1. “Daddy always loved the lake,” remarked Jelisa Lu. “He’d swim in the buff every morning at dawn. I’d hear him bellow, ONE-TWO-SIX!!! Then a big fat splash.” She hugged herself and watched him spread along the surface of the pond.

2. Archie Settelmeyer loved his best friend, Burt. They met on the see-saw in first grade, went to Viet Nam in the same unit, and dropped Agent Orange on their comrades. Archie dumped it from a plane, Burt sprayed it around the base. When Archie returned to the see-saw after Burt died, he sat alone on the downside and imagined his freckled, scrawny buddy in the empty seat.

3. Moira loved the show at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. The pirates, the hand-to-hand combat, and most of all, the explosions that startled her every night on her yearly vacation. She stayed in a room that overlooked the pool and made her friends based on the quality of their bathing suits. Mr. Frick wore a striped Patagonia baggie and Mr. Limpit won the competition in a Thom Browne seersucker but, to be honest, she had slept with both of them. Limpit stayed at the Bellagio. Frick ended up sprinkled over the rope railing and Limpit landed in the fountain.

4. There is a moment in a life when one makes a choice that causes a domino effect and results in disaster. Lucy Peregrine decided that a few swigs of moonshine would not affect her driving until she ran over a child of two. The child’s mother, deep in grief, stood in the middle of Lucy’s yard a month after the Manslaughter. Man instead of Toddler. Why does Manslaughter contain the word laughter?

5. Prescott Lowenstein’s favorite hole was The Benders’ Fourteen. The one with the lip and the double palms before the green. A fast par 5 over water. His family took a cart and toured the course with their stop at fourteen mostly hidden by those palms. The ashes drifted off, in the same direction as a putt traversing the green.

6. Molly McNamara wanted a diamond. Made sense because her love for her husband sparkled like mica. Devoted wife, slim, sleek, and rich. She watched the videos, underscored by Vivaldi, and asked for the largest possible carbon outcome. She never wore it, instead kept it in the safe, in case anyone asked if she missed him.

7. “You’re sitting on my mother,” Louis said, gesturing at my bench in the memory garden.

8. She was the first pilot to circumvent the globe. A woman, imagine that! Where else should she spend eternity but the air?

9. Maybe my mother-in-law will stay in the closet forever, nestled among her son’s shoes.

10. Grandma was the favorite of everyone in town. We shared her, a little here, and a little there.

Nancy J. Fagan is a western Massachusetts based writer whose work appears in Kaleidoscope Journal, the award-winning Coolest American Stories 2023, Fiction International, Nifty Lit, Abilities-Canada, and Tamarind (UK), among others. A registered nurse with a BA in English from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, she writes historical novels which include characters with disabilities and medically themed short stories. For more, please visit www.nancyjfagan.com and follow @writerfagan on Instagram.