Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Tag: short fiction

“Sea Change” by Nancy M. Michael

She stood in the shelter of the doorway of the Chicago Yacht Club, watching as the sky darkened and clouds enveloped and erased the tops of the skyscrapers . . .

“The Clown Nose” by Stephanie Laterza

“The kids are full of sugar,” Martin’s teacher announces at pickup time. “They had cupcakes for Kyle’s birthday.”

I suppose this explains why my son and his toddler cohorts are roadrunning around the classroom and catapulting off the low leather couches . . .

“The Hive” by Elaina Acosta Ford

You tiptoe through the dark labyrinth of the Hive until you reach the tiny room where you’ve spent every Thursday night for the last couple of months toiling away to no avail. The stench of Gouda, Kathleen’s patchouli, and the tang of potentially unfulfilled dreams waft through the air. A metal chair screeches against the gray linoleum when you pull it out, causing everyone to gawk at you. Kathleen rolls her eyes but does not relent. The weak smile spreading across your face fades as you remind yourself that this is the last time you’re going to see these people—your people. You promise yourself that you won’t sip wine or munch crackers or make small talk when this is all over. Saying goodbye is hard enough without all the empty calories and tedious chatter. You swear to yourself this is going to be the last time you pay to play. Your pocketbook and soul can’t take it anymore.

“Superman” by Darryl Graff

I was born in 1962 in Stuyvesant Town, a middle-class housing development located on the East Side of Manhattan. When I was young, I used to see an older kid who rode his ten-speed bicycle through the neighborhood. He always wore a Superman costume, and he steered the bicycle with his feet, with his hands always high over his head and his red Superman cape flapping in the wind behind him . . .

“Tinkerbell Forgets to Knock” by Elizabeth Roderick

Les’s twenty-foot RV was parked in the gravel drive of a little house with a sagging roof. Plastic deer nestled into the flower beds around it, among clumps of zinnias and cracked planters full of wilting petunias. Some friends of Les’s lived there with their ailing grandmother, no doubt appropriating her Social Security checks and pain meds. I’d only met them in passing, a lank-haired woman and her scraggly-mustached boyfriend.

I hated myself for being there, but I parked next to a dirty old Toyota sedan and hauled myself out of the car anyway. Fuck it, I told myself. Are you really trying to be one of those dorks with a clean life and an office job? Who are you kidding? I sank down beneath my guilt and worry, settling back into the comfortable hog wallow of my ignominy as I mounted the stairs of the RV.

The door rattled when I opened it, and I stepped in, very nearly falling back out again when I found myself at the end of a pistol . . .