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  • July 22, 2016

    The Virginity Auction

    Clarissa had a deal for a one-time transaction with the Kitty Cup Ranch outside of Virginia City, Nevada, twenty-six hundred miles away from her home in Maryland. In recent months she and Bitsy, the ranch owners, and the ranch’s legal team had been drawing up the contract. If all went well, Clarissa would choose a man from among the highest bidders and complete the auction by mid-August, before ...

  • July 8, 2016

    Pheasants of Detroit

    Every night, I built a blind in the field from heaped tires, shot pheasants from there. I'd found the rifle at the abandoned shooting range. It was an air gun, fired pellets with hollow points that left holes the shape of keyholes in the targets. So far I had killed two pheasants and, accidentally, one squirrel. I had never seen another person. Squatters occupied the other abandoned warehouses, bu...

  • June 17, 2016

    The End of Whispering

    My very first memory is about being alone. I’m one or two years old, and I’ve just woken up from a nap. It’s pitch black, and I’m standing in a creaky wooden crib, holding the bars, looking out into the small, windowless room of our apartment on Kobylanskaya Street. I’m supposed to call my babushka when I wake up, I know this, but for some reason I can’t say the words: Baba. Baba. They...

  • May 25, 2016

    Blood and Water

    When my mother fell ill during the Flint water crisis, I drove five hundred miles from Saint Louis, my new home. My mother had been among the skeptics when in April 2014 the city switched its water source from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in an alleged effort to save money. Immediately residents complained of foul-smelling, sludgy water. A series of boil advisories were issued, but the st...