“When you (or your tumors make you) drift off to sleep during class, you see another classroom, with the American Algebra teacher on TV talking about how to calculate a body count during a war where American lives are lost, how the bodies with the non-preferred skin color aren’t factored in. The Math teacher says this is how we can show the American god how much we are winning by how much we aren’t losing.”
Introducing Teenage Wasteland: An American Love Story, the debut novel from the prizewinning flash fiction author J. Bradley. Capturing a singular drop of our position in America’s history is not a small task, but if we trust anyone to do so, it should be Bradley.
“The girl whose mouth opens sideways then tells you about how the boy who coughs up oil speaks throughout his body, and you nod as if you didn’t already know this, didn’t make out “you” and “beautiful” when you nuzzled up to the boy who coughed up oil as he showed you your first star through the wheezing smokestacks while you struggled for air from the second bottle of wine.”