Pen Howell

Pen hasn’t much money. That was part of the decision to stay out here, after Tree died. Only part. Pen was thinking of his girlfriend, Estelle, a lot. Estelle isn’t good with people. The kids, Marcie and Davenport, baby girl and miracle boy, are homeschooling, some with Estelle, mainly with …

Another Burial

Emotional things are always easier for Dogboy. Dogs don’t obsess about the past or worry about the future, and sometimes life is just impossible any other way. Evonne is finally sleeping, curled in a corner of her marriage bed. Her husband P-boy is away right now, working on one of …

Reinvention

The scissors shake in the mirror, but the blades close with a snick, and another long strand of hair drops to the ground. Crap. Why was this so hard? There was one more strand of hair at the back, and it doesn’t take long for that to go. Then she …

Toil and Trouble

“Hahahaaa,” Haroldine cackles in her gravelly voice. With a flourish worthy of her nephew Hal, a box of chocolates appears on her scarred kitchen table. A soft breath of awe comes from the other two women sitting there. The store down the road certainly doesn’t carry delicacies like this. “Gaaaaawwwdaaaaaaaammm,” …

Vehemence

“…or the people with flippers instead of feet,” Grace snarls. “Or the people that are bug-bit and don’t have two brain cells to rub together, or have diminished capacity because they’re animals some of the time, or have tails protruding from their backs, or are fucking biological weapons in your …

Irises

For just a second, all Grace can feel is the warm back pressed up against her face. Just a second, and then the pain comes roaring in, along her limbs, her hips. And she has to pee, too. Great. She tries to turn over and hasn’t got the strength. So …