The Promotion

Stewart woke up, blinking. He didn't feel groggy like he did most mornings. His head felt clear and fresh. He looked out his window and saw snow gently falling. A beautiful winter day, he thought.

He remembered that he was supposed to do a video call this morning with someone who wanted to interview him for a job. He quickly got out of bed and grabbed a suit coat from his closet. He patted down his hair as he walked to his home office where he could take the call. He didn't want to be late because the job would be a promotion from his current dead-end position.


He struck the hot sword with his hammer. The clang echoed all through his workshop, and escaped out his windows and onto the cobbled street outside. He imagined that the sound could travel all the way to the edges of his city. He hoped that to fellow citizens who didn't know him and didn't know his work, the sound of his shop might be like a church bell, friendly, inviting, uniting, and galvanizing.

The Thousand Men

The thousand men were silent, their eyes focused like lasers on the king Shaka in front of them. He paced back and forth, serious and thoughtful. The valley was silent. The birds and rabbits had run away after the thousand men had arrived in the valley. Occasionally one of the thousand men would rest his spear on his shield. The clatter of spears against sheilds was the only noise in that rocky valley on that cloudless day.

The Journey

They jumped up in unison, with all their strength, eyes focused on the stars above, one hand each reaching upward. Since they were angels, they didn't return to the ground - they kept rocketing upwards, away from the horizon, into the heavens.

Why Fight

Egil opened his eyes. The gods had given him another day. He could tell by the light streaming in through the slats in his barn wall that he had awoken late, closer to midday than to dawn. He couldn't remember what would have made him sleep so long, or why he had slept in his barn. His favorite donkey looked at him, and he looked back.

Lawrence Tries

They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. Maricopa was more like the city that hits snooze five or six times, takes long naps, and has a TV by the bed to make sure it never misses its favorite reruns. Even the mild climate seemed to indicate a relaxed attitude to life, as if the local seasons couldn't motivate themselves to work up any extreme temperatures or serious weather events like the ambitious, go-getter seasons in other towns. But it advertised itself as a friendly place, and that's what made the man think it would be a good place to commit crime.

A day at the market

She pushed the cart forward along the rocky path, reaching out to steady it as the wheel went over some bumps. It was before dawn, and even though this was usually a warm part of the country, the damp air chilled her fingers as she pushed some flowerpots back towards the center of the cart. She had never sold her flowers in this market before, and she would have to remember not to take this path the next time she came.

The Readers (full text)

The academic life aims at a certain kind of dignity. Certainly that's the impression you get if you hang out with academics. They take themselves and their place in society seriously, and are often to reluctant to laugh at a joke that's not sufficiently highbrow. The reluctance to laugh freely is always what made me suspicious of academics. What kind of person, I wondered, would give up one of life's greatest pleasures merely for the sake of some imagined social prestige?

The Readers, part 4

(Click here to read part 3.)

Mislavsky was different from his roommate in a few important ways. He didn't have the nervous fidgets of a typical maladjusted history student. His hair was styled and his clothes looked expensive and harmonious as if he actually knew how to dress and put effort into it. He was able to make eye contact and grip my hand firmly to shake it.

The Readers, part 3

(Click here to read part 2.)

"So what's your impression so far?" my partner asked earnestly.