Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.


by J. Bradley

Mitch goes in the 24-hour pharmacy, makes sure there’s not a lot of people inside. He comes out through the sliding glass door, gives mom and me the thumbs. I get out of the car, open her door, and help her out. Mom stumbles while trying to stand and I hold my breath to see whether her temper causes her to seep through her containment suit she’s filled, the trench coat and hat we made her wear to hide it. I inspect her, don’t see any wisps of her green seeping out. Relax, she says. I’m fine.
Mitch stands guard outside as we walk in. There’s one boy at the counter and he’s reading one of those magazines that reports on weird stuff happening in the world. This week’s is about a half bat/half teen who wants to go to college like a normal boy. Mom hasn’t made the cover of one of those things, yet.
What do you need from here, mom asks. I hand her the mom friendly list Mitch and I made: aspirin, pistachios, paper towels, toilet paper. Mom looks at the list, says: you’d save more money going to a real store. I yes, mom her and she grunts and lumbers through the aisles. The small shopping car she’s pushing keeps her steady. I look up at one of the domes hiding a security camera. I’m praying under my breath that tonight’s footage only shows I’m a good son.
J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming flash fiction collection Neil & Other Stories (Whiskey Tit Books, 2018). He lives at