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New Fiction: The Girls Jump Into the Pool by Kristina Zdravic Reardon 

I.
The girls jump into the pool. One by one, like slivers of glass they slide under the water. The girls jump into the pool, and the fluffed cotton tails sewn on their toddler bunny bathing suits absorb chlorine. The girls jump into the pool, framed in their mother’s vision by the pinewood edges of the kitchen window. The girls jump into the pool. The girls jump into the pool and dissolve, their hair trailing above their matching bunny suits in the waves of the water. The girls jump into the pool and drown.
II.
The grass moves when there is a slight breeze. There is a slight breeze. The blades of grass become the teeth of a comb. The air tangles in them as it passes through. The air becomes a knot, becomes lodged into stillness. It turns quiet. The stillness is primordial. In a moment, water splashes and the blades of grass collapse. They are no longer a comb. They cannot untangle the swift-moving air. The mother looks out the pinewood window. Several more drops of water splash beyond the concrete onto the grass. The blades absorb them and from the water they draw strength, push toward the sun.
III.
One, two, three, and we jump. We jump because we can. We jump because we like air under our feet. We jump because the concrete of the deck is hot under our toes. We jump because we like to jump. We jump because we are sisters. We jump at once. We breathe water and we choke only for a moment. We develop gills and sink to the bottom and we swim together like this for a long time. We smile and water comes into the spaces between our teeth. We see pieces of us float back to the top, but we stay at the bottom. We swim together like this for a long time. We jump because we can.
IV.
The water has arms, and it pulls them in. The girls with cotton tail bottoms. It reaches toward them and lures them to the blurry liner that looks like wallpaper. It envelopes them. It encompasses them. It draws them in, and it drinks them. Swallows them whole. The mother emits a scream and bangs on the pane of glass from the kitchen. Three toddler floatation devices and a glass of wine fall to the floor.
V.
The mother rushes from deck to kitchen, kitchen to deck. She runs the moments again in her mind. They fit together like a stop action movie with too many gaps between scenes. Someone cut the film. In the in-between, she leaves. In the in-between, they move toward the edge of the pool. They twirl and they touch their cotton-tail bottoms. They twirl, maybe. She does not know. How do they move their arms in the final moments? Do they wiggle their toes? Do they jump together, breathe water at the same rate? What does it feel like, to sink and then float? The mother rushes from deck to kitchen, kitchen to deck. Does she call for help or dive in? Which one should she reach for first? The mother rushes from deck to kitchen, kitchen to deck. There is grass between her toes.


Read it: http://theneweryork.com/the-girls-jump-into-the-pool-kristina-zdravic-reardon/ High-res

New Fiction: The Girls Jump Into the Pool by Kristina Zdravic Reardon

I.

The girls jump into the pool. One by one, like slivers of glass they slide under the water. The girls jump into the pool, and the fluffed cotton tails sewn on their toddler bunny bathing suits absorb chlorine. The girls jump into the pool, framed in their mother’s vision by the pinewood edges of the kitchen window. The girls jump into the pool. The girls jump into the pool and dissolve, their hair trailing above their matching bunny suits in the waves of the water. The girls jump into the pool and drown.

II.

The grass moves when there is a slight breeze. There is a slight breeze. The blades of grass become the teeth of a comb. The air tangles in them as it passes through. The air becomes a knot, becomes lodged into stillness. It turns quiet. The stillness is primordial. In a moment, water splashes and the blades of grass collapse. They are no longer a comb. They cannot untangle the swift-moving air. The mother looks out the pinewood window. Several more drops of water splash beyond the concrete onto the grass. The blades absorb them and from the water they draw strength, push toward the sun.

III.

One, two, three, and we jump. We jump because we can. We jump because we like air under our feet. We jump because the concrete of the deck is hot under our toes. We jump because we like to jump. We jump because we are sisters. We jump at once. We breathe water and we choke only for a moment. We develop gills and sink to the bottom and we swim together like this for a long time. We smile and water comes into the spaces between our teeth. We see pieces of us float back to the top, but we stay at the bottom. We swim together like this for a long time. We jump because we can.

IV.

The water has arms, and it pulls them in. The girls with cotton tail bottoms. It reaches toward them and lures them to the blurry liner that looks like wallpaper. It envelopes them. It encompasses them. It draws them in, and it drinks them. Swallows them whole. The mother emits a scream and bangs on the pane of glass from the kitchen. Three toddler floatation devices and a glass of wine fall to the floor.

V.

The mother rushes from deck to kitchen, kitchen to deck. She runs the moments again in her mind. They fit together like a stop action movie with too many gaps between scenes. Someone cut the film. In the in-between, she leaves. In the in-between, they move toward the edge of the pool. They twirl and they touch their cotton-tail bottoms. They twirl, maybe. She does not know. How do they move their arms in the final moments? Do they wiggle their toes? Do they jump together, breathe water at the same rate? What does it feel like, to sink and then float? The mother rushes from deck to kitchen, kitchen to deck. Does she call for help or dive in? Which one should she reach for first? The mother rushes from deck to kitchen, kitchen to deck. There is grass between her toes.

Read it: http://theneweryork.com/the-girls-jump-into-the-pool-kristina-zdravic-reardon/
New Fiction: Goody Gum Drop by Johanna DeBiase 

  Art by David De las Heras
Mama never let me eat candy or watch TV or stay inside on sunny days or have plastic toys. She fed me with veggies and books. But Mama said my little brother was born with a sweet tooth. He only had a few teeth and they all looked the same to me, but Mama said it was the kind you couldn’t see. When she let him crawl, he always found old wads of gum to swallow and candy wrappers to lick. She held him on her lap, but he grabbed at passing lollipops and one time, he ate Mama’s tube of lip gloss, the one that smelled like chocolate strawberry. She tried to keep him from candy by giving him fruit, but he refused it, turning his head, messing his face yellow with bananas.
“Mama,” I asked, “Why don’t you let Mustard Seed have candy?”
“Because sugar is bad for you.”
“Why?”
“Lots of reasons.”
“Like what?”
“It gives you cavities, causes you to gain weight, makes you sick.”
“Why?”
“Because it suppresses your immune system and causes your insulin levels to rise.”
“Why?”
“Enough, Jitter Bug.”
I didn’t feel like I got a good answer. That’s why when I got candy from Grandma for Easter, instead of handing it over to Mama like I usually did, I hid it under my bed. 
Mama never left me alone with Mustard Seed after that one time she caught me holding a pillow over his head. I told her I was only trying to stop his crying, which was exactly true. She looked at me strange for a long time. Mustard Seed slept in her room and I slept alone. I listened to her lullabies outside the door.
One day, Mama must have forgotten because she went outside to garden and left me alone with Mustard Seed. I let him have some of my Easter candy.
He was so happy that I had to laugh. His face was covered in sticky rainbows. But when I tried to take it away from him, he cried. So, I let him have some more. He ate and ate, even after he stopped smiling. When he floated up off the ground like a helium balloon and out the window and into the big blue sky, I thought of calling Mama, but I didn’t want to get in trouble again. Instead I just watched him disappear into a big fluffy cloud. 
I knew then that Mama was right. Sugar was bad. When Mama asked where he was, I told her I didn’t know, which was exactly true.


Read it: http://theneweryork.com/goody-gum-drop-johanna-debaise/ High-res

New Fiction: Goody Gum Drop by Johanna DeBiase

3935716550_c247969c41_b Art by David De las Heras

Mama never let me eat candy or watch TV or stay inside on sunny days or have plastic toys. She fed me with veggies and books. But Mama said my little brother was born with a sweet tooth. He only had a few teeth and they all looked the same to me, but Mama said it was the kind you couldn’t see. When she let him crawl, he always found old wads of gum to swallow and candy wrappers to lick. She held him on her lap, but he grabbed at passing lollipops and one time, he ate Mama’s tube of lip gloss, the one that smelled like chocolate strawberry. She tried to keep him from candy by giving him fruit, but he refused it, turning his head, messing his face yellow with bananas.

“Mama,” I asked, “Why don’t you let Mustard Seed have candy?”

“Because sugar is bad for you.”

“Why?”

“Lots of reasons.”

“Like what?”

“It gives you cavities, causes you to gain weight, makes you sick.”

“Why?”

“Because it suppresses your immune system and causes your insulin levels to rise.”

“Why?”

“Enough, Jitter Bug.”

I didn’t feel like I got a good answer. That’s why when I got candy from Grandma for Easter, instead of handing it over to Mama like I usually did, I hid it under my bed.

Mama never left me alone with Mustard Seed after that one time she caught me holding a pillow over his head. I told her I was only trying to stop his crying, which was exactly true. She looked at me strange for a long time. Mustard Seed slept in her room and I slept alone. I listened to her lullabies outside the door.

One day, Mama must have forgotten because she went outside to garden and left me alone with Mustard Seed. I let him have some of my Easter candy.

He was so happy that I had to laugh. His face was covered in sticky rainbows. But when I tried to take it away from him, he cried. So, I let him have some more. He ate and ate, even after he stopped smiling. When he floated up off the ground like a helium balloon and out the window and into the big blue sky, I thought of calling Mama, but I didn’t want to get in trouble again. Instead I just watched him disappear into a big fluffy cloud.

I knew then that Mama was right. Sugar was bad. When Mama asked where he was, I told her I didn’t know, which was exactly true.

Read it: http://theneweryork.com/goody-gum-drop-johanna-debaise/
New Fiction: Dry Cleaner Shrink by Jane Goodwin 

Note: This is an excerpt from a novel of the same name.
SARAH, age 46-52, gives friendly greeting even though no positive reception given by researcher. Researcher purposefully gives negative reaction to measure whether subject’s cheery disposition is situational or a consistent trait. Three efforts are made to turn interaction unpleasant. Sarah remains cheerful indicating it is not external stimulus that affects her. Researcher surmises she has been involved or is involved in abusive relationship.
Test given at 6:42 pm. Subject asked to draw a person.
Subject draws: A woman with no neck.
Researcher’s thoughts: Subject was not aware that she didn’t include a neck: she added a necklace to the drawn woman’s outfit. This points to history of assault involving either attempted strangulation or a method of restraint involving subject’s neck. Researcher notes that subject is wearing three necklaces and speculates this, as well as cheerful disposition not correlating with situation, is a defensive manoeuvre.
Researcher recommends: The adoption of a cat or dog from local shelter.
Follow-up consult: Subject arrives with large grey dog, not a recognizable breed, cheeks red as if been out walking. Subject thanks researcher for his suggestion and invites him to a trip to the dog park on Sunday. This spontaneous invitation of a relatively unknown male to a non-sexual occasion indicates subject’s abuser was a male as she is now trying to gather non-threatening male companions. Researcher declines invitation and notes that subject has no noticeable signs of disappointment (lowered eyes, slower speech.)
***
BILL, age 51-53, large man, dress shirt, designer glasses with smeared lenses indicates he lives alone. Subject carrying plastic shopping bag. Contents of bag: cayenne pepper, lemons and a bag of regular flavoured potato chips. Presence of cayenne pepper and lemon but no other vegetables and inclusion of junk food points to subject’s desire to improve circulation but not for health benefits. Researcher postulates subject leads a boring life and is aware of it.
Test given at 5:34 pm. Subject given Situation Photo #21.
Subject’s interpretation of photo: Man carrying unopened umbrella has just bought it to pack for a vacation he is taking to Cuba.
Researcher’s thoughts: The unopened umbrella’s connection to something pleasurable like a vacation points to homosexuality of subject. The organization of bringing an umbrella to a sunny destination shows that subject does not have a lot of money. This suggestion contradicts researcher’s earlier observation of expensive eyewear. However subject’s use of plastic shopping bag as opposed to pre-meditative canvas shopping bag implies that subject is an impulse shopper with multiple credit cards.
Researcher recommends: Developing Saturday night routine of going dancing. Researcher states this will help improve subject’s circulation.
Follow-up consult: Subject has not gone dancing, but has bought himself a new briefcase. Researcher researched cost of briefcase and found that, without taxes, the cost was $2,500. Researcher infers that subject gave dancing on Saturday nights serious thought but self-diagnosed he was not stylish enough and is now in serious debt.
***
EDITH, age 82-84, suffers horrible eyesight. Subject squinted until she was a couple feet from researcher and only then did eyes relax to normal position. Researcher asked why she wasn’t wearing glasses. Subject responded that she had lost them. Subject continuously touched forehead and temples during interaction indicating headache, a symptom of squinting for long periods of time. Researcher surmises that subject lives alone and in light of her pastel floral patterned shirt which is in good condition but more suited for summer months, subject’s children have not visited her for at least five months. Evidence of children gathered by fond look subject gave two small boys passing by window during interaction.
Test given at 2:13 pm. Subject shown inkblot #7.
Subject sees: Three women jumping off a balcony.
Researcher’s thoughts: This is an unusual answer. Perhaps subject’s odd interpretation of inkblot #7, which is mostly circular in shape, is due to short sightedness. However this hypothesis is not consistent with researcher’s observation of subject during test performance. Subject showed no signs of difficulty in clearly making out inkblot: no repositioning of paper/stance.
Researcher’s recommendations: No clinical recommendations given at this time due to insufficient results from test. Researcher however did recommend subject calling Health Canada to see about assistance in acquiring new pair of glasses.
Follow-up consult: Subject arrived squinting and without new glasses. Wasn’t wearing proper winter coat. Researcher asked about status of new glasses. Subject stated that her daughter would be visiting her soon and would get her the new glasses then. Subject given second inkblot test using inkblot #303. Subject sees: three women jumping off a balcony.
***
MARION, age 35-38, arrives with heightened eyebrows as if in state of shock or surprise. First words of greeting are “I’m sorry,” a phrase subject said twelve times during interaction for the following reasons:
1) Accidentally flipping corner of carpet up with her foot as she entered.
2) Setting purse down on desk and metal clasp making noise.
3) (To a prosthetic plant) for accidentally brushing it with elbow.
4) Asking the time and then noticing wall clock.
5) Interrupting (although researcher viewed it as a natural segue in conversation).
6) Quickly answering phone call.
7) Quickly answering text message.
8) Asking researcher’s name.
9) Having only credit card and no cash.
10) Dropping receipt.
11) Accidentally walking away with researcher’s pen.
12) Pulling door instead of pushing.
Researcher postulates that subject suffers from extreme guilt due to highly controlled upbringing and a perceived sense of undeserved happiness. Gold “happy face” sticker at hem of subject’s skirt implies small child at home, or subject is a school teacher.
Test given at 9:07 am. Subject given true or false statement: “I enjoy collecting seashells at the seashore.”
Subject answers: False.
Researcher’s thoughts: Subject is chronic over-thinker. Particular statement was designed to induce positive response due to free association in test-takers mind of statement’s close phrasing to nursery rhyme. Test-taker subconsciously thinks “isn’t this from a nursery rhyme?” leading to a “true” response not relating to their enjoyment of collecting shells. Subject clearly has fear of impulsive responses which is evident as well in tightness of belt and wristwatch.
Researcher recommends: Fifteen minutes daily of guided meditation.
Follow-up consult: Meditation CD purchased by subject broken in half by three-year-old son shortly after opening. Researcher asked if this event occurred during meditation. Subject answered that it had not. Researcher asked if subject had listened to CD prior to its destruction. Subject answered that she had not indicating conscientious traits such as sense of duty and follow-through but also an inability to help herself. Subject apologized twice for broken CD.
***
DINA, age 26-29, pleasant demeanour to man wearing London Fog coat exiting as subject entered but contradicting condescending attitude towards researcher who was wearing no noticeable brands indicates authoritarian personality. Subject patted pocket five times during interaction pointing to a highly superstitious but not well organized nature. Price inquiry with look of suspicion (narrowed eyes, aggressive stance) leads researcher to believe subject is cheap. Subject stood with one leg in front of other indicating need to use washroom. Subject’s obvious refusal to use public washroom signifies conspiracy theorist leanings.
Test given at 4:06 pm. Subject asked to interpret Situational Photo #33.
 Subject’s interpretation: Before giving answer subject asked where photograph was taken. Researcher replied that the location was of no importance but to focus on situation. Subject insisted on being told at least a country. Researcher stated that the photo was taken in Canada to avoid further conflict. Subject stated that dog tied to park bench had a bomb in its belly. Researcher asked how subject’s interpretation would have differed if she had been told photo was taken in England. Subject studied photo again and said dog was waiting for owner who had gone into a shop just out of view to purchase a muffin.
Researcher’s thoughts: Differing interpretations based on countries as well as second button from top on subject’s exposed cardigan being mismatched points to a highly idealized remembrance of past. Addition of an unseen muffin indicates subject is dieting.
Researcher recommends: Beginning a craft or outdoor project that involves a heavy use of the hands.
Follow-up consult: Subject has not begun hands-on project but instead has come up with method to re-organize items behind researcher’s desk. Subject initially attempted to verbally explain new organization system but resorted to drawing diagram when researcher confessed confusion. Subject has messy handwriting, indication of low follow-through. To end subject’s repeated refrain of reassurance regarding efficiency of new system, researcher agreed to heed drawn diagram. Given subject’s nature it is unlikely that she will notice her advice has not been taken upon next interaction.


Read it: http://theneweryork.com/dry-cleaner-shrink-jane-goodwin/ High-res

New Fiction: Dry Cleaner Shrink by Jane Goodwin

Note: This is an excerpt from a novel of the same name.

SARAH, age 46-52, gives friendly greeting even though no positive reception given by researcher. Researcher purposefully gives negative reaction to measure whether subject’s cheery disposition is situational or a consistent trait. Three efforts are made to turn interaction unpleasant. Sarah remains cheerful indicating it is not external stimulus that affects her. Researcher surmises she has been involved or is involved in abusive relationship.

Test given at 6:42 pm. Subject asked to draw a person.

Subject draws: A woman with no neck.

Researcher’s thoughts: Subject was not aware that she didn’t include a neck: she added a necklace to the drawn woman’s outfit. This points to history of assault involving either attempted strangulation or a method of restraint involving subject’s neck. Researcher notes that subject is wearing three necklaces and speculates this, as well as cheerful disposition not correlating with situation, is a defensive manoeuvre.

Researcher recommends: The adoption of a cat or dog from local shelter.

Follow-up consult: Subject arrives with large grey dog, not a recognizable breed, cheeks red as if been out walking. Subject thanks researcher for his suggestion and invites him to a trip to the dog park on Sunday. This spontaneous invitation of a relatively unknown male to a non-sexual occasion indicates subject’s abuser was a male as she is now trying to gather non-threatening male companions. Researcher declines invitation and notes that subject has no noticeable signs of disappointment (lowered eyes, slower speech.)

***

BILL, age 51-53, large man, dress shirt, designer glasses with smeared lenses indicates he lives alone. Subject carrying plastic shopping bag. Contents of bag: cayenne pepper, lemons and a bag of regular flavoured potato chips. Presence of cayenne pepper and lemon but no other vegetables and inclusion of junk food points to subject’s desire to improve circulation but not for health benefits. Researcher postulates subject leads a boring life and is aware of it.

Test given at 5:34 pm. Subject given Situation Photo #21.

Subject’s interpretation of photo: Man carrying unopened umbrella has just bought it to pack for a vacation he is taking to Cuba.

Researcher’s thoughts: The unopened umbrella’s connection to something pleasurable like a vacation points to homosexuality of subject. The organization of bringing an umbrella to a sunny destination shows that subject does not have a lot of money. This suggestion contradicts researcher’s earlier observation of expensive eyewear. However subject’s use of plastic shopping bag as opposed to pre-meditative canvas shopping bag implies that subject is an impulse shopper with multiple credit cards.

Researcher recommends: Developing Saturday night routine of going dancing. Researcher states this will help improve subject’s circulation.

Follow-up consult: Subject has not gone dancing, but has bought himself a new briefcase. Researcher researched cost of briefcase and found that, without taxes, the cost was $2,500. Researcher infers that subject gave dancing on Saturday nights serious thought but self-diagnosed he was not stylish enough and is now in serious debt.

***

EDITH, age 82-84, suffers horrible eyesight. Subject squinted until she was a couple feet from researcher and only then did eyes relax to normal position. Researcher asked why she wasn’t wearing glasses. Subject responded that she had lost them. Subject continuously touched forehead and temples during interaction indicating headache, a symptom of squinting for long periods of time. Researcher surmises that subject lives alone and in light of her pastel floral patterned shirt which is in good condition but more suited for summer months, subject’s children have not visited her for at least five months. Evidence of children gathered by fond look subject gave two small boys passing by window during interaction.

Test given at 2:13 pm. Subject shown inkblot #7.

Subject sees: Three women jumping off a balcony.

Researcher’s thoughts: This is an unusual answer. Perhaps subject’s odd interpretation of inkblot #7, which is mostly circular in shape, is due to short sightedness. However this hypothesis is not consistent with researcher’s observation of subject during test performance. Subject showed no signs of difficulty in clearly making out inkblot: no repositioning of paper/stance.

Researcher’s recommendations: No clinical recommendations given at this time due to insufficient results from test. Researcher however did recommend subject calling Health Canada to see about assistance in acquiring new pair of glasses.

Follow-up consult: Subject arrived squinting and without new glasses. Wasn’t wearing proper winter coat. Researcher asked about status of new glasses. Subject stated that her daughter would be visiting her soon and would get her the new glasses then. Subject given second inkblot test using inkblot #303. Subject sees: three women jumping off a balcony.

***

MARION, age 35-38, arrives with heightened eyebrows as if in state of shock or surprise. First words of greeting are “I’m sorry,” a phrase subject said twelve times during interaction for the following reasons:

1) Accidentally flipping corner of carpet up with her foot as she entered.

2) Setting purse down on desk and metal clasp making noise.

3) (To a prosthetic plant) for accidentally brushing it with elbow.

4) Asking the time and then noticing wall clock.

5) Interrupting (although researcher viewed it as a natural segue in conversation).

6) Quickly answering phone call.

7) Quickly answering text message.

8) Asking researcher’s name.

9) Having only credit card and no cash.

10) Dropping receipt.

11) Accidentally walking away with researcher’s pen.

12) Pulling door instead of pushing.

Researcher postulates that subject suffers from extreme guilt due to highly controlled upbringing and a perceived sense of undeserved happiness. Gold “happy face” sticker at hem of subject’s skirt implies small child at home, or subject is a school teacher.

Test given at 9:07 am. Subject given true or false statement: “I enjoy collecting seashells at the seashore.”

Subject answers: False.

Researcher’s thoughts: Subject is chronic over-thinker. Particular statement was designed to induce positive response due to free association in test-takers mind of statement’s close phrasing to nursery rhyme. Test-taker subconsciously thinks “isn’t this from a nursery rhyme?” leading to a “true” response not relating to their enjoyment of collecting shells. Subject clearly has fear of impulsive responses which is evident as well in tightness of belt and wristwatch.

Researcher recommends: Fifteen minutes daily of guided meditation.

Follow-up consult: Meditation CD purchased by subject broken in half by three-year-old son shortly after opening. Researcher asked if this event occurred during meditation. Subject answered that it had not. Researcher asked if subject had listened to CD prior to its destruction. Subject answered that she had not indicating conscientious traits such as sense of duty and follow-through but also an inability to help herself. Subject apologized twice for broken CD.

***

DINA, age 26-29, pleasant demeanour to man wearing London Fog coat exiting as subject entered but contradicting condescending attitude towards researcher who was wearing no noticeable brands indicates authoritarian personality. Subject patted pocket five times during interaction pointing to a highly superstitious but not well organized nature. Price inquiry with look of suspicion (narrowed eyes, aggressive stance) leads researcher to believe subject is cheap. Subject stood with one leg in front of other indicating need to use washroom. Subject’s obvious refusal to use public washroom signifies conspiracy theorist leanings.

Test given at 4:06 pm. Subject asked to interpret Situational Photo #33.

Subject’s interpretation: Before giving answer subject asked where photograph was taken. Researcher replied that the location was of no importance but to focus on situation. Subject insisted on being told at least a country. Researcher stated that the photo was taken in Canada to avoid further conflict. Subject stated that dog tied to park bench had a bomb in its belly. Researcher asked how subject’s interpretation would have differed if she had been told photo was taken in England. Subject studied photo again and said dog was waiting for owner who had gone into a shop just out of view to purchase a muffin.

Researcher’s thoughts: Differing interpretations based on countries as well as second button from top on subject’s exposed cardigan being mismatched points to a highly idealized remembrance of past. Addition of an unseen muffin indicates subject is dieting.

Researcher recommends: Beginning a craft or outdoor project that involves a heavy use of the hands.

Follow-up consult: Subject has not begun hands-on project but instead has come up with method to re-organize items behind researcher’s desk. Subject initially attempted to verbally explain new organization system but resorted to drawing diagram when researcher confessed confusion. Subject has messy handwriting, indication of low follow-through. To end subject’s repeated refrain of reassurance regarding efficiency of new system, researcher agreed to heed drawn diagram. Given subject’s nature it is unlikely that she will notice her advice has not been taken upon next interaction.

Read it: http://theneweryork.com/dry-cleaner-shrink-jane-goodwin/
New Fiction: The Hummingbird Murder by Shelly Weathers 

Everyone asks for an explanation, but all I have is hummingbirds.
Their diminutive size, their brilliant feathers, their precise and musical movements mean nothing. They are bullets of rage. They hate each other. They starve each other off feeders, out of flowers, from the crown of a red baseball cap mistaken for a flower.
Why wouldn’t you take the cap off? The sun wasn’t shining. It wasn’t hot. We hadn’t any rain in a year.
Duck, I yelled. 
Not this far inland, your brother said, looking up from his hands, into the sky. You listened to him, looked where he looked, though you knew he was high. 
One tiny assassin, outracing the others, fighting them off as it aimed for the cap, poked you in your upturned eye. Blood spurted out the way tears should, streaked your face, dotted your shirt. Before you blinked again, the emerald, the ruby throat, the angry Rufus, they all found your ghastly blooms. Maybe they thought you were a hollyhock, a tall stem of drop shaped scarlet cups, inviting a dive. 
I felt the breeze of them, heard them collect before you as an, Ah. Whatever infinitesimal way hummingbirds experience realization will save you, I thought. But at once, they rushed, pinned themselves on your body like corsages, pricking skin, drinking the sweetest ounces of you, which I also have tasted, have tasted but then restored to you, have replenished and swelled through osmosis, corpuscle by sugared corpuscle. 
Angrier than all of them together, your voice rose from under their murmuring hunger, saying, I’m dying, I’m dying, it feels like I’m dying. 
Oh, no, your brother said. But he was looking at his hands again, at a spot, dark and withered. 
They hovered.


Read it: http://theneweryork.com/the-hummingbird-muder-shelly-weathers/ High-res

New Fiction: The Hummingbird Murder by Shelly Weathers

Everyone asks for an explanation, but all I have is hummingbirds.

Their diminutive size, their brilliant feathers, their precise and musical movements mean nothing. They are bullets of rage. They hate each other. They starve each other off feeders, out of flowers, from the crown of a red baseball cap mistaken for a flower.

Why wouldn’t you take the cap off? The sun wasn’t shining. It wasn’t hot. We hadn’t any rain in a year.

Duck, I yelled.

Not this far inland, your brother said, looking up from his hands, into the sky. You listened to him, looked where he looked, though you knew he was high.

One tiny assassin, outracing the others, fighting them off as it aimed for the cap, poked you in your upturned eye. Blood spurted out the way tears should, streaked your face, dotted your shirt. Before you blinked again, the emerald, the ruby throat, the angry Rufus, they all found your ghastly blooms. Maybe they thought you were a hollyhock, a tall stem of drop shaped scarlet cups, inviting a dive.

I felt the breeze of them, heard them collect before you as an, Ah. 

Whatever infinitesimal way hummingbirds experience realization will save you, I thought. But at once, they rushed, pinned themselves on your body like corsages, pricking skin, drinking the sweetest ounces of you, which I also have tasted, have tasted but then restored to you, have replenished and swelled through osmosis, corpuscle by sugared corpuscle.

Angrier than all of them together, your voice rose from under their murmuring hunger, saying, I’m dying, I’m dying, it feels like I’m dying.

Oh, no, your brother said. But he was looking at his hands again, at a spot, dark and withered. 

They hovered.

Read it: http://theneweryork.com/the-hummingbird-muder-shelly-weathers/

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