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Happy Valentine’s Day.

The rain is making this rented tuxedo smell like a wet animal. My sister Rachel and my ex-girlfriend Maggie are standing outside the car while drops fall lightly on their newly done hair and their pink satin bridesmaids dresses. They’re looking at me like I should be unlocking the car, not staring at it from a safe distance. But there’s a form in the way, a purple-orange spot shaped like an exploding dog. If Rachel and Maggie weren’t here, I might call it a ghost. But no. It’s only a retinal stain, the kind made by flashbulbs and welding torches and staring at the sun for too long. Still, standing here in the dark liquor-store parking lot holding a brown sack full of booze, I can’t bring myself to walk towards it.

– From “If There’s a Hell I Hope You Burn There with the Others” by Casey Gray

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