Coulter felt wiggling fat rolls bunch from his waistline to clavicles as he pedaled up the long incline. A slow heat burned from his quads to the bone with each strained pump of his legs. Top of the rise had been his mantra for the last half hour on the hill. He’d rest at the top. He’d make it to the top. His jersey, frothed in sweat, stuck to his chest. His chest jiggled, and the bloom of embarrassment made him pump his legs harder. When he crested the hill he saw the long red and brown roll of Wyoming topography stretching out beneath a perfect blue sky. The sun glinted off the deep draws and rounded stones of dried creek beds on his glide down. With the wind whistling through his helmet and panniers, he was close to the feeling he had come for, of being healthy.

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Devin Murphy’s recent fiction appears in The Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, and Shenandoah, as well as over fifty other literary journals and anthologies. He holds an MFA from Colorado State University, a Creative Writing PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is now an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bradley University.

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