The Hat-Giving Hickory Tree

A slanted story by Brittany Cole

Most days, Rodney never thinks about the baseball hat hickory tree. When Rodney does remember that tree and that period of his boyhood, during which the hickory thrived and blossomed dozens of baseball caps overnight, he still feels somewhat bewildered by its undeniable yet utterly miraculous existence. It seems so long ago now, that he questions his memory—was it all a dream? Something he has misremembered and imagined over the years?

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The Missing Chair

“Things don’t just disappear; they can always be found if you know where to look,” Leslietta Bernadard had said, rather fatefully, to her boss on Monday, as he was searching the office for his car keys at the end of the workday. Perhaps the universe overheard her and fancied itself a prankster, or perhaps her coworker overheard and fancied himself a cynic, because either way, Leslietta Bernadard walked into Donald Troy Insurance on Tuesday and found herself without a chair.

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Miss Mess: A Story

When Maggie and Bianca received a phone call from Elizabeth responding to their Facebook ad for a third roommate, the two young women had no idea they were agreeing to live with a human trash generator. The ad had been listed for a couple weeks and after receiving a few messages from outright weirdos, Elizabeth seemed like a normal college student by comparison, one who they thought they could even potentially be friends with. When they asked her to list a few facts about herself, Elizabeth responded, “I’m a Fashion Design student who draws inspiration from Vera Wang, I grew up in Maine, and I’m an only child.”

Sadly, Maggie and Bianca were not privy to the implications of Elizabeth’s third personal fact. Sophomore college students themselves, the two of them were just moving into their first apartment after having lived in the dorms the prior year, and so their experience with roommates was limited. In their eyes, the worst possible scenario for prospective a roommate was someone who listened to loud, angsty music into the wee hours of the night (or morning, by then) and who didn’t shower but once a week. They had no idea that the worst candidate for a roommate could be a pretty blond girl with French-tipped nails and a love of classical symphony.

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I Fuel the Great Machine

The morning of her first day of retirement, Agnes sat at her kitchen table and let 50 years of labor pull heavily on her body. Steam rose and unfurled from her mug of coffee as she stared at the small, red refrigerator sitting on her countertop. A draft blew from the air vent on the ceiling and stirred a few strands of her white hair, and she gently closed her eyes, her body remaining still. It was a day of grieving; the end of her purpose.

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The House Cat and the House

Once upon a time and whence upon a land, a majestic house cat prowled the expansive planes of 143 Lanted Drive. This house cat stalked the interior of her castle, patrolling for intruders which were few and far between, happily eating and napping at heart’s will, and awing onlookers with her immense fluffy beauty and soft, golden-patched calico fur. She was a queen in her land, and she loved her luxurious life. Continue reading “The House Cat and the House”

A Year of Stillness

Nobody really teaches you how to be still. They teach you how to crawl, how to walk, run, ride a bike, drive a car, but nobody really teaches you how to be still.

I graduated from college and nothing happened. The stillness felt like failure. They teach you how to run, and then you run. That’s what you do–you’re not supposed to stop. But then I stopped.

Stillness makes people uncomfortable; sometimes, it upsets them. The ant must carry the leaf; the bee must pass the pollen. It was a spring day in May I walked across the stage set up at my university’s football field, the fresh electric scent of bloom tickling my nose. Continue reading “A Year of Stillness”

Lullaby Sunset

Years before the global revolution and the planet restart, I had a dream. To my past self, it was an unnerving but dismissible fantasy; what was I to do with what would seem like a work of fiction to others? Dreams have no impact on earthly affairs, and my dream could have meant anything. Still, it haunted me for a while, but by the time the unraveling began, I had long forgotten my prophetic conception and it wasn’t until years after we began rebuilding did I find the journal in which I jotted the dream’s events down, and wept onto the telltale words. Continue reading “Lullaby Sunset”