AB Intra

Mom wished I’d find a good man, someone to settle down with. She also desperately needed me to tend to her. She wanted the best for me, but she also wanted the best for her. — GREENFELD

Polly looked and acted older than she was, and she had a sharp-edged manner of speaking that made her sound mean or angry. She made Roy feel uncomfortable but excited at the same time. — GIFFORD

Still, while he was there inside his BuyMart, inside the Greeting Card aisle where the shingled racks of envelopes flaked the aisle like dandruff, and electronic dogs barked out Happy Birthday, Mose actually half-believed in their imaginary Tough Love Greeting cards. — ZAID

We’ve decided that a dying woman shouldn’t ask to have her phone washed, even though it makes total sense. And we’ve decided that that’s crazy, that these actions are crazy, correct? I mean we’re not arguing here, correct? — SLOTKY

Unspoken acclaim was the full extent of her effect on people. In tacit response, Laylin looked bemused and stunned and bobbed her head and widened her eyes until she felt like the lids were about to shear off. — GOZONSKY

Unfortunate in this same regard: the coyote’s blood on the fender; it proved nothing, of course, but, like the innocuous lie told to the valet, it cast something of a crimson shadow upon the one-armed man (who now appeared not only grotesque, but also murderous because of it). — GLAGE

I would put a holy terror into the whole army of funny formed clouds: filiform, dense, mixed, radial, double, etc. They would crumble with fear on their numerous needle-shaped crystals, columns and the other nonsense they consist of… — SAFRONOVO

Prior to WWII there were so many Socialists living in the foothills of Echo Park that the locals referred to it as Red Hill. The place was a safe haven for homosexuals and radicals, progressives and freaks. Woody Guthrie even lived there for a spell. — RIDGE

She liked the word, “worthwhile.” It meant someone she would want to know or respect or find interesting. It felt like a word from a past generation, or the Midwest. Anachronistic. “My father uses it,” she told Peter. “He says it’s a good measure of value.” — FORMAN

Where the Exits once were, now you’ll find the Photo Booth. When we open the booth’s curtain and walk through we find our way back home. The booth, or a mechanism in the booth, transports us home. — VALLIERES

Neither seaman knew what they were in for as they dissolved the tabs on their tongues. But they were intent on getting away from the Navy for a while — the farther the better. — MATTESICH

Boys didn’t tip anyone except Sarah Kantz, but men almost always at least tossed their change in the jar, especially if she flirted. Fathers with children waiting at a table or even just hovering behind them would smile and make a show of it if they folded a dollar or two and pushed it through the slot. — FINCKE

Maybe Jack R— represented the former Anglo majority in California and was apologizing on behalf of the Anglos of the past century for racist deeds and words? But Jack R— seemed too specific and discrete a person to symbolize anything, and not articulate enough to say anything so large. — MANDELBERG

They wore T-shirts from their most recent campaigns like businessmen wore three-piece suits. Thin T-shirts, silkscreened with slogans and demands. Do this. Stop that. Free them. That was, after all, their own business, the business of doing, stopping, and freeing. — ALVAREZ

Some of you may worship strange gods, or even a single God, she said — please consult the employee handbook on non-sanctioned prayer during office hours. A few nervous newcomers reached for a scroll. But I’d given up trying to understand the ways of God and the gods weeks before. — DODDS

I was fifteen or sixteen years old when the idea that poetry was a drug took hold. That was sometime after Kent State, but before February 16, 1971, when Nixon began to secretly tape-record his conversations in the White House. To be an incipient poet, in my experience, was to be in the grip of an intoxicating delusion. — BRODY

The first field workers in California were Indians. They were naturally dark, but would become darker than the earth itself. The sensible ones often ran away. Unfortunately, there was no CRLA at the time. — SOTO