“Poker chips always remind me of Holy Communion,” Nicholas says, laying a white one on his tongue. “The body of Christ must be buried somewhere in Atlantic City.” He stretches himself across the sand, the only crucified sunbather on the beach. We’ve come too far not to gamble, even if it means another Friday night without dinner. Nicholas has perfected hunger, his white chest hollowed like a boat washed up on shore. I could climb inside and sail to Vegas, Monte Carlo, some place where the Wheel of Fortune is due. Instead, I take the Expressway, a bunch of frozen grapes in the passenger seat beside me, round and slick on the stem. I count them out, not a Hail Mary as much as an afternoon snack.
Lauren Hall’s work has appeared in NANO Fiction, The Conium Review, APIARY, and Fiction Writers Review. She received the 2012 William Carlos Williams Prize for Poetry at the University of Pennsylvania and was a finalist for the 2011 NANO Prize.