SmokeLong Quarterly
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True Identity
by Kevin Sampsell

art by Hayley Barker
art by Hayley Barker
He finally got a good night’s sleep, even though it was only three hours. When he awoke he felt as if God had opened him like an envelope and gently stuffed ten or twenty hours of billowy rest into him.

He took a shower, got dressed in clean clothes, and walked to the bus. He did not jog nervously to the stop like usual. On the bus, he spotted an empty space at the front and squeezed in to sit. He pulled a small book out of his pocket and started to read. More people got on the bus and he looked at their shoes, their sandles, their feet. He looked at all the different toes of the women and imagined what their face looked like. He kept himself from looking up, even though he wanted to.

He had to show discipline.

He realized he had not turned a page in his book for a good five minutes and he wondered if those around him realized he was faking it. He was a terrible actor pretending to be a reader on a bus. He was a pervert torturing himself.

He started to feel tired again. On the surface of his body he still felt fine. But somewhere between his skin and his deeper parts, he felt a dizzy sadness. Two by two, he watched the feet move away from him.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2015 by its authors.

Kevin Sampsell is the author of the short story collections, Beautiful Blemish (Word Riot Press) and Creamy Bullets (Chiasmus Press) and the editor of the anthologies, The Insomniac Reader (Manic D Press) and the forthcoming Portland Noir (Akashic, 2009). He is also the publisher of Future Tense Books (, a micropress in Portland, Oregon. Visit him online at

Read the interview.

Hayley Barker's work can be found online at
Issue Twenty-Two (October 2, 2008): Innocence, Briefly by Jenny Arnold «» Tapioca O's by Natalie DeClerck «» How Anything Got Done by Paul Elwork «» Tenderoni by Kathy Fish «» Breathing Oysters by Stefanie Freele «» The Mime's Dog by Steven Douglas Gullion «» Two Minute Silence by Sarah Hilary «» Crazy Sun by Lauren Huckstadt «» One Night Out by Ashley Kaufman «» Asian Girl by W.P. Kinsella «» Fatback by Jeff Landon «» Bounty by Tricia Louvar «» Beautiful by Antonios Maltezos «» Constructing Birds by Jo Mortimer «» Private Room by M.E. Parker «» True Identity by Kevin Sampsell «» Campfire by Donna D. Vitucci «» Interviews: Jenny Arnold «» Paul Elwork «» Kathy Fish «» Stefanie Freele «» Steven Douglas Gullion «» Sarah Hilary «» Ashley Kaufman «» Jeff Landon «» Tricia Louvar «» Antonios Maltezos «» Jo Mortimer «» M.E. Parker «» Kevin Sampsell «» Donna D. Vitucci «» Cover Art "November Leaves" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor

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