Four Fictions: Tenant, Strings, Basic Training, Sunrise
Kim Chinquee


She took one chair to the curb. The boys sharing her driveway looked eighteen. They were maybe in a band, flapping their guitars, crucifying strangers. Their skin was waxy. "Want some chairs?" she said. The blonde came first. "I have tons," she said. She pointed while they lifted, going for more.


I heard things from my son's room. I thought horrible things. "What's wrong?" I said. "What is it?" I touched his hair, which he'd bleached to dye it blue, only the blue had faded. Tears ran from the tilted angles of his eyes, dripping to his ears. He cried harder. He sounded like a man.

Basic Training

They ate their steak and bought candy bars for the ride. They fell asleep on the bus, relieved to be away from the technical instructors, who yelled at them for not folding in perfect angles. The twins leaned into one another. They would have been Siamese.


She placed her foot in a bucket full of worms to accelerate her healing. Her son had fetched them early, put them in his bucket.
They sat in the back yard, the mother drinking Kool-Aid spiked with vodka, the boy drinking concentrated orange juice.
"Mom," he said. "When can we go fishing?" He'd just turned eleven.
"Maybe when my bloody foot heals," she said, and took another sip. She put a hand on his head, the other holding up the glass that made the ice clink. She sipped long and good and hard, almost with feeling.