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Good News or Money by Patricia Ann McNair Flyleaf Literary Journal Chicago Issue #5

"Good News or Money" by Patricia Ann McNair

Issue #5 / April 2014

Illustrated by Olga Kosheleva


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PATRICIA ANN MCNAIR has lived 98 percent of her life in the Midwest. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award as well as a nominatin for the Carnegie Foundation’s US Professor of the Year. McNair’s story collection, The Temple of Air, was named Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year in traditional fiction, Devil’s Kitchen Reader Awardee in Prose, and finalist in adult fiction by Society of Midland Authors. She’s received numerous Illinois Arts Council Awards and Pushcart Prize nominations in fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been named a finalist for the American Fiction Prize twice.




"Hello, is this someone with good news or money? No? Goodbye!




Hello, is this someone with good news or money? No? Goodbye!

Ha! Yeah, right. A Thousand Clowns. Jason Robards. Right. Ok, yeah. Hey. It’s me. Surprise. Long time. I know.


So here’s the thing. It’s about Mom. Are you there? Are you listening? Can you hear me? It’s about Mom, she asked me to call. I didn’t want to, but she asked…



Hello, is this someone with good news or money? No? Goodbye!

Goddamn machine. You wait a minute to try to collect your thoughts. It’s about Mom, right? I got something to say.


Oh, wait. You probably think I’m calling about something bad. Oh, jeez. Wow. That’s not…I mean…it’s not bad. Nothing bad. No, hey. It’s good. Ok, take two. Or whatever.


Hi, Dad? It’s me. You know. Your daughter? The one you haven’t seen in what, six years? Not since you moved up north—to the tundra or whatever? Well, the only one, I guess. Your only daughter. Maybe. As far as I know. Probably. Your only daughter, probably. Does that sound harsh? Sorry.


It’s just…I’ve been thinking about things, you know? Things. Just things. All kinds of things…


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