Exit Strategies

A boy takes his toothbrush and a week’s worth of underwear over to his best friend’s house, where he hides out in the closet whenever his friend’s mother comes in to check on him.

A woman packs a satchel. On top of a few silk blouses, she jams in a wad of twenties from the ATM machine, a tube of Chapstick stained from applying it over her lipstick, and the first photograph ever taken with the both of them in it. It’s not a photo of the both of them together but of her and him in the same photo, in the same place. The beach on the Fourth of July. She doesn’t pack their joint credit card or their cat, or his oversized shirt she wears as a nightgown. She leaves, also, the dent in the wall, her last name, their future.

Every night, a yellow tabby squeezes through the window on the left side of the house next door. One morning, she won’t come back.


A man is writing a letter, detailing his exit strategy. In it he describes his escape involving a winding spiral staircase. He doesn’t say whether he is going up or down. At the end, he writes: It might turn into a different story.