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A Difficult Phase

By Molly Antopol Talia was in line at Café Noah when she noticed a man watching her. He was at the group table by the window, handsome in a nerdy, chaotic way, wearing a rumpled orange T-shirt and metallic glasses a shade lighter than his hair. He smiled. She smiled back. He smiled again, and [...]


A Month Of Sundays

By Alix Ohlin There were three of them in the car that night: Lauren, Samantha, and that boy he’d never liked, the one he’d pegged as a bad influence.  The first time the kid showed up at the house, his eyes were bloodshot, his hair wet — clearly he was fresh from the shower, deodorant [...]


A New Start

By Sam Lipsyte The deli near Mediocre had a new wrap man. He rolled my order too tight. Turkey poked through the tan skin. I studied the damage through the translucent lid of the container. It was a bad way to begin my first day at my old job. I rode the elevator up with [...]


A New Start

By Sam Lipsyte The deli near Mediocre had a new wrap man. He rolled my order too tight. Turkey poked through the tan skin. I studied the damage through the translucent lid of the container. It was a bad way to begin my first day at my old job. I rode the elevator up with [...]


A Race Against Death

By Kim Brooks The day after Field’s Free synagogue burned down, Shmuel Spiro arrived early at work. The first thing he noticed when he pushed open the door to the offices of the Committee for a Jewish Army was that the secretary was talking on her phone. Her name was Rachel and she was born [...]


A Small Adult World

By Matthew Kirkpatrick Carl and Carla had come to Adult Disney not to celebrate their marriage, but to salvage it; to renew not their vows, but the vigor they both claimed to remember, the fire they had for one another at one time and now was gone. On the tram, crowded among the others in [...]


A Week Apart

By Daniel Stolar I know my husband, Terry, sometimes looks at Internet pornography — masturbates to Internet pornography, nobody just looks — so it’s not like I’m terribly shocked at the screen that appears when I wake up his computer.  Still, it is disconcerting, in the frank afternoon sunlight pouring through our plantation blinds. In [...]


A Winter Husband

By Jean Thompson He didn’t know he was hearing music. The stuff they played in stores sneaked up on you like that. Music was only part of what you stepped into once you passed through the automatic glass doors and their obliging, unsealing, rubber-edged welcome. This was a big shopper’s paradise superstore, full of color [...]


A Woman Nowhere

By Abi Maxwell I was never very kind to my mother. “You’re going to die young,” I used to say. “Cancer, probably, or some freak accident.” And I was not alone in my cruelty. She lived in our little town from the time she married my father, at twenty-four, until the time she died, in [...]


Above The Factory

By Jerry Gabriel When they moved from out West, they decided on a place far outside of the city, near a small town. It was just a hamlet, really, this town. A sign at the edge of it said, “Annecy, Ohio” and then below that, “Population: 800.” It wasn’t even on one of the maps [...]


Accidental Transients

By Randa Jarrar Everything was going pretty badly at my Baba’s house — messes that never got clean, zero privacy, constant mooning and pranks — and I was considering moving out for the fourth time in one day, when my brother Ibrahim decided to move back home with his new Catholic wife, Dorothy.  They’re only [...]


Adagio

By Ryan McIlvain When I sat up straighter in bed last night, frowning at the iPad Jake had given me, he said, “What’s wrong?” and I said, “Nothing’s wrong,” and he said, “Sara, what’s wrong?” I didn’t look at him as he leaned across the invisible barrier, craning his head to read the article in [...]


Addio del Passato

By Jennifer duBois My father’s best World War II story was about bailing out of his plane on New Year’s Day, 1944. His story unfolded as a series of incidents of “dumb luck,” as he liked to call it: he made all the wrong decisions and lived to recount them with an awe that never [...]


Adult Contemporary

By Charles Yu Murray chooses The Brad™ and right away feels he’s made a mistake. “Let me ask you something,” the sales guy says. “Do you feel you’re making a mistake?” It’s like he’s in my head, Murray thinks, but he tries not to show any indication either way because this guy’s good and he [...]


The Agronomist

By Michael Dahlie
Henry had a large inheritance but the worst luck. He wanted to be liked but ended up take advantage of. He fell for his fourth cousin (not really a relation!). Everyone in Brooklyn found out about the faces he made while having sex. His worst misfortune, however, was still to come.


Aliens Among Us

By Marisa Silver
Marie was ill with breast cancer and her family thought their Sahara adventure would be their final vacation together. Only a different secret might change everything.


All The Little Angles

By Allison Amend “I’m leaving your father,” my mother said, her voice tinny in the cell phone’s echo. “Oh,” I said. I’m not sure I really heard her. Or if I believed her. Behind me, the baby banged her spoon. “Maw,” she yelled, pleased with the sound of her voice in the tiled kitchen. “Maw, [...]


All The Summers Ahead

By Sarah Malone Ellen was having lunch with Abby at Souen on West Thirteenth Street. One of their monthly lunches, though it was difficult now, finding time to meet. “You should move out near us,” Abby said. Their house — Abby and her husband’s, in New Jersey — was finally finished. They taught at NYU. [...]


Alliance

By Caitlin Kindervatter-Clark In the morning, I get my shoes back. No explanation, just the fat nurse with a Chuck in each hand. I’m not too excited. I know from previous stays that shoes do not come this easily. Shoes have to be earned. “What are these for?” I ask, slipping the shoes over my hands [...]


Alt

By Michael Idov When the beluga-browed Airbus hit its tenth or eleventh air pocket descending upon St. Petersburg, Oscar Lunquist lost all shame and grabbed the forearm of his seat companion in 21B. A short-shorn woman twenty or so years Oscar’s senior and thus twice his age, she didn’t take the commandeered limb away but [...]


Americca

By Aimee Bender When we came home from the movie that night, my sister went into the bathroom and then called out to our mother, asking if she’d bought another toothpaste as a hint. I know I have major cavities, she said.  But do we really need two? Two what? asked my mother. Two toothpastes, [...]


The Amicable Divorce

By Laura Kasischke
It was Tony’s young daughter’s first birthday party since the divorce. And going back home — the indignity of ringing his own doorbell, of his ex-wife looking so damn good — unleashes a torrent of frustration.


And Down We Went

By Lori Ostlund I. The Last Time I have been defecated on three times in my life, literally crapped on that is, for I am not the sort to go around characterizing any victimization I might feel in such vulgar metaphorical terms. In each case, the offending party was a bird, the incidents occurring on [...]


And Then There Was Claire

By Allison Amend
When an ex-girlfriend dies and Garvey revisits his former life in Washington D.C., he realizes how much distance comes between old friends in a short period of time.


The Animal House

By Manuel Gonzales Wendy claimed she found the house on her way home. She claimed she could smell it from the sidewalk, and maybe she could. Her nose was better at smelling things than mine was. As it was, I couldn’t smell anything even standing on the small, cement porch out front. Only after she [...]


Annual Report

By Chip Kidd
Sure, nastiness sells. But put too much of it into the world and it might come back around to infect you most of all.


Another

By A.L. Kennedy They’d considered the child and kept themselves circumspect. For her sake they had been in love, but quietly. Angela had lost a father, she was only eight, she would need stability and to feel herself the centre of attention for a while. Lynne had been clear about this from the start — [...]


Antopol, Molly

Molly Antopol is the author of the story collection “The UnAmericans,” which will be published next month by W.W. Norton. Adam Johnson calls her “A writer of seismic talent. Not since Robert Stone has a writer so examined the nature of disillusionment and the ways in which newfound hope can crack the cement of failed [...]


Archways

By Joyce Carol Oates Klein, a nervous young man whose overcoat in winter hung down far below his knees, felt shame that he was several years older than his fellow students, felt shame that he was seized often by an inexplicable panic, alone or with others, felt shame that he was poor. He was a [...]


The Artists Colony

By Katherine Hester
Lola arrived at Woodlands mansion, a famous retreat for artists, to get her own writing done. But she quickly found her imagination drifting to ghost stories — and tales about what her fellow writers might be up to after hours.


As You Were, In Troy

By Saher Alam “We know only that in the earliest Greek poets a new point of view dawned, never dreamed of in the world before them, but never to leave the world after them.” “Mythology,” Edith Hamilton It is the middle of March in Troy.  You are more than fourteen and a half, and your [...]


Asleep in the Monastery

By Arna Bontemps Hemenway The buses from Jerusalem arrived very late, unceremoniously disgorging their sleepless occupants onto the black tarmac of the Eilat station lot, where the travelers stepped out into the light-pollution and resilient night heat of three a.m. At one end of the lot a spillage of teenagers bubbled, at the other, the fellow [...]


Assistance For Suicidal Dogs

By Stephanie Reents Lydia is not dying, though she does have a strong urge to leave her footprint in as many sidewalks around the city as possible. Finding wet cement has been the challenge. “Maybe we’ll get lucky today, baby,” she says, as she loads six-month-old Eva into the stroller. The baby smiles, showing off [...]


At the Jack Jouett Motel

By W. Andrew Ewell I was staying at the Jack Jouett Motel on 29 North, a two-floor formstone construction with cable television and a Howard Johnson’s restaurant glowing green and orange on the edge of the parking lot. Across the highway was a halfway house where the tenants sat in plastic folding chairs and smoked [...]


Ausbund

By Lauren Groff
When two Amish teenagers in love leave their families behind for the modern world, nothing about their leap forward is as easy as it might have seemed.


The Autobiography Of Allegra Byron

By Megan Mayhew Bergman On the first of March, 1821, Allegra Byron entered the Convento di  San Giovanni like a small storm, accompanied by non-relations, overdressed women who handled her with cool affection.  It was a clear morning, so we met our charge in the prayer garden, a patch of grass where a few ancient [...]