Literature 4-22-2008

miniStories: “Tice” by Maggie Ryan Sandford

"Tice" by Maggie Ryan Sandford is one of the spring 2008 winning miniStories, selected by Random House/Crown editor, Lindsey Moore.



     He lays there, chin all soft-looking with these tiny orange hairs. Seems like boys in puberty don’t have freckles, but there you go. Just starting. Puberty.
     I saw him hit, and it was fuckin horrible. He’s thinking he’s the cock-a-the fuckin walk, sweeps his bike out in front of traffic and there’s the car, some ugly-ass sedan or something: bam. …Shit. Bike just…folded. Tore-up.
     He’s got a mom. Debbie. She works at Holiday. She’s in whenever she’s not on. I think she had him when she was pretty young. We’re friends, me an her, we talk. She asks about how it happened, a lot, and I tell her. Sort of.
     I thought about telling her once: at least he didn’t get shot. Could’ve robbed some places, hung out with kids who beat kids up. Could’ve been doing drugs. Maybe he did drugs, I dunno. She don’t know. She doesn’t care.
     And, man, she’s got these big ol’ green eyes that are just like, shiny, all the time, like… I can’t talk to her for too long, her eyes are so big like that. When I know Debbie’s working, I sit with him. The nurses used to ask for ID, but then one fat one who I’m guessing is in charge figured out I’m the one saw it happen, I called 911, and people pretty much leave me be. I don’t know.
     I usually don’t say nothing. I guess I think at him, sort of. Tell him with my head some things.
     I tell him in my head that I smoke weed like all the time, and my bong cost more than all the food in my fridge. I tell him about the hot-tub my buddies have in their back yard, how it’s broken, and we fill it with couch cushions and sleeping bags and jump off the roof into it. High, drunk. Fight each other with like big sticks, hockey sticks, and sometimes we pile the cushions just on the ground and climb the ladder and tip over into the pile, and sometimes we steal shit from people’s yards, like, reflectors, lawn animals. I ask him in my head why people need that shit. We don’t need it, but it’s hilarious, especially when people’s fuckin movement-sensitive lights go on and we start running and realize Jase is pissing all over these people’s roses. I tell him about the garage where we work… Gerry, the fat fuckin long-hair who runs it, who’s real fuckin cool to everyone and doesn’t rip off ladies or nothin, even when they’re dumb as shit and not hot. I tell him how to fix a carburetor. I tell him how I fixed his bike. I tell him about the tattoo I got when I was fifteen, of this angry Woody Woodpecker smoking a fat blunt.
     And when Debbie comes in, I cover it up with my sleeve, the tattoo. I think, sometimes, what my arm would look like now if I never got it.

About the author: Maggie Ryan Sandford is thrilled to return to Saint Paul after a recent fling with the New York comedy scene. She writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, humor, and short film, with a particular interest in the relationship between art and science. Her work has received recognition from the Seattle Art Museum, Richard Hugo House, National Public Radio, and others. She would like to thank for all that they do.

Maggie Ryan Sandford

Maggie Ryan Sandford is a science journalist, fiction writer, and human behavior researcher specializing in the relationship between science and art. Her work has appeared in Slate, Smithsonian, mental_floss, McSweeney’s, onstage at the Guthrie, UCB, and People’s Improv Theaters, on and National Public Radio. She is currently at work on a book about dolphins and how weird they are. More on twitter (@Mandford) and at …   read more