The Folds

From their seats the two girls stared back at Dennis in the way that the instructor would sometimes stare at the dummy grenades they used in training when he was a recruit—with a certain restrained expectation that they might explode. And indeed he was a grenade, though decommissioned now and filled, instead of adrenaline, with [...]

Undercliff, Five

“Quickly,” said Mavis, pulling her brother's hand, “we have to go quickly.” At once! her mother would shout when she wanted her room clean, her bed made, or her toys in the toy box, and sometimes that's what she would use with Lewis, but not this time, because to go quickly was the very thing [...]

Undercliff, Four

“She's a owl!” said Lewis, gesturing with his spoon. At that moment the light above them flickered, the room strobed and the kids, as though impelled by the illusion of the world's momentary stillness sat in perfect quiet for several long seconds afterwards. Lewis at last laughed mischievously as though he had done something, which [...]

Undercliff, Three

“Have you been up there?” asked Mavis. Lewis had put the spoon back into his mouth and it was hanging there idly now, his eyes glazed and aimed toward Diane. “Up to the top?” Mavis didn't respond. “No,” said Diane, “I'm a dancer down the bottom, but I'm not very good at it.” “Why?” “Because [...]

Undercliff, Two

At the table the children were quiet. Lewis held his spoon in an overhand grip and looked with a kind of tendresse down into his bowl between scoops at the slick of melted ice-cream, again with the wordless, absorbed manner of someone identifying, practically, step by step the things that pleased him, umbrellaed from the [...]


“Not like that!” whined Mavis. “Not like that, she doesn't like it like that! Lewis stop! Stop Lewis!” There were steps out in the hallway, a floorboard creaked and the children stopped for a moment. Mavis crossed her arms and pantomimed her disapproval with a big frown. But for Lewis her annoyance was a part [...]

The Jig

Crofton would watch his girlfriend dance. And dance she did, at every opportunity, and without the restraint with which she spoke and behaved—a very nimble, articulate kind of jig she said her mother had shown her, and her mother before her. At the barn dances she drew attention when, as the music stopped and people, [...]