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Gets all up in your grill pretty frequently

Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

D.R. Haney

The Dark Undone

November 6th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

The thought came to me when I was fifteen and trying to sleep on New Year’s Eve. Nothing I recall had happened to incite it. I’d spent the night babysitting my younger siblings while my mother attended a party, and she returned home around one in the morning and everyone went to bed. (My parents had divorced, though they continued to quarrel as if married.) My brother was sleeping in the bunk below mine, and as I stared at the ceiling and listened to the house settle, I thought: Why don’t you go into the kitchen and get a knife and stab your family to death?

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Matt Baldwin

Six Chambers

November 4th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin

SAN DIEGO, CA –

On a late spring day in 2001 my sister’s drug-dealing ex-boyfriend crashed the pool party she was throwing at our house in the suburbs and shot two people on our front porch. He used a small, snub-nosed revolver from a distance of less than ten feet, firing off all six rounds. Five of them hit their mark.

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Gina Frangello

Pain is a Country

October 31st, 2009
by Gina Frangello

CHICAGO, IL-

When you enter the country of Pain, they confiscate your passport. You leave behind the things and people that used to feel important and familiar, in which you used to believe. Everyone in the new country is a stranger, though it scarcely matters because pain is really a nation of islands, and everyone who lives there lives alone.

In 1995, while my husband and I were visiting my best friend Tom in Barcelona, I became an unintentional and surprise immigrant in the country of pain. It happened overnight, and at first I did not realize I had “moved.” I believed I had a bladder infection. I’d had them before—many, in fact, even having been hospitalized for one as a child. Sometimes when I got one, I could not close my legs for the burning; I could not stop pacing the room; I urinated blood. But the agony was always temporary. You take your antibiotics, you take your pills that make your pee turn orange, you feel a little crazy for a couple of days and then it is done.

Except this time, it was not.

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Richard Cox

He who controls the past, controls the future

October 30th, 2009
by Richard Cox

TULSA, OK-

A while back I drove to Texas and attended a high school reunion. Events like these are surreal for most everyone, but as I approached Wichita Falls on a cold and still Friday evening, the intensity of it all was overwhelming—the color of the sky, the emptiness of the prairie, the quiet roar of my tires on interstate asphalt. I felt like I was driving into someone else’s dream.

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Brin Friesen

Acque Pericolose

October 29th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

MANHATTAN-

The Cuban girl peeled off a cigar box wouldn’t open the door to her apartment building and over the intercom was listing all the valid, sensible reasons under the circumstances why we would never see each other again.

I stared ahead at the security camera and held a rose against the glass of the front entrance.

While it’s true sentimental people are cruel, they’re also quite gullible.

Eventually she came down and slipped out the glass entrance and gave me a kiss goodbye. While she was mumbling apologies about it not working out and staring at me with her cigar stain eyes, I gently reached my hand into her coat pocket and stole her phone.

I kissed her goodbye, grinding a slightly devious smile against her frown, and hailed a cab to get me back into the city until she gave me a call. After all, she had my new number.

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Christopher Eaton

A Decent Interval

October 23rd, 2009
by Christopher Eaton

CHICAGO-

My wife and I have been together long enough that what should be between us in bed is a decent interval.

I can appreciate that “early on,” couples might want to engage in touching. Even at the risk of children. But at some point, personal space needs to be allowed back into the sleeping arrangement.

Many couples resort to a dog to reestablish spouse-free zones in bed, only to find themselves later united against the dog.

Our problem began with my wife’s ass. It’s a nice ass—during the day. At night, though, it is transformed into a marauder, conquering the linen expanse of our shared bed, relentlessly seeking out warmth. You see, my wife sleeps cold, while I sleep hot. And once my wife falls asleep, she gets colder. That’s when her ass takes over.

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Steve Sparshott

Enid from the Block

October 23rd, 2009
by Steve Sparshott

LONDON, ENGLAND-

Enid was my local crush, as opposed to, say, a music crush, like Laura Veirs, or a back-in-the-day crush, like Janeane Garofalo. I miss Enid. Not terribly, not like a limb, more like a bus - there’ll be another one along in a while. Crush might be too strong a word.
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Brin Friesen

Invisible Ink

October 17th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

“I leave a lot out when I tell the truth. The same when I write a story. I’m going to start now to tell you what I left out…”

-Amy Hempel (more…)


Anne Walls

Anatomy of an Accent (Or How I Learned to Love the Brits)

October 14th, 2009
by Anne Walls

HOLLYWOOD, CA-

It started in childhood, of course. Everything does.

The year: 1987.

The film: THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

Starring: Cary Elwes…and his steamy British accent.

Oh that melodious accent. It was scintillating. It was fatal. It was official: I was obsessed. From that moment on, I’ve considered myself an accent connoisseur (pronounced with the proper French intonation which evokes thoughts of sweet nothings whispered in a darkened chateau whilst clutching Bordeaux in vintage stemware). I love accents both thick and light, both guttural and pleasant-sounding. European, Australian, even Southern. Accents are music to my ears.

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Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

All that Junk, Rattling around My Brain (AKA, the Ramblings of a Constantly Musing Woman)

October 6th, 2009
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

COLUMBIA, MD -

I grew up in a small village on the Connecticut River in northern New Hampshire. There were more trees and cows than there were people and up until I was a surly teenager, I loved it.

Then puberty hit and I despised my little hamlet. Outside of my family, there wasn’t a single reason to stay and every day brought me closer to college and escape.

Now I’m 10 years past that day and 4 years past the day I left New England completely behind and every fall my heart hurts. It’s like the ache you associate with an old injury, the kind of pain cold weather and rainy days bring.

Leaving New England was like breaking up with a childhood romance.

I often wonder if I’ll ever get over it completely.

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Litsa Dremousis

Suggestions, Verities, and Such:

October 5th, 2009
by Litsa Dremousis

SEATTLE, WA-

Historians assuredly will view this epoch and, among other things, conclude we fussed and churned way too much over pubic hair.

We elected a president, not Santa Claus. We’re not going to get everything we want in the first three fourths of the first year of the first term.

While I know otherwise, I prefer to think ships float by magic: the water displacement theory strikes me as kind of sketchy.

Ladies, we’re nearly 52% of the population. Perhaps more of us could act accordingly?

Also, might a tiny but attention-grabbing portion of us stop writing to and marrying serial killers?

And fellas, might a tiny but attention-grabbing portion of you stop serial killing?

Is anything more resplendent than a lilac tree in spring?

Nutella, while medicinal, is extremely potent and should be handled as such: the combination of spoon and jar seems to hurl one into a time lapse and next thing you know, your evening is shot to hell and your shirt looks like an eight year-old’s.

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D.R. Haney

What Child Is This?

October 5th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

A relative is apparently angry at me, or so I was told by another relative. Fortunately, it has nothing to do with my contributions to The Nervous Breakdown (though this piece may well compound the situation). Rather, in his (erroneous) view, I slighted still another relative, so, on the relative’s unrequested behalf, I’m being given the silent treatment.

Meantime, last week, while in the middle of what might be described as extremely trying financial circumstances (including the death of my car), a friend texted to ask why I’d been “talking shit” about him. I could only guess as to his meaning. I’d recently discussed him with a mutual acquaintance, specifically regarding what I considered a pattern of rudeness. I should’ve spoken to my friend, as opposed to about him, but I did so because I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. However, our acquaintance seems to have decided a big deal was in order, and tattled.

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Kip Tobin

“So I Was Just About To Fall Asleep, You Know, Right In That Nebulous Spot Between Being Conscious and Totally Slipping Off Into the Other Side, When the Phone Rings.”

October 4th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

BROOKVILLE, OH-

“It was 2 am on Sunday, my last week in Guadalajara and also higher education hell week when all your papers have to be finished, exams gotta be taken and your stress level is already pressing down a little further on your already-painful digestive system, strained from daily dense Mexican food and a second bout with that bastard Montezuma.”

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David Breithaupt

Amongst The Un-Molested

October 3rd, 2009
by David Breithaupt

COLUMBUS, OH-

I have to confess, my childhood was somewhat idyllic. I wasn’t molested or fondled, spun or mutilated. I wasn’t MacKenzie Phillips’d nor did I grow up in a cardboard shack in some stranger’s backyard. I wasn’t abandoned, duct-taped, burned, bandied about or water-boarded. Was never felt up by a priest nor unearthed horrid events via hypnotism. My early years, as you can see, were a bit on the normal side. No one wanted me. I felt so left out. Many of my friends had been damaged by such events and I wanted to belong and share their terror. I set out to create my own.

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Litsa Dremousis

The Shameless; an Inflatable Fake Phallus; Bouncer Thugs: a Look Back at Hot for Teacher Night (Yes, That One)

October 2nd, 2009
by Litsa Dremousis

SEATTLE, WA-

The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, I covered Hot for Teacher Night at a craptastic sports bar in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district for sexual anthropologist, Susie Bright (Esquire, Rolling Stone, Salon), of whom I’ve long been an admirer.

Said night featured the infamous Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau and its announcement received nationwide attention. Bright and I are Facebook friends and she asked if any of her Seattle compadres would be willing to attend and report for her blog; I tossed my hat in the ring and was one of two she chose.

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Tony DuShane

With Love, Nick Cave

September 29th, 2009
by Tony DuShane

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

Does Nick Cave know about my love life?

I found out my wife was cheating on me. Not the greatest feeling in the world after a decade of marriage. I admit, there were times when I met another attractive woman and thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could just…but I put that thought right out of my mind and went home a committed guy.

Not that sex was the only thing to the petit mess that our marriage was. There was me, the writer, and what she thought the writing life style would bring her.

When we dated, I was the quirky artist guy. She thought listening to Nirvana made her alternative and Nora Roberts was literature. (more…)


Slade Ham

Dear James

September 29th, 2009
by Slade Ham

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -

Dear Jameson,

I know this going to be as hard for you to read as it is for me to write. You really are amazing. You were there for me right after I went through my break up without questioning anything. You said you loved me no matter what I had been through. Even though I didn’t want to jump right into another relationship, I thought it might be cool to hang out with you every once in a while. I mean, let’s admit it, I’ve liked you for a long time.

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Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 3: Voodoo Doughnuts and First Loves

September 28th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

I have learned many things over the past few months of book touring. Number one, grabbing a book-buying audience’s attention in the summer months is like convincing me that Dan Brown, or Stephen King, is a good writer. Number two, if you read in a venue where they make maple-bacon doughnuts, they will come. Number three, there is no other bookstore like Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon. (more…)


Kristen Elde

Filling In

September 26th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

April 2007

“This isn’t spackle, it’s caulk,” he says, rolling his eyes as I hand over the plastic cylinder. But my oversight has brought him relief, clear in the quick release of his breath, the immediacy of his smile. It’s an error he might have predicted, which brings with it some comfort, and neither of us knows how long we have before these sorts of things stop registering.

As I meet his eyes, comfort is exceeded by disorientation. I can’t navigate my misstep. I don’t want it to mean anything, but I can’t help worrying that it’s somehow prophetic. I scan his face for explanation (I knew what I needed; what happened?) and think I read doubt. Quick, recover: “God, dumb. I’ll run back.”

Looking down at his hand: “No, it’s fine–toothpaste should work okay.” (more…)


Dawn Corrigan

On the Persistence of Jealousy

September 20th, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan

GULF BREEZE, FL -

Four weeks ago my grandmother fell and broke her hip.

She hasn’t been home since. First she was in the hospital, and now she’s in a nursing home to receive physical therapy.

My grandfather visits as often as he can. But because he doesn’t drive anymore, he has to rely on others to drive him to visit her. And even when he does visit, it’s for an hour at a time. Whereas my grandmother is used to having him around all day, every day.

Because my grandfather isn’t around and my grandmother doesn’t understand why, like anyone in love, she imagines the worst. She pictures him whooping it up with others.

And then, because she has dementia, she believes what she’s imagined is real.

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