“Sitting on the hood of his truck, Vince reclines against the windshield and surveys the deserted parking lot. Broken bottles roll from the warm breeze; discarded papers kick up and swirl in the smell of tar and pelting asphalt cinders. It’s not a lawn, Vince thinks, but it’s wide and flat, and it gives a good view of the sun as it goes down over the airport. He pops open a beer. A low, subsonic rumble vibrates the truck as a jetliner shoots down a runway, lifts off, and climbs slowly above the refineries away in the distance. Vince swallows another mouthful of beer and watches as the red taillights float off through the gray air.”
—Bruce Langfeld, “Give and Take”

“Northeast Philly girls lived close. Their houses were close, clothes were tight, families crammed together on long city streets. On the corners, they stood clumps, girls with big hair and tight jeans and fringed leather pocketbooks. They held lipstick-wet cigarettes between two fingers and exchanged bubblegum, lighters, compact mirrors, all with smooth, pink sleight of hand. These girls had names I wanted—Colleen, Eileen, Christing—the long “ee” insisting on femininity. Their boyfriends were cool and wiry, dropping kisses on their cheeks or loose arms around their necks. At night, so I heard, the boys took them to the St. Lucy’s parking lot where they pressed up close in warm backseats, and later, the girls emerged older, more knowing, having acquired fresh gossip and kissing bruises they’d display like badges of honor on the corner the next day.”
—Elise Juska, “Northeast Philly Girls”

“When he returned to his blue ass-groove he conducted an experiment. He dissected the hoagie. First he ate the salami. Then the prosciutto. He ate the ham then chewed down the tomatoes and lettuce. He sucked on the provolone. Finally he ate the bread soaked in Italian dressing. None of the ingredients alone got so much as a rise from him. It had to be the combination that produced such a magical experience. After finishing the pieces of the hoagie, he sat back, his belly full but his hunger not satisfied. He stared at the notebook sitting on the plastic end table. He considered his options. He wanted to go back, he needed to go back, but getting another hoagie would be admitting that he was (he cringed as he thought it) infatuated with an Italian hoagie. He turned on Judge Judy, took out a PBR, and lit another USA Gold.”
—Annie Wilson, “Hoagie”