23rd & Alabama
I keep coming back to that night like you keep looking at a tree on a dark street, sure it was something else a moment ago. But its shape is simply different from the corner of your eye. It was the last time I saw Katie and the first time I’d seen my half-brother Jesse in months. “I’m getting out,” he said simply, as if that held everything within it. He’d been living in a van in the Sunset but I...
20th & Treat
“I’m gonna powergame her,” Kenny says. He passed the joint. We were on The Steps. I remember it was fall because we were all doing forms for State. Maria said something like, “That’s so gross.” She was still coughing on the sleeve of her shirt because she didn’t usually smoke with us. I told her it wasn’t gross, it was some nerd shit. Kenny even wanted to make games. Like for a job. I passed the...
Cumberland & Church
“They used to call this neighborhood Dolores Heights,” Jack called from the bedroom. “What?” Katherine was counting his pills in the kitchen. The pill splitter was lost and she nicked her first finger trying to split one with a steak knife. “Dolores Heights. When I was growing up here.” Katherine stepped backwards from the counter. She could see down the railroad of the hall to the bedroom...
26th & Shotwell
He was holding a little half-firework of a thing. Voices from his back porch drifted all the way down the block, the ghost of a summer evening, the only warm one in the nine months since I moved here. So this was it. Over bourbon from a mason jar with a handwritten label for persimmon jam. Oh, California. “I missed you this week,” he said, so I told him to fuck himself. He held up the little...
24th & Folsom
Maybe he would visit his niece Aurelia today. Was the vodka empty or just vodka? He squinted to regard the neat line of botellitas along the side of the washing machine. He reached for one but it was at once closer than he thought and clattering out of his reach. Hold on, hombre, hold on. He straightened up with the wall to help him, zippered the one jacket that zippered anymore, and finally...