Issue 11, December 2013
{ Brown House }
by Nikki Wallschlaeger

A single brown curtain that separated his room from the rest of the house. He was not a man behind the unwashed curtain type.

I don't know who gave him that curtain but I'm guessing it was grandma. She probably made it herself while watching 60 minutes. I sat nearby, reading a Babysitter's Club book. Claudia Kishi was my favorite

since she wore the coolest clothes. Deliriously printed leggings and palm tree t-shirts. She also hid junk food in her room and painted celebratory still-lives of them whenever her parents weren't looking.

Like me, she was also terrible at math and needed a tutor. I remember my mother getting frustrated when she tried to help me, but he was content to watch Bonanza in the late afternoon.

He liked to drink Pepsi and for Christmas, my aunt and uncle would wrap up a 12-pack of Pepsi for him to open because everyone assumed he had given up on everything else. It was a cruel inside joke.

Nikki Wallschlaeger's work has been featured in DecomP, Esque, Word Riot, Spork, Great Lakes Review, Horse Less Review and others. She is the author of two chapbooks: THE FROGS AT NIGHT (Shirt Pocket Press) and I WOULD BE THE HAPPIEST BIRD (Strange Cage Press, forthcoming). She lives in Milwaukee, WI, and you can reach her at