Because Condoms Seem So Desperate, She Also Buys a Fern
Stefanie Freele

His wife and son are both giggling in their sleep. Hers is a lovely laugh, the one she uses when something is absurd, like when she came out of Longs with that plant.

The boy's is a gleeful giggle. Perhaps he's dreaming about when the dog chases him after he's stolen her ragged bone.

He tries to think of something humorous so as to join in their laughter but all he can think of is bills.

He turns on the tiny book light, clips it to a hat and walks to the kitchen where the watercolors and paper are still out. He dips in a brush and adds to his son's splashes green s's for dollar signs, red hearts for lips.

From the bed, the two laugh. The cooling night drifts through the window along with frog sounds.

He mixes yellow with brown and paints long legs, just like the one exposed beside the sheet in the bedroom, the one that got him here in the first place.

Stefanie Freele's stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Hobart and Contrary. She is the 2008 Writer in Residence for SmokeLong Quarterly and has a MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts: Whidbey Writers Workshop.

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of Aaron Michel.

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