My Story “Altitude” Forthcoming in Passages North

My flash fiction piece “Altitude” won an honorable mention in the Just Desserts Short-Short Fiction Prize from Passages North, the literary journal of Northern Michigan University, and will be published in Volume 32.1. This contest runs in even-numbered years, alternating with their poetry and nonfiction awards. Here’s the beginning of the story; to find out what happens next, order your copy of the magazine today!


The highest point in Pennsylvania is the lowest point in Colorado. Alice had read this on one of the maps Sam had tacked up to decorate his office at the Speedy Garage. The walls’ faded mustard paint job was nearly hidden under bumpy pale pink and green relief maps, annotated maps of states other than their own, and archaic town maps with long-lost structures delineated in copper-plate script: railroad bridge, dairy farm, lunatic hospital.

Alice used to think the maps meant Sam appreciated planning as much as she did, that he understood the expectations invested in ivory notecards and tasting menus, their notarized claim on the future. But maps were also what you saw in real time when you flew above the land, west to east, so high that there were no people visible on the checkerboard of suburbs and cornfields as rust-colored cliffs gave way to slate hills and green valleys. I’ve fallen in love, he said, once at the beginning and once at the end. There were many times in the middle, as well, or Alice wouldn’t have traveled so far down the road of Hawaiian tickets and cake toppers, pew ribbons and arguments with the DJ, but it was the first and last times that mattered, as always. You can fall a lot farther in Colorado, she’d wanted to say. We’re next door to the Grand Canyon.

to be continued…

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