Fiction

A short story about accidental time travel

Illustration: Magnilion/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images, cropped from original

I n late May, Carla decided to build a house right smack dab on the highway median — right in the middle of the road, about 60 miles south of Haskell. She picked a spot that was relatively level and wide enough for a narrow, modest home — where the grass seemed mostly healthy enough for a yard and a garden.

This wasn’t legal, of course, but she knew a highway patrol officer named Jesup who said he’d look the other way and encourage his fellow officers to do the same. He said he’d also discourage passersby from getting too…

We talk with hands dangling from the side of a boat, fingers grazing the surface and ambling gently down the Illinois river, RV camps lining the banks alive and discarded. I lose you in intermittent blinding sunlight shot through a dense cloud bank.

“Don’t go where I can’t find you.”

“I won’t.”

“I’m serious.”

It’s just me now. The early heat tricks trees into budding too soon, leading their light green shape directly into the jaws of the next frost, but it’s alright. I’m insisting in a bar in some city out East, it’s alright, I promise, I’m sorry. White…

Nightmare Fuel

“He felt the initial annoyance quickly dissipate when he noticed how cute she was. He wasn’t proud of this.”

Illustrations: Mattis Dover

A sudden spasm of turbulence shook Kyle from his sleep, drumming his head gently against the plastic sheen covering the window. He opened his eyes to peer out across the expanse of night sky from 30,000 feet up. His view was dominated almost entirely by an enormous cumulonimbus cloud about a hundred miles out, towering hundreds of stories, a storm gathering within and illuminating the cloud from the inside out with quick, near-constant bursts of lightning. To Kyle’s eye, it resembled something out of a movie, a giant indestructible Toho monster ambling across the landscape. As his consciousness came into…

How sharing my rehab journey on social media helped me stay sober

1 year sober. Photos courtesy of author

In the 17 years since I began regularly abusing alcohol, I had turned the act of concealing my addiction into a dark science. By all outward appearances, I was an open book — relatively emotionally adept, always game to discuss with close friends any issues I’d faced in my family and relationships. I prided myself on being the kind of person people could open up to, expecting the same level of transparency in return.

But there was one thing I successfully hid from everyone, without exception: Every night, I consumed most of a bottle of wine (or its equivalent in…

The first story begins with two people — a young man and woman — unloading some equipment from the bed of a pickup truck. I mean obviously the story began some time before this but the specific starting point we’re picking here is a dirt road next to a wheat field in the middle of the night just outside Somewhere, Nebraska. “You’re being too loud,” she tells him after he drops the garden roller to the ground. “There’s nobody around to listen,” he whisper-yells back. They walk twenty feet or so down the road until they find a good entry…

Not long after the rest of the party had left, Chloe decided it was time for her to leave too. It was late — going on 2 a.m. — and she could tell Ian was getting tired, trooper that he was.

“I drank a lot of water but I’m still pretty tipsy. Is it cool if I leave my car here? I can get it in the morning.”

“Oh yeah, totally. Or you’re welcome to crash here.”

Chloe had already decided against that. Three more drinks, maybe, probably. But not tonight. “I know I don’t have a curfew per se…

These are the 6 best romantic gestures, in descending order:

6. Making direct eye contact with your partner, ask them how their day has been so far. Avoid becoming distracted by external stimuli, or lost in thought. When they are finished telling you, ask how tomorrow will be. Your tomorrow is carved into the side of your childhood home, under the deck, where your dad kept his Weber grill. Let them know this. Repeat it as many times as you need to, and ask them to do the same.

5. In total silence, place your hands on your partner’s chest…

This coming Friday I’ll be 8 months sober — or two-thirds of one year. 8 months free of alcohol, painkillers, or sleeping pills. I feel good about that. I’m feeling more and more comfortable in my sobriety, and I finally found a therapist I really like, and click with. She recommended a psychological assessment, which is about an 8 hour process stretched over a few days. I’m keeping an open mind about it. I walk to a clinic and do tests. Yesterday I did a Rorschach test, and some kind of personality test. It was kind of fun actually. I’m…

Reviews of Movies I Haven’t Seen

5 stars (out of 5 stars)

In many respects, 2017 has been a strange and sad year, filled with social upheaval, political unrest, and natural calamities — and we still have four months to go. Luckily, we can rest assured that 2018 will be better in at least one significant way: It will welcome the single greatest film of all time: the hotly awaited sequel to Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

I have seen Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in my imagination, many, many times, and I’m happy to report it is every bit as excellent as its predecessor —…

Back in February, when I was a couple weeks into rehab, a New York band called Wild Pink released their self-titled debut LP. For the life of me I can’t remember how I even discovered it, but on Thursday night I saw them play a show at a small club here in DC. After their set I gathered my courage to find the lead singer and tell him how much their album meant to me. That I listened to it a lot walking back and forth to the clinic downtown in the cold, memorizing every note and lyric. That I…

Chris Scott

Writer, gardener, and contributor for ClickHole. I live in Washington, DC.

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