Issue 28 Nonfiction

This Is How It Happens
by Elaine Wang

These were some of the many rules at Marydale¹ Mental Hospital:

1. Visitors could not bring you outside food, not even on visiting days. Someone had brought in a pizza, hidden pills under the cheese, and the recipient had almost succeeded in committing suicide.

2. No strings. No shoelaces, no drawstrings, etc.

3. No pens. For daily group sessions you were provided a golf pencil.

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Millwood Ave, Scrapping, and Good People Larry
by David Travis Bland

On the corner of Millwood Avenue and Gervais Street in Columbia, South Carolina, a man yells for my attention as he walks across the street. He’s pushing a small grocery cart with one crumpled soda can and a long wooden stake. When he gets to me I think he’s homeless and asking for money. What else could he want from me? I’ve got nothing I could give to this guy. But I can’t understand him. He has that old folks’ voice that cuts all the words short.

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