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Fiction: S-U

Fiction of the Day

Likely Lake

By Mary Robison

His doorbell rang and Buddy peered through the viewer at a woman in the courtyard. She had green eyes and straight black hair, cut sharply like a fifties Keely Smith. He knew her. She did bookkeeping

Backsiders

By Kathryn Scanlan

We lived in a poor part of town but we had the greatest entertainment. We had the goldfish ponds, we had Motorcycle Hill, we had the dump and Bicycle Jenny. We made rafts for the creek. We lived off the land.

Down the street was a family who’d moved off the reservation—grandfather and kids and grandkids. The grandkids were our age and we spent a lot of time with them. The grandfather liked to tell me about his religion, his beliefs. I loved his stories and his tales. I called him Grandpa.

The old man—he was very well loved but he liked to drink. His daughter and her husband locked him out of the house when he got drunk. I’d say, Grandpa can stay with us—I’ll sleep in my sister’s room so Grandpa can have mine. So the old man would stay in my room and he’d go home when he sobered up.

Yet You Turn to the Man

By Kathryn Scanlan

The cat was dying too slow. The vet could end it but the vet was thirty miles away and the cat hated the car.

I called the vet. Could I get it—what he used? Could I pick it up and bring it home and do it to her—by syringe or pill or however one did?

Can’t let you have it, said the vet. He told me the drug he used was the same drug a person will drop in a date’s drink in order to rape the date later. I could go to jail, he said.

Well, I don’t plan on raping anyone, I said.

The vet said, Does your husband own a gun?

He did. At the end, he kept it on the bed next to him when we had sex. But now he was gone, and so was the gun.

Les Saltimbanques

By Marvin Schiller

From a Boardwalk bar-and-grill dance music sweetened the seaweed-stained air. Lev imagined the bar’s cool haven—the beer smell and the happily subterranean, unfunny interior he had begun to frequent with his son, Milton, who was now gone from home for the first time. Lev had been stunned by the boy’s enlistment in the service, and still, after eight months, was unable to figure out why the boy had not at least, at the very least after all the years of comradeship, consulted him.