I’M THINKING I PROBABLY shouldn’t say this out loud, but this issue of Slush Pile is my all time favorite.
It’s not that I don’t love all of my issues (just so you get the full effect of the sentence, that was a pun) — I do. But how can you help loving one more than the rest when it ends up being the loveliest and most friendly? Or, in this case, the loveliest and most melancholy?
Leaving the children analogy: I am fantastically proud of the fiction in this issue. If there was ever an issue of Slush Pile to read from “cover to cover” this is it, and I highly encourage you to do so. Here’s what we’ve got: Kicking things off, William Greer treats us to an entertaining story about unrequited love and lip-gloss; Jeff Lennon and Ally Malinenko contribute a story about the “one that got away” and the one that didn’t, respectively; Victoria Kelly and Jerry McGahan share some ruminations on loss... (read more)
THE ROOM HAS THE APPEARANCE of something from a science-fiction film: all white, sterile, windowless, with a digital clock hanging high and centered on each of the four walls. The floor covering is a tile-patterned linoleum that is not flush with the walls but angled somewhere between 30 and 35 degrees, which gives the room a sort of skewed look.... (read more)
IN DUBLIN SHE IS climbing the stair machine in the gymnasium as he is being boxed up and driven away to the cemetery. Outside, in the university square, the stone is carved into pillars and archways, and angels are painted on the doorway of the church. The bread van is waiting outside the school shop. It runs its engine in the cold. (read more)
THAT SATURDAY WE WENT down to the farmers’ market, I waited in the line for cheese while you snaked through the one for coffee. We had a plan, and we were together, and we loved it, loved both our plan and loved each other helping to execute the plan. We ended up eating by the water.
The cheese was set up in a semi-circle, the shopkeepers (cheese-masters)... (read more)
THE WATER PARTED AROUND the house, as if it were an island in a river, before coming back together down the rushing slope of the lawn. Or what had once been the lawn. When the toucan arrived, blown hundreds of miles from the islands, Jacob was excited. He had never dreamed he could mark off such an exotic bird.... (read more)
SHE WAS AT THE EDGE of the glacier near a fringe of rocks, halfway out, a shriveled body, the color of old brick, face down, part of her head and her back and butt showing and the backs of her thighs. But they didn’t know she was a she then. In fact, it took some inspection to make out that she was human... (read more)
WHEN I FIRST MET HIM, his dog was already dead. Not hit by a car dead, the kind of death that takes you completely by surprise, where the first few days are spent in a cocoon of shock as you continually search for that warmth by your feet, stirring at the slightest movement, ball already in mouth. No, this was the death after a long, long illness, the limbs becoming stiff and weak, the drooping gray muzzle... (read more)
“REALLY, SAM, YOU MUST be crazy,” said one boy to the other. This other, Sam, appeared tall and confident, swinging long arms from his lanky frame.
“Not a crazy bone,” Sam replied, now poised at the top of a barn roof. He was evidently preparing to throw himself into hay. “I’m the sane one.”
Years later, when they were both graduates of college and talking as though they admired themselves, the cat’s scratch they’d made across time, Sam said again he was amazed by his ordinary reason. (read more)
FEATURED ARTIST Laura Baran
LAURA BARAN WAS BORN in 1977 and raised in New Jersey. She received a BFA with honors from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Laura won awards for her paintings from the Society of Illustrators and ICON 3: the Illustration Conference. Her work is a personal diary of reflection, desires and imagination. She lives and works in New York City.