Unprofessional Fiction


5% left.

Trying to find the words to say before the battery dies out. Before the regret and the anger and the grief run dry, too. Before you’ve moved on. Moved out. Moved away.


Would I make things worse? Would you even respond? Do I have anything meaningful left to say?


I remember when you met my mom. You went for the handshake, she went for the hug.


She hates me as much as you do now. My fault. I’m sorry. It’s the only thing that’s running through my mind.


I’m too late.

last call

10 stools, 10 souls, 10 different stories.

The girl too close to 30 for comfort, aching for comfort. An undergrad to her left, buried in a book for a major he doesn’t want to pursue. Single father on her right asking what she ordered last. Coworkers griping about micromanagement and promotions. Regulars excited to retell tales everyone already knows. The elderly couple returning to the place they first shared a drink, a kiss, an evening that changed everything.

Everyone entrusts their secrets with the woman behind the bar, the woman waiting for one of 10 to ask for her story.


"Erik Finch," the priest called.

Applause, the groans of men, the whispers of women.

"Danielle York," said the priest, barely audible over the rabble.

"Now now," he said through a smile, "you’ll all have your turn."

Danielle York approached Erik Finch at center stage where their hands were bound in silver string. Both grinned, gleeful about their fortune.

They departed the ceremony hands unbound but still intertwined.

"Will you teach me what love is?" said Erik Finch.

"As long as you’ll teach me, too," said Danielle Finch.

As the chapel door closed, as the priest reached into the bowl, as the bells sang, neither heard the name of the next lucky groom.

long division

I couldn’t answer without sounding like an asshole.

It’s fine, she said. 

It would always sound like I was judging her.

I trust you, she said.

You can’t close distance with WiFi or a cell signal. It’s the illusion of interaction. An internet connection is not a connection. I couldn’t have an ocean in the middle of something that isn’t real.

Hmm, she said.

I don’t know how you do it, I continued. If I’m going to be with someone, I’d want to be with them, you know? If I’d said I was right here, maybe she would have stayed.


Sam knew her mother’s secret by the time she turned six. She remembered the moment every time she saw a television. Sitting on her father’s knee, huddled around the fireplace, clutching her cocoa, she laughed at the newscasters.

"What’s so funny, little lady?"

Sam pointed, unable to contain her hysteria, and spilled her drink.

It was so clearly her mother on TV. Why wasn’t dad laughing, too? Years later he admitted to playing dumb. He wouldn’t cop to feeling worried. Of course it was her, crimson haired and bright blue eyed beneath the cowl, surrounded by the cape, saving the world before its eyes.