Alice K. Boatwright

Short Stories

book spines

Short story of the month: “Night Washing”

When Carole Anson pushed open the door of the WASH ‘N’ DRI, few lights were still burning in the windows along Front Street. It was only nine thirty, but South Millfield was a village that closed down early. Compared to the cool, windy darkness outside, the deserted laundromat was welcoming, warm and bright.

She set down her basket of clothes with a thud and opened a row of washer lids. Once she had loaded the machines and fed a handful of change into the coin slots, she watched the water seep in and the slow explosion of detergent into bubbling suds. Then she chose a chair by the window and sat down.

She had always preferred South Millfield at night. The silent street with its arched imitation gas lamps and neat Victorian brick storefronts reminded her of a postcard. During the day Front Street was crowded with farmers in trucks; their wives towing small children; and idle shopkeepers, who stood in their doorways to pass the time. Although she had lived in the area for two years, they still made Carole uncomfortable. She had grown up in the city and did not know how to chat, her words whittling their way to meaning in short, even strokes.

Scattered leaves rolled along the sidewalk. The hardware store across the street was decorated for Halloween with grinning paper jack o’ lanterns. An old car, black and sleek with wax, drew up to the stoplight. An elderly couple sat side by side on the front seat, and the white-haired woman turned to stare at Carole as they came to a stop. She felt suddenly self-conscious, sitting alone in the brightly lit window, and turned her face away from the woman’s scrutiny. The next moment they were gone. The washers rattled and roared in the silence. Read more. . . 

“Night Washing” was published by the online journal Storyglossia in December 2008.

Alice began writing stories as a child, and she has never stopped. She is the author of the story chapbook, Sea, Sky, Islands (Noontime Books, 2019), as well as dozens of short stories published in literary journals and anthologies. She was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the Glimmer Train Fiction Prize and has received grants from UC Berkeley and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts to devote time to writing fiction.

Published stories

“Look Both Ways”: Amarillo Bay, Issue 23:1, April 29, 2021

“Yesterday’s Muse”: Bull, November 19, 2020

“Mr. Who Passes Through”: Crime Readers Association, Halloween 2020

“No Prince”: The Blood Pudding, September 2020

Risky Business“: fresh.ink, July 14, 2020

“J’arrive”: Calyx, Vol. 31, No. 1, (Winter/Spring 2019)

The Purple Bowl“: Parentheses Journal, Issue No. 5  (January 2019)

Life Sentences“: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 20, No. 2 (October 2018)

What Comes to Hand Must Be Faced“: Open Journal of Arts and Letters, 2017

“After Giselle“: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 17, No. 4 (November 2015)

The First Meeting of Babyman and Mother“: Sleetmagazine, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 2014)

“And the Part of Me Will Be Played by Marilyn Monroe”: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 14, No. 1 (February 2012)

Asta at the Market“: Marco Polo Arts, 9 January 2012

“A Burning House”: Stone Canoe, No. 5, January 2011

“Risky Business”: Upstairs at Duroc, No. 11, January 2010

“Dreams of a Runner”: Stone Canoe, No. 3, January 2009

Night Washing“: Storyglossia, No. 32, 4 December 2008

“Chrissy on Earth”: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 10, No. 4 (November 2008)

“Behavior Modification”: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 9, No. 4 (November 2007)

Survivors“: Mississippi Review Online, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Fall 2007)

“Divas”: America West, Vol. 18, No. 4, June 2003

“Reading Raymond Carver”: Enterzone, Episode 14, November 1998

Man Leaving” (illustrated by the author): Enterzone, Episode 14, November 1998

“What I Have”: Paterson Literary Review, Issue No. 26, March 1997

“Divas”: Beloit Fiction Journal, Vol. IX, Issues No. 1 and 2 (Spring 1994)

“Golden Chances”: in Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall, (Crossing Press, 1994)

“Sheila Martin’s Last Egg”: San Jose Studies, Vol. XIX, No. 2 (Spring 1993)

“Conflicting Testimony”: in Love’s Shadow, edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall (Crossing Press, 1993)

“Jonas”: Cricket, Vol. 19, No. 6, February 1992