“Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a crowd of Carhartt flannels.”


Jeff Parker‘s narrator watches from a dryer as the woman he’s laid claim to slinks off (and into bed) with a stout beef named Brick. The narrator confronts his rival, who lies naked with the fine-bodied Patsy, by punching him in the face. Next thing our hero knows, he’s wedged under an emergency brake with a tarantula in his mouth and salted slug hanging from the rearview mirror. The tarantula turns out to be his own swollen tongue and the slug is the tip, which he apparently bit off when Brick kicked the shit out of him. It’s gritty. It’s language you can feel in your mouth as you read. It’s effing good fiction, folks. It appeared first in the Indiana Review who have been kind enough to let us post the entire story for download as a PDF.

Editor’s Note— occasionally we will publish fiction that is already published but not available online. If we find a story we like that is available online we will link to it. We don’t currently accept fiction submissions. – S.E.

Jesse Nathan is an editor at McSweeney’s and the managing editor of the Best American Nonrequired Reading. His poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, the American Poetry Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Nation. He was born in Berkeley, grew up in Kansas, and lives now in San Francisco. More from this author →