Everyday Fictions

Writing by Adam Golub

Short Stories

I’m sitting on the front steps of my townhouse waiting for the locksmith. I have a spare key, but it’s inside, in the kitchen drawer. I never knew who to give it to. My mom lives three thousand miles away. I had hoped I might get to know one of my new neighbors, but a year and half later, I’m still my own spare.

I’m best at communicating abbreviated sentiments from a distance, a quality of character I believe I inherited from my thorny grandfather, D.B. Dexter. In 1952, D.B. opened a printing plant in West Nyack, New York that specialized in postcards for hotels and motor lodges. The plant did business with road houses across the country, from Albany to Dallas to Phoenix to San Diego. A typical D.B. Dexter postcard featured three images on the front: in the top left corner, the motel sign, cropped against a blue sky with a road visible somewhere in the distance; in the top right corner, a shot of one of the guest rooms, with the bed and television always front and center; then, running the length of the bottom half of the postcard would be the pool, though never with any people in sight—just a picture of vacant lounge chairs gathered around the water. “No people,” D.B. would tell his clients. “We don’t print people. A postcard should make the reader wish they were there, imagine themselves in the scene. You want people in your postcard, take your business elsewhere.”

Ty took a break from sexting Maddie to ask the pool guy about the leaf blower guy.

"The Pool Guy," Pulp Literature Issue 15 (Summer 2017): 121-130.

--First runner-up, The Raven Short Story Contest, Pulp Literature, 2016

--Honorable Mention, New Millennium Writings Award for Fiction, 2014

On my morning run, I met a boy with a flute case. I was jogging up Highland when he flagged me down and asked directions to the library. He told me his school was closed because of a bomb threat. Then he started swinging his flute case forward and back.

"The Flute Case," The Bookends Review, February 17, 2017.

--Selection, The Bookends Review Best of 2017 print anthology

The yoga studio is empty on Hallowe’en. There is a new instructor. She wears a red unitard and a glitter mesh top hat. ‘Welcome to Bikram.’ The room feels hotter than usual.

Was his profile picture really current? It couldn’t be. But there was the time stamp. Taken just a few days ago, on his back patio. This guy was too good to be true. Like he walked out of yesterday. So vital. So fresh and alive. So damn verdant. No one had plants like that anymore. Not since the drought started.

I’m with my best friend, who I haven’t talked to in ten years, driving up to Lone Pine to find his daughter. ‘She says she’s okay but she doesn’t want to see you,’ was what the sheriff told him a week ago, before Barry phoned me and we arranged to meet at LAX. This morning, I flew in from Boston, he came from Newark, I called him an asshole to his face and told him I was glad he wasn’t dead, and we rented a car.

"Lone Pine" (unpublished)

--Semifinalist, Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, Carve Magazine, 2018

--Quarter-Finalist, 2018 Nimrod Literary Awards: The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction

--Honorable Mention, New Millennium Writings Award for Fiction, 2015

A couple wades at the four-foot mark
While a man swims laps on his back
And a retiree slumps down the slide.

The children, meantime, are perched on the pool steps,
Lathered in lotion
Like an army of white ghouls,
Gazing hungrily at the lifeguard,
Waiting for her to blow
The whistle
And put an end to this madness.