The latest Slush Pile fiction at DigBoston:


FARAWAY IN THESE MOUNTAINS there are times when we know we live in darkness, and there are times when we know that what feels like darkness is simply the lack of light that rims the forward edge of our planet, hurtling towards dawn; and on a night in approximately the moment when both of our lives have begun to disintegrate we sit in the balcony of the only bar in the town that tries to deny its surroundings. Out in the darkness there are cowboys and hippies and fly fishermen and the clean broad street that will host the farmers’ market in the morning. There is our small college, run to ground against a hillside covered with sage. Here in the bar the lighting is chic and pastel. There is angular furniture, dance music. We look over the crowd of our students. Timothy’s wife is at a conference on the literary representation of the vampire; my wife is suffering the terror of depression again. Below us our students mill, full of excitement. Timothy talks about which ones he would take to bed and how he would do it.


“That one there,” he says, “with the curly hair and the dark eyes. You can’t see those eyes from here but they’re almost purple. I spent the semester in Feminist Critiques trying to worm myself into them. She’s one of these rock climbers. She wears a tank top to class and those muscles that runfrom her shoulders down towards her tits, you know exactly the ones I’m speaking of, those muscles are like steel cables. And her hands. You can see the strength in them, the hours spent clinging on to some little piece of sandstone. But you can also see the innocence. She is a series of contradictions. There is nothing soft in her, nothing elegant, yet she moves with such physical possession. When you put it all together, that body and that possession and those purple eyes, you realize that she doesn’t know quite what she’s capable of. And once you see this, the question immediately becomes, of course, how do you draw from that untapped potential, siphon it, without causing the dry rot of knowledge to set in? In short, how do you get her to go to bed with you? (read more)