Posts tagged "dialogue"
\'in-glish\

\’in-glish\

I learned to speak English in preschool, at two and a half years old, still young enough to do away with any lingering Chinese accent. Though, sometimes, I wonder if every trace had been scrubbed away, listening intently to my own voice rattling around in my skull for signs of foreignness. The cheery teachers sang...
Blue

Blue

Years ago, Dad, you asked me at midnight to come outside. I followed you—of course I did—out of our house, into the humid dark. My feet brushed against the cool lick of grass, my hair lay still against my face in the unmoving night. Crickets whispered. A car on 55th Street hummed as you handed...
The Burnt Plane

The Burnt Plane

As Jason Murphy’s mom drove us to the farm, I wondered how it would look now that his dad was dead. It had been almost a year. I pictured man-high weeds and rusty tractors, the house dark and empty, the giant barn rotting with its roof caved in and black birds flying out the broken...
Eight Quarters

Eight Quarters

In his maximum-security prison, where I visit him for the first time, Kevin suggests that with our eight remaining quarters, perhaps we should try the photo booth. This is something he wrote about in his letter: how a photo would mean so much. I can’t keep the film copy, he wrote, but you could scan...
Fun for Everyone Involved

Fun for Everyone Involved

I lived with my father in a pink duplex. I slept in a brown velour recliner on a jalousie-windowed porch. My father, Fred, slept in a king-size bed that filled the bedroom, and I never went in that room, it was all mattress. The pink duplex was on a dirt road, MacCleod. Interstate Highway 4...
Punch Line

Punch Line

One night when my wife is pregnant with our second child, she asks me for a glass of water. It’s late, and though it is a minor request, I still grumble as I sleepwalk to the kitchen. Who can say what time it is? Even the clocks are asleep. But the water is there, and...
Fast Food

Fast Food

The snow-white husky under the pew in the foyer is watching the humans at the butcher block table in the middle of the kitchen. The father in the suede suit coat has been back from his job twenty-two minutes and forty-eight seconds, and is eating eleven peanuts cracked open from their shells, three smears of...
A Conversation with My Father

A Conversation with My Father

My father is eighty-six years old and sitting in his reclining chair in the living room. He beckons me to sit on the footstool. He has a request. “I would like you to write a script and make a movie about your mother,” he says. “Her life story,” he adds. I want to please him,...
Things She Says

Things She Says

about things she said I never said that. You’re making that up. Stop making things up. Stop making things up about me.   in praise Stop making that up: No one hates you. Everyone is jealous. Everyone falls in love with you. My gorgeous girl. Lots of men will fall in love with you. You’re...
Calcification

Calcification

Less than a year had passed since my mother died from a burst valve in a heart no one knew was faulty. That’s raw when you’re ten. And then Buttercup died. Buttercup was an albino guinea pig with eyes like maraschino cherries. She wasn’t mine. Samantha owned Buttercup, loved her. She gave the rodent a...
Little Lesson on How to Be

Little Lesson on How to Be

The woman at the Salvation Army who sorts and prices is in her eighties, and she underestimates the value of everything, for which I am grateful. Lightly used snow suits, size 2T, are $6 and snow boots are $3. There is a little girl, maybe seven, fiddling with a tea set. Her mother inspects drapes...
Electricity

Electricity

After spending most of the day on a plane, too young to drink miniature bottles of liquor but too old not to resent it, crammed between my amma and a man in baggy churidar, there it was, not quite as I remembered but intimately familiar nonetheless: Mumbai airport. Redolent with humid, fan-beaten air; dark arms...
Apocalypse City

Apocalypse City

It’s a friend’s birthday and her house is packed, so I settle into a seat on the porch across from a guy I just met. He’s late-twenties, in a beige button-up, cargo shorts and flip-flops, with a paunch and a grizzly beard. He’s a theoretical physicist finishing a PhD, soon to be employed by Raytheon,...
Gambling

Gambling

On the drive back from a friend’s cabin, on a beautiful pine tree-framed lake, on the edge of Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin, we stop at a casino. Maybe we will have lunch. Play a few slots. We are not gamblers. I have been to Vegas twice, once on the way to somewhere else—neither time did...
Three Oranges

Three Oranges

I barely remember leaving work, or the transfer to the bus that takes me near enough my home to walk. I barely remember leaving the house this morning, or what’s happened during the day. It’s December. The days are short. I come and go in the darkness. It’s getting dark. A man materializes at the...
Sachiel the Tailor

Sachiel the Tailor

Another time I was talking to Sachiel, the tailor in Boston whose shop on Chauncy Street was essentially a door with a vast and impenetrable space behind it, a wilderness known only to Sachiel, who never moved from his stool by the door during working hours, and we got to talking all metaphysical, as he...

The Role of Fiction in Suicidal Ideations

I get ten new suicidal adolescents a week in my creative writing class at the psych hospital where I work. Their arms are mutilated. Their minds tortured with self-hate. Some are gothic, others only misfits who are picked on at school. They’ve been taken from their homes by DHR, betrayed by drug-addicted parents. It exposes...

Teeth

Everything belonged to Russell now. My mother was his wife, I was his son, we lived in his house—an isolated farm we didn’t need and couldn’t afford. Russell had started cutting trees off the property and selling the timber to make the mortgage payments. He was sharpening the teeth of a chainsaw on the front...