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TWO STORIES

ONE

Glenn Mike. Good old Glenn. He was the cousin of my mom’s half brother or something like that – I’m not completely sure actually. It seemed he was always at these family things just sitting there with a smirk on his face. Like he had this weird secret or had this piercing insight or some shit – seeing straight through all the rest of us losers in the family. He had a way about him. That’s for sure. Sitting in a chair with this strange radiating pose like a damn yogi. Being all quiet and all seeing. My uncle and him always made weird jokes nobody got at all. They had a really strong bond that’s for sure. I think it annoyed the hell out of my mom for some reason. She acted all weird when Glenn showed up. Always started doing the dishes splashing all the soap around like a damn duck. And Glenn, he just sat on his chair calmly smirking. 

Suddenly he just stopped coming to these things, though. No goodbyes or anything. Just no more Glenn Mike. It was about the time my uncle moved away to Europe or some place. I heard he joined a cult. I don’t know. Maybe it was something I dreamed. 

My mom never mentioned my uncle at all after that, though. Weird isn’t it. Just forgetting your own brother like that. I would never do that. Even though he’s a real asshole all the time. 

Anyway. I actually forgot all about him, but years later my mom made this weird remark about old Glenn. Like she had this deep felt grudge against him for some reason. I don’t know. Called him an old faggot being all resentful. Not like her at all shooting off remarks like that.

But I sort of miss these family things, though. We never seem to do that anymore since my uncle died or whatever happened to him. Perhaps they both show up some day. Him and Glenn. Like no time had passed at all.  Glenn Mike there in his chair.

Story by Jacob Blak

TWO

THAT BEARD
You son-of-a-bitch, you grew that beard. You said you would, and you did. There, I expect you’re pleased about it too. You look pleased anyway. I always preferred you clean-shaven (but you knew that, didn’t you?). I expect you think you’re channelling John Huston or Ernest Hemmingway, a maverick silver fox with a wise sprouting Moses bush under your chin? A lived in beard that shouts ‘experience!’ A beard of ages, right? Wrong! You look like a well-groomed small town classics lecturer coming up to retirement. Retire the beard I say! It’s a statement and the statement isn’t worth making. Shave it off, come back to me, and all will be forgiven. I’ll pluck the stubble, rub moisturiser into the pores and slap your cheeks with Old Spice. You left a bottle on the bathroom shelf; it won’t have gone off yet. Then we can go dancing like old times. I won’t ask where you’ve been but I want you to hold me like you mean it. I want you close. I want your breath on my neck, but if a whisker scratches me, I’ll claw your back. Like you used to like me doing, deep and slow.

Story by Alan McCormick

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