AB Intra

Iremember the moment, sitting at my desk at work, when the phone rang and I answered it to learn I would be a father, how the rush of joy I felt completely overwhelmed my entire body. Then my son was born, and I was lucky, I know, but suppose instead of the son I have, I had been given this boy?. — KRUSOE

I recognized this city, built on desert chaparral with no water source of its own. I recognized a truth that only an artist can tell you: there is something temporary about Los Angeles. The sketchy, shaky lines of the design spoke of earthquake faults and tar pits lurking just beneath the earth’s surface. The blue polyester said: “These freeways on the horizon are only about speed; they have little to do with freedom.” — PURDY

The long inlets and sandbars of Montauk that she painted had the substance. But what she saw them lacking, why galleries couldn’t spare space, was the strike, the ineffable hit on the line, that sense of necessity and exclusive comprehension that made the high bidder bring the thing into the boat. — WIRICK

The children stared at the deep end until the man rose to the surface as calm as an otter. “Go!” shouted the oldest child. Paddling hard to get to the big man, the first child to reach him was tossed up into the air. Then they all were upon him and the big man lifted and tossed each one as fast they could come to him. — JACKSON

And as time went on, even these small differences failed to respond to the injection of fresh helium. In the evenings, when either Veronica or Barrett came in to say good night and tether the cow to the bedpost, it sagged closer and closer to the floor, as if it had forgotten how to float. In the mornings, when they returned it to Marianne, it seemed to be kneeling on its front legs. — WILSON

It was the time in life when all of my friends who wanted to have kids were having them. “Breast feeding...Ferberize...pre-school wait-lists...nannies...family beds...” But try as I might I could not get pregnant. To want something, anything, and not be able to get it is a pretty humbling experience.” — SHAPIRO

She spoke, without any evident confidence in her judgment, about Kerouac’s relationship to Transcendentalism. She said one trouble she’d had was not knowing what, exactly, San Francisco looked like. She’d never left China. Her voice was a low monotone that struggled to fill the space. — WALKER

Faith is the hope for things unseen had sustained her for a time, although lately she had been clinging to Faith is a walking in darkness. From the evening Scripture-studies class that she had taken in the parish hall from Sister Rhonda, who held a master’s degree in Contemporary Spirituality, Theresa knew that faith and doubt were like the two sides of one hand begging. — COOPER

The LSD was obtained from Carol’s niece, who simply said “No worries.” She couldn’t vouch for the quality or strength, but gave them three kinds, pale stains on white paper, and said the dealer was supposed to be reliable. “None of that synthetic shit that people are dying from.” — GURMAN

Weird-ass night. Weirder even than the time the Cattlemen’s Convention hooker stole the master key and robbed every third room. He scrolled through the preset stations, the classical and the jazz. He thought briefly about keying up some Metallica, and turning the sound down low, but decided instead to go with no music at all. — INGRAM

When Pedro was young, Father João, the priest at his church, had told him how the Archangel Lucifer plummeted headlong into Hell after he was booted out of Paradise. Pedro’s imagination ran riot wondering what turmoil roiled Lucifer’s mind as he cleaved the icy air on his downward journey. Pedro had a good idea now. From the heaven that was Carnaval, he had nosedived into hell. — GAITONDE

If, like me, you are a working-mother-writer of color feeling agida because you’re having trouble “fitting it all in,” then you can replace your creative non-fiction work or horrible work-work with the equivocal satisfaction of tuna sculpture. This procedure mandates that you put down your iPhone and use those unencumbered hands to mash the tuna salad into the shape of, say, a little cat-head, like Untitled (undated), an unfired clay figurine made in the 1980’s by my would-be subject, Marisa Merz. — MURRAY

Many houses had big orange pumpkins decorating their porches. Jean Gass had explained Halloween: pumpkin carving, the haunted houses, the trick-or-treating. Sushila had written a letter to the girls telling them how children dressed in costumes and went to the neighbors’ houses and collected candies. It was just like Diwali at home, where everyone gave you sweets! — WALI