Michael Cocchiarale


For their first anniversary, they decided to cross the river for steaks. Since it was hot, they cut through the student union, stopping cold in the lobby before a crowd gathered by the monstrous TV. A quarter mile away, a story was developing. Police cars, a chopper. They watched the camera creep across the front of the dorm where the gunman was holing up. A SWAT team rolled in. Sharpshooters crouched on the rec center roof. On a couch up front sat a boy in a turned around cap, feet up on a table, face full of meatball sub. Two girls appeared behind them, brooding over a preempted soap.  

            “We should go,” he said.  

She tugged his sleeve. “Wait. Let’s see how this ends.”  

After, they stopped to draw money. He slid his card into the machine while she brightened lips in the window of an SUV. Deck-shuffling sounds began. Then the beeping, a sign of action required. Had it been only twenty minutes since that student turned the shotgun on himself? As he folded bills, his wife said, “I’m starved!” Nodding, following in her fragrant wake, he tried to understand exactly how his life would never be the same. 

Michael Cocchiarale is the author of the novel None of the Above (Unsolicited, 2019) and two short story collections–Here Is Ware (Fomite, 2018) and Still Time (Fomite, 2012). His creative work appears online as well, in journals such as Fictive Dream, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, South Florida Poetry Journal, and Ovunque Siamo.