
Read More
Abstract flare image
FLARE by Mike Nees As she clocks in, Jillian looks up from the computer to find a wrinkled envelope dangling in her face. Her chest tightens. “Thank god you’re here,” Sonya says, waiting for her to take it. “Everyone’s calling out.” Jillian grabs the letter, slips it in her apron pocket. “Not me,” she says, out of breath. She and her dad are nowhere near the estimate the mold people gave them, and the latest bloom inflames her airways. “What are my tables?” While Sonya checks the floor plan, Jillian answers the phone ringing at the counter. The man on ...
Read More
woman wearing headscarf in an airport line
VIOLATION by Seyda Mannion “Excuse me, Miss, is this yours?” I turn and see the large, inquisitive eyes of a woman behind me. I’ve been startled from my thoughts, and I am briefly confused as my eyes follow her outstretched arm, down her red sleeve, to the pointed tip of her manicured finger. My neck scarf has fallen to the floor.  I bend awkwardly over my carry-on to stuff it back into my bag, deeper this time. I smile at her, looking past her eyes at the gray-streaked red hair that hangs limply at the sides of her temple. “Thank ...
Read More
hallway inside a penitentiary
PETS FOR PENITENTS by Christopher David Rosales Cleaver Magazine · Pets For Penitents by Christopher David Rosales It started off with cats, which was what my cellmate Rudy had, til his cat shrunk down to the size of a kitten, then a mouse, then disappeared altogether. Every once in a while, at night, besides the usual squeaks of the roaming guard’s boots, I’d hear squeaks of a different kind. Through the slight light at Rudy’s bunk, I could see where he lay with his head propped on one hand, the other hand cupped in front of a squinted eye. An ...
Read More
a casino at night with the word "flamingo" in neon lights
DIRTY THIRTY by Shanna Merceron She spread her legs and the neon blue lights shifted like we were underwater. She was wearing underwear, but they were crotch-less, white elastic stretching around her hips to hold her tips. Her hair was brown. I don’t like brunettes, especially not with how short she kept it, just barely brushing her shoulders, yet I watched her with interest. She stood up and moved to a pole languidly, her steps not in sync with the beats of the music. She was in her own world, she spun around the pole, her head hung like it ...
Read More
a bicycle lying in the roadway at night in the rain
SMOKY by Ben Austin My freshman year of college I lifted weights and kickboxed five days a week. The kickboxing gym was four miles down Riverside and I biked there every weeknight. There wasn’t a bike lane on Riverside and cars honked. My brakes screeched. On my way home I stopped for Taco Shack. I tried doing the drive thru once but they said I needed a car to use the speaker box so I ate inside. I was drenched and sometimes bruised from the workouts and the staff looked at me while I ate the burritos ...
Read More
View from the deck of an ocean liner at sunset
SOME OTHER CONTINENT by Melissa Benton Barker The drink was called Spring Breeze. Elin had three of them at brunch, but Lucy never drank in the morning, so she’d missed it. It was the third night of a weekend cruise Elin had purchased on sale months ago, and they sat outside on an ill-lit and almost empty deck as the ship charged somewhere between Miami and the Bahamas. There was a stiff wind and no moon. Instead of the desired Spring Breeze, Elin bought two bottles of Amstel Light back to the table. “The bartender won’t make it,” she said ...
Read More
Image of a computer keyboard in an office at night
NIGHT CLASS by Jared Lemus My mother became a maid for a rich, white lady a few months after my father bounced. She worked cleaning the lady’s house—vacuuming, sanitizing toilets in a bathroom with heated tiles, dusting—two days a week for over a month, while my brother and I went to school. The bills, however, didn’t seem to be getting any smaller; but as luck would have it, the lady had also invested in other properties, including a one-story office building that housed a local paper company amongst others. It turned out that the contractor the lady hired to do ...
Read More
small boy peeking through a window to the outdoors
FOXLEY REDUX by Benjamin Soileau Foxley’s uptight on the glass, watching for the hard silver wink of Daddy’s Bronco. Mama said his ass was grass. He heard her on the phone tattling and when she brought it to him and he put it to his ear, Daddy said to wait in his room and to not be leaving even for the bathroom, that he was gonna get the whipping of his short life when he got home. Daddy told Foxley five o'clock couldn’t come soon enough, and that maybe, if he was lucky, boss man would let him clock out ...
Read More
a street scene in Paris
GARE DU NORD, 1988 by Kim Magowan The girl escorts her boyfriend to Gare du Nord, where he will take a train to the coast and then a ferry back to England—this is years before the Chunnel will be built. He is her first serious boyfriend, and two nights ago they had sex for the first time. The girl is not religious or old-fashioned, but she had fetishized “going all the way” as a momentous journey, only to take with someone she loved. This is why she is twenty years old and only now, long after nearly all of her ...
Read More
SOME BRIEF THOUGHTS ON SELF-IMPROVEMENT by Reilly Joret
My wife fingered the remaining chocolate syrup from her bowl to her mouth and announced she was going to bed. I’ll admit The Tonight Show monologue that night wasn’t going to change her mind. It was all obvious punchlines about the president’s Asia trip, with some cheap shots at the end for the congressman with the Honduran mistress maid, and the reality TV star with the unflattering DUI mugshot. I feared this was becoming the norm. I followed my wife upstairs, hoping we might discuss this unsettling trend, or get in something cursory between the two of us, but she ...
Read More
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD by Melissa Brooks
The world was fuzzy. Victoria blinked. She blinked again and again until the room came into focus. A pixelated ceiling. A window opening to blackness. An unkempt man slouched in a chair, fist propping up a mess of greasy dark hair. He had sallow skin, dark bags beneath bloodshot eyes. Familiar eyes. Barry’s eyes? Benny? Billy? Billy ...
Read More
MATRYOSHKA by Marion Peters Denard
When Mom died Rachel started asking questions. What did Mom make for Christmas morning? Egg casserole. When did Mom go back to school? I was fourteen, you were eleven. The questions got smaller and bigger, as though by their specificity they were magnified.  What did she smell like? She wore Chanel No. 5. I know that, Tabbie. But what did she smell like?  She smelled like orange honey and coral lipstick and bright green breath mints. What did her hugs feel like? They were nice. Tabbie. Like she was bringing you in and keeping you out at the same time ...
Read More
UNDONE by Elaine Crauder
The banana bread would not bake. Maddy had followed the recipe to a T, only substituting canola oil for half the butter, honey for half the sugar, skim for whole milk, and nutmeg for cinnamon. Putting on long oven mitts and pulling the door open, she checked the loaf again. Three hundred and fifty degree heat swept into the kitchen, already filled with late summer swelter. Not wanting to take the time to lift the single bread pan onto the top of the stove, she pulled out the rack, took off one mitt and stuck a toothpick into the loaf ...
Read More
Lined notebook with coffee mug ring on page
Adrienne lay on the floor of her apartment, thinking that her life had become what she wanted it to be, when her phone began to ring. Sophia sat next to her, cross-legged, with a glass of wine, flipping flashcards and nodding when Adrienne said the right answer. Grassy late-April air drifted through the open window and the sound of crickets came to a swell outside. Neither Adrienne nor Sophia reached for the phone, letting the sound of fluttering bells continue ...
Read More
Red roses growing on a vine
When I come home from school, Papa is pruning the roses. His back hunched, an oval of sweat creasing his white shirt that la Señora Francisca had pressed this morning. He isn’t wearing the gardening gloves that Mama bought him because he insists that it doesn’t let him talk to the roses. They can only hear him through his skin and the rough canvas of the gloves offends their delicate temperament.  ...
Read More
Cacti against a blue sky background
Even though she sometimes wanders off on her own, which is strictly forbidden, of course, especially now that she is pregnant and about to pop, the Good Samaritans need people like Jillian. Well, they need all the help they can get, but especially from people, like Jillian—those have a second sense about where they can find the nearly-dying-from-thirst even if they are hiding ...
Read More
dangling hands bathed in red light
The infection needs ten hours at most to take your life, the doctors tell you. Nothing will buy you more time: not pills, not potions, not prayers, not even amputation. The fungus forms a second body under your skin, shadowing your veins, wrapping around your bones. Its spongy mass smells like roses, if you slice a bit free of the host and hold it up to your nose ...
Read More
person sitting on a train
You cannot cross train tracks without holding your breath, nor can you drive over a bridge without a lungful of air. Your children witness your fears, think it's a game, and they, too, hold their breath going over tracks or bridges.  You would like to tell them it's not a game, like Duck Duck Goose or Red Rover, but you decide that the universe will drop its own bomb of terror on them, and what possible good would come of your own unburdening? ...
Read More
Street view of an eclectic shop window
It starts with a ring you buy at an antique shop in your neighborhood which you hadn’t noticed before—a dusty little place of creaky floorboards and a name to match: Gaslight and Shadows ...
Read More
black and white image of gym equipment
I’ve seen two angels and both were named Reginald. The spirits appeared as a consequence of my life’s work: dentistry. I came by the profession naturally, as my father was a blacksmith in a small Missouri town. Before heading west, people needed help with their teeth as much as they needed wagon axles. And Pa was no butcher. As a child, time and time again, I witnessed his God’s gift with pliers. “Nice ‘n slick,” he’d mutter from the side of his mouth, one hand gripping a customer’s jaw, his other hand wielding the steel tool. I’d have both palms ...
Read More
female runner on a sidewalk
Another 5K, another easy win. With about half a mile to go, Shanna knew she had first female. Time to overtake some guys. This one, for instance, with the long hair and the Union Jack shorts. She surged past him, already eyeing the next target: The red-haired geek in the Hash House Harriers shirt, no idea what his name was, they'd raced each other before but they'd never spoken. She passed him at the finish line ...
Read More

Everyone-Means-So-Well