I Happy Am
“When Freddy became a robot, a special map appeared in his mind. It alerted him to obstacles and told him the fastest way from here to there. Instead of waiting for the elevator one morning, he flew down the dozen flights of stairs, careful to leap over a big puddle of urine on the landing of the fourth floor. Outside, he ducked through the hole in the busted playground’s fence. In the alley behind the liquor store, a homeless woman with a shopping cart shuffled into his path. He closed his eyes and clenched his metal fists as he crashed into her. The woman’s stink exploded a bomb, but it couldn’t harm him. As he sped past, she yelled a lot of bad words, an enemy wailing in defeat. St. Rita’s Day Camp was only a few blocks away, but by the time he arrived it was already past nine o’clock…”
Jamel Brinkley`s debut collection, A Lucky Man: Stories, will be published in May 2018 by Graywolf Press. He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Provost`s Postgraduate Visiting Writers Program at the University of Iowa, the Iowa Writers` Workshop, Kimbilio Fiction, and the Bread Loaf, Tin House, and Napa Valley writing conferences. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in A Public Space, Gulf Coast, Glimmer Train, and Ploughshares.