My friend Jesse calls this "the snap," as though everyone calls it that. ("Last night I felt the snap in Tallahassee. How about where you are?") I like the cold you can feel in your bones, the kind that begs -- demands -- attention. Indeed, "the snap" sounds right for that kind of cold -- bony, hammy cold. It's the red beginning of a certain kind of inevitable death that we hold vigil with every year. The snap invites you to move inside, to wrap yourself in blankets, to make tea, to wear a hat. And then, once you're balled up and comfortable, we want to invite you to read. We hope you'll start here! We have fresh offerings every Monday in November, including some of our richest and most challenging writing to date.
by DOMINIC VITI
FLORIDA—There is widespread panic across America that there will be a shortage of cake.
Harold Berman, an anti-health activist from Daytona Beach, thinks the American people, wracked with fear over the famine of sugar, flour and eggs, may riot in the streets.
“It’s not right,” said Marge Zimmerman, a.k.a. “Large Marge,” a competitive eater in Fort Lauderdale. “What are we supposed to do? Live on vegetables?”
by LEON BLANDA
God is a great idea on paper. He sounds perfect. One guy who takes care of it all; who wouldn’t want that? Just ask, and ye shall receive? Fantastic! Imagine how much easier your job would be if your boss didn’t delegate all that work to you. Hell, you could just clock in, tell your boss what you needed, then sit back and wait for the work to do itself.
by JAMIE THOMPSON
We fear a grave error has been made in awarding you this year’s Gallagher-Prince-Hoolihan Prize. To be perfectly frank, we, the committee, feel that you are not nearly smart enough, good looking enough, or even remotely kind enough to have warranted your receiving our most prestigious award.
by MARK JONES
Having offered precious fluids in exchange for this morning's physical examination, I stumble forward to settle the bill.
"I will leave this sterile warren," I tell myself, "and will stop for a double cheeseburger, or for something even less healthy, on the way back home."
But as I pass a consulting room, I hear the doctor's stern and authoritative voice:
"How many vodkas a day?"
by MICHAEL HURLEY
My wound is not geography, but a world that one day just up and stops for each of us and don’t come back not once. A wound like rocks in your mouth. Mice in your chest when you think about it. It’s like a guilt. It’s an awfully privileged thing, really; the difference between Band Aids and something improvised from tape and Kleenex. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but lots of folks are too hungry to worry or walk around pointing at their bruises for strangers.
by MEG NANSON
There’s a story I learned at a Buddhist gathering about a man in a boat at sea. He sails, peacefully alone with his thoughts, when he notices the lights of another boat in the distance, heading in his direction. The man knows he has the right of way and that the boat will move out of his path; and yet, as the boat gets closer, it becomes increasingly clear that if the man himself doesn’t change his course, a collision will be inevitable. It’s the slowest-ever game of Chicken.
by LEE-ANN LILES
Dolls are for little girls and Giant Suzie was the life-sized Native American doll that I toted around for longer than I should have. This was before I was able to understand a bit about maturity and the onset of the lifelong agony found in love. The doll had belonged to my Aunt Addie, my father’s younger sister.