Shmushmortion by Daniela Bizzell
We called it a shmushmortion. Driving through brown, slush-lined roads, he joked about moving to Mexico. He joked that it wasn’t his. He joked that it would come out dark-skinned, lacking that pale-pink pigment so commonly found in the Swede. I joked that I would leave it on his doorstep and that I would fly to Mexico. I joked that if he made another joke I would punch him in the face. I joked that it would have beautiful eyes, unique, because both of our eyes were beautiful and unique. Except I wasn’t really joking. We both knew, when it came down to things, that he was broke, I was still in college, and if there ever came a time, I would have a shmuhshmortion.
Jungleland by Jessica Griscti
Kerry Dahlen sits behind the wheel of her older brother Rick’s Buick. The car is wide and long and stretched out in front of her like a boat, stuffed starboard to port with her brother’s friends. The windows are down and Kerry’s hair whips into a frenzy around her face. The radio is blaring. They’re cruising on the Long Island Expressway behind Rick, who’s at the helm of the family station wagon, switching lanes like a true born-and-bred New Jersey driver. They’re on their way to a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert, and they will not be late.
Diamonds of the Winter Streets by Nathan Kamal
450 million years have led to this moment. A half mile below the surface of the earth, five bearded men in construction hats and safety glasses drill several dozen holes, each two inches in diameter and ten feet deep, into the wall of the Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing, New York. Dim, yellow, incandescent lamps cast light on the mineral for the first time in a geological eon.
All-Purpose by Michelle Hytner
An average lime contains around twenty calories worth of juice and sour pulp. Key limes—smaller yet arguably more flavorful than their larger, store-bought counterparts—are not included in this figure. Most often when I’ve found myself enjoying key limes, they have been juiced into custard-filled pies or squeezed into specialty cocktails, which enormously skews their projected calorie count into a figure I couldn’t care less about.
The Customer by Will Carter
I want you to know that your empty water glass means nothing to me. When you snidely request that it be filled, I smile without my teeth. And when I pour tepid tap water into your glass, the one that has your oily fingerprints all over it, I’m really telling you to go to hell.