Posted by - December 20, 2016 - Issue No. 16.3


He twists the key in the lock and pushes inward. He can’t see the dust circulating in the air, set into motion by the swinging of the door, but he can feel the chaos like microscopic feet running across the skin of his arms and face. He pokes the light switch and mayonnaise light washes over the walls. With the heft of his jacket, his shoulders barely fit in the hallway. He turns left into the kitchen, poking the light switch there too. He hears the light before he sees it, gas heating up and expanding. He sets his backpack down on the counter and opens the refrigerator, peering inside while resting his forearm across the freezer door. He takes out the cardboard box with the pizza, setting it on the counter top next to his backpack, and flips open the top. The pizza slice is a rigid triangle and he puts the long point into his mouth, where it hangs stiff in the air like a levitating lady. He opens his bag and takes out the Algebra I book, a piece of paper, and a pencil. He mumbles and turns back to the refrigerator, pulling out a carton of milk. He stands still, eating pizza, doing math, and drinking from the carton. Then he walks back into the hallway, leaving everything on the counter top, and disappears into the apartment to play Call of Duty. It will be hours before his mom finishes her shift.


ABOUT THE WRITER:  James Young lives and writes in Austin, Texas. He has studied fiction with Amanda Ward and S. Kirk Walsh.

Photo © 2013 Al Ibrahim