The beach was dotted with fear-umbrellas, fear-bathing suits, fear-Coors Lights and fear-cigarettes, fear-children from fear-marriages on fear-vacations, sitting on fear-beach blankets or playing fear-beach ball. “I’ll take the fear-risotto,” the fear-husband ordered later at the fear-restaurant, “and a double-fear Manhattan.”
“That sounds good,” the fear-wife said. “I’ll have that, too. And two fear-grilled cheese fear-meals.”
Through all of dinner, the fear-kids never looked up from their fear-devices and their fear-vacation Dr. Peppers, except once to say, “Can I have another fear-refill, please?”
by Dr. Vaishnavi Pusapati
Some people want to know. I don’t know why, but they do. They want to know what I do for a living, how much I make, whether my Gucci bag is a real Gucci bag. When I tell people I paint for a living, they either think of students recreating Vermeer or the kind of painting rendered less wanted by the advent of photography or the modern art that they say they could have made and so could their kids who haven’t walked yet. I then tell them I paint nails, and most ask for a discount.
Search and Rescue
by Jennifer Lai
At a wilderness first-aid class, I’m slathered with faux blood and bruises before instructed to head into the urban forest out back and hide. My role as a victim is to await rescue from a fellow classmate who’ll pass if I’m found and given proper first aid. Bodie arrives within seven minutes—amazing, given he’s only here to satisfy his outdoor enthusiast parents. He gives me a once over then lights a joint. After a long exhale, he offers me a hit. “What are you doing?” I say, bewildered. “Chill, dude,” he replies. “It’s medicinal. You’re going to be okay.”
He jet-washed, waxed, and buffed for hours. Drifted fingertips across the coolness of the frictionless bodywork. That was Saturdays. Sundays, he would join the other petrolheads at yet another show and shine. No one else ever brought their kid along.
“Let him be a teenager,” his wife said.
“It’s father-son time. Besides, he loves it.”
They drove for three hours to the next one, listening to Top Gear podcasts. His son looked down, huffing, thumbs tapping.
“Aren’t you going to get out,” he asked the boy when they got there.
“No,” his voice coarse like rust.