I had been considering shaving my moustache when a squadron of nuns knocked my door. None wore habits, but they had that sturdy nun look. The young one said they’d come to surrender my daughter to me. I haven’t had actual sex in seven years, but here was this four-year-old daughter: Germina with scuffed shoes.
While the child gnawed a braid, the woman flustered paperwork at me, proving this address as the father’s. I tried to argue, Germina started to cry, and I can’t handle that shit. My afternoon hadn’t promised more than window shopping the meat case at Piggly Wiggly, so I said what the Hell. Not one nun blinked. They lobbed me a small backpack and flocked back to their van.
I paused on the porch to enjoy what I thought would be the last cigarette of my old life. Inside the house, Germina had found some newspaper, and the jar of gasoline I kept under the sink. She’d brought her own matches.
Eric Darby lives and writes in San Francisco. Unlike the narrator in this story, he does not usually store gasoline in his own kitchen.
Ginny Fang makes art and lives in San Francisco. Initially drawn to nearly achromatic water-based mediums and the immediate gratification of large, abstracted figurative drawing on paper, she more recently expanded her exploration to embrace color and the slower meditation of oil painting.