by Alden Jones


ISBN 9780984943999


Publication date: June 1, 2014

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We’re in a homeless shelter in Asheville, NC. We think it’s funny. How did all these people in some hellish hickish place like Asheville, NC, get homeless, that’s what we want to know. It’s so crowded we have to sleep on the floor.

           I’m with this dyke Spike who I met in Ft Lauderdale, FL. She’s got an old white Toyota and a tent where we’ve been sleeping the past month. She wanted to see the Appalachians so there we were, trekking up stony trails and putting four drops of iodine in each bottle of slimy river water, sleeping in the bags she lifted from her roommate’s brother out of the garage. We took his stove, too, and a flashlight, he’s probably hot on our trail looking for Spike so he can pulp her little body with his big faggy boots. Problem is his stuff was meant for the Everglades, that’s what Spike says, where it’s hot, and now it’s October, last night we drank four cups each of hot cocoa and wound up leaving the tent all night to take one piss after another, Appalachian trail air biting our asses. I say Fuck this and we start fingering our options and Spike says, I wonder if there’s a homeless shelter around here, and I say that would be fun, let’s see who’s in there all hard up, so we drive down the mountain to the highway and find a Waffle House with a phone book, and count fifteen fast-food restaurants on our way here.

           Spike helps my image because I’m all woman whereas Spike looks like a fourteen-year-old boy all limbs and sinew. The first thing she sees at the shelter is the basketball net out on the blacktop and the next thing I know she’s out shooting baskets with some pocked-up Mexican guys and I want to know, how in the hell did these Mexican guys make it all the way to Asheville, NC, just to wind up homeless. But Spike likes making friends which is ok by me as long as she’ll toss them off later and come back to me, which she does. Usually by nine o’clock she’s slammed and I can make her say anything I want her to say because Spike always wants to get back in my pants. I made the mistake once or twice of being too drunk to care if she shimmied my jeans down my legs, so she’s done that, back in Ft. Lauderdale when she lived over Chaussie’s where a bottle of Miller was eighty-five cents. I never felt a thing, but Spike thinks it means I’m a dyke like her and keeps waiting for my next blackout, blackouts being something like a sign of true love for Spike, which is kind of sad.


“Vibrant, haunting stories…If your only view of teenagers is in some very distant rearview mirror of the mind, then stories like these could make you wistful, particularly if you were wild. If you have, though, forced yourself to stay awake past your middle-aged bedtime and scanned online police reports as your teenager missed curfew, these become cautionary tales. Either way, they’re compelling.”

The Star-Ledger

“The power of Alden Jones’s debut collection of short stories lies with her characters, so complex that they defy being pinned down and judged as either wrong or right…Let’s hope to see more fiction from Jones in the near future.”

American Book Review

“Jones is savvy about the substances, drug and drink, but where she is especially original and moving is in exposing the thin crevices through which the dim light of burgeoning sexuality peeps…enlightening and intriguing.”

The Rumpus

“Expect the unexpected from Alden Jones. Expect her characters to be up to no good, as unaccompanied minors often are. But be prepared for good to come of the rigorous honesty of her prose.”

Rain Taxi

“...unrelentingly honest—never predictable…[Jones’s] work is very selfassured.”


“A marvelous collection.”

The Barcelona Review

“[T]he excellent, excellent Unaccompanied Minors… takes the young and the brutal, observes them omnivorously and, with the lightest of touches, makes their dramas morally relevant.”

Vol.1 Brooklyn

“From the ‘stony trails’ of Appalachia to the dark alleys of San José, each setting is invigorated with Jones’s keen sense of place, detail and command over language and irony…thrilling.”


“The seven stories in Unaccompanied Minors have a boiled-down intensity, a vivid sense of being alive on the page, that is all too rare in contemporary American short fiction.”

Fiction Writers Review

“Smart and deceptively complex….It’s a great feeling to stumble upon a new impressive talent like Jones.”

Dead End Follies

“Alden Jones reminds you, in person and on the page, that there is plenty of good all over the world—even in the darkest of places, and even in the most questionable of characters.”

The Provincetown Banner

“These stories are dark, funny, raw, and surprising.”


“Gracefully arranged stories…Jones’s characters have an almost palpable need to become lost and find themselves at home in a strange place.”

Moon City Review

“Jones possesses an astonishing skill for creating characters and settings that feel fully realized from the first line to the last.”

Necessary Fiction

“Richly characterized and memorable.”


“Readers will be tempted to consume Unaccompanied Minors in one sitting, but they should resist…Take your time as you transport to these places, at once exotic and so familiar. Like Jones’s characters, you may find yourself growing.”

Prairie Schooner