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story week reader 2013 Executive Editor Jotham Burrello Editors Justin Bostian, Amber Ponomar, Cyn Vargas Copy Editor/Layout Daniel Prazer Cover Design Mollie Johanson Story Week Artistic Director Randy Albers Fiction Writing Department Faculty Randy Albers, Chair; Andy Allegretti, Don DeGrazia, Ann Hemenway, Gary Johnson, Eric May, Patricia McNair, Joe Meno, Nami Mun, Audrey Niffenegger, Alexis Pride, Lisa Schlesinger, John Schultz, Betty Shiflett, Shawn Shiflett, and Sam Weller. The Story Week Reader is published by the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. Printed by Columbia College Xerox Center. Fiction, creative nonfiction, stories in graphic form, and one-act play manuscripts of 750 words or fewer were submitted by students for consideration. The Publishing Lab, a student-run resource library, publishes this annual journal of student writing in conjunction with Story Week. Visit the Lab online at http://colum.edu/publishinglab for past issues, market research, and industry interviews and videos. For information on studying fiction writing: http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Fiction_Writing Copyright © 2013 Fiction Writing Department Editor’s Note:

Published simultaneously in print and online, the Story Week Reader is in its ninth year as a launchpad for emerging writers. Add to that our collaboration with graphic artists designing Zine Columbia, and these stories will find new lives in full-color magazines over the coming years. It’s been said that the real work in writing begins with revision. If so, each of our writers must be commended for their efforts in reimagining what their story had to tell and capturing it on the page; the results speak for themselves. We encourage readers to reach out to the author of their favorite story. You must now take the next step by discussing the resonance of these stories, either with the writer or amongst friends. And there is no better place to start that conversation than during Story Week. Enjoy the festival. May your next great story idea start here.

contents fiction

swr archive

a button lost, a button found | David Sim Wei Lun

always the weight | Darwyn Jones .

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how to necklace a deviant | Michelle Pretorius

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mactaggart’s daycare | Hal Baum tweakin’ | M.E. Reid

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museum girl | Ryan Buell

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losing your booze | Malissa Stark

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when it was ending | Andrew Buttermore

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fire, 1970 | M.B. Wells

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all roads lead to rome | Sahar Mustafah

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death at the seafront | Oleg Kazantsev

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tenderness | Virginia Ilda Baker

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creative nonfiction hiding the gun | René Cousineau peaches | Elizabeth Grear

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mr. leatherback | Terrill Mast

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born in the year of the dog| Kate Duva exitec’s success | Nicolas Cole

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a problem child | Jessica M. Scott

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how to act like a lady while wearing an orange jumpsuit | Mikaela Shea . . . . . 38 train to nowhere| J.S. Walker

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author bios

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a button lost, a button found | David Sim Wei Lun

There were times when I missed my long-deceased family, and the only remedy to ease the pain was to play classical music on the piano. Today, however, I was having difficulty reading the notes. So I reached for my glasses and was startled to find grandpa’s spectacles in my hand. It should have been impossible, but there was no mistaking it. Grandpa had been wearing that pince-nez for so long you could no longer see the thin coat of gold that had adorned its frame. A wretched greenish-brown, like an infection, was all that remained. Grandpa’s pince-nez was sticky to the touch because parts of it were held together by duct tape. When you looked close enough, you could see a scratch cutting across the left lens, as if someone had attempted to dissect the glass with careful precision. We never spoke to each other, but we shared an affinity as men of silence, seeking solitude, yet aching for companionship at the same time. He was family after all, and during his final months I came to be the person who volunteered the most to stay with him. Minutes before he drew his last breath, he fought his way into an upright position and, in the process, crushed the pincenez in his right hand. That did not startle me as much as when he spoke to me in a voice that sounded to be coming from the back of his ears—all stained and greasy. He said: “Listen to me, boy. Take this button here. Take it and never lose it. Make sure you never lose it, boy.” And then he stuck his tongue out. On it was a rose-colored button with a frayed strand of string looped around it. I did not want to reach for it, but I had never heard grandpa’s voice before, and it compelled me to action—my forefinger and thumb curved into a claw, ready to pinch the button and never let go. I touched the button and the tips of my fingers turned cold. Not the startling cold of a glass of iced water, or the cold that seizes you when getting out of the shower in winter, but a soothing kind

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of cold, like if you were to dip your feet into a crystalline river. Sure enough, grandpa’s tongue had turned a sparkling blue—a flowing river with white, orange, red, and gold koi swimming about. My hand tingled as they brushed their smooth yet slimy bodies past my fingers. Grandpa’s teeth warped into hewn rocks, strangled by hairthin vines. There were shards of light slanting downwards from the roof of his mouth, revealing leafy ferns and the dusty bark of wrinkled trees. I leaned forward as grandpa slid his tongue back, my fingers scrabbling to grab onto the receding terrain. And then he jerked his head away from me, and my hand retreated to my side of its own accord. Darkness fell upon grandpa’s mouth, draining the color from his face and spotted hands till he looked like a bleached carcass. A rot permeated the air, smelling less of death, but more of the absence of life. The light in the room seeped out, and Grandpa’s eyes collapsed into concave pits, a pair of craters on the moon. My fingers and the button were still dripping wet. I remember that the faint musky smell of the koi lingered around my hand for several days. I distinctly recall a nurse prying grandpa’s hand open only to find the powdered remains of his pince-nez. But now, here it was in my hand. On a whim, I balanced it on the bridge of my nose. His glasses lay crooked, the right inclined higher than the left, and I was taken aback by how clear the world became. Before I could adjust the pince-nez I saw out of the corner of my vision a frayed strand of string. The string had wormed its way through my shirt, and when I peeked behind my collar I could see that it went straight into my chest. I blinked and suddenly I was looking down at my glasses, neatly tucked into my front shirt pocket. The pince-nez and string were gone, but so was the pain. I smiled, remembering where I kept the button all this time and struck a few piano chords to warm myself up.

story week reader 2013| 5

hiding the gun | René Cousineau

“Dad?” “Hi, doodlebug.” “What time is it?” “Whatcha doin’?” “Sleeping. What’s wrong?” “I need you to do me a favor.” “What time is it?” “I’m on my way over; I need to stash my gun under your bed.” “What? No! Why?” “I’ll be there in a minute.” “Why? Are you in trouble?” “No no no no no. No.” “Then why?” “Never you mind why. I’m on my way.” “Dad no!” “Love you!” “Dad?” The minty-green screen of my gigantic cell phone glowed until I finally hit END. It read 3:02 a.m. The phone was a Christmas present from my parents, the last gift-tag ever to read “Love, Mom & Dad.” I used being awake as an excuse to grab an Otter Pop from the freezer, the box balancing atop the final packages of deer meat from last fall. Dad had cut and wrapped all the meat himself before hanging the animal’s head on the wall above the t.v. But now it was gone and so was the summer with only a few more weeks until hunting season in the Rocky Mountains, but maybe the freezer would stay empty this time. Twenty minutes passed before Dad showed up, knocking on my window with his Winchester .30-06. Oh, that gun—my great grandpa’s rifle. The one Dad was hell-bent on “keeping in the family.” He wore denim shorts, white socks pulled up over his ankles and a double XL Hawaiian-print button-down from Walmart. Every year, for his birthday, my younger brother and I would get him some new variation of the same shirt, one size bigger than last year. I let him in at the back door so my mother wouldn’t know that 6 | story week reader 2013

he was there. Through his labored breathing he managed to eke out a, “Thanks,” as he lumbered through. In my room, he crouched beside my twin-size bed, and I realized for the first time that he was getting too fat to breathe, his belt buckle boring its way into his beer gut. He tucked the gun beneath a pile of blankets. I walked him to the back door where he lingered, looking up and all around as if he had never lived in that house. He said thanks again, but with an awkward formality. Maybe he knew that Mom had told me things I hadn’t known before, about him. I don’t know. I kept my mouth tight and tried to hustle him out the door. He took two steps outside and then turned and asked, “Oh! Do you have any plastic cups and Christmas lights?” “I don’t know dad, can I go back to bed?” “Yeah, yeah.” I slept with the gun under me for a few days; almost forgetting it was there. Then, one afternoon I came home from school to find a big sphere of plastic cups all stapled together with Christmas lights inside of them sitting on my bed. My mom crossed her arms in the doorway and said, “I guess your dad made you a disco ball? I don’t know what’s going on with him. Meth is a hell of a drug.” I’d heard Dad say the same thing before, but while my mom said it with her face all messed up like she was so sorry, dad would say it like it was some kind of mantra. Meth was the thing that would save us all. Mom and I just stood there breathing for a minute, listening to the opening and closing of car doors from the parking lot across the street. I waited until she left the room to check for the gun. It wasn’t there, and I didn’t hear from my dad again for over six months. The year I turned seventeen we moved from that house, the last hold out on our street, which was now dominated by parking lots, to a bigger one across town with no black mold and a roof that kept the rain out. That’s when I found the disco ball crushed under some boxes in our shed. I threw it away, not remembering what it was. Not knowing it was gift. “Meth is a hell of a drug,” he’d say, until there wasn’t anyone left to tell.

story week reader 2013| 7

how to necklace a deviant | Michelle Pretorius

First of all, find a deviant. A deviant can be someone that opposes your cause or refuses to cooperate for the greater good. For example, in South Africa more than 600 black men, women, and children were necklaced between 1985 and 1987 by the African National Congress. It made the people understand the importance of standing together in the fight against the oppressor, the Afrikaner government, the whites. And it showed them what would happen if they refused. Today, due to inept law enforcement in rural areas, the deviant is more likely to take the form of a violent criminal, a prime candidate for vigilante justice. Try to make sure that the deviant you necklace is the one who actually committed the crime. A victim should identify him. If possible, get the accuser to point a finger in a public place like a town square or market. Sometimes, because of the trauma they suffered, the victim might identify the wrong person, but this is not a problem. Whomever you select to be your deviant probably deserves what’s coming to him anyway. An example needs to be made. Next, gather a crowd. Males between the ages of twelve and twenty-four work best, but successful necklacings have been performed with the participation of women and the elderly. No matter the makeup of your mob, know that they have been powerless all their lives against suffering and injustice. Now, get them angry. The key is to make them believe that this deviant embodies the reason for their poverty, their fear, all that is wrong with their country, their world. Use a bullhorn. Elaborate on how the deviant broke into a neighbor’s house, killed her son, raped her, took her savings and everything valuable she ever had. How she now has to raise two grandchildren on a small government pension because she is too old to find work? How she could have been their grandmother, their mother, them? That should get the crowd going. The deviant will try to run at this point, so be sure the mob surrounds him at all times. Have plenty of rocks, bricks and twoby-fours at hand. If not, you can loot stores or break up furniture.

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Table legs work well. Give everybody a turn at hitting or kicking the deviant. It builds a sense of community. The deviant should be beaten within an inch of his life. Spectacle is all important, so the bloodier the better, but make sure you don’t kill him yet. That would defeat the purpose. When the deviant is tired and bloody enough, you can begin the grand finale. The coup de grace. Find a tire and fill it with gasoline. The grade is not important. Put the tire around the deviant’s neck. This usually proves to be more difficult than it sounds as the deviant will try to throw the tire off, but persevere. Helpful hint: to minimize resistance, push the tire down far enough over the deviant’s shoulders so his arms are pinned to his side. This technique has a proven success rate. Splash any remaining gasoline over the deviant’s body. Light a match. Let the people sing “God Bless Africa” while the deviant burns. Watch dust rise around their naked feet as they dance and ululate, their fervid faces covered in sweat. The deviant’s screams should cease fairly quickly, but his body might spasm for some time. The smell of charred flesh and rubber will hang in the air for days and stay in the memory for years. When the mob dissipates and the flames die down, leave the body where it fell. Someone will eventually be brave enough to remove the deviant’s remains, give him a burial, mourn him in silence, but until that happens, leave him there for all to see. That’s the point after all, isn’t it?

story week reader 2013| 9

peaches | Elizabeth Grear

Peaches drifted into Club Risqué looking like she needed a map. Short, choppy, black hair like seaweed, a lip ring that made her mouth seem crooked and tattoos that looked more like faded newspaper cartoons. She was all bone: elbow, kneecap, shoulder blade, and pointy hips extending like the corner of the sink. When she bent over I could see her ribs beneath her sheer skin like rows of pencils. Plus she had no rhythm, and strippers need rhythm. She rode to work balanced on the handlebars of her boyfriend’s bicycle, and before she entered the club they argued. She walked through the door wearing stained sweatpants and a white tank top so thin I could see her pink bra. “How are you today?” I asked after she plopped onto a stool at the bar. “This is the first day I haven’t cried,” she said. “My boyfriend and I are homeless. I’m only working here to support us—not a drug habit like everyone else. I actually need this job to eat.” I had that strong urge that I often get towards other people that made me want to save her. My body was heavy with sadness and I wanted to hug her. I jerked toward her slumped figure but stopped mid-motion because she was half naked and it looked like she had patchy dry skin, like rug burn, on her shoulder. I reached into the cooler and handed her a water bottle instead. She stared at it blankly. I’d watch Peaches dance and stiffen like a cardboard cutout when men reached for her elbow, her hair, her chin. When she was on stage, her movements looked more like she was fighting spider webs. She lied on the floor and rolled around as if on fire. Once, a truck driver wearing a jean vest raised his eyebrows and said, “She better not stay on the ground too long ’else someone’s gonna throw dirt on her thinkin’ she dead.” When he tilted his head back to laugh it sounded like a jarful of pennies crashing onto the pavement. “This is rock bottom,” she said. I wanted to tell her that everything would be okay but that isn’t something anyone can ever really guarantee. A dancer strutted by and said, “Next time know your place. You don’t deserve a locker yet.” Her eyes locked with Peaches, 10 | story week reader 2013

but before she continued walking she looked at me and smiled pleasantly. “Your hair looks nice today.” “They dumped my bag everywhere. Took everything out and poured it all over the locker room. I don’t know why they hate me.” Her body trembled. “I’m so sorry.” I felt like I was part of a bad movie. Why couldn’t I just give her the right kind of support that would change things? Later that night, Peaches was even more of a mess than nomal. She tried to twirl her legs around seductively while on stage like all the other dancers, but she looked like she was kicking off bed sheets instead. She tried to grab the pole but couldn’t lift her body up. I was embarrassed for her and suddenly the entire place seemed sad, so I turned the lights down even lower to make it feel as though everyone was hiding behind thin curtains. The bar filled up and money flew through the air like the weather, but none of it seemed to be directed to her, though my tip jar was overflowing with bills. At the end of the night Peaches stumbled to the bar in her plastic heels. “Do you have any money I can borrow?” she asked as stragglers were being shoved outside. “I didn’t make enough tonight. I have to eat.” Her face looked like a painting of something sad and I contemplated giving her money but the lights above us brightened and the entire strip club was exposed in a new way. Missing tiles like chipped teeth, water stains smeared across the ceiling like different sized birthmarks, and then I glanced at Peaches and noticed the track marks up her arms, and I felt so let down that I wanted to punch her in the head. “Sorry, it was a rough night for me too. I didn’t make much,” I said. And she had no choice but to believe it.

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mactaggart’s daycare | Hal Baum

“Give back my face!” Jimmy said, stamping his foot and planting his fists at his sides. “No!” Luke shook his head. “Come on!” whined Jimmy. “Give it back! What do you even want it for? You’ve already got one!” Luke crossed his arms and turned away from Jimmy. “I don’t care. I want this one too.” Jimmy jabbed an accusing finger in his direction. “You’re mean!” He stormed into the dining room to tell on Luke. In the dining room Mrs. MacTaggart was sitting at the end of the long table knitting a polka dot scarf, while the twins sat on the floor rolling a ball back and forth between them. “Mrs. MacTaggart!” Jimmy whined. “Luke took my face and he won’t give it back!” Mrs. McTaggart and the twins all looked up at Jimmy. The ball stopped of its own accord directly between the twins, and the sound of knitting needles hitting the floor was overwhelmed by their synchronized laughter. “No face! No face!” chanted the two little boys, with giddy amusement, as Mrs. McTaggart screamed and ran into the kitchen. “No face! No face!” “Stop it!” “No face! No face!” “Shut up!” Jimmy ran at them, arms outstretched. They squealed with delight and ran off up the stairs. Jimmy gave chase, tripping up the stairs and then stomping down the hallway after them. The noise alerted Mr. MacTaggart, who had been working in his study at the other end of the hall. He blustered out and yelled through a thick gray moustache,“Who the hell is running in my house?!” Jimmy and the twins stopped in their tracks, terrified. Jimmy spun around to explain, speaking very quickly: “But Mr. MacTaggart, Luke stole my face! Everyone here is always picking on me and it’s not fair! I try to make friends like you tell me to, but everyone is so mean! No one listens to me!” Mr. MacTaggart’s pipe fell on the floor, spilling tobacco on the carpet. It was shortly 12 | story week reader 2013

followed by Mr. MacTaggart himself, who had fainted cold. By the time Jimmy had turned around again to deal with the twins they had locked themselves in their room. Jimmy banged on the door. “Open the door! You aren’t being nice!” All he got in response was “No face! No face!” and then enormous bouts of syncopated giggling. Jimmy moaned and trudged back downstairs. In the dining room, he nearly collided with Mrs. MacTaggart as she crept towards the staircase, shaking wildly. She took a swing at him with the frying pan, missing by a matter of inches, and then disappeared up the stairs. She stumbled over her unconscious husband and screamed again. Grinding his fist into his palm and clenching his teeth, Jimmy stormed through the dining room and into the living room, where Luke was wearing Jimmy’s face over his own face, trying, in vain, to get his tongue far enough out of both mouths to touch Jimmy’s nose. He retracted it when he saw Jimmy enter. “All right, Luke,” Jimmy said, taking slow steps towards him and rolling up his sleeves. “Give me back my face . . . or else.” There was a pause. Then, narrowing his eyes from behind the thick mask of flesh, Luke stuck his tongue back through both of their faces. Jimmy exploded. He clenched his fists and dove across the room, tackling Luke to the ground. They wrestled all around the living room, scratching and clawing at each other, rolling around the carpet in a mass of arms and legs, knocking building blocks off of shelves, and spilling finger paints on the floor. The fight lasted for ten long minutes, and by the time they were through, they were covered from head to toe with rug burns, scratches, and paint, and both their faces were on upside down. They looked at each other, with their eyes in their chins and their mouths in their foreheads, and they couldn’t help it. They both burst out laughing. Just then the MacTaggarts peeked sheepishly into the room, Mrs. MacTaggart’s frying pan shaking in her fingers. “Jimmy?” she squeaked. The boys turned to greet them, blinking with their chins, and grinning from their foreheads. “Look,” Jimmy said. “I got it back!” The next day The MacTaggarts closed down their daycare center for good.

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tweakin’ | M.E. Reid

I’m drowning in my own snot and my breath taste like threeday-old dick. Shit is eating through my skin, and this baby won’t shut the fuck up. He looks like he’s the one on fucking drugs. He got a permanent fix when the finest dope in the Chi pumped through my umbilical cord, straight through his veins and into his heart. His murky red eyes stay sinking down into his cheeks. The one front tooth poking from his blackened gums has already rotted. More rotted than my tit, but I still ain’t sticking this moneymaker between his lips. I named him little John, cause he reminds me of all my tricks. He act just like one. Quick to suction his mouth around a juicy tit, and his little dick rises whenever air drifts over its tip. He think I’m supposed to jump when he say jump. Please, he smells worse than the pissy mattress we’re laying on. Hell, he even the same yellow color as the stains, but beige around his knees and knuckles, blending with the dingy mucus-colored walls, of our broke-down apartment. Sometimes I don’t think he’s mine. One minute I was huddled close to a huge green city garbage can in the alley, sucking hard on my glass stick. The next moment, I’m waking up and some white bitch hollering, “It’s a boy,” in my ear. Her thin pink lips squiggled across her face like the lips from those old Charlie Brown cartoons. “A boy?” I hollered and asked at the same time. She kept twitching her nose and holding her breath. Her green beady eyes, filled with so much contempt, had convicted me three times over. I looked through all the elephants dancing on her smock, honing in on her name. “Thank you Theresa,” I said. “See you in da mornin’.” In the middle of the night a million caterpillars marched down my arms. I could see them wave across my skin like a fast breeze passing over brown sand in the desert. They crisscrossed my ribs, scurried to the middle of my back, then skittered down my spine, causing a sudden sting in my nose, and puke to bubble in my throat. The hospital had cameras, and the bitch in the bed next to me kept surveillance. I got tired of staring at Cook County hospital’s prison-like walls, so I hit the button, calling for the nurse. In walked a brown-skinned pencil-thin chick, with dreads 14 | story week reader 2013

swinging past her waist. “Bring me my baby,” I said tilting my head to the side. I sat on the edge of the hospital bed with my arms crossed. “But he’s sleepin’.” Her soft voice crackled as she placed her thin fingers along her hips. “I ain’t ask you fa no report,” I said. “Bring my baby here!” She rolled her big saucer-shaped eyes, turned her ugly ass around and stomped out. I had half the mind to jump up and whoop her ass. My nerves was bad. It had been a couple days. My pussy was throbbing, and I knew I could sell some of the diapers the nurses placed all over my room. She wheeled little John in on one of those silver carts, with the plastic baby bed on top. He looked like a little Cabbage Patch doll, wrapped in a baby blue blanket. They wouldn’t release me for two days, just short of a major withdrawal. By the time I got to the spot, Shirley was hunched in the corner, scratching her collar bone, looking like she aged ten years in three days. “I hit eh lick from eh lame bitch,” she said, shaking a little golden nugget wrapped in a small plastic baggie. “How long you think da baby gone sleep fuh?” “Shiiiiiit, I don’t give no fuck how long he gone sleep. Jus’ light dat shit up.” “Put da baby in da back eh sumthin’, we can’t smoke roun’ him.” “I eh pu his ass in da garbage if he open his damn mouf.” “Don’t say dat, Jesse. He jus’ eh baby, don’t no baby deserve ta be in da garbage.” Humph, she got nerve, I thought. I think it now, as little John rolls around on this mattress hungry, his diaper soaked and soiled. “What’s the difference between being thrown in the garbage and being born in one? That’s what the South Side of Chicago is, a fucking garbage!”

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mr. leatherback | Terrill Mast

This is the story of being my father’s son, of how he became a giant sea turtle, and how I did too. In 2004, my dad, Roderic Mast, was in the Baja Peninsula working as an environmental guide. As a marine biologist, he’s worked for a variety of non-profit nature conservation organizations for nearly thirty years. One of the programs he created is called CI Sojourns, which creates specially customized expeditions to Earth’s biodiversity hotspots. Growing up, dad was often abroad. While he was away I always had this image of him as Indiana Jones crossed with Ace Ventura. Sometimes the rest of my family would tag along, and those were the best trips, but it was during this particular sojourn to Mexico that his life and the lives of many others were forever changed.  He was with a friend, Barbara Bauer, and several others on that trip. Barbara had severe FOMO (fear of missing out), but went to bed early one night while the rest of the group went to a tequila bar. There my dad encountered an old friend, Tim Means, an American who came to the Baja over thirty years ago looking for surf and never left. After catching up, Tim asked my dad’s other clients, “Who thinks it would be fun to see Rod dressed as a sea turtle?” Naturally they all agreed, and Tim made a call. Some conservationists showed up with a sea turtle costume and took my dad to an empty side room of the bar.  He came out of the room wearing green flippers on his feet and arms, a foam carapace, and a helmet shaped like a turtle’s head. Unable to see out of the suit, he knocked over a few beers in the bar, toppled over a stool, and interrupted a game of pool— then, above the ranchero music and hysteric cheering of his clients, the manager loudly urged the crazy gringos to please leave. At breakfast, Barbara was furious because she “missed out,” and silently vowed to recreate the event, so she found Tim, tracked down the people with the suit, located the manufacturer, secretly secured my dad’s measurements and had a custom leatherback turtle suit fashioned for him by a costume maker in Guadalajara.  16 | story week reader 2013

The suit arrived at our house just before the 26th International Sea Turtle Symposium. After the symposium, we continued traveling, and my brother and I took pictures of dad wearing the suit in front of the Coliseum and the Pyramids of Giza. From then on, the suit became Mr. Leatherback and went wherever my dad did. Mr. Leatherback has been to over ninety countries in seven continents. He’s been on the “Today Show,” starred in a music video with talents from Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and, along with Olympic Medalist Rowdy Gaines, was the MC of the Great Turtle Race. Mr. Leatherback is part of our family, and no trip is complete without him. The costume smells wretched from years of sweat and travel, and we’ve had to lug this big blue bag around with us wherever we go, just in case we find a photo opportunity. Sometimes I have to wear the suit while my father takes the photographs.  I’m usually reluctant to put on the costume, but now, no matter how hot it gets or how pungent the stench is, I can’t help but feel proud to have stepped into my father’s giant flippers, to have said yes to the bizarre will of the universe, just as he has done countless times in the past. It’s no wonder my dad’s always happy. The last time I was Mr. Leatherback I was on Panamanian national television dancing with a group of musical performers in the village of Armila in Kuna Yala, an archipelago of indigenous communities along the northern coast of Panama. I remember being trapped in the suit after the performance, being swarmed and trampled by dozens of small children who had never in their lives seen such a thing, shouting, “What is it?! Who’s inside?!” My dad says that seeing the world from inside a turtle’s head has brought new perspective to his mission as an ocean conservationist, to strengthen the connections between people and nature. I have been positively affected by the joyful reactions of people who would have otherwise been unmoved by my presence. Through the eyes of Mr. Leatherback I see them smile, laugh, and wonder.

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museum girl | Ryan Buell

I first spotted her fake-shivering over a papier-mâché fire, trying to blend in with the Cro-Magnon exhibit. Right away I knew she was real. Her wildcat-fur toga was the same cut as those of her parents—Dad frozen mid-spear-thrust in a battle against a wooly mammoth, Mom breastfeeding a hairy infant— but she was just too alive. Something about the way her wax family jutted out their lower jawbones just didn’t match her full, pouting lips. I stepped toward the railing to get a better look, close enough to touch the horns of a stampeding herd of primitive, short-necked giraffes separating me from her camp. “No touching.” A security guard with a dark monobrow yanked me off my tiptoes. When I looked back, all I could catch was the flash of her high-tops disappear through the plastic ferns. That night I read the museum pamphlet eleven times over; there was nothing about a girl living in the historical wing of the museum. It occurred to me that she might be lost. Maybe her parents left her there a long time ago by mistake. I resolved to return the next day and lodge a complaint with the museum manager. When I did, he looked at me like I was speaking CroMagnon. The next day, I returned under the guise of viewing the touring Body Worlds exhibit. I wandered through the rows of skinless models, their muscle fibers frozen in motion: some balancing footballs on their heads while doing handstands, others leaning in for lipless kisses. My museum girl wasn’t anywhere. I came back the next day and searched every level, every exhibit. Still nothing. It occurred to me that I might be crazy. It wasn’t until my fourth or fifth visit that I heard the rumor about a mysterious girl who was scrawling diary entries on the inside of a stall in the men’s restroom. Every morning the janitor painted over her words. Every night, a new entry appeared. “It’s sort of a secret exhibit,” he whispered to me from the next stall over. “Scrape through layers of paint to discover an entire history of crushes.” Running my hand over the panel separating us, I immediately set to work. Dear Diary, the first log read, I thought the marble statue 18 | story week reader 2013

with no arms and the fig leaf was SO cute and nice, but then I saw there was a heart drawn on him with some other girl’s name in it—so I smashed it! I read through a year’s worth of days spent alone in the museum. The next day I came back hoping I’d find her. Hoping I could take her home, give her something besides a still-life painting for her to eat. She wasn’t there, though. For a long while, I didn’t see her. She must have found out someone was reading her diary, too, because she’d started writing it somewhere else. Maybe in the lady’s room. One night I dreamt I saved her from the wrath of a modern art piece that consisted of ever-exploding glass, meant to recreate a moment of eternity the artist experienced during a motorcycleaccident. Her hand felt so small in mine as we ran, both of us with our eyes shut tight. When I opened mine it was 2 a.m. I drove to the museum knowing it’d be closed. “I know you’re real,” I said, breathing steam atop the cold granite steps. The next morning, I found her in the dinosaur exhibit, taking a nap inside the black lacquered jaws of a Tyrannosaurus. How she got up there, I couldn’t figure, but she looked peaceful enough. The T-Rex’s ancient, cracked fangs had stretched into a nearly imperceptible smile, seeming so delicate as it held her there suspended. The guard’s familiar “No touching!” rang out from behind a felled triceratops, but my leg had breached the felt rope, and I waded out into flows of volcanic foam eddying round the monster’s heels. I started to climb. I don’t know what fell first. Probably, it was the gargantuan fibula I yanked from its socket. The ribcage followed, spears landed between my feet as the curling, rippling tail and its dozens of dart-shaped vertebrae dominoed up the spine to where the head rattled with my museum girl inside. I swear I saw her eye twinkle through the bulbous space where the reptile once beadily gazed, looking just as terrified as it must have been when meteors streaked the skies. They both disappeared amidst erupting plumes of bone dust. I ran into the dust, into the bones.

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losing your booze | Malissa Stark

“Go away, dude,” Logan snapped. “Wait, now?” Ronald was oblivious. “Yes, now.” Ronald did as he was told, trudging after a soccer ball that passed by as Kelly Hayes skipped from the foursquare court. Her legs caught Logan’s eye, who overlooked how unevenly they had been shaved, as she passed by with her gazelle stride. She winked for him to follow and stopped on the other side of the soccer field, hiding behind a spruce tree just past the broken goal. Kelly fidgeted with her Disney Channel inspired mini skirt that shifted every time she lifted a leg, twisting it around so the front was indeed in the front. Logan fidgeted with his dark blue hand-me-down sweater, covering up a hole or two and making sure the light blue stripe was in the center. The wide bristles of the tree hid the two from the recess aids, but they were not shielded from the adjacent street. The spring air, though warm and fresh, aggravated Logan’s allergies with endless sneezing fits. This girl with a toothy smile, actual breasts, and only mild acne made the trouble that he went through the prior weekend worth every damn second. Logan had snuck downstairs, slinking past his dad and uncle watching March Madness. He stood on the plastic step stool to reach the alcohol on top of the pantry. He couldn’t tell the bottles apart, and he couldn’t reach with outstretched arms. Suddenly he was floating in the air, hoisted up in Uncle Alex’s arms. “It’s all right buddy,” Uncle Alex stuttered. He winked at his nephew. “I won’t tell.” Alex grabbed the dark bottle of brandy that was closest to the edge and sent Logan free. “Is that it?” Kelly pointed to the Lion King thermos shaking in Logan’s hand. “Oh, here you go.” He practically pushed it into her hands. He just wanted to get back to Kelly’s house, where her parents always worked late. “Thanks.” They stood in silence. Logan wondered when they were going to go drink. He wondered if she was ever going to say something. Kelly stood there, twirling her hair and sucking on the ends in 20 | story week reader 2013

her mouth. “Nice thermos.” She half-smiled and slipped the alcohol into her pink backpack, popped her lips, and walked away. “So, I’ll see you later,” Logan mumbled after she was far beyond the monkey bars. He went over to her adobe-style house that afternoon, thinking he had missed the part when she said they were going to get together because his heavy breathing impaired his hearing. The same heavy breathing accompanied him into her backyard through the big iron gate that intimidated him every time he came over to mow; he crouched by the furthest window that led into the basement. He heard chattering just as he was about to knock. He ducked below the window. “Ok,” said Kelly, sitting with her best friend, Delaney. Her lips exaggerated the “Oh” and forgot about the “kay,” making even that one word sound dangerous. “On the count of three,” Delaney said, trembling. The thermos was set between them alongside two paper Dixie cups, patterned with purple flowers, tipped over and glistening with brandy. Their faces looked almost yellow in the light bouncing off of the peagreen wallpaper. “One. Two. Three!” Each girl lifted their shirts over their heads and squealed, revealing a pink training bra, and a blue polka-dotted one. They hugged, smacked tingling lips together, and rested their hands on the warm cheeks opposite of them. Logan looked back at Kelly’s trampoline to see if any of her siblings had come out to play, but mostly because he didn’t want to see where Kelly was going to place her hands. Logan felt his whole body become tense and . . . grow. In an instant, he felt himself shrinking: his body, his soul, his self-esteem, and his pride. While he debated whether or not he should knock and make his presence known, he was overcome with an incomprehensible sneeze. He tried so hard to hold it in that when he let it out his body flung forward and his forehead banged against the window. The two girls glanced up at the noise, but Logan bolted before he could see their reactions. Out of breath by the time he reached the sidewalk, he sat down and continued to sneeze.

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when it was ending | Andrew Buttermore

I’d thrown away two years worth of calendars before I got the nerve to go see Fiona again. I caught her just as she was about to take a bath. She said I could stay the night. I put on that Fireworks album. The bridge of our favorite song came on; I saw she was already asleep. The next morning, she shook me awake. In her hand was a note from her mother. Going to see your father. I let the dog go. Didn’t want to wake you two. I love you. “It’s probably nothing.” I turned on the television. It was everything. The Emergency Broadcast Network was on every channel. Not a test—seek shelter. I was going to spend my last hour on Earth with the girl I loved. I called my family, said goodbye. Fiona sat in her mismatched underwear on the corner of her bed—her bra was red lace, her underwear had cats on it. Fiona took a swig from her can of root beer on the nightstand, wiggled the tab off and plunged it to the bottom of the can. She took another sip. “You could choke on that,” I told her. “I was thinking about it.” “So what do you want to do?” She whispered, “I want to take a bath.” The whole thing felt ceremonious. I kept my distance; she kept her clothes on. We waited for the tub to fill. There was barely enough room for us to lay side-by-side. She crossed her arms across her chest. I could see the canopy of the sycamore trees from the window above us. I pressed her head against mine, inhaled the lavender that clung to her roots. The room was still as a burst of intense, hot light blinded us from the window. Water spilled from the tub as we squirmed to avoid it. It took almost two minutes for the force to reach us, the house trembling around us.

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“I read that they used to staple open the eyelids of farm animals to see what effects witnessing a detonation would have on their retinas.” “I knew you would say something like that,” Fiona rubbed water on her forearms. “They also thought the bombs could start a chain reaction and ignite the atmosphere, setting the world on fire.” I stifled a laugh. “Maybe we’ll get superpowers from this,” she said. “That’s M.A.D.” The joke was lost on her. An enormous crack sounded through the sky; claw-marks of white were falling to the earth. I grabbed her hand. Fiona limply complied with the tips of her fingers. She wouldn’t look at me, kept her other hand on her neck. She was always the one to act tough, even when it was ending. “When I was in first grade,” I sighed, “I was terrified of thunderstorms. My classmates would sit at the window and watch them with eager eyes while I sobbed at my desk. Then, one day, Ms. McConnell came over and said, ‘Oh, it’s just the angels moving furniture.’” “So what are the angels doing now?” Fiona asked. I thought for a moment. “No angels, not anymore.” There was a second flare. The air around us swelled with heat, and outside the leaves of the sycamore turned to burnt, falling ashes. “Fiona, do you remember when we met in the back of that bookstore? By the fire exit? I fell in love with you that day. On the floor, with the employees always stomping past us. You were trying to find that Calvin and Hobbes strip, you went through four volumes. I didn’t tell you, but I knew exactly which one you were looking for. I know it by heart. ‘I’m significant! Screamed the dust speck.’ I just wanted an excuse to look at you for a while longer.” The tacky “Home is Where the Heart Is” decoration fell from the door. “Do you remember the day you fell in love with me?” Fiona let go of my hand and shook her head. There was a noise in two parts. Something inside of me gave. A snap and then a fall. A whip and a cry. It was the Robinson’s above-ground pool collapsing and 25,000 gallons of water emptying onto the lawn. She stood up, dripping, and left the room. “I’m sorry you have to die with me, Fiona.” Outside, I heard one of her neighbors on his lawn yelling, “Goodbye!”

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born in the year of the dog | Kate Duva

The dog was dying, but I didn’t know that yet. I was with this guy in Dad’s bedroom. We kneeled on fawny carpet watching ourselves in an enormous mirror. Meanwhile, Dad’s car was in the alley farting gas. It was a maroon Oldsmobile Toronado, bought off his drinking buddy’s senile mother, complete with Neil Diamond cassettes and a ceramic bootie filled with toothpicks. We heard the back door squeal. All our clothes were downstairs. My boy scurried into the shower. I was of age and Dad was no saint—Follow Your Hard On being one of the mottos pinned up in his studio—but he boiled at the sight of anyone following his baby daughter. Bechhh, he’d say at the mere mention of a boyfriend. No one was good enough for his girls. I came downstairs wrapped in a blanket.

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Dad’s trademark red face was drained of color. “You’re early!” I said. “Princess is sick,” Dad grunted. “Road trip’s over.” He popped a tear. My heart was thumping as fast as Princess’s tail would wag when she was a puppy. I just hoped that Dad would leave without seeing I had a guy in the house. All I wanted was to preserve his illusion that I was still his little princess too. Princess was Dad’s sidekick as he cruised blue highways, shooting rolls and rolls of road signs and juke joints and marquee Jesus poetry in black and white. As a child I went on those trips too. If a town had a bead store, Dad would find it. “You’re the best,” he’d say, giving my butt a little pat-pat-pat as we waited in line to pay for my treasures, and he’d sing along with Al Green on the ride to our motel, where he’d smoke a joint in the john and sit poolside, chuckling and chatting up other guests while I splashed around. In a Memphis restaurant, a lady told him that men with creased earlobes were at higher risk for heart attack, and persuaded him to order the salmon instead of the steak. He went back to steak the next night, and his heart kept on beating for another dozen or so years. Dad snatched up his keys and walked towards the back door, back towards the alley where I knew Princess lay drooped in the Toronado. He drooped too and said, “Looks like the girl’s on her way out.” I slept with that girl for years, sewed a bonnet for her, smeared eye shadow on her fur and struggled to locate her lips so I could gussy her up. (“What a hussy!” Dad had said when he saw the results.) Princess was the sole audience of a strip show I performed at age ten, and a beast of burden when I stood on my skateboard, gripped her by the leash, and flung bones down the block. I never saw her again, but I was saved. I even finished that boy off while they were at the vet.

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exitec’s success | Nicolas Cole

When I was seventeen, I became one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America. I remember sitting in my black leather computer chair, talking through the microphone of my headset and laughing with my two teammates over Teamspeak. Telani was a computer science major at Georgia Tech. Escape was a cokehead living in his mom’s basement. I’d been sneaking downstairs to stay up late and play with them for weeks now, and finally it had all been worth it. I pulled up the Arena Rankings Web page and there we were, team name <IDK MY BFF JILL>, sitting at number one. I grabbed tape and scissors and marched upstairs to the kitchen. If he didn’t understand before, he had to understand now. I did it, Dad. I am, officially, the best at what I do, just like you. And here, see? I have the numbers to prove it. I had school in an hour. Hadn’t slept at all. I rubbed my eyes and examined the refrigerator. This was where everything important got posted—Bible verses and unfilled allowance charts and inspirational quotes like, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you’re saying.” I found an empty space to hang my achievement and stood back to admire my work. It was beautiful. Who’da thought, Dad? Your son. A professional gamer. And then I came to this devastating realization. The team sitting at number two, was <your moms a Horde> and the number five team was <come honour face> and there were all sorts of other team names I always thought were hilarious but knew my dad would never take seriously. Or my mother. Or my siblings, for that matter. So I rummaged around the kitchen and found a black permanent marker to cross out all the “inappropriate” teams, only to be left with an almost-unreadable sheet edited with thick, black lines. That’s when it hit me: if I was an orthopedic surgeon, running downstairs at 5:30 a.m for a quick gallon of coffee and a small trough of oatmeal before hopping in my six series Beamer to go straighten some fat lady’s spine, I wouldn’t know what this paper with permanent marker all over it was. So I found another pen, red this time, and drew a really big circle around my team and character’s name and then right next to it wrote, “Exitec = Your son.” But he had three sons. Sure, I was the only 26 | story week reader 2013

one obsessed with World of Warcraft, but still, I wanted there to be absolutely no confusion. I tilted my head, balanced my elbow on the fridge, and proceeded to fill the margins with our story: how we had been playing together for four months straight, how we’d beaten all the best teams, even the ones with professional sponsors, and how maybe soon we’d be offered a sponsorship and start playing in tournaments, and maybe I didn’t even need college, Dad. You know how you always said, “Do what you love, and be the best at what you do?” Well Dad, I’m doing it. And I did it by working hard. “Just do it, Cole.” I listened to you. I really did. I put my head down and worked as hard as I could, and I finally, finally did it. Out of twelve million players, I am standing at the top. And then I heard footsteps upstairs. The bedroom door opened, and tired, heavy feet dragged across the hall. I looked at the refrigerator and my name, Exitec, circled at the top. I’d worked so hard to get there. When he landed in the front hallway, I ripped it down. My success crumpled in my hands. He came into the kitchen and said, “Cole? What are you doing up so early?” I walked towards the garbage. “Just finishing some homework.” “What’s that in your hand?” he asked. I threw it away. “Nothing.”

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fire, 1970 | M.B. Wells

I was twelve years old when Mudda developed a love for kitchenware. Our tiny kitchen was the epicenter of so many electrical appliances, from the shiny electric percolator—no one in our house drank coffee—to the Presto Mix-n-Knead hand crank dough mixer—which cost more than two weeks worth of storebought bread—to the stainless steel meat grinder that I only saw used once, to the Warren electric stove Daddy warned her about buying. One July, on his day off from his carpet factory job, Daddy went out into the stifling Georgia heat to retrieve the stove. “Seems just ‘bout everybody on the block has somethin’ from Warren,” Mudda yelled over the cranking of Daddy’s ’56 pickup. “Every family in Emerson prolly got somethin’ from Warren and they ain’t had problems with ‘em, so why should we have to go without?” It was the second brand-new appliance we’d ever owned, after the percolator. Everything else had been used, some of them gently and some not, but Mudda was proud of them all the same. She was queen of the kitchen and ruled as such. The only way that I could touch any of her treasures was if I cleaning. Her eyes, magnified by thick Coke-bottle glasses, watched my every move, and at the slightest mistake she’d flick a towel at my wrists and say, “A’ight now, you’re done. Now git on up outta here.” Three months later, on Halloween morning while my mind concocted dreams of the pirate costumes I’d spent a week carefully constructing, sparks escaped from an unknown source, snuck across the linoleum kitchen floor, and jumped onto the living room carpet. It was four o’ clock, and my head was still dizzy with sleep as my older sister Darcy stood over me, her Afro hovering over her head like a black specter. “It’s the house, Charlene!” She hooked her hands under my arms and pulled me from under my threadbare blanket. “Charlene, the house,” she repeated, shaking me awake. “It’s burnin’ up!” I shivered from the October bite that had slipped through the window cracks during the night. Darcy shoved her coat into my hands. “Go on now, get it on,” she ordered, and I slid the scratchy wool over my pajamas. 28 | story week reader 2013

“Fo’git all that now, Ruth!” Daddy’s voice echoed from the kitchen. Warm oranges and reds flickered against the walls. The hot air met Darcy and me in the hallway. Sweat broke out on my neck. I peeked over my shoulder as the flowers on the curtains in the living room caught fire. Mudda’s frumpy figure darted from the kitchen to block my view. “G’on, y’all. Out!” Her sharp voice clenched my stomach. We filed out of the back door and into the crispness of the pre-dawn air. My stomach tightened with each step as I watched the fire eat its way toward the back, consuming every bit of shingle and clapboard. The flames seemed to lick at the stars. Our neighbors trickled out of the quiet, tucked-away houses along the hill and wandered down our block’s main thoroughfare, a dilapidated, two-lane road that bordered our yard. We all watched my family’s house morph into something we no longer recognized. Darcy’s arm was so tight across my shoulders I thought she’d leave bruises. Though our block had no fire hydrants, I still strained my hearing for the faintest sounds of sirens, hoping that the firemen could do something, anything, but I was only greeted with murmurs of pity and the chirping of nearby crickets. “You know my old house on Kentucky is yours,” Ms. Greene said to Mudda, “For as long as you need it, I swear b’fore God.” Ms. Greene was always giving people things. Mudda once said that she should spend less time giving people stuff and more time keeping her no-good son out of jail. Mudda didn’t say anything. I only had to imagine the expression on her mole-dusted face to know that I didn’t want to even look at her. Two hours later, our house crumbled to the ground. The cinder rose from the fresh grave, like a ghost giving itself up to God. I crouched over some nearby bushes for thirty minutes, throwing up and shitting at the same time. Mudda stood behind me and covered the scene with the tent of her and her big nightgown, muttering to herself about the nosiness of our neighbors.

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all roads lead to rome | Sahar Mustafah

Maha’s bi-monthly appointments at Tina’s Salon were interrupted after she lost the second one. At seven weeks, it was the size of a poppy seed—only two layers of cells. The one before had arm and leg buds. She spent two weeks sleeping through most of the day. She could tell what time it was by the slant of sunlight cutting through the window and across her duvet. By late afternoon, it narrowed at the foot of her bed like a ribbon of gold. When it disappeared completely and she could no longer make out the tiny violet petals on her duvet, Hatim would be home. After about a week on the Zoloft, she felt like her insides had been replaced with cotton. They still had not absorbed the sadness and shame, thicker than uterine blood she spilled into the toilet. Hatha bi idayn Allah, her mother told her while coaxing Maha into drinking some cumin-flavored lentil soup. It’s in God’s hands. Her mother’s voice was scratchy and her eyes were puffy. When Maha finally left the condo, she flat-ironed her black wavy hair and drove to Tina’s Nail Salon. Oh! Long time no see, Tina called out as soon as she saw Maha. You wait five minutes, okay? Pick color, please. Tina was an amicable Vietnamese woman. Her real name was Bong, pronounced Bawn. She looked surprised when Maha had asked her what it meant during her very first appointment. ‘Flow-a,’ Tina told her. ‘Flower.’ That’s pretty, Maha said.  ‘Tina’ easy to say, Tina explained. You pick color, okay? Maha stood in front of a wall lined with bottles, grouped by various shades. Her eyes ran the course of each long row from hot pink to iridescent opal. She did this every time but always chose the same pink polish: All Rose Lead to Rome. One of Tina’s assistants directed her to a leather massage chair, and she settled in, slowly lowering her feet into the nearly scorching water until her soles found the bottom of the plastic basin. She had a higher threshold than most and never

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complained about the scalding water. Eventually, her feet became accustomed to the heat and soon the bubbling water cooled to the perfect temperature. Maha closed her eyes. Ammonia wafted from Tina’s station where she was working on an elderly woman. The humming of the chair and scraping of a file against nails oddly relaxed Maha. She pressed a button on a remote control and a sensation like a baker’s rolling pin gradually loosened her lower back muscles like a fist unclenching. The same young assistant scurried by with folded towels, the scent of ripe mangos and cashews mingling in her wake.  Long time no see, Tina said again when it was Maha’s turn. Maha watched Tina remove the pink chipped polish. Where you been? Tina asked, arching her penciled-in eyebrows as she worked. I’ve been sick, Maha said. It wasn’t altogether untrue. She wondered if other women could tell. A blonde at the drying station carefully turned the pages of a magazine and held her hand up to examine her nails for smudges. She smiled vaguely at Maha. Another client sipped coffee from a Styrofoam cup, gazing up at the mounted television. Too bad, Tina said. Too many clients get flu. You get shot? Too late for that, Maha said. You fine now, Tina said, not looking at her. Other hand, please.   The next morning Maha woke up with a swollen finger.       It’s infected, the doctor declared. Your salon doesn’t properly sterilize their tools. He held up her finger, bloated like a grape, examining it as though it was a detached specimen. He scribbled a prescription and tore it off a thick pad. Maha couldn’t decipher his esoteric script.  She filled the prescription at Walgreens. She was afraid she would gag on a gel-coated pill, but it slid down her throat and its descent down her esophagus felt like a cartoon cat swallowing a bird or a plate whose shape absurdly protrudes from the cat’s throat.   She wondered how quickly the antibiotic would seize the infection fermenting in that tiny space. At dinner, Hatim pressed her finger to his dry, parted lips. His thin lashes fluttered when he closed his eyes. Does it hurt? he asked. A deep ravine had formed across his forehead where it had once been smooth as a newlywed man.   She shook her head. Fortunately, it was nothing a simple prescription couldn’t heal.

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a problem child | Jessica M. Scott

When I was five, I tried to kill my sister Lacey the weekend before Thanksgiving. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The four of us were sitting in the Saturday afternoon traffic on Highway 395 South heading toward Reno. My father was driving, fingers tapping on the steering wheel. Next to him, my mother was flipping through coupons for our shopping trip. I was sitting behind my mother. My seatbelt was on, but I was rocking back and forth to the rhythm of the radio. I’d like to think it was something badass—like AC/DC. “Can we get Rice Krispies at the store?” “Cheer-os,” Lacey shouted. My mother sighed. “We’re not buying a ton of cereal that’s going to get stale. Everyone can eat Cheerios.” My father and I grumbled. Across the backseat, Lacey was strapped into her car seat. She was two. Her hair was dark blonde, a blue headband holding back her curls. Her tiny sneakers drummed against the plastic edge of the car seat in counterpoint. I took a long, hard look at Lacey. Couldn’t we leave her by the side of the road? There were plenty of other cars; surely someone would pick her up. Maybe a family who needed a kid that didn’t like applesauce, who forced me to eat nothing but Cheerios and cried when all I wanted was to sing along to Sleeping Beauty and shuffle waltz with my imaginary prince in the privacy of my half of the bedroom. The traffic cleared up. We started moving, passing cars in the right lane. My father caught my eye in the rearview mirror and winked. “How you doing back there?” “Good, Daddy,” I answered, giving him my sweetest smile. No one asked me if I wanted a sister. I liked playing by myself. I was perfectly content to read and listen to records on my Cinderella record player. But I couldn’t do that when Lacey was sleeping. Or when she was fussy because it made her upset. I had to share my Barbies, even though she constantly chewed on their heads. Her sticky slobber matted their hair, and her teeth pitted their faces with acne scars. 32 | story week reader 2013

My mother asked my father a question—the perfect distraction. I eased off my seatbelt. Scrambling across the seat, I released the seat belt holding Lacey’s car seat in place. Lacey giggled, smacking at my hands. The time to play pattycake had passed. I yanked up the door lock. The chrome handle was cool in my palm. With a pop, the door cracked open. A piercing hiss of air filled the back seat. My mother twisted around and screamed, “Pull over! Pull the fucking car over!” Tangled in her belt straps, she lunged for the car seat. I was thrown back against the far door as my father slammed the brakes and stopped on the side of the freeway. “Are you crazy?” he yelled. My mother tore off her belt and climbed into the back. The hazard lights were ticking out of time with the radio. She got the door closed and relocked it. Right on cue, Lacey burst into tears as my mother got the car seat resettled. “What is the matter with you? Your sister could have died!” “I—I don’t know. I just thought—” I stammered. I didn’t know how to explain that I just wanted peace and my toys and my cereal and for everyone to stop fussing over the stupid baby all the time. “No, you weren’t thinking at all,” my father spat. “Get up here now.” I clamored into the passenger seat. Usually, it was a privilege to sit up there and be the co-pilot. This time, I felt sick. He buckled me in before looking at my mother then switched off the hazard lights and pulled back into traffic. The very next day, my father traded in that four-door Mazda for a two-door Chevy Blazer. That was the only time I pulled a stunt quite like that. So what if a few years later Lacey was forced to get a pixie hair cut the day before school pictures because I snipped her bangs off to a quarter of an inch, or if she threw up for an entire afternoon because I convinced her the mud pies I’d made were, in fact, chocolate? But we didn’t get another four-door car until I was sixteen years old.

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death at the seafront | Oleg Kazantsev

“Is it okay if I sit down?” said a one-eared man. My father and I looked up at him. He was a stocky, roundshouldered fellow in a white short-sleeved shirt, gray trousers, and brown sandals. He had buzzed hair, a well-shaved wrinkly face, and small watery eyes. Diffused purple tattoos spotted his thin hands and, yes, one of his ears looked like a half-eaten griddle cake. We exchanged glances. It was a warm summer day in Vladivostok, and the seafront park was full of happy folks who gathered in crowds among candy stands and beer stalls. Before us, two kids with melted ice-cream stains on their shorts raced by their clumsy grandma. Near them a loud company of bronzeskinned dockworkers drank beer and ate dried smelt fish. In the shade of an oak tree by our bench, three hipster-girls lay on the grass, their bodies forming a perfect triangle. The whole world had gathered at the seafront encircling the bay; the sandy enclave locked between hills dotted with high-rises, factories, bridges, dock cranes, and tree canopies. But this man with one ear didn’t belong to the place. Tranquil and reserved, he moved as if he knew his energy wouldn’t last until sunset. “Is it okay?” he repeated. I scooted over, and the man sat on the edge of the bench between us. He crossed his legs and stared at the ocean, his eyes not moving. We sat in awkward silence. Dad was drinking his lemonade; I played my iPod. Finally, the little man sighed heavily, muttered a quiet “Thank you,” stood up, and headed to the waterfront in short careful steps. Soon we lost him. “Everything’s safe,” I said to my father. He gave me a confused look, and I slapped my pocket. “My wallet. He didn’t try to steal anything.” “Come on, don’t be a dick, son!” he said with strange melancholy. “Hey, you taught me to be streetwise.” “Maybe he’s just been released from prison or something. If a man’s lost it doesn’t mean he’s a crook. I was like him myself.”

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“You were in prison?” “No. Lost.” Lost . . . I remembered an image from a summer fifteen years before: dad sitting on a balcony reading Nietzsche, his tanned athletic torso open to the sun. Occasionally he would notice me, a skinny pale fifth-grader standing by the railing, and he’d take a gulp of coffee, puff a cigarette, and without introduction start reading out loud: “He who cannot command himself should obey. And many can command themselves, but much is still lacking before they can obey themselves . . .” “This visa interview,” father’s voice interrupted, “and your whole trip to America, it’s a big thing, son. You’re gonna become a good writer. Where I lost, you’ll win.” He smiled, sipped his lemonade, and added sarcastically: “But remember, it’s better to be a good plumber than a shitty writer.” “Have you actually tried to write fiction?” I chuckled. “Yes, and it was bad.” He raised his eyebrows and primed his lips. Looking away, he scratched his stubble and said, “But there was a moment when I had an idea for a story. Back when your mom and I were living apart, and I was drinking, and . . .” He frowned and sighed. “So, I felt I just didn’t have anything to live for. Like you’re living in the steppe, and it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s a flatland and grass and sky everywhere. And I just needed to have some, some purpose in my life. Let’s change the topic.” “You wanted to tell me about a story idea.” “Oh, yeah. So, say some scientists invented a way of interstellar travel, and they need a pilot to operate this ship. Just a single pilot. And he has to travel from one star to another for decades, maybe even he’ll never reach that star, but he has to keep the course straight, and he has to keep going no matter what.” He frowned and said, “So, if I had the choice, I would have been this pilot.” He finished off his lemonade and threw the empty bottle into a trashcan. We heard a loud clap, like a tire bursting. A woman shouted, and the crowd by the waterfront moved aside. A man was lying on the hot asphalt, a puddle of blood spreading around his head. Diffused tattoos, a torn ear, and a smoking gun in his hand. “Didn’t reach his star, poor fellow,” my dad whispered.

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tenderness | Virginia Ilda Baker

Aaron’s scars streaked across his knees in pale ridges. “From falling off my bike as a kid,” he said, as I traced my index finger across the thick tissue. I’d never touched someone like that before. We were kids, concealed in his childhood bedroom. His mother was making dinner in the kitchen downstairs. I wondered if she would invite me to stay over. We peeled off our clothes symmetrically, too nervous to speak, too aware of this big thing we were about to do. Our sighs blended into the squeals coming from the springs in his mattress, and when he asked me if it hurt, I said no, even though it did. Mark’s scars were like stones bulging from the tops of his shoulders. He was tackled to the ground for four years during high school football practice, years before I knew him. A slew of scars were stapled into him, into his arms that made me feel like a wet, loopy string of spaghetti as he held me, too tightly, so I wouldn’t slip away. I hid inside his cavities, studying the world as one-half of a whole. But when I guided his fingers over my skin, he flinched and pulled away. Jude’s scars were little stencils drawn across his skin. Precise circles speckled across his arms. I asked him to show them to me, hoping he’d ask me the same in return. He didn’t. “Cigarette burns,” he explained, as I poked the old marks. I imagined the ember meeting his flesh, sizzling and sighing before it went out. Burned skin crept over his bones like used tissues. I swooned over his bad habits, asked him to retell the stories of overdosing in the back of a minivan or getting sent to a psych ward. His stories turned him into an enigma and I thought that if I could decode him, if I could define his weakness, then I could be stronger. Samuel’s scars stretched like tributaries over the back of his hand. They were from the time he punched through the window of Black Sheep, a neighborhood bar. He was drunk, which wasn’t a surprise because he was always drunk, which was okay at the time, because I was always drunk too. The tributaries fed into the river. I surrendered to the current and was carried downstream. I drank until Samuel’s hands gripped me too tightly and his voice became a hot breath of air in my ear. Evan’s scars weren’t scars when I knew him. They were 36 | story week reader 2013

fresh, red cuts, just beginning to scab. When I pulled his clothes off, my fingers brushed against the grainy skin, rough and tender, and he’d flinch and close his eyes. I’d stare at the cuts, wishing I could will them away, wishing my emotions were as dire as his seemed to be. And even when he entered me, all I saw was cracked skin. I pulled him inside, thinking that if I could hold him close enough then I’d absorb all of his sadness and he’d be okay and he’d wipe the fog from his eyes and actually see me. He lurched inside of me, but the adverse side effects of his medication meant he couldn’t come, so after a while, he’d give up and curl into the empty space beside me. Over the phone, he told me he hated himself, he hated his life, and he didn’t care about me. It took me a few months to realize that I couldn’t fix someone who didn’t want to be fixed. My scars stick to me like luminescent bubbles on the surface of water. Sometimes they absorb light and they seem to sparkle. I imagine that one day someone will see them, and he’ll leave kisses on the bad memories stamped into my arms, and he’ll love me, despite the wrinkles time has left behind. And then maybe he’ll take my face in his hands and kiss the bridge of my nose and say, “It’s okay. We all have scars.”

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how to act like a lady while wearing an orange jumpsuit | Mikaela Shea

Whatever you were doing prior to your arrest, whether it be chugging mini bottles of Absolut in the parking lot with your much older male friend, dancing in a red miniskirt, or being handed free drinks by random men who in retrospect wanted a lot more than a “Thank you” in return—none of that matters. It’s how you act while you attempt to walk a straight line behind the police car and while getting patted down at the station that counts. You leave a dance club when you’re eighteen, the loud music still vibrating in your thin legs. You’ve never been given so much attention and you see yourself at the club every Saturday for the rest of your life. You stopped drinking hours ago, but the Long Island that the tall, sexy man bought you is still warming your insides. You’re driving down a busy street, the “Loop” of downtown Des Moines where people with no lives drive around for hours on the weekends. You see a police car in your rearview mirror and your stomach sinks so low it drags on the pavement beneath you. He’s going to get me, you think. The next thing you know, blue and red lights are flashing in the mirror, blinding you, making you feel drunker. When the cop taps on your window with a flashlight, you roll down the window and flash him your sweetest smile. “Good evening, officer.” You try not to breathe on him. He asks you to get out of the car, walk a line on the street, says you won’t be in any trouble. But then your flip flops twist beneath you as you try to put one foot in front of the other. “It’s . . . my flip flops,” you say, followed closely by the sound, then feel, of metal strangling your wrists. The officer leads you to his car; he’s careful you don’t bump your head. What a gentleman. Out the front window you see the Polk County Jail illuminated by the sporadic streetlights. You say, “I thought I wasn’t getting in trouble?”

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He ignores you. Inside the jail, you finally get intimidated. A glass holding cell lining the wall is full of men in orange jumpsuits, packed in like kids at a daycare. Fat men, sleeping men, muscles, handlebar mustaches, scruffy beards, droopy red eyes. Suddenly they see you and some pound at the glass like gorillas, wideeyed, grunting their mating calls. They watch while you’re patted down by the redheaded asshole who brought you there, even though you have nowhere to hide anything. They cup breasts they don’t have, shove their tongues between two fingers, shout indiscernible things. You hear the words, “Baby! Hard! Scream!” You’ve never felt so naked in clothes, or more repulsed by the male gender. The officer hands you an orange jumpsuit. “I’m going to look even sexier in this.” Then he hands you a pair of dingy neon yellow panties and grins as you stretch the waistband to each end of the room, your face sinking into disgust. In the changing room, you put on the baggy jumpsuit and toss the underwear into the dark corner. No way can you afford to let those touch your most intimate place. The last thing you need to do is add herpes to your rap sheet. You make your one call, your mom cries, “Absolutely not! You can stay in your rotten underwear and think about what a stupid thing you’ve done!” Luckily, you get your own room. First off, you mustn’t lie down. By now, the alcohol has almost worn off, and you’re getting to the point where you’d normally have fallen into a fully-clothed slumber in your own bed. But is lying in other peoples’ sweat, dead skin, and possible head lice on a cardboard-like pillow worth it? No. Lean up against the cement wall, it will be especially cool since you’re pantiless. You have made your metaphorical bed, but you’re not going to lie in it. Pray you used the restroom at the club before you left, because that metal toilet in the corner with the infinite smears was once shiny. Imagine all the things it’s crawling with: shit, herpes, blood, AIDS, piss, gonorrhea. You’d rather piss yourself, trust me, at least it’s sterile . . . ish. You can bear one night of cold, underwearless discomfort. Tomorrow you can wear your most comfortable boy shorts, and lay in your bed as you think about the thousands of dollars in fines you get to pay for that fun night at the club.

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train to nowhere | J.S. Walker

It was him. I’d followed him from the Forest Park El platform out into the bus terminal, secretly hoping he’d recognize me. Having only seen his picture on Facebook, I wasn’t completely sure, but now, sitting two feet away from him, I just knew. What would I do when I finally saw Phillip Walker? It was a question I’d thought of plenty. Would I ignore him, walk away, or yell and rant? Through all my imaginings, I was always at my best though. I’d pictured myself as a famous singer, surrounded by paparazzi, never sitting, waiting for a bus. Through my ear buds, I heard him call my name quietly. I ignored it, making it seem like I’d missed it because of the loud music. I wanted him to work for my attention. He leaned forward on the bench, trying to catch my eye. “Is your name Jasmine?” he asked louder. This time I couldn’t pretend and removed my headphones. “Uh yeah,” I muttered. My eyebrows scrunched and my lip tilted in a grimace. It’s the look you give strangers when they’re taking liberties they shouldn’t, being too familiar. “Do you know who I am?” he asked, and I heard the expectation in his voice. After all that time he wanted me to know who he was. “No,” I answered. Sitting back with wide eyes, he collected his thoughts before finally speaking. “What’s your last name?” For years I’d gone by the last name Ward, my stepdad’s surname. When I started high school, I dropped the Ward and returned to Walker. “Walker.” He nodded. “So do you know who I am now?” “Yeah, I know you.” He shifted on the bench to face me. Our wide smiles were the same, revealing shining teeth and a slight dimple. I had his height, pinched nose and milk chocolate coloring. “I knew it was you the moment I saw you.” He smiled brighter. I almost said, “Then why didn’t you come talk to me instantly?” Instead I nodded, feeling so damn awkward. “I think about you and look at your pictures every day.” His 40 | story week reader 2013

cocoa eyes were warm and the smile we shared played across his lips. My lips grew tight as I clenched my jaw. He thought about me every day but hadn’t once tried to contact me, hadn’t once sent me a birthday or Christmas card, hadn’t once tried to see me. The only memories I had of him were the semi-almost-never child support checks. That, and the one and only time I’d ever talked to him on the phone. I’d found his number on a child support document when I was thirteen, and my mother allowed me to call him. She never kept me from him. We talked for about fifteen minutes. He told me he was married with two daughters, who he wanted me to meet. He promised to come see me Saturday at one o’clock. I sat on the couch and waited, pretending not to be anxious. But then one came and went and he didn’t show. By three o’clock I knew he wasn’t coming. My mother sat down on the couch next to me and rubbed my back gently. “I don’t think he’s coming, baby,” she said. I shrugged. “Yeah I know.” I went to my room. A few minutes later I heard her on the phone, furious. Later she told me he had to work. Years later she finally told me the truth. He thought it would be better if he got visitation through the court system. That was the last time I ever contacted him. Now at the bus stop, Phil was still talking. Saying things like I needed to meet my family, and they couldn’t wait to see me. I nodded a lot and smiled. Inside though, nothing had changed for me. I had a father that I loved who’d been there for me. It amazed me that my stepdad, who didn’t have any blood ties with me, could be a better father than this man next to me, who did. I heard a loud engine and looked up to see the bus pull into the terminal. I stood, and he followed, reaching out to hug me and continuing to talk about wanting to get to know me. “I love you,” he said and squeezed me tight. I held still and said nothing. He let go and stepped back. “Give me a call. My number’s on Facebook.” I nodded one last time and boarded the bus, not for one instant looking back.

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always the weight | Darwyn Jones

“I’m going for a walk.” You say it like it was normal, like you just thought of it. Go to Maple Street and stand in front of the weedy graveled lot wedged between the McIntyre’s house and the Parker’s trailer. Stand at the ditch and flip bottle caps between your thumb and pointer finger. Try to sail them like Frisbees. You’ve thrown hundreds of them into the empty lot, aiming toward a wrapper, a rock, a dirt patch. Be conscious of the road; constantly watch for your brother, Jerry, to turn the corner. He’ll come fifteen, maybe thirty minutes later. He’s almost seventeen, drives the car on errands for Mom, has muscles spread on his arms and is way bigger than you. When someone is bigger and wants to lie on top of you, they will. In the middle of the night when you’re sleeping under afghans crocheted by Mom, in the middle of the day when cartoons are interrupted and you have to take a walk, or early in the morning when the house is still whispering—they will lie on you. When you are really young, like five or six, you don’t fight because it’s someone you love, someone who loves you, someone who notices you. You accept the hand-me-down toy or the cool denim jacket and you try not to cry. When you are eight or nine, you don’t fight because he twists your arm or holds his fist up ready to punch you or, and this is what scares you, he tells you Mom could get hurt. When you’re twelve, you’ve forgotten that fighting is a choice. Let your body relax; it’s the sacrifice. You escape in other ways. As soon as he slips into bed or pulls you behind thick brush or pushes you through the open window of an empty house, let your mind start running. Go to the middle of Fort Davidson. Lie in the grass, let one ear feel the cold flesh of the ground and the other listen for a sound to focus on; wind sweeping through leaves, squirrels chattering, acorns dropping. Open your eyes and watch a ladybug tumble through blades of grass or look to the center of the Fort where the large oak stretches and explodes into the sky. Stay in the Fort as long as you can. Some things will bring you back. His weight will push your face into the mattress, or the dirt, or the wooden floor, and you 42 | story week reader 2013

won’t get any air. The Fort fades away and you notice. Push your body up. He won’t let you go, but he’ll adjust. When you catch your breath, run again. Pain splices itself into the Fort when it is too sharp or too quick. You hear yourself cry and feel the tears and the weight. Always the weight. The longer it goes, the more you’ll be pulled from the Fort. Push yourself further. Climb Pilot Knob Mountain, stand on the cliff and look over the entire valley. Let your eyes follow the ‘S’ curve of Highway 21 that cuddles Arcadia, Ironton, and Pilot Knob. Look for things that you know—Family Market (where you can buy candy with the dollar that Mom gives you on Thursdays), Iron County Library (three more books to read before you get the Summer Reading Ribbon), Arcadia Valley Elementary (another escape). With practice, you’ll leap to the top of the mountain just by hearing Jerry’s laugh coming down the stairs or knowing he’ll be home when you get off the bus. Running lets you miss out on things—things you don’t want to see, things you don’t want to feel, things you don’t want to admit. But, it pulls the good with the bad. You don’t know how much you’ve missed. You never will. Running fixes things. When your brother, Eddie, opens the basement door and Jerry shouts, “Get out of here,” and throws a pillow—even though you saw Eddie’s confused face, even though the two of you locked eyes, even though you watched Eddie’s jaw clench and saw his chest take in a deep breath, even though you watched his head drop before he backed out of the door and pulled the door closed—you know Eddie wasn’t there. It never happened. If it had, he would have helped you. You run because brothers don’t hurt brothers.

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Virginia Ilda Baker is pursuing her BFA in Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. She is a literary intern at Open Books, where she facilitates literacy programs in public schools around the city. The rest of her time is dedicated to advocating for the environment, dreaming about trains, and drinking coffee. Hal Baum is a sophomore in the Fiction Writing department and a member of Columbia College’s improv team, Droppin’ $cience. He’s a nice guy. You should get to know him better. Ryan Buell is a writer of “down-to-earth” science fiction with an absurdist/surrealist bent. In 2011, he won the Editor’s Choice Award in Columbia College Chicago’s First Year Writing Anthology contest. In the same year, he was a runner-up in the semi-finals of the Chicago reading series, Golden Gloves Story Slam. You may find at least two of his stories in the Chicagobased zine, Friction. Andrew Buttermore is a senior Fiction Writing major from Pennsylvania. When not writing or hoping someone makes a Missed Connection about him, he makes coffee for strangers. For a fun time, please do not call him. Nicolas Cole is a senior in Columbia College Chicago’s Fiction Writing department. He is currently working on his debut memoir, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer, and is a hip-hop music producer and amateur bodybuilder. His work has been published on EliteDaily.com, as well as in a variety of zines, and he writes everything from poetry to creative non-fiction. René Cousineau is a Fiction Writing student at Columbia College Chicago. She hails from the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains where she was raised on a steady diet of venison, Fleetwood Mac, and Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Her work has appeared in Columbia College Chicago’s annual Story Workshop anthology, Hair Trigger.

Word Riot, on Hypertext Magazine, and in the forthcoming Hair Trigger (among other places). Liz likes to make most of her choices based on how good of a story will come of it later. Like working at a strip club. Darwyn Jones’s fiction has appeared in Windy City Times, Hair Trigger, and the anthologies SIN and Grimm and Grimmer. He has written for Chicago’s entertainment website metromix.com and the Not For Tourists Guidebook to Chicago. He’s a company member with 2nd Story and frequently reads at Reading Under Influence (RUI). Oleg Kazantsev came to Chicago from Eastern Siberia, where he used to work as a video game journalist. His work has been published in Story Week Reader 2012, Every Day Fiction, and SF Signal. In 2012 he received Weisman Award for his comic book “With You,” and is currently working on his first novel, The Swan to Shoot Down. Terrill Mast is a student of Columbia College majoring in Fiction Writing. He is a musician, artist, photographer, and more recently, writer of album and concert reviews for ViolentSuccess. com. His work can be found at www.terrillmast.com. Sahar Mustafah is a writer and teacher from Chicago. Her short stories have appeared in Dinarzad’s Children, Mizna, Columbia College Chicago’s Story Week Reader 2012, and she was a Featured Writer in New Scriptor, an Illinois Educators Forum. Her story “Perfect Genes” will appear in the forthcoming Hair Trigger 35. She also performed her nonfiction piece “Unveiled” at 2nd Story. Most recently, her short story “Shisha Love” won the 2012 Guild Literary Complex Fiction Prose Award and has been nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize by Word Riot. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction at Columbia College Chicago.

Kate Duva is a storyteller, poet, play therapist, dancer, artist, and baby mama, born and raised in a Chicago bar. Her work has appeared in Opium, Fugue, and the2ndhand, and she was a finalist in the Winning Writers War Poetry Contest. She is an MFA candidate in Fiction Writing.

Michelle Pretorius received a B.A. from the University of the Free State in South Africa. She has lived in London, New York, and the Midwest. Currently a graduate student at Columbia College Chicago, her work has been published in Word Riot, Everyday Fiction, Hypertext Magazine, and The Copperfield Review.

Elizabeth Grear is an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago where she is happily studying fiction writing and the teaching of writing. She has previously been published at

M.E. Reid is a graduating senior studying Broadcast Journalism and Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. In 2011 Reid won the Albert P. Weisman award for the production of the

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documentary “Buffalo Soldiers 2014.” Reid’s work can be viewed at thechireporter.com. Jessica M. Scott is an MFA candidate in Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Before that she lived in New York City, and she’s not used to making small talk in elevators. She has forthcoming work that can be seen in Emerge Literary Journal and is currently at writing a young adult novel. Mikaela Shea is an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. To pay her overpriced rent, she is a blogger and a nanny. She has published stories in Foliate Oak Literary Journal and Hypertext Magazine, as well as a children’s book at the State Historical Society of Iowa. Mikaela is currently writing a novel and sending out various short stories for publication. David Sim Wei Lun is Chinese Singaporean who loves all things Japanese. If not found freezing along the streets of Chicago, he is usually typing away on his Mac. He lives off of a steady diet of classical and video game music, diabetes-inducing confections, and fantasy stories. Currently enjoying: a plethora of graphic novels. Colorado writer Malissa Stark is a Fiction Writing major at Columbia College Chicago. She is getting her minor in Environmental Sciences, often pairing it with her writing. This is her first publication credit. Jasmine Walker, who writes as J.S. Walker, was born in Chicago. She studies Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. She particularly likes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, which are the genres she typically writes in. Her favorite things are reading, writing, and spending time with her daughter. M.B. Wells graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2008 and is an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. She is currently the assistant editor of Fictionary. A former musician and dancer, she now spends her free time writing, painting, listening to records, and watching classic movies.

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Story Week Reader 2013, Volume 9