Old Things

STORY — I had more than a sense when I was nine years old that my father and mother were different than the other parents living in the logging towns of Snoqualmie or Tolt or Skykomish. Once while we camped at Monte Cristo, the site of an old gold mine town, the son of one of these parents, a child I had somehow coerced into playing with me, noticed my father’s pony tail looping over his shoulder like an oiled tentacle. “Is your Dad a hippie?” He half shouted causing me to jump and then look around to make sure no one had heard anything.

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Wrecks

STORY — Lane’s eggs started to scorch and fill the kitchen with smoke. Lane scrapped the thick skin from the skillet but his sister Sheila had already wrinkled her nose. “We’re going to get it.” From the cupboard she removed the brownish mugs that they always used for breakfast. Lane opened the window, allowing the cool morning to fill the room, but his sister muttered that nothing was going to help now. She poured the coffee and mixed in Uncle Rex’s spoonfull of sugar. Lane stood in the middle of the floor, holding the pan of burnt scrambled eggs watching his sister rush around the room. He liked to watch how she closed a cupboard with the back of her head while she wrapped the flour bag with her hands. “Come on,” she said. “Throw those out and start again.” But Lane didn’t move.

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My Father’s Orchard

STORY — Linda Lane, my name, is a porn star’s name with the cheap advertising of alliteration I like to credit to my mother. She left when I was three years old and she was twenty, probably because she knew things were about as good as they were going to get then, my dad working two jobs as a janitor and as a landscaper, my dad spending his days off plugged into ear phones on his stereo, my dad smoking joints. She never saw him. One day she drove his truck, with the sofa loaded in the back and all the appliances squeezed between the hairy arm rests, and disappeared into Seattle. She might have wanted steady improvement. She didn’t see it, so she left. I suppose she is happy now.

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