Fizz and April

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“You’re dating a slut,” I giggled against warm lips, swaying disconnected in the dance. Mind in another world I sat back, hands shaking. Voice interrupted by breath. Savoring this touch. I scold myself for being such a nymph, sitting in the rain, leaf decorated and gasping with the throbbing veins. Rushed and silenced thoughts, clutching tight and never stopping, singing to you, mirroring your hand’s euphoria. Together like this. Maybe this glory is imagined, but I do not pause to dwell, do not let it rise up. Instead, I swell with you and perhaps you are helium I keep inhaling and my feet might not be reminded of gravity of the sensation of tickling grass again. Instead this could be my only emotion. Sweet, full exodus and jovial ritual before twilight on wet mountain tops beneath trees, dew-covered like our bodies. Heaven held in each other’s gaze.

We create our own gods. Licked nectar off lips, heads thrown back, coupling, reaching, pushing in time.

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Faded Shades of Rainbow

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A soft breeze rustled across deep green grass, perfectly cut to match its square interior. Sun settled down over small, white houses with glass screen doors propped wide open. Shadows fell over newspapers now lifted up, last relics of a world gone quiet, but the road whispered of life to come. But none never did. “Good-morning, neighbor.” “Good-morning, neighbor,” he replied as he walked to his house. “Just another day of paradise,” and the door slammed shut behind him. Sunlight streamed into the small kitchen. His wife, Lily was busy cooking breakfast. She always made scrambled eggs and bacon, his favorite, and she hummed as she cooked.

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43 Cars, 1 Long Day

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Twice per year, for a period as short as a few hours and up to about a week or so, the small town of Ridgeway, VA, gains about 40,000 visitors. Motels sell rooms that haven’t been touched in months. Campers and pedestrians line the streets and fields for miles. It seems as if it is predetermined that the clouds will shed tears at some point during the week, as race weekend here at Martinsville Speedway has become notorious for some form of bad weather. Every year, I look forward to hanging out with my father-in-law, two of his brothers, and my best friend, Greg. The Sprint Cup race and all the pre-race activities are things I look forward to every year; a day chocked full of fun, fellowship, food and fast cars.

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Forgetting Him

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Emperor Caligula declared war on Poseidon and ordered his soldiers to thrust their spears into random, threatening, foaming waves.

I approach wearing only a gauntlet. I slap her pale cheek with the heavy glove creating a small, bloody crack in her perfection. I remove the violent hand covering. Naked, I toss it, and it lands on the cutting, shell’s edge.

Offended, she tries to pierce my eye with her slave Cupid’s arrow.

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The Panda Complex

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“When I first met Yaba, I was so nervous I threw up on a fern in her enclosure.” Norman Spitzer sat back in his metal chair wearing a satisfied grin. He took a sip of water from a Styrofoam cup held delicately as a champagne flute, wrists handcuffed together.

“You must understand,” he said, “Yaba was the last female giant panda in captivity, and the first panda I ever met in person, so I had worked myself into a fit of anxiety before going in. That is not to say I’m anything less than a panda fanatic. True, the world is brimming with enthusiasts; you’ve seen those teenage girls who carry a panda bear plush around the mall like a fashion accessory, or a street canvasser in boho sandals and a World Wildlife Foundation vest, cornering pedestrians with guilt.

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Grist

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At 6:35 AM, on a Tuesday mid-July, Alberto Salazar woke up. It was not, however, a literal awakening, considering Salazar had tossed in bed for hours, white sheets twisting into a tourniquet around the upper half of his legs as he maneuvered fitfully. His feet stuck out from the too-short mattress into the cool morning air, yet they were damp and clammy and felt slick against the hardwood floor when he finally sat up. Salazar was feverish and grim – a voice had been nagging at him through the night, preventing him from drifting into sleep or even closing his eyes with any real conviction.

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Lift-Off

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Two flight attendants bobbed down the aisle with gyroscopic grace as our plane taxied off the Pearson runway toward a squad of chemical trucks. They smiled, waving little bundles of wire in clear plastic wrappers as an offering from CrossCan. I frowned at the window – the Plexiglas was already steamed over by the exasperated breathing of the human cargo, forced to suffer the indignity of a twenty-minute deicing procedure. Outside raged a storm lit up in streaking currents by the pulse of the wing lights. I could think of only one thing as I stared into the blizzard: my father’s abrupt death. Try as I might, an awareness of this reality would not come into focus before my mind’s eye.

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Riding in Mustangs

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Rain spatters against my forehead so I yell at Chris to roll his window up. It’s so hot and humid and smoky and knee-jerking cramped that I sit contorted forward, pulling the muscles in my gut so I can angle my shoulder into the console. The windshield against the night looks like space, deep dark space with white missiles streaming in at us faster and faster. Randy kicks the shifter. Whoaaaaaa…wump!—whoaaaaa. Each jerk of the gears sucks against my abs. We pump the Jensens. We pump our hands against our Levi’d thighs. Everything on a Friday night is tension and expectation—clumsy and awkward. Freaks try way too hard at weekends.

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