Susan Messer
An Extended Definition of Unclassifiable Knowing

Susan Messer - An Extended Definition of Unclassifiable Knowing

Creative Nonfiction
Susan Messer has had fiction and nonfiction published in Triquarterly, Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, After Hours, Colorado Review, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, and Another… Read more »
A. J. Bermudez

A. J. Bermudez - Fall

Creative Nonfiction
A. J. Bermudez is an award-winning writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Hobart, The Masters Review, Fiction International,… Read more »
Caroline Miller

Caroline Miller - Mosaic

Creative Nonfiction
Caroline Miller is an essayist and poet who writes about art, landscapes, and femininity. She has an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Wyoming and enjoys tap dancing, hiking, and drinking far… Read more »
Annie Sheppard
One Peach

Annie Sheppard - One Peach

Creative Nonfiction
Annie Sheppard’s essays can be found in Phoebe, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Fourth Genre, and The Pushcart Prize XLV, among others. She lives in Oregon. Read more »

One Peach

Annie Sheppard

Last Friday evening, Henry brought home a peach. It was given to him by a customer, a woman for whom he’d replaced a bath fan. She came to him as he was putting his tools away, with the peach cupped in both hands. She held it out to him. “I am gifting you this peach,” she said.

“Gifting?” I said, at home in our kitchen.

“Yes,” Henry said. “Gifting.”

“She was a good one,” he added, meaning a good customer. Bad customers schedule his time and then hire someone else but don’t bother to tell him, or else they are chronically angry. Bad customers follow him around their house or shop or barn talking strident politics while he tries to unravel the hidden cause of the dead light switch or the alarming sparks that fly from the outlet or the mysteriously tripping breaker. It doesn’t matter which politics.

“She was about eighty,” he said. “Tranquil.” My husband values tranquility.

Henry and old people do seem to enjoy a special affinity. He appreciates their lack of hurry, that they are inclined toward function over form, and are usually frugal, so do not try his sympathies with spoiled, extravagant tastes. In return,… Read more »