Author: jimlatham

  • Terroir

    Forgive me for obsessing, dearest diary, but it’s my first date in over a century. Come to think of it, the humans were just wrapping up a pandemic the last time I dipped a toe in the dating pool. Flu, that one, unfairly blamed on the Spanish. I do wish I could shift the responsibility…

  • Meteor Part 2

    Read Meteor Part 1. A faint odor—slightly sour, slightly sweet—tinged the air. It was almost familiar.  Paloma and I stood on the bank of a giant square pond ringed by mats of floating vegetation watching water bugs dance on the water’s surface. A clover-like plant stabilized the banks. Something moved in the water.  I took…

  • Meteor

    The ward smelled like mildew and feet. Moisture fogged the windowpanes, and green and black mold grew in scaly patches on the walls. The redhead in the bed next to mine turned away from me and hacked a wad of phlegm onto the floor. He straightened up and winked at me. “Sorry to give you…

  • Skittles

    Benny taps the bag of Skittles in his jacket pocket. The drive-in where he and Kyle first met is abandoned now. Foxes denning in the concession booth, chain-link fence rusting, kudzu taking over everything.  A hint of snow in the darkening Indiana sky reminds Benny of Denis Johnson’s story “Emergency.” In an early-season snowstorm, the…

  • The Girl and the Giraffe

    After the worst of the heat has passed, the girl slips out of her father’s toolshed carrying a pair of leather gloves and a set of bolt cutters. She mounts a rickety ten-speed and pedals into the night. The handles of the bolt cutters stick out of her backpack on either side of her head…

  • Baggage

    Broken promises, unanswered questions, hopes too fragile to be shared, ten thousand moldy compromises, a mortgage on a house that was neither too big nor small but certainly not right, all the entrees he hadn’t ordered because she wouldn’t eat them but always wanted to share plates. Coffee cups left on the counter, dirty dishes…

  • The Kid Calls Home

    It’s her first night in Alaska. She tells me it’s 1 AM there, the sun’s still up. I ask how’s that possible and she says something about the Earth’s axis being titled toward the sun. I ask if she’s drunk and she says not so drunk she forgot how to tell time or what the…

  • Roman’s Meals

    Roman’s the new kid, and the new kid eats last. Nobody, least of all his new foster mother, asks him what he likes. He eats whatever she sets in front of him when his turn comes. Usually it is boiled and mushy. Often it bears the stamp of the can it came from. Sometimes it’s…

  • Wrangell Mountain Air

    Let’s say Jenski handed you the gun, not me. That big o’l revolver’s in your right hand, not mine. It’s heavier than regret and pulling your arm out of your shoulder, and Jenski’s pointing at the milk crate strapped to the cargo bay floor and says, Sit there. If one even starts twitching, shoot it.…

  • Riddley Walker’s Dogs

    I’ve shot a lot of dogs. I’m not proud of it, mind you, but when the bombs fell and the EMPs pulsed, well, that changed a lot of things. Dogs not trusting humans anymore being a big one. They kept to their own kind. Packed up. And when they got hungry, they went hunting. Hunting…