Good Boy

This story appears in issue 8 of Medium Chill, released 28 January 2023. Buy it here It occurs to me just now how much more likely I am to discover a dead body than I’ve been at any other time in my life. Isn’t that how it usually goes: a quiet early morning stroll through an idle field or just along the edge of the woods? I’m sure runners and cyclists and hunters have similar odds, but with a dog’s superior sense of smell drawing me towards the scene, it’s probably going to be me happening upon the murder victim … Continue reading Good Boy


This story appears in issue 7 of Medium Chill, released 23 February 2022. Buy it here. We woke up the second morning in the desert a few hundred kilometers south of Cairo to fresh animal tracks all throughout our campsite. One of the guys said it was a small pack of fennec foxes, indigenous to the area. It must have been Seth, the science teacher. That sounds like a real science teacher way to put it: indigenous to the area as opposed to from here or maybe just passing through on their way to some farther-off habitat. We’d slept the … Continue reading Ghabbour

Title Withheld

From a young age, we were taught never to speak the words. Never to write or even think the words. Being young, we’d asked why, but there were never satisfactory answers. This was the way of adults then. It was taken for granted that we knew the words, and of course each of us did. But how had we learned them if they were forbidden from being expressed? Were they there inside us from the beginning? We were curious, though. We were kids learning about the world, both repelled by and attracted to darkness. We mouthed the words quietly sometimes … Continue reading Title Withheld

Minor Threat

Scott and Brandon’s introduction to the menace of right-wing fascism came at age 11 courtesy of a brief, organized campaign of middle school bullying. Near the end of sixth grade, the two had been targeted by the student body’s vaguely white trash burnout contingent and labeled as thrashers, a scourge to be cleansed from Faircrest Memorial Middle School’s halls at any cost. For some background, burnouts were those kids who dressed primarily denim or leather, listened to heavy metal music, carried butterfly knives and smoked Marlboro Reds. Their hair was kept short in the front and long in the back. … Continue reading Minor Threat

Proof Marks

I wonder now if I could go back and undo it all. Clean up the whole mess somehow and fix what you told me in your final defeated moments could never be fixed. Unsqueeze the killing trigger. Pull the fatal bullets from your skull and from the bodies of your poor family, she lying slumped and bloodied in the stairwell from kitchen to basement and the child tucked in unsuspecting in his race-car bed sheets. Pull you from atop that innocent girl, the sole survivor, struggling against you and crying on her mattress or maybe by then complaisant in surrender. … Continue reading Proof Marks


“Let’s have another,” Matt says, trying to lighten the mood. Jeremy wipes his eyes with his forearm and scanning the multitude of tap handles behind the bar—assorted bowling pins and stag’s heads and waterfowl—says, “Let’s do it. I think I’m going to try this peanut butter chocolate brownie porter. It’s nine percent. Wow.” “Oh,” Matt says, “You keep drinking the sweet stuff like this, I may have to get your number. You seem like the kind of girl a guy could fall in love with. As for me, I will have another unambiguously masculine pint of IPA.” Jeremy laughs and … Continue reading IBU

World Sick: Stories (Book Review)

World Sick: Stories by Jason Simon My rating: 5 of 5 stars If it were possible for me to review this objectively, I probably wouldn’t rate it so highly. It’s not perfect. It’s insular and, in some stories, reads like an inside joke that’s tough to understand without context. It’s odd and has no qualms about narrative sacrifices. It’s sometimes wordy and might have benefitted from a professional editor. It engages in contemporary political discourse without making a larger point. I wouldn’t dream of being objective here, though. I wrote this, and I’m happy with how it came out. I … Continue reading World Sick: Stories (Book Review)

Runner’s Playlist

She remembers her ex-husband once saying that no matter where you are on Earth–could be the middle of the Sahara Desert or on some forgotten adventurer’s trail through the rainforests of South America–you can always count on seeing a woman out running all by herself. Can’t you just picture her out there in her leggings and tank top with her earbuds firmly in place and her ponytail undulating rhythmically with each step she takes? The sweat beginning to darken her clothing just below her breasts and in a triangular pattern on the small of her back and accumulating in tiny … Continue reading Runner’s Playlist

World Sick

He ingests small doses of medicinal poison every six months to kill the parasitic worms lodged in his intestines. He feels a painful jolt each time at the precise moment of holocaust when the tiny interlopers begin to thrash miserably in his guts in their final death throes. It doubles him over or twists him momentarily within his nest of sweaty bed sheets. Once, he could have sworn he felt an attempt at escape in there as the parasites wound through his digestive tract in a futile flight towards survival. Even his daily bowel movements, firm in consistency and wristwatch-reliable … Continue reading World Sick

Factor VIII

A slightly different version of this story appears in issue 5 of Medium Chill. Buy it here. Before everything became so horrible, before the things that happened happened, there was a time when it was all actually pretty funny. Obviously, I’m not trying to make light of tragedy or the embarrassing international incident it became, but it was comical at first. At least in our little social circle of expat international school kids, it was. I mean, it was Trisha. Trisha had been eccentric anyway as long as we’d all known her, since her family had moved here from Canada, so … Continue reading Factor VIII


A slightly different version of this story appears in issue 5 of Medium Chill. Buy it here. It was when the river disappeared that we knew once and for all we’d lost. I remember how we all just stood there unbelieving with our bottles of chilled Prosecco and our fluted glass stemware, our foldable camping chairs and plastic coolers of ice and cans of beer, gaping at a muddy trench freshly scraped into the earth that had once been flowing water and our refuge from everyday urban malaise. Even the riverbank, on which we’d sat on so many Saturday afternoons … Continue reading Corrigendum

Flying East

In August 2009, I flew from New York to Cairo for the first time. I was headed east, and I traced the progress of my flight on my seat back monitor, following that little airplane icon across the Atlantic, through France and the lower part of Italy, just shy of the west coast of Greece, and over the Mediterranean to my endpoint in North Africa. During my two years in Egypt, I took the westbound flight home and then back east to Cairo a total of four times. In January 2011, as Cairo descended into chaos in the wake of … Continue reading Flying East