Fiction

Unrequited lust, unfulfilled potential, and Instagram stories

Photo: Giles Watson/Flickr

I’d been unemployed in Naples, Florida since early January, and there was no prospect of my prospects improving.

Summer was lurking. My sweat glands gushed with anticipation. I fantasized about fleeing to anywhere where humidity, reptiles, and retirees weren’t the official state plagues. But landing an easy escape requires a pillow of cash or credit. I had neither, and I did not expect to ever have either ever again, no matter how many times I repeated the only mantra my mom ever taught me: Money comes to me easily and often.

Then — as she had so many times when…


The last time I saw Brian’s dad was right before he disappeared. He’d pick me up first, then Kevin, then Jeff, and then Brian. None of our dads lived with us, and none of them drove carpool, either. Brian’s dad only did it to stay out of court for never paying any child support. Everybody knew that this deal was a favor to Brian, not his dad. Even us.

The Datsun B210 Brian’s dad drove was either dusty or wet. Inside, it stank of burgers and musk. First thing you did when you got in was roll your window down…


I was burning the last of my vegan recipes when Vigo called. Thankfully, he didn’t ask what I was up to, and not just because the answer would have been “171.”

“Do you want to have dinner with my boss and my boss and my boss?” he asked.

“You have a job?”

“You know what I mean.”

I’d known Vigo for thirty years and I almost always knew what he meant.

When we were first paired together in Stella Rostovo’s cold reading class, it was 1980. He was dating two aging actors — one a former bathing beauty queen and…


This is not how you’re supposed to meet your next husband. Her brain regurgitated that thought while her fingers typed, as if reminding herself that she knew better was some reassurance that she still might be the sort of person who could show up at her high school reunion without setting off a wintry mix of whispers and titters. This is not how you’re supposed to meet your next husband. “I Want to Meet a Brony,” was the title of her Craigslist post. “And I want to do it now,” read the entire body of said post.

It was not…


“I suppose I admire toddlers. They just stumble and scream and crap themselves and who cares? You just get picked up and hugged. Your whole life is like a game. Your mouth isn’t even a mouth. It’s a tiny airplane hangar filled with soft teeth. If I were rich, I’d make everyone I know treat me like a toddler. I’d wear a full diaper all the time and dance to any music that came on with just my hands. There’d always be some crud at the corners of my mouth that doesn’t match any food in the universe. And if…


Will was supposed to be at Bronson Elementary School, in Mrs. Tam’s room 9, finishing up the second hour of his first day of kindergarten. Instead, he was staring at an aquarium half the size of a basketball court and nearly filled with bunnies.

“The Honeymoon. Sted Vlomanini,” Zach read from the label on the wall. “Two oryctolagus cuniculus — better known as common rabbits — were placed in the fiberglass-walled habitat on June 21, 2014. …


Vodka looks like water. So every day he would bring a water bottle into work. “Just one part vodka,” he said, “the rest is water.” And I’m sure he wouldn’t have ever explained himself even that much if I hadn’t showed up early one day — early by minutes. He topped his bottle off carefully, put the vodka back in the freezer and finished tying his tie. Maybe he put in a less than he planned, but he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his treat for my innocence. And I was glad he didn’t justify it with some dumb joke, as…


DONNA TALENT ASSURED Rich Clifford’s stepmom that the gift certificates for six full sessions that she and Rich’s dad had purchased five years ago as a college graduation present were still valid, per California law. Donna then asserted that her coaching was no substitute for medical or psychological treatment, per the code of ethics of the professional association to which she both belonged to and served as a co-chair of the scheduling committee. She went further and added that if the stepson were truly in the midst of a “life-or-death crisis,” he should seek treatment, possibly in addition to her…


My father was sick of polite people who never told the truth about anything. He hated how people were fat and disgusting and crude but always said “please” and “thank you” and “pardon me” while doing nothing with their lives except contaminating the atmosphere with their clam chowder breath and their slow children and their second-hand Oldsmobiles. The world was overflowing with slobs, liars and hypocrites who all sent out gaudy Christmas cards that they bought from godless churches that they packed their fat asses into twice a year. …


Falling in love with the wrong person — even briefly — is always embarrassing. But falling in love with Leonard Lee was a humiliation that did not end no matter how many times I hung up on the boy. And I hung up on him at least 1,372 times.

It became a reflex: I saw Leonard Lee’s name and number on my cell, I answered, said, “Stop calling,” and hung up immediately. And, of course, he’d call right back.

“The freak just wants to hear your voice,” my too-cute co-worker would remind me, making that jerking-off hand motion that guys…

Jason Sattler

Asexual erotica.

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