Cover Before Striking

Priscila Uppal

Cover Before Striking

In each of Priscila Uppal's stories, there is a character pushing themselves to their limit. An offbeat, pulsing collection that fires up the emotional and intellectual synapses. The title story of this collection won the Gloria Vanderbilt Short Fiction Prize.

The cover of Cover Before Striking was designed by Laura Boyle.



Take me back to the old neighbourhood, tired bungalows all lined up like cigarettes in a pack, the smell of tarred driveways, the crooked street sign. Ashbrook Crescent. No brook, no pond, just a long curvy street with children playing road hockey, me with my arm in another cast on the sidelines saving worms from the grates and the tires, moving them into camps, slime-covered fingers, the autumn leaves raked into piles to be swept away, dumped into the garbage, even though everyone thinks they're pretty before they fall. Every year the dumpster would catch fire and we would gather around broken gravel and watch the huge green box glow like an abandoned planet, the thick fumes of burnt leaves rustling over the streets, confetti in red, black, yellow, green, dripping and rising in the wind, landing to be bur­ied in a new place, secret messages scattered along the highways and boulevards and our crescent, too, forgotten and crumpled, unread, burning. Car!, the kids wail and join me on the side­walk for a few seconds then back to the game. Jersey sweatshirts, hats, belonging to a team, a city, the world, much more than this Ashbrook Crescent without so much as a fire hydrant.

From Cover Before Striking by Priscila Uppal ©2015. Published by Dundurn.