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The Street Sweep

by Meron Hadero

ZYZZYVA Volume 34, #3, Winter 2018

Getu stood in front of his mirror struggling to perfect a Windsor knot. He pulled the thick end of his tie through the loop, but the knot unraveled in his hands. He tried again, and again he failed. Did he really need the tie? He guessed it would probably be easier to persuade the guards at the Sheraton to let him in with one. And even then… But he couldn’t work out the steps, so Getu put the necktie in his pocket and decided to try his luck without it. Sitting at the edge of his mattress, he waited for

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Alabama Funeral

by Kristen Iskandrian

The sitter arrived with a Ziploc bag of brightly colored string. “For friendship bracelets,” she said, one eye veering off. “Yes,” Bette said. The sitter’s eye was particularly lazy today; Bette had never gotten used to it, although she herself, when extra tired, had an eye prone to drifting. Bette was aware that she could be, in a multitude of ways, a perfect hypocrite. She was named after Bette Midler, which had always embarrassed her, so she told people she was named after Bette Davis. “So it’s ‘Betty’?” people would ask, and then she’d have to correct them, and they’d

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Good With Boys

by Kristen Iskandrian

I was going to sleep in a museum—with any luck, next to Esau Abraham, a boy so gorgeously Jewish he held the entire Old Testament in his name, in the perfect contours of his face. I had this theory about boys, that if they just got close enough to me, and sort of focused in, they would forget about the obvious deterrents, the glasses, the frizzy hair, the underdeveloped body. I was zany, I really went for it, I knew all the good dick jokes. Everyone talks about personality like it’s a bad thing but the fact is, without one,

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Chorizo

by Jaime Cortez

The dogs are melting. Lobo is lying on the porch with his pink tongue hanging out. Chiquita is hiding under the car with her ears down. Everybody is hiding from the sun except for me. I’m riding my bicycle, so I can feel some wind when I pedal. It’s not working too good. Past the tomato fields, I can see this family walking along San Juan Highway. Right away I know they ain’t doing so good. We’re not rich or nothing, but they look super poor, even from far away. They’re walking, so obviously they don’t have no car or

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Shop Talk: Michael Jaime-Becerra

by ZYZZYVA

Michael Jaime-Becerra

Michael Jaime-Becerra’s story “Omar, March 1987,” about a boy named Omar who discovers his mother’s affair while skateboarding in the neighborhood, originally appeared in Issue 102. The story evokes the sights and sounds of Omar’s streets, its homes and storefronts, with these details grounding the story as Jaime-Becerra builds to Omar’s emotional devastation. It can be read in its entirety in Issue 102.

Michael Jaime-Becerra currently teaches creative writing at University of California, Riverside. His story collection, Every Night Is Ladies’ Night, was named one of the best of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. It was awarded a California Book Award, the Silver Medal for a First Work of Fiction. He spoke to Managing Editor Oscar Villalon about “Omar, March 1987” and his use of distinct sensory details.

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The Wedding Visitor

by Elizabeth Spencer

ZYZZYVA Volume 29, #2, Fall 2013

It seemed a good thing to do and because he hadn’t come there in so long, he went slowly. Approaching the house from the road before it spiraled up the drive, he sat for a while and gave it a long look. Like many Southern houses, the original structure was almost lost among the many extensions. There was the added side porch where everyone lived out each day, enjoying sun through the enveloping series of windows. He recalled another, earlier porch out back, screened in, added to escape the hot summer nights. They had slept under mosquito nets and hoped

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The Almeda Fire: Rogue Valley, Oregon

by Octavio Solis

Driving down Pioneer Road to Colver Road in Phoenix, Oregon (12/18/20). Credit: Otavio Solis As the weather report had promised, the morning was clear and blustery, the aspens outside clicking their leaves like maracas. I slurped the dregs of milk from my bowl of cereal, stepped outside to head to my studio, winked into the brightness and saw the plume. An immense bulbous cloud of pearly grey smoke billowing high into the blue. It loomed so large that for an instant a jab of panic seized my chest. Fire. Just as we had feared. All the day and night before,

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Anyone Can Do It

by Manuel Muñoz

ZYZZYVA Volume 34, #2, Fall 2018

Her immediate concern was money. It was a Friday when the men didn’t come home from the fields and, true, sometimes the men wouldn’t return until late, the headlights of the neighborhood work truck turning the corner, the men drunk and laughing from the bed of the pickup. And, true, other women might have thought first about the green immigration vans prowling the fields and the orchards all around the valley, ready to take away the men they might not see again for days if good luck held, or even longer if they found no luck at all. When the

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Shop Talk: Kate Reed Petty

by ZYZZYVA

Kate Reed Petty

Kate Reed Petty’s story “Mr. Pink,” about a disgraced screenwriter’s attempt to manage the online response to his public scandal, is featured in Issue 120. With its focus on social media platforms like Twitter and the way we use film to help interpret our experiences, “Mr. Pink” was perfectly suited for inclusion in The Technology Issue.

Kate Reed Petty’s first novel, True Story, was published by Viking in 2020. Her fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She spoke to Editorial Assistant Zack Ravas about “Mr. Pink” and the themes prevalent in her work.

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In the Black, With Jessica

by Christian Kiefer

The sound of a car gearing up the ashen road. Chuck thought at first that it had to be someone from Cal Fire or another crew but then the radio crackled and Bob told him it was a civilian. “Copy,” he said, and then, after releasing the button: “Fuck.” No part of him that was not exhausted: his skin, his hair, his stubbled beard, his heart, his soul—all of it coated with a layer of colorless powder that clotted his lungs and filled his nose with viscous gouts of gray phlegm that he repeatedly blew into the ash at his

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Paragraphs on Ice: Episode 2

by ZYZZYVA

Paragraphs on Ice: Andrew Sean Greer & Daniel Handler

How do certain sentences work on us as readers? What can we say about the beauty found in select pieces of prose? Daniel Handler and Andrew Sean Greer—best-selling authors and friends—take you along with them as they delightfully explore their favorite passages of writing in their video series for ZYZZYVA Studio.

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Three Windows Onto Rome

by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Santi Quattro Coronoti On the right wall of the basilica is a fragment of a fresco of San Bartolomeo. He’s a bearded old man, mouth obscured by damage, his eyes suspicious. His own wrinkled pelt is thrown over his shoulder like a traveling cloak. No longer the cheerful dandy, dressed in white with swinging purple tassels. (He took good care of that white tunic; for twenty years, across all those distances, it never showed signs of wear.) No, there on that wall, he lives immortal as he died: flayed bare. The son of the one who holds the waters on

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