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The Sun Magazine

Fiction

Imogene’s Prayer

The pills are about the size of a bing-cherry pit in diameter and are a faint green color, like the eggs of some songbirds. On one side they have a deeply inscribed SZ, on the other, the number 789. They are Ritalin, the ten-milligram kind. Imogene knows them by sight because occasionally patients admitted to the psychiatric ward where she works as a nurse have containers of assorted pills, and she has learned to spot the ones that will get her high.

My Stupid Harmony

The Wish Family was my family dressed in red-white-and-blue outfits, performing songs written by my father and played by my older brother Todd on our secondhand piano, my sister Mare on a convicted uncle’s guitar, and my little brother Jay on a snare drum so beaten its skin had been taped.

Marvel Sands

After my dad ran off with a bank teller with great teeth, my mom and I moved in with her boyfriend, Ronny. I was fifteen and needed a job, so I applied for a position at Marvel Sands State Beach, and I was hired. During the day I sat in a booth at the entrance of the parking lot and sold tickets. I liked it out there, especially in the morning when fog curled around the booth.

The Friend Beside The Pool

Prince Siddhartha Gautama had seen the cat many times, though it was cunningly concealed under the overhanging leaves at the edge of the palace-garden pool. The cat was white, and so not quite as well hidden as it probably thought it was, despite the long shadows of morning.

How It Would Come

When the doorbell rang, Alice put down her pencil and took another drag on her cigarette. It was nearly noon; the entire morning had somehow gotten away from her. Peering out through the yellowed blinds, she saw a Pittsfield police cruiser parked at the curb.

The High Heart

Keith had had a plenty rough day, most of it spent with his girlfriend, Bonnie, in an abortion clinic just outside of Pittsburgh. You could see how frayed he was: skinny as hell and that big head of electrocuted hair, smoking one cigarette after another, the blue veins in his forehead like hot wires about to rupture.

Alternate

Before Cat and I became a couple, before we even knew each other, we were a team: knocking on strangers’ doors to bring them Barack Obama’s tidings of hope. Everyone in Brooklyn was already voting for him anyway, so they just cheered us on and thanked us for our service. There was a precoital vibe, a tingling anticipation of victory.

Mercy

Jimmy nods toward his tow truck, and Davis gets in the passenger seat. Sliding in beside him a minute later, Jimmy offers coffee and some kind of airy sweet, the exact right thing. This is how a moth must feel when it finally gets to the light: warm inside and out.

Victory Forge

He is six years younger than you, and, although he’s over six foot now, you think of him still as “the boy.” He takes to the military quickly, memorizing the Soldier’s Creed, believing the army religion that all things can be improved.