Death in the Midden

Caitlin Stall-Paquet

Her nose in her scarf, the young girl does not budge, she is transforming. It is actually no longer truly her waiting for the crested wave about to emerge from the tear gas cloud. A wave that will carry her far from this provincial hotel, from this mock décor that hides the backstage and wings of a ruined world from all the dirty brats’ view. In their long agony, in their oddly slow fall, the panicked puppets performing this farce will now have to worry about one more dirty dog: a young woman transformed by the final spasms of their doomed aristocracy.

Isabelle

Adam Johnson

I never considered myself a conqueror of women, how could I? At forty-five, I was a terrible likeness to Cezanne’s rendering of Henri Gasquet, and I can consider myself now perhaps the farthest thing from Don Juan as has ever existed on terra firma, where we all occupy our own little plot of physical space in the rolling carnival. I had one partner in life, Heather, and we got along as couples will (missionary only, secundum artem), until the middle of the second decade when the marriage evolved to a point of sexless nightly routine: “How is your book? Should I set the alarm clock for six or six-thirty? How does your stomach feel? Goodnight dear.”

Now, Now

Alice Vam

One cold winter afternoon not too long after, I asked the ex-marine at my job about it. I barely said the word. War. It is still hard to believe that we are in one, have been in one most of my life. Man we didn’t do shit in Afghanistan, he said, leaning on my desk. We were in one firefight, exactly one. The rest of the time was just standing around on bases. He sucked his teeth dismissively.