Dig

By Sarah Sheppeck Edward coughed as the 507 to Oak Ridge slowed to a stop in front of him. The bus shuddered as it struggled to break, belched thick gray exhaust toward the cars behind. He gestured to the woman standing beside him—an attempt to indicate that she should board first. She shook her head, put up her hand in silent protest, but boarded ahead of him anyway. Edward followed, tapping his boots against the bottom step of the stairway to dislodge some of the dirt. He dropped a handful of meticulously counted change into the collection slot and took…

Book Review: All This Could Be Yours

By Jenny Hayes Jami Attenberg’s novel All This Could Be Yours takes place largely over a single day, a day which Victor Tuchman—a pretty terrible man— spends mostly unconscious and near death in a New Orleans hospital. The book bounces around between the points of view of the family members and various others who come into the scene—sometimes only tangentially—near the end of Victor’s life. This structure gives the book a loose, kaleidoscopic feeling, with a consistent narrative tone that keeps it feeling cohesive; the prose is clear and rhythmic, conveying each character’s point of view while occasionally interjecting its…

TCR Talks with Steve Almond

By: Kaia Gallagher Described by commentators as funny, big-hearted and joyfully obsessive, Steve Almond has been a newspaper reporter, an acclaimed writer of short stories, an essayist and the author of ten books over his twenty-year writing career. Almond’s published short story collections include My Life in Heavy Metal (2002), The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories (2005), God Bless America: Stories (2011), and Whits of Passion (2013). Many of his 150 short stories have been featured in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mysteries, the Pushcart Prize, and Best American Erotica.                 An…

Desert Seas

by: Anca Segall

Lars’ baby blue VW bug, rusty and dented, came to a stop in the rutted parking lot at the trailhead into Dark Canyon. Covered in nearly as much dust as the car, we both tumbled out into the scrub desert, already parched in May. Fable Valley had enough flash floods to make leaving our names at the BLM box prudent, though it was still early in the season. Eager to stretch our legs, we shouldered our backpacks and started down the steep trail into the valley.

We had driven down from Logan and stopped in Provo for a Saturday fair in the city park, where Lars did a brisk business drawing portraits of fair-going kids. He’d kept them captivated with stories on a rickety stool as he rendered their character in strokes of charcoal and Conte crayon. At midday, while families lunched and the kids trickled in more slowly, Lars had me pose for him, to pass the time and entice paying customers.

You May Now Enter

By: Kit Maude

Eckersley had a loopy artist in her guest room and a boy begging at her door. Both were proving to be troublesome. The artist was loopy in the sense that he was probably insane, but also because he was stuck in a loop. Like the beggar boy, he appeared one day at Eckersley’s door announcing that he had a new performance project that he hoped to rehearse in Eckersley’s guest room. Because he was an old friend of Eckersley’s he was allowed in. He refused to say much about the performance.

The beggar boy came to Eckersley’s door at least once a week asking for clothes, food, and anything he might be able to sell. Also money, of course. Sometimes, usually, Eckersley gave him something, but sometimes she didn’t happen to have anything on her, or was in a bad mood. Occasionally, she was simply irritated by this boy who came so regularly to demand things for nothing.

A Sensible Man

By  Julia María Schiavone Camacho

Portuguese Macau, China. Fall 1937.

Fairy tales never come true. Patricia would warn her daughter, if she ever had one, not to believe in storybook endings. A girl raised sensibly, not spoiled. Her own daughter. Angélica. Perhaps she would create her own tale, featuring a sensible prince. And some practical advice. Be sure he really is sensible, Angélica. Sensible as well as trustworthy and good, before you give your heart away.

Now she lumbered down the narrow passageway above the main plaza. Her shoulders slumped, her chest ached. For once she might be able to cry.

With A Demon On Your Chest

BY: Severin AllGood

It’s Christmas Day and you lie in bed between two girls, but not in a hot, Cinemax After Dark type of way. More in the sense that you all took too many Xanax after you left the bar and passed out together fully clothed. The one girl’s room is a mess. Dirty dishes and overturned ashtrays are scattered around. Half-empty beer bottles with cigarette butts floating in them. Moldy to-go containers from every delivery place in a three-mile radius. Even huddled together with these two, you’re still freezing. You wonder if the house has heat. Winter in Portland is no place to be without heat.

The Farmers in the Fields

BY: Ziaul Moid Khan

“Is it my right to snatch food from their hands?” I asked myself. The answer was a lone, long silence. This family had done a lot to get me here, at this position. Not that I was super rich and all that, but at least I was just above a hand-to-mouth condition. They were still there, squaring their shoulders with the same grinding poverty.

TCR Talks with Elizabeth Crane

BY: Jaime Parker Stickle

Elizabeth Crane is the author of such novels as We Only Know So Much and The History of Great Things. She has a unique, honest, and quirky voice, and you’ll relate to her characters, even those at odds with each other, recognizing them as friends or family. Crane’s writing is addictive in all the best ways.

When film director/writer/producer Donald Lardner Ward suggested Crane adapt her novel We Only Know So Much into a screenplay, she did. The result is an award-winning film.

Lee Martin’s The Mutual UFO Network

by: A.m. Larks

To assume that Lee Martin is writing about little green men and flying saucers would be a faux pas, but Martin is writing about things that are no less alien to us: our fellow human beings. The Mutual UFO Network explores the complexity of human relationships, which is as terrifying, strange, and incomprehensible as any extraterrestrial lifeform.