The Bereavers at the Crying Competition
The MC introduced each contestant, and at the end, said that that year’s grief counselors in black would like to be called the Bereavers. He mispronounced it as the Beliebers, and the audience laughed, because they are American, and have no idea what Bereaver could mean.
I heard about it from Adnan, the guy who works at the Smoke Shop on Vermont and Hollywood. Adnan is a Syrian refugee. He moved to LA from Aleppo and we still haven’t fucked, but I’m working on it.
Randa Jarrar’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Utne Reader, Salon, The Offing, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, The Sun, Medium, and others. Her first book, the Arab-American coming of age novel, A Map of Home, was published in seven languages & won an Arab-American Book Award. Her most recent book, Him, Me, Muhammad Ali, won an American Book Award, a PEN Oakland Award, and a Story Prize Spotlight Award, and was named a Key Collection for Fall 2016 by Library Journal and one of Electric Literature‘s 25 best collections of the year.
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More in this series
Hopscotch and Hellfire
“A red dot blossoms on the screen. Eric presses the trigger on the joystick and his hand tremors. The countdown begins.”
Unbecoming Behavior at the St. Agnes Fair
He always smelled like fabric softener exhaust from the laundromat down our block: like blue bottles of Downy and Saturday nights, when Mami would blow dry my hair straight with dollops of Dippity-Doo.
He never imagined himself holding a placard, waving a fist. But this, this he could do. People needed to be fed.