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The Sun Magazine

Fiction

The Vomitorium

Ralph ran his hand through his hair, briefly flattening it before some freak combination of wind and static electricity blew it straight up again into a real-life fright wig.

What Feathers Might Do

When the chickens came to live at our house, I think I knew my roommate Addie was pregnant, but I wasn’t saying anything, and neither was she. She’d been spending too much time in the bathroom or her own room with the door closed and no one else around her.

Outlaws

The strangest remnant of William was a red party balloon that he had inflated and given to Gary as a joke on his fifteenth birthday, long after Gary had outgrown balloons. William’s sense of humor had been peculiar, but well-meaning. The balloon said, Happy Birthday. Gary stared through the stretched membrane at the invisible breath of his dead father.

Blueberries

Basia watches her granddaughter, Lalka. No matter what else she does — digs in the garden, pulls weeds in the greenhouse, peels the potatoes — always she watches her granddaughter, who has a reddish-purple birthmark over her neck and jaw and part of her cheek. Her husband, Zbigniew, watches Lalka too.

Say

He drapes one hand over the wheel, reaches the other out to her, palm up, like he’s trying to make a point, like he’s trying to come to the point — but she’s not listening. We don’t even have to say that. You can see it in the way her gaze has gone as flat and vacant as these plains. See the sunburnt angle of her jaw? That quick tremble of her lip? For her sake let’s say that, finally, he shuts up.

Reptile Man

It was July, and I hadn’t had sex in more than two years. The last time I’d loved and lost, I had ended up walking the streets in a snowstorm, melting the drifts with my hot, salty tears. While in this unfortunate condition, I ran into an acquaintance and blurted out my tragedy. It’s hard to say who was more embarrassed.

When I Get To Key West

In prison, despite the stereotypes, I am not raped by a gang of women with a toilet plunger; no muscled-up stud with tattooed tits claims me for her “wife”; no one corners me in the laundry room and beats the crap out of me. The guards don’t brutalize me; the warden doesn’t devote his every waking moment to making my life “a living hell.” The warden — the superintendent, actually — doesn’t even know my name.

In The Valley Of The Kings

I was eleven the summer the fire broke out. In the spring of 1967 my mother, my father, and I had moved to Umberland, Pennsylvania. An old miners’ neighborhood sprawled across the southern half of town, and its residents burned their garbage in a used-up strip mine, a pit of shale and sandstone scraped clean by bulldozers.

Michael The Armadillo

They’d made it through all the Michaels, Carrie and Dan believed. They’d made it through Michael J. Fox’s comeback and Michael Vick’s arrest and Michael Douglas’s cancer, made it through the terrible summer when Michael Phelps won all those gold medals in swimming, and then the next terrible summer when Michael Jackson died on every channel for days and days.

Sanctuary

She boarded the train that propelled her into the past and the future both at once, giving her time to shift perspectives, to find her edges again, the places where her body and the world met.