Vignette: Introduction to Sandy (2200 words)In a residential neighborhood west of Syracuse, New York, a fifteen-year-old Kia pulled into a driveway. It had no self-driving capacity, wasn’t a hybrid, was missing two hubcaps and had one side mirror held on with duct tape. Still, it had managed the five-and-a-half-hour drive from Boston, which was all its owner had asked of it.
A small, skinny young woman in jeans and a knobbly sweater stepped out of the car. Her face was pale and girlish, with thick glasses and no makeup. Her hair was a shade somewhere between ash-blond and mouse-brown, and was held in a glossy ponytail that flowed down to just past the small of her back.
She pulled two suitcases from the front passenger seat and gritted her teeth as she hauled them to the door, the loose heel on her right sneaker slapping against the bottom of her foot with every step. Between them, the suitcases weighed about half what she did.
Her name was Sandra Symcox. Nine years ago, she'd been accepted to college at the age of fourtee
The Purple Dream: Henry Ellison and the Manifesto“By God, this is not politics — this is war! There are words that a gentleman simply does not speak! Deeds that a gentleman — or any decent man — does not do! Are these people so desperate to win that they would stoop to… to this?”
James Lawrence Orr
At first glance, it would appear that there was little or nothing to choose from between the Charleston and New Orleans Coalitions. Both were adamantly in favor of slavery and against any suggestion of reunification. The New Orleanians were no more opposed to states’ rights than Charlestonians
The Purple Dream: The 'Metropolis Belle' Incident“If once they give our people just cause to draw the sword, we shall never sheathe it again until we have washed it clean in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.”
U.S. President William Henry Seward Sr.
In May of 1872 the state of Mississippi imposed a toll on all U.S.-flagged vessels traveling the Mississippi. Why Governor Clark chose to do this in violation of the Treaty of Hampton Roads is not entirely clear, but one t
The Growth Ledgerby Paul Briggs
Derek has the original ledger. I have a binder full of photocopies. Even so, I can still recognize my handwriting, and his, and Reenie’s. It’s only nine pages long. 215 entries, 25 entries a page. We started it a month after she was born and kept it up until May of ‘91 — the month before Reenie went off to L.A. and our marriage could finally come to an end. Nine pages covering nearly eighteen years.
7/14/73 born 20” 8 lbs. 1½ oz.
I spent a week wondering if she was going to make it. Irene Jessica Harris was the size of a normal baby, but she had the skin and lungs of a preemie, and nobody knew why at the time. I only got to see her for a few seconds after she was born — then they put her in a ventilator where she spent the next five days. The most horrible moment was when she came out and started crying… and it was so
The Trunk (2100 words)by Paul Briggs
It started with a conversation with Mrs. Crawford at the Scheiner Street Sewing Shop. It was April of ’91, I was getting ready to graduate from high school, and as soon as I was out the door I planned to pack my bags and head for L.A.
Step one? Get some bags. I mentioned to Mrs. Crawford that I was having trouble finding a suitcase big enough to hold my clothes.
“I might be able to help you there,” she said. “My sister Jane — have you met her? She’s married to George Shaddick. They live up in Rice Lake. They’re cleaning out their attic, and they have a lot of stuff they’re trying to sell… or get rid of, anyway. One of the things they’ve got is a big old steamer trunk. Have you ever seen one of those? Some people use them as coffee tables. I think it would be about the right size for you.”
“That sounds good,” I said. “Do you know how much they want for it?”
The Fog of War: The Board GameIt’s a Red Day by the calendar, but not even Tenni warriors are inclined to go out and practice in the middle of a blizzard. My father has gathered the older children of all four of his wives together in the main hall, along with Kirim and a few cousins like Shalh. The Duchess, the alpha wife and the brains of the family, is with him. There are game boards on the table, each with twelve squares by twelve.
“Today I am going to teach you how to play tukunshumang,” she says. (If you’re curious, the name means “fog of war.”) “In this game you will learn tactics, strategy, and adaptability in the face of the unexpected.”
She takes out the pieces and explains the rules. The slower kids need them explained two or three times, so this takes a while. Here’s the short(ish) version:
First, there are the Infantry pieces. These are little flat disks like checkers pieces, and there are thirteen of them on each side. Twelve of them have a p
J. Alfred Prufrock Comin' Round the MountainMALE VOICE: Let’s go through the streets half-empty, you and I
FEMALE VOICES:(You and I)
MALE VOICE: We’ll eat oyster-shells and sawdust, you and I
FEMALE VOICES:(You and I)
MALE VOICE: Oh, do not ask “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit
Where the evening’s lying drugged out on the sky
FEMALE VOICES:(On the sky)
MALE VOICE: There’s the room where all the women come and go
FEMALE VOICES:(Come and go)
MALE VOICE: Yes, that room is where the women come and go
FEMALE VOICES:(Come and go)
MALE VOICE: ‘Cause that Michelangelo
May be just a gigolo
But they always come when to his room they go
FEMALE VOICES:(He’s a ho)
MALE VOICE: And indeed there will be time to smoke that stuff
FEMALE VOICES:(Smoke that stuff)
MALE VOICE: If you want to smoke that sliding yellow stuff
FEMALE VOICES:(Yellow stuff)
MALE VOICE: And a hundred
The Growth Ledger (Deleted Scene)11/14/83 10 years, 4 months 74¼” 204 lbs.
Reenie never had much time for Saturday morning cartoons. Usually she was up and out jogging with Derek when they were playing.
But one morning it was raining so hard that even Derek and Reenie were willing to stay indoors. When Reenie was done lifting weights in the basement, she came up and sat down next to Jody.
The Smurfs was on. I remember this because it was a very strange episode, where there was some kind of magic door that could only be unlocked by solving an algebra problem. Given the sums of K+E, E+Y and K+Y, they had to solve K+E+Y.
“I wonder if I could figure it out,” said Reenie. (People sometimes assumed that because she was so big and strong, she couldn’t be very bright. She took great pleasure in proving them wrong.)
“I bet I can,” I said. I’m an accountant — it would be a pretty poor showing if I couldn’t solve this. So we both picked up paper and penc