A short story by alum Karen Tucker (fiction, ’10) appears at The American Literary Review:

He appeared among us one cool October, long before I grew used to strange men. No one saw him enter. Somehow he managed to slip through the door with enough grace or cunning that the old horse bell looped to its handle never even had a chance to ring. He took the stool next to the cash register and fixed his gaze on our mother. He said he wanted a cheese sandwich and an unsweetened iced tea.

For several hard moments, we watched him. The hair that snaked down his neck and curled around a torn-up collar. The bones that poked out of his cheeks like blades. At last our mother tightened her apron. “Sorry mister, but this is a place of business. We don’t just go giving handouts.”

“My dear Beverly.” The man rolled her name around in his mouth as if savoring a rare pleasure. “I’m afraid you’ve made a terrible mistake.”

With a cryptic smile, he reached in his pocket and unfisted a riot of coins onto the counter where it came to rest in a small, lifeless mound.

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