Reading Material

“Plenty”
Published in GASHER, November 2018
One Saturday morning we went to an estate sale on the other side of town. A man there talked to me about his deceased mother. In the basement he showed me three chests of children’s shoes, some unworn since the early 1980s, some like new. A collection, the man told me, of inestimable value. When I asked him if any of the shoes had belonged to him, he said no, of course not, not even the ones he’d worn.

“Assassination of Vice Principal Tiddle”
Published in Yemassee, April 2017
It was supposed to happen that Vice Principal Tiddle would enter the girls’ locker room at Peach Grove High School and breathe his final breaths. It was supposed to happen that he would find his bloody end there, among the mildewed tiles and creaking lockers, at the mercy of a red-haired girl’s knives. 

“The Preparations”
Forthcoming the Wayne Literary Review
In a church basement they gather. The ruckus of the girls, the general atmosphere of carelessness, tickles up against the carefully laid plans of Adventure Guide Becky. She considers whether she will show off her new hatchet. Countless hours of dirtied fingernails, smoke smells clinging to her hair, nights sleeping on rocks—these have rendered Adventure Guide Becky ready to impress herself upon this new generation.

“The Cold You Don’t Get Warm From”
Montana Mouthful, October 2018
The boys are polite. They ask you if you’re lost. They assure you that they can lead you out. You don’t notice how pale their skin is, how empty their eyes. One of them takes you by the hand. You don’t know whose flesh is colder. And then they lead you into the trees, and that is the last anyone hears from you.

“How Long Do Snails Sleep?”
Published in Weatherbeaten, February 2018
But she doesn’t make dinner because on the television she sees the familiar face again. She scrambles for the remote control to turn up the television’s volume, even though it is already too loud. The remote is nowhere easy, maybe between couch cushions or something. A woman’s voice says his name again: Casey Mason. What a stupid name, she thinks. The news reporter is talking about the tabloid article. She says that at least one woman has come forward. Come forward, the woman on the couch thinks, forward from where? The television is just a big smiling face of Casey Mason now. She cannot look away.

“Lucy”
Published in Chicago Literati, October 2017
Lucy never loved her father so well as she loved his sickness. “You’re a pitiful papa,” she’d say to him. “A daddy downer.”

“Defending Dolly”
Published in Sequestrum, September 2014
Of course I was there at her funeral; she was a friend! There’s nothing wrong with forgetting someone’s name, the circumstances being what they were, with Hank so hesitant to even bring her up! No matter what her children might insist, I did not smile on that day nearly five years ago, when I stood over her casket and being a good Christian woman prayed for her mortal soul—she was a friend!

“All Past and Future Works”
Published in Shadowgraph Magazine, Winter 2015
I don’t pity you the remorse I’m sure you will feel after you read this novel and realize it was my love letter to you.

“28 Steps to Acting Casual”
Published in Marathon Literary Review, February 2016
Step 12: Pump myself up. Tell myself I’m great. Make handsome-devil faces in the mirror. Play best pump-up music. Do light aerobics to limber up.

“Nights and Weekends”
Published in pioneertown, June 2015
…and before I knew it I was taking the intercity train on every other weekend to work with the regional chapter of the National Grocers Association Best Bagger Competition, a group of young people as devoted as I was to the principles of precision and orderliness, real standouts in the field of competitive grocery work, all of which were employed at their hometown grocers and usually enjoyed quite few perks in these positions, such as a nominal quarterly bonus or their pictures displayed on posters near the restrooms…

“Borrowers”
Flash Fiction published by Postcard Poems and Prose, July 2015

“The Refills” and “not the kind of guy who wouldn’t leave a note”
Flash Fiction published in After the Pause‘s Summer 2015 Issue

“A Twist in the Wires”
Published in The Rappahannock Review, February 2014
Winner, Mahan Short Fiction Award 2013
The pigs spread into every open space, guided by their terrible hunger. The pack overturned trashcans and devoured the garbage. They trampled flowerbeds and left steaming shits on the sidewalk. They scared the children. The pigs stank even more than they did standing soberly in their stalls, as if their motion had opened new folds in their anatomies and revealed hidden pockets of stink. 

“Your Response Should Be in the Form of a Question”
Published in The Adirondack Review, January 2013
Honorable Mention for Margery McKinney Short Fiction Award 2013
He revels in this adoration, perhaps clasping his hands together and waggling them on either side of his head. This is, of course, his imagination, which is really in your imagination, which, for all I know, is really only in my imagination. So there you have it. Bill’s version has left him with one thousand dollars, a picture featuring Alex Trebek, unused changes of clothes and three hours to think before his wife comes home hoping not to find him there.

“Prize Ponies”
Published in The Barely South Review, April 2012
Shannon looks at her reflection, the face of a grain-fed woman, in the glass of the Prize Ponies. She has never been beautiful, she thinks, and never will be. It threatens to obscure the masterpiece of impending fortune that whirrs among the rotations of the slot machine.

“The Best Thing Tommy Rodeszky Ever Did”
Published in Midwestern Gothic, January 2013
Honorable Mention for the Margery McKinney Short Fiction Award, 2012
I thought you were just going to watch fireworks. I never would have let you go. You were always better than them, and I tried to tell you. You should have known, such a beautiful girl. What did it smell like, in that place, where you were more than asleep? Did you know what was happening to you or was it just like holding flowers to your face?

Seven Points for Love”
Published in The Coachella Review, May 2013
Long ago D had learned what separated the white kids from the black ones, more than their neighborhoods, more than the particular brand of their hip-hop heroes. They didn’t speak the language. The white kids would never understand him saying
I’m finna go home now. What is this finna (8)? the white kids wondered. Why not say manners instead of home-training? So they didn’t mix in the cafeterias because they lacked the words to say to one another.
[Four-Star Review]

“The Real Heroic Thing”
Published in Word Riot,  January 2012
If you’re not from around here, you might not know that if someone says they’re in construction, they are mostly unemployed. It’s like how mom won’t drink until it’s after noon because if you drink before noon, you’re an alcoholic. 

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