by Krista Rogerson
Speeches are said, mine with shaking hands. My brother wraps it all up with a joke about his love of breakfast and we head to the buffet. Then plates are cleared, orchids boxed, his paintings loaded into cars and returned home.
A small replica of one of his self-portraits leans against a wooden bowl on the kitchen table. It looks just like him. Blue eyes the same shade as his shirt. Brow furrowed in concentration, paintbrush in hand. It’s his right hand, I notice, but he included his wedding ring.
Outside a leaf-blower wails. Sky prepares for more rain.
Gus… in Minnesota Garden-Tool Massacre (1983)
by Martin Murray
It’d taken fifteen years, but Gus got his first starring role. At 6’4″, 300 pounds, and being a certain age, he’d heard: “Not what we’re looking for…” a lot. He was no Gary Cooper, but he had the talent.
The makeup artists asked him to remove his false teeth. They slicked his hair with Vaseline, making it greasier. Eyebrow pencil highlighted his acne scars.
Walking on set, everyone cheered and screamed with delight when they saw Gus. His co-star, a 30-year-old playing a horny teen, that Gus was to butcher with a weedwhacker asked: “How you feelin’?”
“Beautiful,” Gus said.
by Emma Burnett
Before: It was just a farm. Covered in wheat, and barley, and rye. It’s where Gran birthed my ma, and where ma birthed me. Bathtub babies, we were.
During: Gran had the idea when they banned booze. The bathtub would do for fermenting. She made a lid for the tub. I picked the juniper berries. Ma hauled the water. There was demand for gin, and we provided the supply.
After: They let Gran out of prison when prohibition ended. And the extra money we’d made, they never found it, hidden under the window ledge. It’s why we live like queens.
by Zeke Shomler
She walked backwards everywhere, watching the world through a mirror.
She couldn’t handle the monumentality of it all—couldn’t bring herself to face it head on, the sheer overwhelming everything of it all. The bones in her arm felt out of place, like they belonged to someone else.
When she boarded the bus, her chest faced the sidewalk and heaved, hot smoke exiting her lungs, colors too bright on the bench.
Metacarpals make a nice bracelet, she thought, one that I’ll never lose.
Martin Murray’s ‘Gus’ is beautifully set up and hilarious.