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SmokeLong Quarterly

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The Runner

Story by Curtis Smith (Read author interview) December 21, 2009

art by Tara Chickey

Before the accident, he was a runner, a state champion in high school, a conference medalist in his freshman year. On a humid Virginia night, he smashed his motorcycle into the statue of a Civil War hero. He ran again, but never like before, never again like that.

His girlfriend was a dancer. In their apartment, he asked her to dance for him. When she moved, he desired nothing, his soul at rest. Watching her, he recalled how the track glided beneath his feet and the ecstasy of release when he hit the final straightaway. And he remembered the moment before he crashed and the nights thick scent of peach blossoms.

About the Author

Curtis Smith’s stories and essays have appeared in over one hundred literary journals and have been cited by The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The Best American Spiritual Writing, and The Best Small Fictions.

Smith has published five collections of fiction, the first two with March Street Press and the last three with Press 53. He has published three novels, the last two with Casperian Books, and two essay collections (Sunnyoutside and Dock Street Press). His latest book, a personal take on Slaughterhouse-Five, was recently put out by Ig.

About the Artist

Tara Chickey’s art can be found online at www.tarachickey.com.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-Seven of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Seven
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