For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Courtesy for Beginners”

Jim Shepard


My brother had been going along okay until he hit fourth grade. Then it was like everything was fine until it was too hard form him. He'd be shooting baskets and miss three in a row and just go off, tearing down branches and throwing the ball as hard as he could into the street. He broke a new tree my dad planted in half. He pulled his jaw down so hard with his hands he had to go to the emergency room. I caught him hitting himself one night because I heard the wet sound of the blood from his mouth. We were supposed to do our homework at the same time, and I'd hear him stop halfway through and tear it up and then move his arms so spastically that he'd knock over whatever else was on his desk.