by Steve Himmer
The sticky heat and muffled sound remind Martin of lying in bed when he was eight years old and living in one of many cramped apartments he shared with his mother. He listened to the adult voices growing louder in the next room as she fought with the man they were living with then - the one he remembers as only a walrus mustache - and Martin knew that in the morning they would move somewhere else the way they always did after that kind of fight. Despite the dead, city heat in his room, he pulled the bedclothes up over his head until the voices were almost drowned out. Soon he was dripping with sweat so he peeled off his sweaty pajamas and pushed them out of the bed, then pulled the rattling box fan from the window into the tent of his blankets and sheets. Naked and clammy in that mechanical breeze, he sang to himself through the blades of the fan and pretended he was a musical robot instead of a boy beneath a pile of blankets. Eventually he fell asleep, and when he woke up the fan was back in the window and his mother had already packed his few things.
Steve Himmer's stories have appeared most recently at Pequin, Night Train, and 21 Stars Review. "Blankets" is excerpted from a novel called SCRATCH, which he will probably let you read if you ask. He is the author of Precis, and keeps a dull blog.