Archive for May, 2013

Kimmie’s Sister by Lisa Wolfe

May 31 2013 Published by under Stories

“You mean a complete internet suicide too?” I nodded agreeing with her. I have been on Facebook since I was thirteen. She told me she has too. And we yammered away then for almost two hours. I pulled out my phone and played her Mary J. Blige’s “Everything.” But after meeting her that night at the aunt’s house, I have only seen her a handful of other times, and these were brief, snippets of seeing. I’d catch her all dressed up in what looked like a flag core uniform, a shiny, polished baton at her side sitting in the bleachers during marching band practice, or I imagined I glimpsed a girl with her honey blonde hair near the woods outside of our neighborhood. But that girl had a wild look about her as she left the forest of trees, that girl smoothed her skirts and spat in her hands to fix her hair. (And that girl never waved back.)

When I asked Kimmie more about her sister, she grunted and said, “We’re twins, Emily’s the baton twirler.” I made up stories about who Emily was. But most of what I knew about Kimmie’s sister was that she seemed to listen to me ramble on about Mary J. Blige and then Stevie Ray Vaughan (that first time I met her at the aunt’s house) when most of the other girls wanted to talk about their icons. And she likes the country music that her aunt’s boyfriend plays in the house while Kimmie likes Blige. And Kimmie pushed my headphones deep into her ears the first time I played her “Everything” in the cafeteria line. (They both make me jittery as if I have drunk too many colas.) And all girls are not the same.

“Probably she’ll go,” Kimmie had said. My palms started to sweat weeks ago when Kimmie told me her sister liked big parties. I gazed around at the clusters of girls and the few token guys, and I couldn’t decide where to join and whether the dim light in the large cavernous room that opened to the outside made us all prettier. When Emily stumbled on the patio, and tossed her head back and shook her hips, I moved in slow so I could watch for a few moments. She danced with another guy but this wouldn’t matter for long. My legs refused to move. I choked on my breath, and if I couldn’t breathe or move, I couldn’t break in. What would she say to me when I strolled up to her? Would she even remember my name?

There were some things that seemed to work out naturally, and after those few minutes hanging back, when I moved toward her, I wasn’t hearing Taylor Swift anymore. “Leave My Little Girl Alone,” echoed in my head, and Kimmie’s sister was everything. I tried sauntering smooth to where she danced, as if I was every bit as cool as the music playing in my mind, like this wasn’t any big deal I happened to be at the after prom party too. The guy she danced with and any guy in the room that stood within two feet of her, I noticed and instantly did not like. When I got up close enough to hear what she would say, it felt like breathing to slide up next to her and tap her arm. “Wanna dance?” I glanced around the giant patio and surveyed all of the other girls. I put Emily’s face on every one of them and pictured them all saying yes.

Lisa Wolfe is a freelance writer living in North Carolina. When she’s not working on a story, she enjoys bird watching with her husband and their two children. (She counts her blessings to have seen a great horned owl perched in a bushy magnolia tree take flight during a family walk this winter.) Her latest book, Leaving the Party, is a collection of short fiction available on Kindle Direct Publishing. She currently writes flash fiction and has a collection due out later this year. She blogs at “Character Talk,”

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Seventh Inning Stretch by Jamez Chang

May 10 2013 Published by under Stories

It is the middle of the seventh inning when fans at Dodgers Stadium stand up to sing “God Bless America” and the baseball diamond below becomes only dirt and grass. Energy travels up, past rows of people stuffing popcorn bags and Pepsi bottles under their seats, biting the last bits of pretzel—in thirst—and as they reach for the notes to send “land of the free,” two young boys do not stand. Two teenage fans will not get up from their seats, even as their rehab counselor, Mr. Seismore, throws a peanut shell at them. They will not budge from their Dodger blue seats.

Miles Kim, rolling a shirt sleeve up and down, thinks to himself: Is there a God worth blessing? His best friend Bogdon dumps the rest of his Diet Coke on the concrete steps of Row 34, Section D, and the ice cubes quickly melt; and though it’s a brisk April night, the crystalline blocks turn to guitar pics: wedge slivers glistening from stadium lights—before getting crushed. A tan Timberland boot has arrived, and it kicks the base of Bogdon’s seat.

“Get up and sing, God dammit!” says the man in Tims.

Bogdon looks down; he looks back at the face; and he hears the fans singing around him; cat-eye-clocking the mild commotion are dozens of people with peripheral glares. All murmurs and head-bobs in the boys’ direction. They are singing: “From the mountains…to the prairies” and Bogdon wonders if a ravine is closer to a prarie or amountain; whether he should’ve paid more attention in geology. Is it too late to jump off a Chavez Ravine?

Bogdon stands up and removes his Dodgers hat—opens his mouth, in time to sing the last refrain: “My home… Sweet… home.”

The man in Tims nods and smacks his lips, cluck, and for a moment, he’s satisfied. Then he turns down to Miles, who is still sitting next to Bogdon, still fidgeting with his left sleeve, oblivious to the baseball diamond and the organ music.

“And you. What’s your excuse!?!” says the man.

Miles looks up.

Toilet brush bristles for hair, Miles thinks, and the man looming above does have spiky white hair, serrated forehead with wrinkles jagged toward the brow—encased in a stare. He’s an older man of 65, and his pinkish face has a fast steam rising.

“We died for your kind, boy. Now stand!”

“I was just pledging allegiance to the flag. Wanna see?” Miles unrolls his left sleeve. He stretches out his arm to reveal the cauterized letters he spent Innings One through Seven carving into his forearm: God Bless Am—the serrated end of his house-keys bloody.

“Jesus, fucking Christ! You sick little fuck!” the man squeals, shimmying past popcorn, past peanuts and cracker jacks. Dozens of stadium eyes agape at first, then turning away. It’s the top of the eighth inning, and the dirt and the grass have returned to a diamond.

And the Braves’ turn at bat.

Jamez Chang’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Underground Voices, Bartleby Snopes, FRiGG, Prime Number, Melusine, and Gone Lawn. After graduating from Bard College, Jamez went on to become the first Korean-American to release a hip-hop album,Z-Bonics (1998), in the United States. Visit:

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