Handsome, Discreet
Sarah Gallien

The kid—now in his mid-teens—stands on the fairway. He hears the slice. He's getting a little sweaty in his black jeans.

It's not hot, there's a breeze, but the sun is something. A 747 cuts across the sky fading in and out of clouds before disappearing. It makes no sound.

He adjusts his sunglasses, adjusts his hair. He adjusts his pants and the keys on his belt-loop jangle softly. He looks at his phone.

Somewhere, five boys plan a party. The kid knows one of them. He's on a group text. There's a lot being said there, but he has nothing to add. He's not really sure why he's on this group text. Somewhere, somebody types fuck-room.

In another tab his sister—his older sister—is trying to ask for help but not really asking. She types something about Gender Studies. There's this guy. She's at a train station 20 miles away.


The kid glares down into the bunker.

The man—the father—dabs at the back of his neck, leathered and wet. He tosses something out at him. "Hold that for me."

The kid catches it against his stomach. He turns it over in his hand. It was a catalog order—a present for this father last Christmas. A stainless steel flask with black leather exterior. Two divots attached. Four slots for tees. He remembers the catalog description. Handsome, it had said. Discreet. He squints into the tree-line. He hears the iron hit the ball, the hollow sound as it moves through the air.

The man grunts, climbing out of the sand onto the fairway. He stomps sand loose from his slacks. He sniffs. He holds out his hand.

The kid stares. He stares for a while. He stares at the father's face. He hands back the flask and turns to his phone.

It is hot. The breeze is gone.

He keeps his eyes trained on the screen.

Sarah Gallien has work in or coming from Fanzine, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and others. She's a co-founding editor of the late great online journal alice blue.

Read her postcard.

Detail of mixed-media photo manipulation on main page courtesy of Nicolas Raymond.

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