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West Texas

No. 29, and 2/30 in the April business. 


Her friend smelled like fruit and artificial flowers. “Okay, I really have to go. I have to get home for Matt’s thing,” Emma said, releasing Hanna from the long hug.

“Who’s Matt?” her roommate asked.

“My oldest brother,” Emma said shortly.

“I thought it was just you and Steve,” Hanna said in surprise.

“Steve’s my only full brother, yeah. My mom was married before.”

Hanna moseyed across their tiny kitchen to peek out the window onto Central Square. “Looks cold out there. So you’ve got a half-brother? Any other siblings I don’t know about?”

“Matt’s the oldest of five in that bunch.”

“Holy shit,” Hanna said, turning to fix her with pale stunned eyes behind her dark glasses. “How did you never mention that?”

Emma shrugged. “My family history is . . .weird. I’d better get going.”

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Story no. 26. 


Little Jimmy lay next to her for still, long, slow minutes, breathing. Emma could feel the weave of the sheets rubbing across her shoulders, the backs of her hips, the backs of her thighs. The afternoon was dry and crisp and brittle like the winter-kill grass beside the stoop. An air conditioner still clung to the windowsill of his bedroom. He mostly didn’t heat the trailer in the winter months; when it was his weekend to have Lucia he dragged an old electric radiator into her bedroom.