Cavin Bryce Gonzalez

Cavin Bryce Gonzalez founded Back Patio Press. He is twenty-three years old and lives in Florida with his hound dog. You can buy his debut book, “I Could Be Your Neighbor, Isn’t That Horrifying?” here.


One night I was tracing my girlfriend’s freckles with my finger, tracking constellations across her chin and cheeks and eyes. Whenever I moved from one freckle to the next there was a tiny silver thread that connected them and before long her entire face was glowing.The fox came from a constellation on her chin. Materialized from nothing, a minuscule thing pawing at her lips.She wasn’t even surprised. Just took the fox gently in her fingers and placed it in a tupperware container.Every night I traced a new constellation and every night our bedside farm grew larger. Tortoises and horses and sheep. She constructed pens and feeding troughs from toothpicks and match boxes. No matter how many animals I pulled from her freckles, the fox remained my favorite. I would watch it while she slept, sneak slivers of beef jerky to him throughout the night.As nearly all resources are, the freckles were finite. There was a morning where I noticed all the light had faded from her face. It was perfectly smooth, pale. Unadulterated by the tiny brown dots I had once loved so much.She told me, “I was always self conscious about those freckles but you made them beautiful. Look.” And we observed the tiny biome for a moment, my fox running in circles trying to catch chickens.Then she took her fingers and drew lines on my shoulders and back, a thread of silver connecting all of the dots. From my body fell the tiny carcasses of a dozen birds. Mostly crows and ravens, one blue jay. The smell of death wafted from our sheets. I picked the blue jay up in my fingertips and placed it down in front of the fox.My girlfriend wiggled her face into my hands and fell back asleep, pushing her nostrils against my palms. I continued watching the fox, watching it eat my blue jay. His mouth moving up and down, growing red, and I felt absolutely nothing. The magic had faded, as it always does. And the stars, the great constellations, just haven’t looked the same since. 

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INHERITANCE by Cavin Bryce Gonzalez

When she came hopping out of the bathroom holding an instrument that I mistook as a thermometer I was appalled that someone could be so happy about running a fever. She threw her arms around me and squeezed, squeezed like she hated me. But she didn’t hate me. She loved me. And that’s when I saw the two little lines, bright pink, glaring at me.

It’s been four months since then. We’re having a boy. Every day her womb grows, life gestates. All of our friends are so excited. “You’re glowing!” they say. Or “About time!”

Every night I watch him while she sleeps. I imagine a little me in there, stuck to a feeding tube and unaware of the great big world waiting to pounce. My wife will smile while unconscious, sometimes her hands will go instinctively to her womb and move in small, precise circles. That baby is made of exactly 50% of my chromosomes and 50% of hers. Mine are 100% fucked. When our son grows, will his resentment for life grow like an awkward peach fuzz? Will he become angry easily, contemplate killing himself before he’s even old enough to drive?

While my wife chatters about whether our child will play sports or be an artist all I can imagine is our son hiding in the bathroom, running a razor blade across his forearm and sobbing. I imagine our child taking too many pills, driving drunk into a barricade and bleeding out on the pavement; scared and alone and relieved that it’s all soon to be over. Schizophrenia, melanoma, bipolar disorder, acid reflux, overly empathetic tendencies, and a thin skin. Our child will be born broken and it’s my fault. He will try to fill his life with menial time killers; scrapbooking, soccer, friends, drugs. Whatever he may want. At the end of the day nothing will his void. Not fame, not fortune, not love. He will inherit all of my sins. He will struggle his whole life to understand why he feels this way but he won’t figure it out. Not ever.

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The terrarium has always been. It’s made of glass with a great mesh lid on top. A lamp provides warmth throughout the day. We were once scientists and art teachers and coffee baristas. Now we’re just people. Some still go by their name. Some go by titles. They call me Six because I was the sixth one to wake up here.

When the mesh lid is drawn back and The Hand reaches down from above to deliver food and presents we rush to the center, fight for our scraps despite there being enough. The youngest of us scuttle off with bread and grapes, the strongest take turkey legs and bottled wine. Often enough a quarrel ends in a draw, even the weak get a taste of luxuries like cheese and kiwi fruit.

Sometimes we’ll meet by the waterfall and talk about life before we were here. Stories are told of late night talks with friends and first sexual encounters. We like to discuss old sitcoms and favorite restaurants-- none of us know whether these are still active facets of the community we left behind but it’s all we have to remember. Stories about great canyons and tropical forests are told around fire pits. Here, we just have a couple dome houses and a giant wheel to spin around in. It smells like Home-Depot. The Doctor likes to pick up our bedding, composed mostly of shredded newspapers, and read the scraps of information out loud. We always get a kick about what’s bothering the outsiders; politics and celebrity gossip run rampant in headlines still. Imagine if they had to fight for their bread.

At first we wanted to leave, who wouldn’t? We missed our friends and families. We missed our movie theatres, our dogs, and local super markets. But eventually we realized it wasn't going to happen. Whoever wants us here will keep us here, and that’s fine. You might lose an ear or a finger, but still, once everybody is fed it’s not so bad. We have everything we need besides organized rations; friends, doctors, make-shift lovers, and even though our reflection looks at us from beyond the glass we don’t crave to be there anymore. Life inside the terrarium is fine, maybe even better. We have no bills, no appearances to keep up. There’s no pressure to have kids or get a degree. Things are simple. Primal, perhaps even evil when stomachs get rumbling, but incredibly simple. And that’s enough for us.

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