Three-hundred years ago, when the pictured book wheel was in full use, a book open on each of the seven planks of its wheel, the following dialogue was recorded by an archivist, the record of which was uncovered in a chapel dig yesterday:

“Wow, look at how many browser tabs Abernathy has open.”
“Yeah, he’s got another one just behind it.”
“He’s doing the dual-monitor thing? What a weirdo.”
“You don’t think it’ll catch on?”
“Never in a million years.”

Read More Browsing

Boxing Day

Her boys play outside with an old Nerf ball. As she leads him to the broken furnace, he sees her tiny house has a cross, but no gifts, no tree. He sympathizes; he’s had a rough year, too.

She sees him glancing and is grateful they have nothing to steal.

Read More Boxing Day

Last Contact

My story, “Last Contact,” appeared in Nature Magazine in September, back before I really committed to this site. As a result, it never got announced in these pages. Nonetheless, I recommend it. It’s an elegiac piece about a gorilla lost in a large city and about personal connections. I remain rather proud of it.

Read More Last Contact

Lawn Cares

He lunches, daily, on the same graveyard bench. Sees, daily, the same woman, with careful steps and reverent gestures, lay origami flowers before neighboring headstones. Wonders, today, what she’ll make of a laughing boy and girl, tossing Frisbees among angels and crosses. Warms when she smiles and sits to watch.

Read More Lawn Cares

When to Nuke from Orbit

Commentary:I just deleted my posts in an online conversation. Someone insisted on misreading my comment about methodology and sources-of-facts as a sign of political ideology.

I’ve deleted posts like this before, and will, I’m sure, do it again. Long experience has taught me that once someone challenges me to defend a position that I don’t hold, that talk is never going to recover. …

Read More When to Nuke from Orbit


Like others around the bungalow, it had been purchased for decoration alone. Never was it used as an aid to sleep, for sitting. Perhaps once a relative had leaned against it, unsure where else to put the thing. Tonight, used finally and improvisationally to muffle reports, it provided its owner no comfort whatsoever.

Read More Scatter

Changeable Natures

After the strange cow—on our land that night, yet unbranded—nipped Pete, we watched him close for a month, and, this proving wise, every full moon thereafter, until Ma, Mellie, and I returned from vacation to find Pa’s dementia had deepened, and over a mouthful of burger, Mellie asked, “Where’s Pete?”

Read More Changeable Natures

In-Flight Movie

In the video, the move is smooth, practiced: As Tiffany slides past the wheelchair, she reaches down and swipes half the girl’s sandwich.  Grinning at a friend around a bite, Tiffany joins the line to board. The girl stares, slack-jawed.

On Twitter, Tiffany’s first post after landing reads, “What the—?”

Her second, “Oh God.”

Read More In-Flight Movie

Amor Fraternal

Summer. Jack plays computer soccer. Finn studies the older boy’s fourth-grade math books, face crinkled with concentration, almost crying. We’re perplexed: the kindergartner’s torture is self-imposed. [….]

Read More Amor Fraternal