Fiction

The Master

That spring when the Covid lockdown went into effect, Thomas decided to quit New York City and go live with his mother in their Hudson Valley estate. A respected art consultant, Thomas was typically engaged by auction houses and galleries, and sometimes private collectors, to research and confirm the provenance of paintings and sculptures, their sales history, and projected valuation, all of which he could do with a phone and an internet connection.

Ahoy

Brandishing punchy felons the doyenne marched imperiously forward. Her teeth were all a’ mashing. Her garden dress smashed upwards plume-like. This isn’t when it all started, though. It really began with the momentary flash of puckered memory crossing the path of Dead Donk when he crossed San Francisco. It wasn’t so amusing at the time. That is also when she was freed from the yoke.

Ice Cream Social

It started in April. Of course, Lola hadn’t known it was April, hadn’t seen the cherry blossoms bloom, their pale pink a loveliness engulfing the sidewalks so completely that people stepped sideways, looking up. She missed the jackets tied around waists, the skirts and sandals, the children on scooters zooming past their mothers, then waiting, looking back before beginning again. She missed the warmness that made people flock to grass, blankets covering the park. Everything glorious, thawed.

Geniuses

Some people, supposedly, are geniuses. They are known as supreme intellects, giants, towering figures, and reside either in the most notable cities, or else on the rugged headlands overlooking rough seas, isolated there on the cliffs, with humble mansions and massive driveways for their cars. The ones who live on the cliffs have wives, kitchens, huge libraries. They have accumulated lots of money from publishing books and devising new forms of art, now they live in romantic estates and drink lots of red wine while planning a new book.

Feet First

I knew I had made it when I started neglecting my feet. My toenails had not been painted in months. The pale pink nails started to look gray, my feet sallow.

Maybe they had always been this way when natural but I just hadn’t noticed. They were, had been, always painted bright red. This was true since I was fourteen. Before then, I switched the color up. Not too much. But enough so that variety was routine. One week, mauve or a pearly shimmer. Hot pink. Neon yellow. Electric blue. White. Violet. Black.

Big Angelo's Place

The pizza always surprises people. First off, the sign out- side still says “Historic Stone Taverne,” which was here about two hundred years before we showed up and has been gone maybe a quarter that long. People going home to Jersey or Long Island or the City, they come in and find the back wall of the restaurant twenty feet closer than they expected—dad sealed the dining hall off after a rough Confirmation party back in the ‘90s—and me and my sister standing there behind the case of pies, asking what they’re having.

Sonder

When Colin opened his eyes that morning, he had no idea that he was going to die by evening.

The sun burned orange as it peeked through the cracks in his window curtain, voyeuristically drinking in his motionless form. He buried his face in the pillow like a child, in his mind passing beneath its gaze for a few more minutes.

The pillow was the same as well—off-white fabric encapsulated by a blue pillowcase. White stains littered the surface, drool splotched like the haphazard afterthoughts of Rorschach tests. 

The Path of the Wind

The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both. 

-Thomas Merton

I.

Honest Broker

Our company’s founder who can be quite eccentric at times began almost a year ago now a system whereby once every fortnight she will step down as Chief Innovation Officer for a 24-hour period and be replaced by someone telecommuting-in from a developing nation.

In Session

As it had been with all the bad habits that she formed in life, she had only realized her dependence when it was far too late — too late for what? her therapist asked her, and she bit her nails to avoid a response, but in essence it had been too late to be saved from it. It was ironic — was she using ironic correctly? she never knew — that she had spent her whole life worshiping feminist narratives, but the whole time she had really thought of love as surrender. Maybe it was because she grew up religious.