The Sun and the Pacific, Flowers

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In the afternoon, I was usually lying in the hammock reading Don Quixote while avocados fell on the roof and the grapefruit tree blew its scent around the yard. Bougainvillea and jasmine grew on all the walls, and several varieties of palm snaked up in the sky. The medians were a riot of rosemary. I remember oleander and trumpet vines and sidewalks littered with jacaranda blooms. Hibiscus and giant agaves. Bella donna. There was a tree that made wooden flowers; I have one still, years later. […]

Lesser Missiles

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We smelled smoke and, out the window, embers rose in the night.

We got out of bed and pulled the red alarm box in the hallway and went outside.

From across the street, we watched fire destroy our apartment building. The woman who lived down the hall from us wore a nightgown and fanned herself with a magazine and shook her head. We found a motel nearby, mostly used by military girlfriends and wives. Then we walked to the beach.

This was Oxnard, a coastal city in Southern California near Port Hueneme and in a severe drought. Dry sugar beet farms stretched out from two military bases and the Kavli Foundation that supports the advancement of science. […]

Your Father

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All of this is occasioned by a telephone call from my dad:

I sit down on the couch, flip on the tube, and descend the cable channels to the low double-digits, where I find the red-jowled faces of men trapped inside too-tight sport coats going on at length about this player or that, and I know I’ve landed on the run-up to a baseball game. I have an immediate gut reaction to these men because, as it happens, I’m under imminent threat of getting my face slammed into my own locker by letterman-wearing jocks who, no doubt, will become less successful versions of the men I’m watching here on the tube. […]

The Hungry Valley

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Now he fed his horses too much rich corn sweetened with molasses: their middles were round and taut as barrels, and their hooves curled, and instead of nipping and tossing about like they had in the past, they loitered at the gate all day, calling out to him whenever he passed. His old dog he fed too much kibble and too many table scraps: its back was strangely broad and thin of hair like a threadbare piece of overstuffed furniture, and it could no longer move quickly nor jump with ease. The cats lapped milk from pie tins on the barn floor […]

New: Audio of Authors Reading Their Online Fiction

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Big news, friends. Since January, we’ve been working on a little project: from here on out, you’ll be able to find audio content for our online exclusives embedded with the text of the stories and over on our Soundcloud page.

Online Fiction Interview: David Naimon

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David Naimon‘s “The Battle” is an oddball buddy tale of sorts set in a Black Sea bunker in some not-too-far-off future. The stakes are high—international tensions run deep as global warming has opened the arctic to shipping lanes—and Sergei, Naimon’s protagonist, is charged with monitoring the progress of Russian submarines as they stake claims on […]

ASF Reads