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The Pinch
Powder, Sugar, Tap
Suzie B. King, Richest Girl on Earth, examines her beautiful mother through Kool-Aid-brand binoculars (250 Kool-Aid Points, $12.99 at retail). Her mother is sewing. She is a tailor at the Men's Wearhouse, which means her job is that she alters suits of middling cost and quality so that they better fit their owners. One sad fact about clothes is you can buy large and tailor small but it doesn't work the other way around. (A suit, like most fine things, is a resource that can only shrink. It never grows.)
Lazy Fascist Review / Recommended Reading
The Ten-Century Man
Then we would find our father in his fields, brain him, though not hard enough to kill, bind his hands and gag him, wait for him to wake, and when he woke make him kneel, and when he knelt recite our grievances. We would offer to remove the gag if he wanted to repent. And when he did not repent, we would use the guns, and he would be dead, and both our guns would shake from the powder, but only one would spit a bullet, and neither brother would know who was a killer and who was still a man.
Hayden's Ferry Review
A Eulogy for Bull Rose
At the height of Bull’s career, when he was frequently impersonated at children’s birthday parties, when he was the best-paid player in the league, when he was making irregular cameos as himself on Saturday Night Live and his bobblehead was outselling all the rest combined, when they called him baseball’s savior, when there was talk of a cartoon, when his rookie card was reprinted in gold and holographic foils, when he hit three dingers in the same night, when he cried for Barbara Walters, when he was Time’s man of the year, when he was a question on Jeopardy and the final answer on Hollywood Squares, Mars, Inc. asked if they could name a candy bar in his honor.
Atlas Review
Two Brothers, Two Bodies (One Girl, One Turtle)
There was a way in which, when Bart came to Michael's door and whispered through the keyhole for help, and when Michael got up from bed to ask him what he wanted, and when Bart begged him to please open the door, and when Michael opened the door and saw Bart's hands and middle were streaked with drying blood—when Bart said, “It was a girl,” there was a way in which this was all very normal. Michael didn't hesitate long enough for even one blood-tainted tear to fall from Bart's big chin, where several had gathered and hung now. “Take me there,” said Michael. Bart began to do as he was told. “Wait,” said Michael. “Wash yourself off first.”
Sundog Lit
The Right Mouth (After Robert Kloss)
In the year the gator came my parents were at odds, and the master bedroom was my mother’s bedroom, and the moisture-warped living room floor was my father’s. He was a large man. He was a very large man. He did not use a pillow, preferring the fat of his own arms. He always lit a little candle. He stood the candle on the floor, a hand’s length from his eyes, and watched the candle burn. While it burned he was awake, and if I tried to sneak from my bed to find bread or take water, then he would surely hear me, and he would surely knock me down. 
Excerpt from Exemplary!, a novel
A woman drove onto the tracks and stopped there. She put the car in park. She switched off all its lights. Her only passenger, a broad-shouldered and almost totally waistless man in black spandex and bright red cape, was not apparently perturbed by her decision to end it all with him there beside her, though she had not previously declared her intent to die, and though the train would likely hit him first, given the usual eastward direction of the many cars of produce, name-brand breakfast cereals, disposable cellular phones, diapers and dairy products that came through town at roughly 10 PM on Tuesdays.
The Nashville Review
The Eye
She was looking for Ben Bartlett’s letters. Ben was back from the war and he had a purple heart. Nobody agreed on where or how severely he had been wounded. According to some, he came back without legs. According to others, he’d been shot through the hip, and while the bone was shattered the rest of him was fine. There was a rumor he had lost his hand and now there was a hook in its place. Some said it was only a finger. Whatever Ben was missing, there was one point on which everyone agreed: He was looking for Paula.
Necessary Fiction
Writer in Residence
I was the writer in residence at Necessary Fiction in June, 2012. Click the above link to read my stories "Three Proposed Expansions to the Game of Clue" and "Concerning Your Mysterious Inheritance" Parts I - V, as well as a number of other excellent stories that I selected on the theme of games.
Big Fiction
The Dale Machine
Dale went out to the garage. The time machine was humming like a fridge. It looked like one without a freezer, a sort of standing coffin. There was a circular porthole in the door. A hundred wires and corrugated rubber tubes connected to the sides and back of the time machine and went down through the concrete, and into the dirt, like roots. Dale had broken up the concrete with a pickaxe once. He dug into the dirt. The wire and the tubes went down deep. He didn’t know how far.
PANK Magazine
Robot Christ
Robot Christ climbs down from the cross. The Romans are all gone. It is dark on the hill in the cave beneath New Jerusalem. The artificial stars twinkle. Tomorrow the largest, his own star, will bloom above the animatronic shepherds. The plastic cattle will bray and froth. Three wise androids will see the shine move slowly through the night like a balloon adrift or a nearly-still silver wheel. Smoke will come out of their ears.
Hobart / Best American Short Stories 2012
Their game was Legend of Silence, or LoS. LoS was different from their other games, because whereas in Metroid or Zelda the player character became more powerful as he explored, the heroine of LoS was diminished by every artifact she found. The manual still called them Power Ups, but this was, father and son agreed, misleading: they should be called Power Downs, or Nerfs, or Torments, because this was what they did. The goal of the game was to lose everything, so that one could enter Nirvana, where the final boss lay in wait, enjoying all the ill-gotten fruits of not being and not knowing.
The Collagist
Angband, or His 55 Desires
Every name forgotten or never-was. With sufficient time a trained technician might isolate the file’s ghost. A character is very small, though, and needs little remembered. He read once that an adult human’s memories would hardly fill a floppy disk. He didn’t believe it. He believed and could not be confirmed.
The Good Men Project
Better Weather
Jacob felt his uncle’s disapproving gaze acutely. It was like a roving eye, searching for impurities and secret shames in the walls, the carpet. He felt the eye slide over the groove he had made in the living room wall with his forehead. Ten minutes of attack, increasingly violent, while no one else was home, until the skin beneath his hairline opened. The eye noted the faint red stain at the dent’s corner. It focused on the hard scabs of chewing gum that Marvin tucked up on the underside of the coffee table—Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, Bubble Yum. It found the bugs and worms that grew inside their flour. It roamed the halls, noting where their father had kicked the vent in, warping the grate.
What They Did with the Body
Once the community had agreed that Mr. Reed would have to die, including Mrs. Reed and the sheriff and all the sheriff’s deputies, everything was simple and easy, and the murder came quite naturally. John Taylor was chosen for the job, on account of his relative neutrality concerning Mr. Reed – they did not want this to be a hateful act, unduly painful or otherwise immoderate – and his ownership, legal but generally frowned upon in their town, of a handgun. The gun was a .357 caliber Smith & Wesson Model 60, which some believe to be the most widely-owned handgun in America, though 9mm models have become more popular in recent years.
The Lifted Brow
For all legal purposes, her husband was alive. The doctor made a point of this. Given a physician’s agreement, removal of a rubber feeding tube was not murder. To put a knife through his kneck, or to shoot him, or to instruct the body to end himself somehow–this was different. “Not that you would do such a thing,” said the doctor, “but you should know what could happen if you did.”
How and Who and What and Why
The windows are all closed, the blinds and drapes as well, the lights off except for the one hanging over our heads. In the living room, separated from the kitchen only by the difference between linoleum faux-tile and carpet, there are no decorations, apart from a novelty phone that looks like a revolver, a vast DVD collection stacked on the carpet (heavy on crime television and noir), and several dozen photographs of me in my natural environs. In the photographs I am someone else, other, more beautiful. In the now I am myself.
>kill author
Three Poems
He who could address this audience without
quailing sensation has stronger nerves than I.
A slave is tortured. Could it have been misplaced?
Two instances of the database, one in master mode,
the other in slave mode. Can be held against
their will from the time of their capture, purchase
or birth. A slave is.
A capella Zoo
The Snake Charmer’s Teeth
The snake charmer Fanish had a dream. He was curled beneath a cherry tree and the blossoms were fallen on his arm and leg. On waking, he remembered the dream with clarity that made his teeth ache to their pulp. The dream had been with him all his life, an itch on the back of his neck, a tickle in his throat, a need in his jaw. He felt the long bone beneath his skin from one ear to the other: its slow sweep, its hard grace.
Dark Sky Magazine (Now offline)
Family Gibson, Summer 1891
Mama kneels to meet my eyes. She fusses with my too-small coat. She says, “Don’t you speak that way of him. You were raised together from the crib. We bought him the day you were born, we bought him so that you might have a friend. He played your games with you, and he joined you in your studies. He was with you every day, in everything, and he slept in the same room, in his own bed beside your bed.” She smooths my cotton collared shirt and pulls a loose thread from beside the topmost button. “Do not tell me that you have no brother.”
Pop Serial
The Growing World
Hiram woke with his hand in a pile of ash and charred wood fragments. There were several orange or orange-white flecks still glowing in the pile, still alive with small tastes of fire. He rubbed his hand around in the ash as if stirring pond-bottom murk, searching for warmth. His other hand (his left) was blue. This hand, the right hand, came out smeared gray and black.  He wiped it on his fur-lined coat. Beneath the stains this hand was also blue. He put on gloves, which he had left to dry the night before. They were still rotting. It was still winter.
PANK Magazine
Strange Fruit
In the last summer before he would be a man, Norman bought a Greyhound bus ticket to Florida. He bought it with his last handful of dollars. He had bought the dollars at a two percent loss with hundreds of rolled quarters. The quarters went as far back as 1895, when it was still John Adams’ face on the top side and the edges were smooth. Grandma Anita had built and rolled the collection for him. Norman got them when she died.
Mud Luscious (Now offline)

The MRI is like a picture of the moon. Everything inside me is dead. Gray. I am vast again, like I was. I am a landscape.

There are strange things inside me. I thought it was water. Doctors say he might be a tumor. Some years ago there was a baby with a penis on his back, they say it was his brother’s. Mine has a penis too.

So small inside me.

The Sycamore Review
“Our Young Hero’s Adventure in the Land of Pinwheels and Light”
An Engine and its Parts #1 - Scrounge and Salvage
The first column in a yearly series tracing one idea or mechanic through the history of video games. This one focuses on the idea of gathering stuff.
The Airship
The Very Brief List of Bodies I've Seen
I knew that there was someone at the door because he was knocking. I knew that he was going to come inside because no one who knocks that hard doesn’t ever not come inside. I knew that he was going to kill us because no one ever knocks that hard. Soon the door would fly off its hinges. Then we would be dead.
KillScreen - Element4l, The Cave
Fanzine - Long Division
Puerto del Sol – This Orange Eats CreepsHow They Were Found, The Fixed Stars, A Heaven of Others, Last Days.
The Review of Contemporary Fiction – The Logic of the World, Kamby Bolongo Mean River.
The Collagist — Pee on Water, The Sisters Brothers.
American Book Review — NewPages. 
Stories . Essays . Reviews . Exits Are . Bodies
Exits Are
A series of collaborative game-stories patterned after text adventures like Zork. You can find out more about how it works here, or just start reading.
Some Bodies
The bodies are a series of short poem-stories that together make a collection. They come from a conceit or a philosophy or a something. Some of the bodies have appeared in elimaeAbjectiveUsed Furniture Review, jmwwSmokeLong QuarterlyEveryday GeniusMetazen, Whiskey Island, and Red Lightbulbs.