I wrote this short story in the early spring of 2020 when the incoming pandemic filled our communities with fear. It is a piece of fiction based on real events. Not a piece of hard reportage, this is a short attempt to capture the mood and tension of a society teetering on the edge.

Photograph by Lukas Flippo.

For the safety our students and teachers, we are cancelling in-person instruction in our schools for the remainder of the school year. However, online instruction can and should continue. We excitedly anticipate a physical return to school in the fall. Moving on,…”

Will turned down the…

I wrote this short story in the early spring of 2020 when the incoming pandemic filled our communities with fear. It is a piece of fiction based on real events. Not a piece of hard reportage, this is a short attempt to capture the mood and tension of a society teetering on the edge.

Photo by Lukas Flippo

Riley, a senior in high school, stood at her cash register at the locally owned market in Nettleton on Good Friday at high noon.

“I am sorry for the delay,” she nodded towards the next customer in line through her mask as she spread Germ-X across…

I wrote this essay shortly after returning home to Mississippi from Yale in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus’s impending entry into our American way of life. It is a piece of fiction based off real events — a portrait of landscape that might never change even if it inflicts lasting marks on the characters that inhabit it. In the end, it is a meditation on who I am, where I come from, and the people I call home.

Jamison McComb and Davis Helton. Images by Lukas Flippo

Sometimes, I forget I am 19. I look around my room and see a myriad of distinctions: Mr. Amory High…

Keith Allison. Creative Commons

Double Fault. Advantage Team Russia.

Double Fault. Set Team Russia.

Third set.

Jan-Lennard Struff looks lost.

I tuned in late, spending the evening finishing my assignments and absolutely destroying a heated-up cinnamon blondie, but I came just in time to see the camera pan to Struff’s gaze during the rain delay.

He was ahead 6–3 1–5 over Andrey Rublev, a youngster who seems like a tour veteran at this point. At one point, he had all of the fanfare … a distinct grunt and a massive forehand. Made for television.

And then a tall German named Alexander Zverev came along…

Jackson, Mississippi — January 17, 2021.

Photo by Lukas Flippo.

There are tanks in Ohio, lined by the dozens outside of the Capitol.

In D.C., there are 20,000 troops in an area only a couple times larger than my college campus.

In Michigan, there are SWAT trucks, aided and abetted by police officers, black fences, and barriers.

The images flowed through my mind as I filled my gas tank on the edge of my sleepy town as the sun rises on a reverent Sunday morning.

Sundays hold a particular significance in the South. In the Christian Bible, they are set aside as rest. Now…

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rod_Laver_Arena_2015_Australian_Open.jpg Creative Commons.

There was something about the lights.

Years later, I learned that I had a bad stigmatism, and that is why the big, booming lights over the tennis courts looked like huge star-flares ready to transport me to another galaxy.

It was probably a mixture of that and dehydration — I wasn’t in shape.

Which made my tennis strategy pure comedy. Tire the opponent out in the first set, lose the set, win the second set, and finally win the third set to win the match.

The plan didn’t bring me much fruition in Grenada. Damn those courts. I never played…

A photo from a Republican Watch Party on Election Night. Copyright — Lukas Flippo.

“It’s coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It’s coming from the feel
That this ain’t exactly real
Or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there
From the wars against disorder
From the sirens night and day
From the fires of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming to the USA
It’s coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don’t pretend to understand at all
It’s coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the…

We looked at each other from a distance, silence filling the great divide between us. I looked up towards the intercom speaker, halfway expecting the callous intercom voice above to countdown.

”3…2…1,” and we would both whip out our guns for a duel. But, alas, we were not on the season opener of Gunsmoke, and this was not Dodge City. The crescendo of the man’s coughing knocked me out of my stupor. He was leaned over, face red and wheezing. The 7 people still scattered about the waiting areas to my left and right adjusted their masks in horror….


It would be unfair to begin this decade with anything other than a note of gratitude. I am constantly astounded and thankful for the people I have around me, the moments I get to live, and the opportunities offered to me.

Birthdays have always scared me. At midnight on December 12th every year, I have the same memory.

I'm by a pool, looking out over it in fear. It's early summer, sweltering, and I am at one of my first swimming lessons. Suddenly, my legs are swept from under me as laughter erupts into my ears. …

I wrote this many moons ago. It has explicit language from quoted material. If that is something that you shy away from, please consider skipping this story. All specific locations and names from this story have been scrubbed. Not in attempts to encourage anonymity or a loss of memory, but rather to ensure the focus of the story is not on the specific characters or places where these events transpired but rather on the theme they illustrate.

Elton John sat down at a piano in May of ’73 and recorded a song — a personal anthem — named “Goodbye Yellow…

Lukas Flippo

Yale ‘23 - Student - Photographer - Amateur seeker of nostalgia

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