The Wormwood and the Gall

M: Does anyone actually know someone, anyone, who had COVID and got really sick or died? *** G: Hey, B! P told me your brother is in tough shape.B: Yeah. Just went on ECMO. This might be it for him.G: OMG. I’m so sorry. He can’t be very old.B: Early fifties. Like me. *** LJ:Continue reading “The Wormwood and the Gall”

Mask Off

The man stared at a spreadsheet, searching a row for large correlation numbers. He heard the office door next to his swing open. “That you, Sandeep?” the man said. “Yeah. How’s it going, man?” “Good.” The man pushed back from his desk. “All good down at Wiley?” “Same old thing,” said Sandeep. The man heardContinue reading “Mask Off”

Stop Snitching

Their cheeks were pink from the cold air, but they were both sweating from their run. “Lindsay was being a jerk, Dad,” said Grant. “Oh my gosh!” Lindsay exclaimed. She looked at the man. “He was soooo slow.” “It’s not my fault. I haven’t worked out in, like, six weeks.” “So the Missionary Training CenterContinue reading “Stop Snitching”

Homecoming

They left the minivan in central parking. The bridge to terminal A looked as it always did, with the moving walkway churning away and the “Welcome to Logan Airport” audio playing. But they were the only people on the bridge. When they entered the terminal, they were on the fourth floor, and as they reachedContinue reading “Homecoming”

No, I Am Your Father

In week three of online school with all extracurriculars canceled, they are now in episode V of Star Wars. The kids’ phones are at their sides. They have watched an episode per night–one night they made popcorn, another they made sundaes with packs from Peaceful Meadows. They have watched in chronological order, supposedly as GeorgeContinue reading “No, I Am Your Father”

April Is the Cruelest Month

He was raised in the home of Master Baker Boswell DeGraffenried and only knew himself as Hank. His mother was a housemaid to Mrs. DeGraffenried, and she went by Ginnie. It wasn’t until he was nearly ten that he heard a field hand call her “Virginia,” and he said, “Why does he call you that,Continue reading “April Is the Cruelest Month”

The Last Rose of Summer

Dr. Francis Thornton was the seventh lineal male to bear that name, his father, Reverend Francis Thornton, being the sixth. It was assumed, or at least the younger Francis believed it was assumed, that he was to follow in his father’s steps into the presbytery. His father was a towering man—in body, spirit, and intellect.Continue reading “The Last Rose of Summer”

More Value than the Sparrows

He visited the scene twenty-four hours after the shooting stopped, and thereafter, one detail burned itself deep into his mind. Over the years, that detail had grown nonsensical, a cosmic joke told by a darkly comic creator. He could revisit the shade of that moment anytime he pleased, and for the first two decades, heContinue reading “More Value than the Sparrows”

Petty Slights and Indignities

Huldah, bless her soul, was the first to let Mrs. Lewis know about the new arrivals. She didn’t mean it that way, but she gave them up nonetheless. Sergeant Lewis sent his wife to the other wing to collect more bandages, and when she reached the laundry, Huldah was pulling linens out of the boilingContinue reading “Petty Slights and Indignities”