Fiction: S-U

Fiction of the Day

Trial Run

By Zach Williams

I pitched through the lobby door and then, as I caught my breath, stood looking back at the storm. It was bad out there. The city had been reduced to dim outlines and floating lights; snow moved down Nineteenth Street in waves. I beat it from my hat and coat, knocked my boots together. Under those high ceilings, each sound reverberated. Only the emergency lights were on, there was no one at the front desk, all the elevators in the bank sat open and waiting. And in a fit of hope, I thought there might not be, in all the building, even one other soul.

Though I hadn’t hit that button, the elevator stopped on nine: silence, nothing but cubicles in the faint light of an alarm panel. When the doors slid open again on fourteen I saw Manny Mintauro, our security guard, like a stone slab behind his podium. Half his face was in shadow. My heart fell at the sight of him.

“Sup, bro,” he said, deep and grave.  

The elevator doors closed behind me. “Hey, Manny.” Snow dropped from my jeans onto the carpet. “Thought it might just be me today.


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.