SmokeLong Quarterly

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When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny

Story by Steve Almond (Read author interview) September 15, 2007

This was in an airport bar, the four of them squared off and late to somewhere else, on holiday from offices, files, throwing toasts like punches: to leather jackets and chardonnay and potato skins and snow delays and new friends and old flames and every sin rearranged to seem romantic, less mistaken.

Their stems swung forward and their glasses clanked, and when the drunkest of them, a loud blond, belted out her appreciations to valium and vibrators, all four howled and clanked again and tried to remember the last time their naked bodies felt a part of God.

It was nothing like grace, this sorrow.

Then they drifted off to be swallowed by gates and planes that were dreams they would never see from the ground.

“When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny” was originally published in StoryQuarterly and appears here by permission of Steve Almond.

About the Author

Steve Almond is the author of the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). His most recent book, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, came out in spring 2010. He is also, crazily, self-publishing books. This Wont Take But a Minute, Honey is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing. Letters from People Who Hate Me is just plumb crazy. Both are available at readings. In 2011, Lookout Press will publish his story collection God Bless America.

This story appeared in Issue Eighteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Eighteen

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"The Shape of Things: Movement, Momentum, and Dimension in Flash CNF" with Steve Edwards

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From sentence-level craft concerns to questions of overall approach, this 90-minute webinar will explore strategies for adding shape, intensity, and depth to your flash creative nonfiction.

Steve Edwards is author of the memoir BREAKING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY, the story of his seven months as caretaker of a 95-acre backcountry homestead along federally protected Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Oregon. His work has appeared in Orion MagazineThe Sun MagazineLiterary HubElectric LiteratureThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives outside Boston with his wife and son.