Fiction

Joyride

by David Abrams

 

Zeildorf had been on guard duty since 2 p.m. and he’d been paired with Suarez. That was the first bad thing. Suarez was known for his weak bladder—compared at various times by others in the platoon to the size of a peanut, a teaspoon, and George Bush’s brain. The dude just couldn’t hold his piss. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

A Certainty 

by Rumaan Alam 

 

When you get old, your skin goes soft. Like the pages of a library book, my grandmother’s hands, papery and cool. She’d take my hand in hers and trace lines on my palm. I squinted, but I could never see them. She’d point out what would happen to me, tell me what each line meant. She’d done the same thing to my mom, her daughter. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Amulets (a slideshow)

by Roberta Allen 

 

Eyes closed, Tara squeezed the amulet so tightly in her hand that she shrank the island of Taniqua, her home, to the size of a studio apartment in Manhattan. Suddenly, before her stood Tomo, the handsomest man she’d ever seen. He lived on the other side of Taniqua. Will he be the one? READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Walking With My Mother

by Jennifer Belle

 

My mother seemed young at lunch, demurring over the crème brulee and drinking wine. It was her seventy-third birthday. She was still thinner than I was. I was going through my divorce. I wished I had made one of the giant tissue-paper flowers I used to make her when I was a little girl. She would have pinned it to her olive sweater. READ MORE

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

There You Are

by Lynn Bey

 

So there you are, arrived. There, in a country with sky that African blue, that spread of a childhood beneath it. It’s a wedding—his wedding—you’ve come back for, back to where home used to be. Already you feel the press of not being used to it, the heat. As though the sop of a January London could have prepared you for the swelter that is this valley in midsummer. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Power Ballads

by Will Boast

 

It’s worse than dating, I told Kate. Every band you join, every job you take, it’s always the same: That first awkward jam, feeling each other out, trying to play it cool—and then at the end of the night, Hey, great to meet you, man. Sounded rockin’. The deadly pause. So, want to try this again? Both sides wondering, Am I better than this? Can I even stand to be around these bozos?  READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Be Good to Our Pretty Girls

by John Brandon

 

The last pretty girl has left our Gulf Coast town. None of us were raised with the particular goal that we become gentlemen, but when the pretty girls were around we were just that. She went to Atlanta, our girl. They choose between Atlanta and Miami. And once in a while a spindly thing we have never considered pretty will head off to the North...  READ MORE 

 


 

 


 


Hexagon

by Blake Butler


Cone

White cone descended in sound blister  
There were the people having skin removed: to make the hood over our last evening  
Cone, White cone, colored destroyed, slipped between the wall air and the bodice of the sacrificial mothers making money from the rummage of their wombs: unto the Cone  READ MORE 

 


 

 


 


The End of My Life in New York

by Peter Cameron 

 

He doesn’t look at me, but furrows his brow and stares intently at the splayed pages, as if reading is very hard work. After enjoying this charade for a moment, he makes a display of turning back the corner of a page—something, of course, a real reader would never do—and closes the book....  READ MORE 

 


 

 


 

Monkey Brains

by Elysha Chang

 

Look, this is how a heart works. The right atrium receives blood from the legs and arms and pours it into the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps that blood into the lungs, and then the lungs give it back to the heart, to the left atrium specifically. READ MORE 

 


 

 


 

Nailed

by Alan Cheuse

 

After a restless night—one of many in a restless year--when he awoke several times feeling that he was on the verge of something, a cold, or an allergy attack or who knew what?  a perplexed Bill Wicker called in sick—and after a lazy morning of looking at the newspaper and the weather channel and drinking one cup of French Roast after another, he allowed Marcie, his wife of two years, to talk him into...READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Flicker

by Kim Chinquee

 

She put her keys down, taking off her work shoes, saw the mechanic on a ladder with his hands up. He said, "You have a flicker." She stood, hand on hip, said, "Bud," feeling the haze of the heat from the open window, which she'd shut before her shift, running out without even her coffee. She could see the problem. She hadn't noticed it until then. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Rib

by Kim Chinquee

 

He and I, we used to be a cyclone. Now we're just two people, me walking his dog and cooking him surprises. He tells me I don't have to. I'll do a load of laundry. Pull some weeds. Walk the dog in circles. Lunch. I live states away. I’m almost on vacation. He says the stir-fry is delish. I learned it from the guy who, twenty years before, used to be my husband. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Jakey Makes a Move

by Lucas Church

 

The yard was in shambles, all weeded up. The dog was lying dead in the sun. Jakey Hunnycut sweated in front of his grandmother’s door and dropped his suitcase. It was maybe a hundred degrees. It was Florida. He’d walked the mile from the Greyhound station in the heat. He knocked on the door. READ MORE 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


Shanghai Blues

by Jane Ciabattari

 

Dr. Yu’s office was festooned with dangling models of vertebrae in various sizes, mostly human in scale, some incredibly tiny. On his first visit, Angleton thought of the tangles of serpents in the snake stall at the night market in Guangzhou. He’d point to a likely specimen; the attendant would rap it sharply on the head with a hammer. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Historic Tree Nurseries

by Leopoldine Core

 

Frances was fifty-nine and Peanut was twenty-five, and because of this they were often distracted by the looks of others in public. Usually people assumed Frances was Peanut’s mother and gave the pair bright encouraging smiles, happy to see a mother and daughter so glad to be near each other. But then Peanut would give Frances a long open kiss on the mouth... READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Nomads

by David Crouse

 

 I was born with the umbilical cord curled tightly around my neck, my face as blue as a bruise, and as the midwife tried to extricate me from my predicament my mother leaned forward and grazed her fingers lightly over my full head of black hair. “She’s beautiful,” she said. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Sleeping Mother

by David Crouse

 

We move through the center of another smudge of a town, past the locked shops and empty parking spaces, the variety store with the old sports pages taped to the windows and the small town clerk’s office.   

 

It’s deep into the summer of 1987 but on that sports page it’s 1960-something and the local high school hockey team has just won the regional finals.   READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Rumm Road

by Alice Elliott Dark

 

We didn’t pay attention to the sirens. Our northern New Jersey town is large enough that car accidents, fires, and petty crimes happen every day, and we are civic- minded enough not to complain about the taxes we pay for our responsive police and fire departments. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Nip and Tuck and The End of the World

by Diane DeSanders

 

I hate it when Mama cries. Her face screws up and she looks at me with those begging eyes, and then it seems like everything might be about to turn into something else, and I don’t know what I will do if that happens. Mama loves to bathe, brush, train, and play with the dogs more than just about anything. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Waiting for the Americans 

by Debra Di Blasi

 

A wind rose. With it came the wet scent of rain and kelp and open sea. Above the tavern a blue awning throbbed. Moorings clanked against the stripped masts of sailboats as the wind moved deeper into the harbor and spread outward, forcing its way up the terraced slopes, over the little villas... READ MORE  

 


 

 


 


Inland Sea

by Stuart Dybek

 

Horizon, a clothesline strung between crabapples. A forgotten dress, that far away, bleached invisible by a succession of summer days until a thunderstorm drenches it blue again... READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Kiss of the Underacheiver

by Scott Garson

 

Twice I went into that bar, I think—unless I’ve conflated two different bars, alike in being singular, and in having no definite place on the map of the city I’ve made in my head.  

 

The first time: I was twenty. My eldest brother, Corey William, drove my car, which was, as he claimed—I made no argument—a total piece of shit. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


I Am a Knife

by Roxane Gay

 

My husband is a hunter.  

 

I am a knife.  

 

Last deer season, he took me on a hunt with him. At four in the morning, he shook me awake. He made love to me. He always makes love to me before the hunt.  READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Death Be a Hot Fudge Sundae

by Merrill Joan Gerber

 

Three babies were born to me in five years. It seemed, when I was young, the only worthwhile thing to do, making those sturdy, well-designed pieces of merchandise, quality merchandise, not an open seam, not a shoddy bolt of material evident in the bunch. Each one exactly six pounds, stamped out by the same machine. A neat, well-executed birth every time. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Hacia Teotitlán

by Dagoberto Gilb

 

The last time Ramiro Areyzaga was in Mexico was so long ago it was more like a fairy tale. That was Coyoacán, which is Mexico City but which isn’t anything like it. He was seven years old and had traveled with his mother and his sister and brother, which also made it such a happy memory. A place of lush green shade, both a forest of trees and a jungle of huge waxy palm leaves, and a zócalo of marionettes and dancers, musicians and painters, with toys and balloons...  READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Three Options for a Successful Lunar Landing

by Robert Glick 

 

Four reasons for Edith's body to fidget: the scentless pillow case, the scratchy sheets, the removal of the left breast, the downshift of the morphine. One thing Mort does, downstairs in the den, lodged securely in his olive La-Z-Boy: slide his hand between the cushion and the side. What he finds there: his missing MedicAlert bracelet. Well I'll be a monkey. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

A Paranormal Romance

by Douglas Glover

 

I was supposed to meet Zoe for lunch at a chic Parisian restaurant she had discovered on the Internet, a crucial rendezvous during which I intended to propose marriage, but I was running late. A fierce, cold rain lashed down suddenly as I bounded up the Metro steps, rain as I had never experienced before. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Youse

by Nicole Haroutunian

 

On the morning of this newest test—hadn’t they just had one?—Rae slips her foot from its ballet slipper, extends her leg from the knee, and brushes her toes up the calf of the boy in front of her, Erik Paley. She feels his muscles flex. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Snag

by Christie Hinrichs

 

Beth took the baby monitor and a sweater out the back door toward the lean-to behind the cabin. She pulled a pack from a gap in the low-slung rafters and knocked out a cigarette before picking up a tin can and heading toward the tree line. He’d been gone for over a year, but seeing those cans always brought her father’s scent, wet ferns and the earthy shit smell of pulp, right back. READ MORE  

 


 

 


 

Chet Baker's Son 

by Brandon Hobson

 

I left Chicago and returned to Dallas when my mother tried to overdose. She’d tried it before, usually with pills, but this time they hospitalized her and put her on different medication. Before, whenever she wasn’t taking her meds, my stepfather, Gene, usually found her wading in Skeleton Creek or harassing old man Skinner at the bait-and-tackle shop... READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Hum

by Ann Hood


Todd invited the Korns—all of them—for a visit at the beach. Not just dinner, but to stay overnight. Laura was finishing the border of a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a Diego Rivera painting when he told her, casually. “The Korns are coming by tonight for supper.” He said it as if there weren’t five of them. As if she liked them.  READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Accidental Birds of the Carolinas

by Marjorie Hudson

 

Col. Randolph Jefferson Lee, retired Army, prepares for his daily run, which he’s lied about for months, telling Anne he will stay in the neighborhood, he will call her on the cell if he gets in trouble, and he will keep it down to a stroll, a slow walk, no running.   The cardiologist insisted on daily walks. Slow walks. But by god, if a man can’t run up a hill, what the hell good is he? READ MORE  

 


 

 


 

Klodt's Horses

by Mikhail Iossel

 

One day, many years ago, in another lifetime, a friend told me that the sculptor Peter Klodt, author of the famed four-part Horse-Tamer composition gracing the Anichkov Bridge in the heart of Leningrad/St. Petersburg and serving perhaps as the city’s most iconic image, had etched into the scrotum of one of those majestic four horses the facial features of the politically powerful man who had cuckolded him with his wife. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

What Happens Next

Roy Kesey

 

Was that meant to be a proper question? If not—if you were only making conversation—then very well, let us converse. But if so, then I'm sorry but no, I cannot answer, will not, won't. I have no idea what happens next, have never attempted to predict the future, and do not intend to start now. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Ten Conceptual Fictions

by Richard Kostelanetz

 

"If we acknowledge that Conceptual Fiction could suggest with few words alone a story that need not be written, or more story than is written, then I've been producing such literature since around that time, initially with Openings & Closings (1974), a book of single sentences meant to be, alternately, either the openings or the closings of otherwise non-existent fictions." READ MORE  

 


 

 


 

The Runner

by Len Kuntz

 

The waitress isn’t blonde and she’s not American but she looks like you, you ten years ago when we met and you said you had “high energy, crazy octane energy” and asked if I could keep up.

 

The waitress wears a pink bikini with matching heels. A metal chip pinned at her bottom hip says she is Lupe. Her skin is tan and looks like lacquered wood. READ MORE  

 


 

 


 

R.A.

by Fred Leebron

 

In college there was only so much harm you could do, although freshman year Walter’s lab partner, a soccer star, once pulled a knife on a football player who attacked him at a kegger, and was actually suspended indefinitely. Marcus had also cheated on his lab work, which tormented Walter because, since he didn’t turn Marcus in, he too was in violation of the Honor Code. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Displaced Persons

by Joan Leegant

 

My neighbor’s son wants to move to Germany. He’s twenty-one and went four times on heal-the-wounds summer programs, young Germans in dialogue groups with young Israelis like him, and spent two years studying the language at the Goethe Institute on the other side of Tel Aviv. He’s done with the army and is ready for university. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Father Figure

by Caleb Leisure

 

News of my father’s death arrived via First-Class Mail, between The New England Journal of Medicine and the spring Agent Provocateur catalogue. We hadn’t spoken in half a decade. The funeral notice—a morbid little love note to himself—was clearly the deceased’s own design. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

I Want to Kiss Myself, Good God

by Robert Lopez

 

I’m not Tanya’s idea of a handsome man. She hasn’t told me this herself but I’ve heard it from other people, people we have in common, including my Sofia.   The people we have in common are horrible because of who they are and where they come from and how they were raised. There are other reasons, too, but these are the most important. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Like a Demon

by William Lychack

 

Two of them in a diner off the highway somewhere, booth by a window, poor woman trying to smile it all nice—nice in a way it never was, nice in a way it always was—the mother trying to just never mind her son, just ignore this strange person, pay no attention as he lifts his shirt slightly, black handle of a .45 tucked into his pants, gun exactly where he promised it would be. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Travel Tips

by Manuel Martinez

 

You should travel as lightly as is possible, of course, and all manner of products can help you do so: quick-drying underwear and powdered soaps and shampoos, odor-resistant shirts, blankets as thin as tissue paper, and jackets that can be stuffed into pouches that fit in the palm of your hand.  Buy them all. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Goodbye Party

by Jen Michalski

 

Alvin said he wanted to go to the goodbye party with Sam. They were on the subway coming home from Alvin’s school. Alvin wore the straps of his child-sized backpack around his ankles, the pouch part resting atop his outstretched legs. Sam had always told him not to do that, that they needed to get up and off the subway car quickly, but what Alvin said about the goodbye party stunned Sam into silence... READ MORE

 


 

 


 

I Go To the Trees

by Elizabeth Mikesch

 

My skin has nicks. There are languages, pages and numbers, stars and charts, all forbidden by Gram—oh dominion, mystique! The books are bibles, thick and noxious, hearty and weighty. Jehovah is unhappy with me.  

 

Gram blabs of dark magic, says I do not believe. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Question of Where We Begin

by Kyle Minor 

 

We begin with the trouble, but where does the trouble begin? My uncle takes a pistol and blows his brains out. Now we may proceed to the aftermath. The removal of the body from his bedroom. The cleanup. The reading of the will. The funeral in West Palm Beach, Florida. The woman he wanted to marry, taking the ring he gave her and putting it on her finger after the death. READ MORE

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

Seventeen

by Kate Mooney

 

Beer-drunk, cut-offed, smiling and bleary-eyed in the sun. Oyster shells piled unevenly beneath their feet like a junkyard of discarded moons, they sidestep down to the river bank. Almost falling over from swigging heavy 40’s, which amuses them. READ MORE


 

 


 

 


 

Annunciation

by Mary Morris

 

Maddy stands before a wall-size map of Italy. She’s staring at Tuscany while Joe shows her their intended route. They’ll be traveling there in June. READ MORE 

 


 

 


 

Polish Moms

by Lizy Mostowski

 

“My daughter’s boyfriend is a pilot,” the married woman said boastfully, resting her worn breasts on the dining room table. “We just moved into a four-bedroom house,” the visiting woman said. “Children on the way?” the married woman asked, winking at the visiting woman and her partner. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Tofu

by Iris Moulton

 

He said, No I don’t care that you eat meat, but then could you at least brush your teeth first? Meaning second we would kiss. Meaning fifth he’d be jockeying for position. But it was probably all just to get it so I’d keep a toothbrush at his house. And maybe sixth become a vegetarian. He’d roast the tofu until the thin and sagging rims were brown. READ MORE 

 


 

 


 

Pilot

by Greg Mulcahy

 

They gave it to him in a three-ring binder. The binder was white. He felt stupid carrying the white binder around the building. Worse when he had to take it home.

 

What is it? she said.

 

The plans, he said. READ MORE 

 

 


 

 


 

The City Of My Mother's Girlhood

by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint

 

Take me home to the city of my mother’s girlhood, to the tree-lined streets, the trees still young and slender, their leaves long and thin like my mother’s hands. Take me to the city where you can tell a woman’s occupation by the color of her skirt: red for nurse, green for schoolteacher, blue for secretary. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

For Guayama

by Luis Negrón

 

Sammy: First of all excuse my handwriting since I didn’t bring my glasses. It’s just that, nene, I’m going nuts with Guayama being sick and all, I mean I’m really losing it. That’s why I’ve been looking for you, so you could pay me for the curtains because with this Guayama thing I’m low on cash. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Child? Dog? Stay? Run?

by Leigh Newman

 

The house, with its gabled roof and bay windows, Paul had to admit, was a tad ambitious. Thirteen years of testing and retesting their daughter had depleted their down-payment savings—as had the co-payments, deductibles, state specialists, and private specialists to refute the state specialists. Believing in your child, it turned out, came at surprisingly measurable material cost. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Morty, El Morto

by Sandra Novack

 

Morty Langly awoke to find the December chill edging against his blanket. In the dawning light a heavy snow fell, the first snow of the season. He peered out the window to the cars parked along the eerily quiet street. The snowdrifts bunched up against the tires, a sight that surely meant reprieves were to come... 

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An excerpt from Ways to Disappear

by Idra Novey

 

The esteemed literary publisher Roberto Rocha liked to test his steaks to see if the meat was worth what he had paid for it. The test had to do with the density of the smoke once the steaks began to sizzle. With the works of fiction he selected for his press, he tested for density as well, for something tender in the middle yet still heavy enough to blacken the air. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Betrayal

by Sigrid Nunez

 

Whenever I travel I try to avoid getting into conversations with strangers I happen to be sitting with. There is nothing worse than being trapped for hours with a dullard or a chatterbox. Yet it is my experience that these types travel more frequently than anyone else. But with the woman on the train it was different. Partly it was her voice. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

A Carnival Atmosphere

by Barbara O'Dair

 

It’s the summer after the Summer of Love. I’ve taken to riding my bike up the long hills to Brookdale Park, where a woody area has been cleared and a pool dug just a year before. For my tenth birthday, I receive a transistor radio and spend afternoons at the community pool dozing with my head pressed close to the soft leather case of this exotic invention. I wake up with the sun half gone and a grid of dots printed on my cheek. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Imperfect

by Tracy O'Neill

 

I meant to buy a gift on discount, but the coupon expired before I wasn’t hungover anymore. My girl Jolene read somewhere that a man’s relationship with his mother shows which black and white movie star he is like. I think she wanted a Jimmy Stewart, but all I wanted was to remind my mother that I’m good for more than bedbugs, which is what she got for Mother’s Day three years ago when I gave her a wooden bench that I found on a curbside. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Bad Day at IKEA

by Richard Peabody

 

A few hours before April Stevens' philandering husband finally left her, she strollered the kids over to the IKEA store and promptly lost Bear.   Bear was a raggedy gray stuffed ragamuffin, passed down from April’s older sister Janet to April, and then to April’s daughters Emily and finally Easter, known as Pie for short. Emily had never been very attached to Bear. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

She’s Dying, He Said

by Marge Piercy

 

I was what was then called a tomboy until halfway through my seventh year. I had always played with neighboring boys. I had little interest in school—being just average and paying little attention. Then I caught the German measles followed quickly by rheumatic fever.  READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Blue Crabs

by Alake Pilgrim

 

Uncle licks his knife under their backs, a gentle slide, jerks up with that same hand (the other holds them down). I hear the Krak! I see the blue-black ink flood down their flinching legs like oil on the stone jukking board. Grey ridges cry black tears into the bottom of the sink, flecks of white flesh fly up, the smell a mix of earth, saltwater, blood. I am afraid. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

CFF CLASSIC

The Black Cat

by Edgar Allan Poe

 

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not—and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die... READ MORE

 


 

 


 

I Married This

by Meg Pokrass

 

My husband, Gordon, looked as though he'd found religion—as though he'd never tasted real food before this beef stew meal at Angie and Ron's. He appeared to be sucking his teeth after every bite, taking his time, thinking about what he'd sucked—then stabbing a new forkful. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Buffalo

by Glen Pourciau

 

I’ve been looking without success for more regular work, but to make ends meet I earn money by watching houses for people on vacation. This one guy whose house I’ve been watching is the biggest jerk I’ve ever worked for, the reach of his rapacious and mean-spirited nature stretching all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Our agreement is for me to drop by his place on Wednesdays and Sundays while he travels Europe for six weeks, and he’s provided me with a highly specific to-do list that shows he wants to leave as few decisions as possible to my discretion. READ MORE 

 


 

 


 

Worms

by Glen Pourciau

 

My wife had died six months before, and I hadn’t been around people much since then. My friends and neighbors, Roy and Tish, wanted to help me come back to life, as they put it, so they asked me to come over for a drink, and halfway through our martinis they suggested I come with them to a party they’d been invited to on Saturday night. READ MORE 

 


 

 


 

Eyes

by Vito Racanelli

 

Dougie sells loose joints. $10 a piece. No bags. This way he can hide most of his stash behind a brick in Furman’s Alley. This way he can eat the rolled stuff on him in a pinch. I do not have that kind of business head. I watch for Dougie. He throws me a couple of dollars every night or sometimes some weed. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Red Rooster

by Victoria Redel

 

Any idiot could have told him it wouldn’t work. Pretty much every idiot did. Starting with his own idiot ex-wife, Carine. “What are you thinking, Dan?” she said. “You barely like your own son.” He was standing at his old front door, at his not-anymore house, where she’d installed stone lions. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Way It Began

by Victoria Redel

 

They went, not in the day, but then in the dark with no shoes on their feet, the road pokey with broke-up shell. 

And the boy to the girl, Let’s be quick. 
I can’t, said the girl. My feet are girly. 

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What the Dog Knows

by Deborah Reed

 

There’s a famous New Yorker cartoon of a dog typing at a computer with the caption: “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” My version of the cartoon would show a brown and white springer spaniel rising from her bed next to my writing desk to show me when I’ve hit a sweet spot. The caption would read: “No one knows my first reader is a dog.” But now my secret is out. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Three Fictions

by Matthew Salesses

 

I went out with the boys to celebrate saving my worthless job. The boys were in a rare state, waving arms even with drinks, sloshing on each other with gusto. During the third round, brass knuckles appeared on the bar, courtesy of Randy, my closest friend and the most disconnected from reality. Maybe we were all on board for a fight as soon as we saw those knuckles, a symbol of our angry youths before the suburbs. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Elephant

by Elissa Schappell

 

Paige sat on the edge of the sandbox waiting for Charlotte to show up. She was surprised at how much she’d missed talking to her. Across the playground, her four-year-old daughter Allegra was lying on her stomach across a swing, pigtails dragging in the dirt. Paige checked her watch. In her pocket was a little Lucite ring carved into the shape of a rose. She’d seen it at a street fair and immediately thought of Charlotte.  READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Ancient Greek

by Dan Simon

 

Erica isn’t gifted in languages. Once long ago, she signed up for a German class and lasted exactly three days. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

AU REVOIR, MA VIE

by Floyd Skloot

 

Jacques Goldman didn't mind forgetting. There was plenty he was ready to forget. For starters, Goldman wouldn't have objected to losing all memories of France from 1937 to 1941. Also his zigzag 1942 cruise across the Atlantic crammed in a freighter, and his first two to three months in New York. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Inkberrow

by Rob Magnuson Smith

 

My father cackled and drew me inside. The smell brought back memories of childhood—waking each morning to the fumes of gin and cigarettes. He hobbled into his kitchen. One of his legs was apparently out of order. My father had dark hair the last time I’d seen him, and now it was white. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Visitation

by Maya Sonenberg

 

In the cluttered living room, Mina finds it impossible to remove herself from the gaze of her four-year-old, who says, “I’m watching you, Momma.” The radiator steams with wet socks, and outside, in the dark, snow gathers even at the bottom of the airshaft their back windows look out on. “Where we going now?”... READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Communion

by Gregory Spatz

 

This was in the between time, before I’d told either of my parents that I was no longer attending classes. The dropped due to non-attendance slips would not arrive in their mailbox until later, close to the end of the semester. Real good, I’d say if one of them called to check in. Loving college. I’m learning so much. And Larry’s a hoot to work with! READ MORE

 


 

 


 


Mexican Honeymoon

by Terese Svoboda

 

Edgy dogs tap their toenails beneath the staircase in the courtyard. He flaps his napkin at one, Caffay o-lay!, ordering in sight of the half-ruined pyramids rising in the beyond, O-lay, and the dog shows teeth, that dog tears off a piece of the napkin, which relaxes it--he stops barking--makes it happy the way he, the man, is happy, it’s what’s left of his honeymoon.

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Kosciusko Bridge

by Terese Svoboda

 

I sat abreast of the mother-in-law, tit dripping, baby log-rolling thighs: mine, hers. Who made up the rest of the crush? Your cousin, asleep, jaw hanging, on the far side of the mother, you, in heaven in the front seat, talking sweet about a film you hoped to make to whomever beside you who made films too, who said Whoa! READ MORE

 


 

 


 


That Whooshing Noise Before the End

by Bob Thurber

 

The same Saturday I packed up and moved out, I invited my wife to this French film about divorce. On the phone, she said, "You know this proves you're crazy, don’t you?" And I didn’t mind that remark because it had been a full six hours since I left her and she still sounded sober. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Poolside

by Emma Törzs

 

Allie’s ex-stepfather, Jim, had a pool with a deep end, where the clear water went blue like candy. This was the summer we were thirteen, and sex had just passed the threshold from concept to corporeal—not an idea anymore but a real beating force beneath the façade of the clean-faced world, like magma tucked in the locket of the earth’s crust. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

L'Odysée

by Frederic Tuten

 

Then I made me way into the tottering house itself and found it all in shambles. A clothesline freighted with frilly red underwear, not mine, and three pairs of long johns, not mine, stretched across the living room. The bathroom reeked of men’s after-shave and colognes – Brute – and was littered with gum stimulators, nose-hair scissors, moustache trimmers, nail cutters and other implements and toiletries that I never use. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Consultant

by Catherynne M. Valente

 

She walks into my life legs first, a long drink of water in the desert of my thirties. Her shoes are red; her eyes are green. She’s an Italian flag in occupied territory, and I fall for her like Paris. She mixes my metaphors like a martini and serves up my heart tartare. They all do. Every time. They have to. It’s that kind of story. READ MORE

 

 


 

 

 


 

I Don't Know, Stop Asking Me Math Questions

by James Warner

 

“Did you feel that?” my daughter asked. The table at which we sat playing chess was shaking as if covered with cell phones set to vibrate. READ MORE 

 

 


 

 


 

Bloodweed

by Robley Wilson

 

Grandfather Chandler says God made only two kinds of bloodweed: the stiff grass with greenish-purple flowers that grows wild in the ditches hereabouts, and what he calls "the true bloodweed" with tiny scarlet or magenta blossoms that fill the family graveyard, on the ridge behind the house we live in. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Wedding Day

by Robley Wilson

 

It was Benjamin Howard's wedding day, the second of his life and, he hoped, the last. Annette, the bride-to-be, was asleep in the bed he had just left; her two daughters were in the kitchen, quarreling amiably over the last blueberry muffin. The orange cat dozed on the picnic table outside the sliding door of the bedroom, mandarin-like, forepaws folded under. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Blue

by Rudy Wilson

 

But now I felt dirty. I was never the same after those nights, and the leaving. I grew old…I became a very old man. I lost the ability to laugh. And I didn’t cry either. I survived. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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