Featured Story - August 2008:
From Vegas, With Love (excerpt)


Grandma was worried. While my parents were hitting the casino, Grandma and I checked into our room. She was too tired, after sitting in the station wagon for six hours. It had been a long day for her already, though we had not had lunch. She asked me a lot of questions about the car. After exhausting the theories of why the car overheated, which she did not have many, she concluded that this could only be a "one-time thing". I tried to explain to her that there was never a one time thing to have green fluid gushing out beneath a car like a waterfall. It was hard to break bad news in Vegas. She decided to take a nap.

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About the Story

I wrote most of this story a long time ago, while I was still an undergraduate. When I took a writing seminar as a graduate student a couple years later, I submitted this story for critique in class, but not before I added the scene in the casino. Before the casino scene, I had been writing on instinct, trying to record a bunch of emotions towards one of my best friends at that time. I didn't think there was much unity to the story; it just depicted a pretty dysfunctional friendship. (It was. of course, less dramatic in real life.) The new casino scene was supposed to tie up the themes in the story, but I tried to do it without involving the two main characters. In fact, I propped two new people in the scene for the story's "turn," and I wasn't sure if they worked. I was rather insecure about the story, but it was later in the semester. I had turned in two stories already, and I was too lazy to write an entirely new story for the class. To my surprise, my professor (and most of the class) liked the story, especially the casino scene. And this story ended up being one of a handful of my stories that found a home in publication. I like the story enough to include it here in the collection. Despite the approval by others, it would always feel like an "early work" to me. (As a matter of fact, this is probably the oldest story in the entire collection.)