AB Intra

Paul and Damned Spot are dead. It deafens her to realize that one very joyous aspect of feces is that it would mean that they were alive. Death smells worse. — Latiolais

Alexander laughed too, but only as a cover for the obvious. That he had no ideas. No ideas and no plans. Not for himself and not for anyone else. He dreaded his inheritance no less than Menotti dreaded his, he was sure, and likely for grimmer, more persuasive reasons. — Mattes

You both know where you stand. You know who’s going to be taking charge of Dad when the senility starts creeping in, and who’s going to be sleeping in a tent at fifteen thousand feet, trying to convince himself that there is something beautiful in the approaching storm, some wisdom to be gleaned from his deprivation. — Waddell

He poured water on the grave, and that smoothed it down. If he had fifty gallons of water, there would be no trace of digging, but he only had three. He did the best he could with two and kept a gallon to drink. Thanks to the dead asshole, there wasn’t any beer. — McAdams

She was a Millennial. An older one, if that meant anything. Hadn’t the same clients who sought her services thought enough of her to preserve the sanctity of their dead loved ones? Why was it so hard for them to turn that blind trust into deserved respect? — Ellis

Everywhere I looked, there was Mom and her eccentricities. Celtic crosses atop Japanese-style furniture. Southwestern-style rugs covering large expanses of carpet. And, of course, her last words — two locked metal filing cabinets along the far wall of the library, each one filled with the thousands of incomplete crossword puzzles Mom had collected over the last fifteen years of her life. — Alcovendaz

Mattresses, refrigerators, drums from washing machines, a swing set, skunks, foxes, a 7-point buck, torn leg/dark smear/ slow death — in the several hundred thousand miles he had driven, Lun had seen just about everything on the shoulder. Once, coming off a deserted exit near Albany, he saw a baby thrown out of the window into the pampas grass. — Louis

In 1984, I had a question. Mine was not a larger cosmic uncertainty about life and love and death and pain and suffering and turmoil and horror that is raised by the specter of the pixie dust of death that I imagine glistens in the air around Santa Susana since it was released in 1959. No, my concern at the time was about Item #4. — Murray

She also knows, in her spleen of spleens, that later, after she delivers the document and he says thanks and walks away with hardly a head nod in her direction, there will be weeping — but also, as an aftereffect, more special powers derived for her, and she’s curious to know what she’ll get next — extreme strength or the ability to fly or climb walls? — Zeller

Now that I’m a Sitter, I want to tell them that taking care of so many kids whose parents take their love for granted is like having hundreds and thousands of hearts outside yourself and parents cannot comprehend the sheer volume and variegation of love that one experiences as a Sitter. I want to say this loud and proud at the end of every Sitting but I never do because we must maintain our near five-star average rating. — Cheuk

Fifth grade: my favorite teacher joked “There’s the door” anytime a kid acted up, which I thought was funny, until he used it on me. I was the first kid to walk through. He stopped saying it pretty soon after. He also stopped asking how things were going at home. — Isaacs

Prince was dead and Bowie too. Fires raged across Western lands. The coral reefs were skeletized. The oceans lapped ever farther into the coasts. Evil robots had actually overtaken the nation, just like in the wackiest 1950s sci-fi movies, but the robots remained inside the computers, disguised as hot Russian MAGA chicks, so more than half the populace remained unalarmed. — Shank

The problem with philosophy was that I couldn’t think of any. I had studied Kant and Hegel in bible college, as good a place as any, because I had a good teacher. After every new philosopher he introduced, Professor Thurgood easily convinced the class, all twenty-three young souls, to bail out of Christianity and be that man’s disciples, so by the end we were all so confused we just went back to Jesus. — Huffey