Fiction

Fables, yarns, tales, fantasies, science fiction, magic realism and other fantastical flavors.

Valley PTA Hair Salon

Deep in the Valley of Hair Salons the dolls dance dirty and dangerously.  A quick call from the barker begins the performance. Barbies, Kens, Midges and Allans start to spin. Doll feet moving in a ...

Master of Birds

Byzantium, c. 550 CE      The Empress of whom I’m speaking ruled over a vast domain with countless subjects. She maintained a retinue of thousands, assigned to all manner of tasks. Many in her employ ...

No One Doesn’t Sleep

The sleep lab's in an annex, the hospital receptionist — a warty man — had told Celia, in the quadrangle, can't miss it, pointing her down the white-lit lobby toward the back doors, but under ...

The Fleet Ones

It’s a fine time to be born with feet all over your body, though it does increase parental workload with so many little socks to wash, dry, and sort. In adult life, except during ceremonial ...

The Leavening Agent

Linnet smells the enticing scent of baking bread and smiles. It is 5:30 a.m., and the baker below her apartment is right on time.  Outside the sky is still dark. The birds are only beginning ...

Altar

Listen to "Altar" as narrated by the author I was walking down Bushwick Avenue to do my radio show, as I do every Sunday morning. I noticed an idling rusted out pickup truck, sitting next to ...

A Long Way Down

If a pin dropped, she wouldn’t be able to hear it. It was Christmas, her first with a man that she wanted her family to meet.  She'd come straight home from college. She’d taken the ...

Think Warm Thoughts

The world burns. The sun stalks. Can life be sustained off a window sill’s moisture, a lead pipe’s sweat? Someone spills the orange juice we’ve been rationing. It spread more sunshine across the room. We ...

Sisters

We spent the day together on the island. I had never been there before, but it has been my sister’s home forever. We sat on the sand, running rivulets of it through our fingers, and ...

The Island of Free Women

There is a new batch of women arriving today. Sixteen new heartbreaks. They come down off the boat on unsteady legs. They are sunburnt and sick. Some fall onto the sand and cry. Others stay ...

You Can Take It From Here

Angel hadn’t seen a condom in years. But the sight of them, colorful and glossy in a clear glass bowl on the counter of the unisex bathroom, made her feel oddly nostalgic. They held her ...

Creature

[This story was longlisted by Ellen Datlow for her “Best Horror of the Year Vol. 14” anthology.] On some odd day — one of those million golden afternoons that breeds boredom or trouble regardless of ...

Model of the City in an Instrumentarium

The Shadow District, locked between four relatively broad streets, is like no other in the City. While there are a lot of shadows here, not one of them strikes me as unnatural — severed from ...

Devil in Her Heart

Rich dropped the needle on their newest album, grinning as George parodied the countdown they’d used in the good old days. Then he flung himself down on the patchwork corduroy pouf in the corner of ...

Tiger, Dog, and the Bone Broth

Once there was a girl named Tiger who lived in an unenchanted forest, protected from the magic that rampaged through the land.  Her parents had been village dwellers but, after Tiger was born, they moved ...

Special Services

I'm from La Jolla, but most of my clients are from Texas, mostly Dallas. They drive here in Lincolns and Cadillacs so the wives, the children, the grandchildren can spend the summer at the country ...

HELLO MY NAME IS

It took a while for people to get used to wearing signs around their necks. They felt awkward or resentful. But you had to admit, it was helpful to know where everyone stood.  Take for ...

The First Review of Strangers’ Restaurant

Regular readers of this column may imagine how humbled I was (slightly) and excited (very) to be the food critic chosen to cover Strangers’ gala opening. I had my doctor’s assurance that my Humang metabolism ...

Abbreviation

I was sitting by myself staring at a lasagna when the first text from my dead husband popped onto my phone. “r u ok?” I blinked at the message. It had to be a prank, ...

El Ángelus

The fire started in the north and tracked down through the dry desert succulents. Inside the crumbling adobe church, the air was cool, and smoke trickled through a hole above where the altar had been. ...

Urban Beekeeping

This man is our home. We tickle his lungs with our wings. The sun always leads us back to him and, on our return, we dance our furred bodies on his tongue. Home rents a ...

Technicolor

When I see his face, I know I’m in trouble. Incandescent smile, with almost too many teeth. Wide-set eyes downturned at the corners, glossy-bright. Scrappy build, muscles ropy from hoisting around 25-kilo bags of soil. ...

Let’s Do Earth

Lunch in the home multiverse where Jenny and I are sitting around thinking what we'll do after we finish eating.  It was a really good meal with friends. Shit was sparkling all around.  I turn ...

All the Dark Places

Natalie I wake up abruptly to the sound of someone hammering at the metal door of the RV. Neil continues to snore softly beside me. Nothing short of a fire alarm disturbs that one. I ...