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Our Last Little Fun

By Erin Sroka

I rang the bell at my neighborhood sweepstakes on a Monday morning in September. I was let in, and the desk worker, Vivian, left the game she was playing to program my machine. It was 10 a.m., and I handed her $20. Vivian looked tired, then and all the time. Her eyes were red and sleepy, and she moved slowly, like her body was hard to carry around. I heard both sweetness and insincerity in her voice when she asked me how I was doing. Continue reading Our Last Little Fun

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Sweet Home Everywhere

By Jonathan Bernstein

On December 19, 2007, Kid Rock took the stage during a USO concert for American military personnel stationed in Iraq. Appearing alone, he sat down, greeted the audience, and introduced his first song.

“They said, ‘You know it’s Christmastime, and you’re going up to sing for our troops. I’m sure they’d like to hear some Christmas songs,’” Rock said with a sneer. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go right out there and sing them jingle fucking bells, right?’ Continue reading Sweet Home Everywhere

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The Gutbucket King

By Barry Yeoman

He stood at the kitchen window waiting. He had memorized everything around him: the pine walls, bare of wallpaper or even paint; the wardrobe where his widowed mother kept her churn for making buttermilk; the stove fueled by the firewood he cut each morning; the two coolers, one for dairy and the other for cakes and pies. He had branded them into his memory, these artifacts of a life that, after today, would no longer be his. Continue reading The Gutbucket King