Issue 4 cover

Unfinished Stories

by J(ae)D Brames

Issue 4 :: Spring 2009 (stories)

Before Albert can crack open the rebirth canal, we have to scrape a suitable body off the road. Suitable means no burst eyeballs, no pancaked skulls, no severed limbs. No spat-up stomachs or tire-tread tattoos. Alive, twitching but not fighting; some internal damage is expected, but no jellified innards--sick of the ghost, unable to afford the ghost, considering cold-turkey ghostlessness, but not giving it up just yet. And as long as we’re cruising the route, Albert says, we might as well be delivering the mail.

Albert creeps the truck up to Ira and Nancy Chartier’s mailbox, which is shaped and painted like a rusty-breasted mallard. A mallard can live more than twenty years. I pass Albert the envelopes, careful not to drool on them.

“Bills,” he says, giggling.

I only twitch a grin, because even redemption can’t make me muster the will to laugh aloud at that pun every damn day. As we drive off I can hear Ira inside his house, quacking to us.


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"Unfinished Stories" is roughly 3549 words.

J(ae)D Brames ("> loves navigating windy rural roads at speeds approaching the sound barrier, and, while he would swerve into a ditch before dispatching an innocent cat or deer, he has taken out more than his share of joggers. This is the first time anyone has thought his work good enough to represent their magazine, and for that he is joy-jumpingly grateful.