Originally published October 13, 2013 on Linguistic Erosion.


“Soup or salvation?”  she said.

“Beg your pardon?”  He glanced around the room.  A few old men sipped coffee and scanned the local paper.  Dust drifted through the sunlight escaping the aluminum blinds like glitter in a snow globe.    Fluorescent lights buzzed sporadically and an ancient window unit rattled behind a glass display full of Payday, Zagnut, Camel, and Lucky Strike.

“You want the soup?” she said.  “Or would you prefer an eternity spent in the bosom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?”    He looked at the laminated menu on the counter.   A quarter-sized stain, probably soup, had crusted over at the top of the menu and abbreviated a part of the block text centered there…

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Originally published September 12, 2013 on Subterranean Quarterly.


Toe tag #148639 lay on his stainless steel table and stared at a small brown water spot on the ceiling. He pondered the spot’s color momentarily, decided it not worth consideration and focused on a compressor that was short cycling somewhere in the distance. He listened to the room gasp as the AC kicked on and off, shuffling the dust that lined the ductwork. Pressure switch going bad, he thought. Maybe a thermostat. A long fluorescent fixture buzzed intermittently over his head. Bad ballast maybe. F32T8, two tube, 3 wire. Easy fix…

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