This spring I learned the wonderful news that my short story, “The Half-Glass Bed,” had won Cream City Review A. David Schwartz Fiction Prize. The story, selected by judge Vanessa Hua, appears in the current issue. Here’s a selection from the piece, which touches upon the subjects of Lyme disease, mathematical chaos, the restaurant business, and Disneyland:
Mark’s gaze is bright when she goes to the bar to talk to him. He is in his twenties but looks like a teenager. His features are boyishly rounded. When Daphne, who is thirty-one, tries to imagine him aging, his face pushes back against her efforts. He tells her about his thumb, a squarish thing. It resembles a toe, and it turns out that it was a toe. An accident cost him his original thumb. He must have been a cared-for child because, while speaking of this accident, he betrays no bitterness. Maybe he received much attention from the grandma who, when he was a boy, took him to Florida to a theme park. She drove him there as a treat that he had looked forward to all summer. He knew all the characters at the park and was excited to meet them: the duck with the speech impediment, the affable mouse. But what he wanted to do most was to go on a ride with mechanical pirates in caves.
Soon his turn came on this water ride. When he sat in the boat, he gripped the back edge of his seat as if he were about to jump up at any moment. His elbow was sticking out, and his fingers were inside the boat, his thumb outside. He was in the back of the ride in the last boat with his grandma, but he could hear a voice up ahead. A pirate was telling him to hold on tight. They were going down into the cave where there were more pirates. Pretty soon he would see all of them. The boat was moving into a waterfall, but before they could get there, he felt pain in his hand. The pain was too strong to believe. Lifting his hand from the boat’s edge, he thought: But I’m not hurt.