Archive for December, 2013

Something Authentic by Justin Gold

Dec 20 2013 Published by under Stories

I’m the only brown employee at the only Mexican supermarket in Bright Springs. Our customers are mostly Johns and Georges, Barbaras and Bethanys. I’m Jaime, pronounced Jay-mee, not High-may. My parents were inventive spellers. My manager says they did me a solid.

“I want something authentic for my dinner party,” a Barbara says, tapping my shoulder. “My husband John and I went to Bolivia for a fundraiser, and we had the most fabulous tinga sopes.” She smiles for no reason, the way old people do. There’s booze on her breath. “Our guests are Bolivian. We’re helping them,” she says. By her smile, I see she means it.

“For tinga sopes, adobo sauce is key,” I say. I heard a customer mention “adobo” once, figured I’d try it out.

Barbara says, “hmmm.” She likes the sound of “adobo.” It’s close to “adobe,” and that’s pretty Mexican. Or Bolivian.

“Let’s get you some sweet chipotles,” I say. “And some Spanish onions. Real authentic stuff.”

“We’re hosting the charity head for dinner,” Barbara says. She stumbles into me on our way to aisle 4. “You know…” Her eyes are half-closed. “John raised $17,165 for the children in Bolivia.”

“My parents were from Bolivia,” I say.

“I had a feeling you were the right one to ask.” Barbara says. “This means a lot to John.” We get to aisle 4, and Barbara waves to a man dangling a string of ghost chiles.

“Let’s just get these for the gardener, Barb!” John holds up the ghost chiles. “For Paco…Pablo!” John drops the ghost chiles. A Bethany squashes them under her stroller. “Aisle 4, cleanup! Andalѐ!” John yells. People don’t usually yell in the only Mexican supermarket in Bright Springs.

“He’s just nervous.” Barbara burps. “The Peruvian conquistador, it means a lot to him.”

John stumbles into the Bethany, who stumbles into a rack of yellow rice. A box falls, then another. The floor is ghost chiles and yellow rice.

“Isn’t he just a hoot?” Barbara says. She laughs, hands clasped. She leans into me. “I’m cheating on him,” she whispers.

“I’m actually Jewish,” I whisper.

Barbara picks up the only intact ghost chile. “Adobo!” she shouts. She purchases the ghost chile for $3.05 and, leaning on John, heads to her Bright Springs home, where she’ll put the chile into a sauce she’ll name adobo.

Justin Gold learned to read before any of his pre-school alumni, and then lost all literary momentum until his father read him Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Fog Horn’ in high school. In his little home on a little lake in New Jersey, Justin’s creativity is often survived by his wife, Carol.

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Congratulations! You Have Just Written the Ten-Billionth Canceled Email Draft! by Robert Laughlin

Dec 05 2013 Published by under Stories


Thanks for remembering the date, but it’s not my first anniversary, not with Tim anyway. I married his fourth cousin or something.

If you were in the den with me, you’d wonder about that sound coming through the door—floing! ha! over and over. That would be Tim, on a trampoline set up in the living room. He’s got so he can bounce on it upside down, and touch the cathedral ceiling with his feet. Eight months ago, this was the guy who didn’t leave me any slack when I put my arms around him. He threw out all his old family recipes after I learned to make them just like his mother. Now he’s on an all-vegan diet, and the dinners I make him are like a buffet in the Fuehrerbunker. He bought an old racing greyhound to jog with, and when they come home, it’s always the dog that looks exhausted.

Believe me, that’s not all. When Tim lost weight, he got most of his new wardrobe from L. L. Bean; I wondered if pitching a tent around our bed was his next step. He decided to teach himself a foreign language, and I have to explain to people why German words are pasted all over the house, including BLECH on all my saucepans. He volunteered for the depression hotline, never mind that graveyard shift is their rush hour. And we don’t listen to old musicals any more; Tim discovered early music, and every Tuesday night, our house sounds like a Club Med for monks. I married a cuddly, predictable loafer with no interest in self-improvement, little knowing that when we crossed the threshold, that’s when the changeling spell would kick in.

Tim just came into the den. Our paper anniversary, and he had a five-foot blowup of our wedding kiss resting on his Bean Boots. That gets me to thinking. As much as he’s changed

Robert Laughlin lives in Chico, California. He is the founder of the Micro Award for flash fiction. He has published 100 short stories, two of which are storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories. His website is at

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