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The Sun Magazine

Fiction

Two Moons

The quad of Abbot Academy overlooked a scenic pond, surrounded by red oaks and white pines, where one might imagine the boys pensively rowing at dawn across the misty waters. On the other side were a dozen charming, weathered buildings — the classrooms and dorms, which were more like houses. No one even called them dorms. They used the word home, as in “Do you want to go home after lunch?” A portion of a barn could be seen in the near distance, as well as a corral for the horses, since the type of preadolescent boys who attended Abbot were thought to thrive if given the opportunity to care for large mammals.

Nothing But Sky

They sat in silence, him eating, her watching. He thought how Reed’s whole life was now a finished story, no more surprises, abandoned forever to the past tense. And Hanley still here, looking for new ways to break the world until it apologized.

Whatever Day It Is

My tester asks me to take a seat in the waiting room while she reviews my score. She wants to see if I have missed anything. I want to tell her I missed my fifties, skipped that whole section of my life, lived anesthetized for a decade, ten years on autopilot — years you think will continue to replicate themselves, dull and identical, until you die. Then the serious aging starts, and you know your fifties as gold poorly spent.

#WeAreHarryChang

As the train slows down approaching Sunnyside, I look out the window for the spot where Harry jumped to his death. It’s marked by a tree still pinned with a few tattered ribbons and plastic flowers in Harry’s honor. “You fat fuck,” I whisper. “Who am I supposed to jam with now?”

When They Came To Us

We went to sleep, and in the morning they were here. We saw them on our screens as they emerged from a grove of trees a hundred miles west of us. Their ship had crashed. It was made of a rose-gold metal and looked like a claw with a broken tip. Within hours the government had moved these beings — the “blues,” we eventually came to call them — to a holding station outside the nearest city. There we could watch them whenever we wanted, because of the cameras in each room.

The Unified Conspiracy Theory

I had been coming to the Nite Owl almost every day, because it was the only place I could get my research done. It was nice of my sister to put me up in her apartment and everything, but living with her was making it difficult to continue looking for the Pattern, because her television didn’t work. I’d tried the electronics store, but they’d gotten wise to me real quick. The only place I could watch free cable TV for as long as I wanted was that diner where pretty much no one ever came.

They Were

He was. She was. They met and together they: drank martinis, consummated their love on a couch he’d purchased at a secondhand store, bought a bungalow, wed at the courthouse with their parents’ blessing,  . . .

CJ The Prince

You can’t breathe, yes, but it’s not because you feel punched in the gut. It’s the cold. The cold that sank in so fast and deep, your insides are freezing. All ice. And the radio in your brain is playing Rigo’s words from just a week ago: “CJ goes anywhere. It’s like he got a pass. He’ll hit the barbecue in the projects, hit another on Grape, stop and shoot dice with Swans on his way home. CJ’s dad is like royalty, and CJ the prince, man. CJ one guy they just let be.”

Days Of Human Sacrifice

Sundays were the worst for the smallest monkeys. The fathers who had the day off would get drunk and beat their boys, who would dash out their front doors to pass it on down. On Virgil’s second Sunday on Blue River Avenue, right after he told everyone how he’d once shot a cougar between the eyes, Wally flipped Virgil over his back, and Virgil’s head hit the pavement with a sickening thud.

Due To Vandalism

The copper is the easiest, isn’t it, vandal? You can clear the whole house with a hammer and a hacksaw. Start in the basement at the water heater. If the property has been properly winterized, the water will be shut off, and even if it hasn’t been, it takes hours for a basement to flood and days for someone to notice. (Just make sure the power is off, for real. In April they found a fried vandal in a cellar in Pontiac, Michigan, his body bobbing as high as the window well.)