Gary L. McDowell
A Fish So Large

Gary L. McDowell - A Fish So Large

Creative Nonfiction
Gary L. McDowell is the author of American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010) and co-editor of The Rose Metal Press… Read more »
Yian Chen
In Praise of Bao

Yian Chen - In Praise of Bao

Creative Nonfiction
Yian Chen was born in Shanghai, China. He and his parents immigrated to the Chicago suburbs when he was little.… Read more »
Jenny Martin
My Promenade

Jenny Martin - My Promenade

Creative Nonfiction
After receiving two degrees in English literature from Colorado State University, Jenny Martin moved back east and began a 23-year… Read more »
Kyle Bilinski
Paint and Ink

Kyle Bilinski - Paint and Ink

Creative Nonfiction
Kyle Bilinski lives in northern California where he works as a flight attendant and painting contractor. He recently received his… Read more »
Naomi Kimbell
The Dress

Naomi Kimbell - The Dress

Creative Nonfiction
Naomi Kimbell lives and writes in Missoula. Much of her work focuses on facets of mental illness as well as… Read more »

Paint and Ink

Kyle Bilinski

SPRING 2000

When your old man comes into your room late one night and asks you if you want to make some real money, you know what he means. But then he says, “Painting houses with me, learning the family trade,” like it’s some kind of surprise. Sure, it’s the first time he’s asked you, though he’s mentioned the subject several times during the school year. “You’ll work hard, and I’ll pay you good money by the hour,” he adds, like it might be a tough decision to make. But it’s not. You’re fifteen years old and just last weekend you pulled a rotten engine out of the old pickup you’re rebuilding. And then there’s that alluring blond girl, Serena, who you’ve been aching to take out on a fancy candlelit date. Both of these things require good money.

“I’ll give the bagel shop my two-weeks tomorrow,” you say, trying to camouflage your excitement. Those jerks at the bagel shop don’t even care about you anyway, with their insulting ten-cent raises every six months. You can’t wait to tell them you’re through with them, and you can’t wait for school to let out, for the summer work ahead. When… Read more »