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GONE BABY GONE by Patricia Q. Bidar

Arthur and I are lucky. A client of mine on 110th and Broadway—I clean houses—had a family thing and needed to leave the country for a few months. Arthur and I could stay. It’s late morning. The door buzzer sounds and Arthur springs up. His old friend, Joey Chestnut. What we know so far is that Joey’s gotten clean, or at least a lot cleaner than the last time we saw him. He has a lady now. Maybe she’s a calming influence. Now Arthur and Joey are going on a fishing weekend. They’re traveling light because just yesterday Arthur’s Pacer

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THE GRANDE CALAMITY DIAMOND DESCENDS INTO THE MAELSTRÖM by Dolan Morgan

I needed a break. So when my brother gifted me the cruise ticket, it felt like he’d done something useful for once. But there was a catch. “It sinks on purpose,” my brother said, laughing. “Like, while you’re on the thing. Straight into the ocean, down it goes. The whole big ship. And they don’t tell you when, it’s a surprise. One minute you’re over by the pool deck in margaritaville or whatever, and then—wham! The boat is sinking, just like that. You’re gonna love it.” Byron worked in real estate and routinely ended up with promotional items that nobody

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Whose Presence Joined With Ours Will Create Something Novel; A Review of Adam Soldofsky’s TELEPAPHONE by Evan Williams

Take any version of the movie Freaky Friday. Now imagine it remade as a film noir. Now imagine it was written by Marshall McLuhan. Now imagine it isn’t afraid to lean into the philosophical implications a body swap has on the nature of selfhood. Congratulations, you’ve got Adam Soldofsky’s Telepaphone.  My first impulse upon reading the title was to rummage through my shelves for Mag Gabbert’s MINML POEMS, a book taking the torch of condensed wordplay from Aram Saroyan. The word “telepaphone” feels like it might fit in among Gabbert’s poems, sandwiched somewhere between “anammal” and “implocean.” While reading MINML

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LAST-DITCH EFFORT: A FAMILY DRAMA TOLD IN NINE CHAPTERS by Torrey Kurtzner

Flip a Coin Christmas morning, 1999. My mother and father were seated on a couch in our living room. Neither seemed to acknowledge the other’s presence. Instead, they both stared lifelessly at a nearby wall. Holiday festivities be damned; it was just another day in matrimonial hell for my folks. My father awkwardly turned to face my mother. “Merry Christmas,” he said begrudgingly, holding out an envelope. “It’s an Applebee’s gift card.” My mother glanced at the envelope and sighed. “I don’t think I love you anymore,” she said. “Oh?” “Yes. You’re not surprised, are you?” “No, not at all,”

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TELL ME YOU’RE A HOT MESS WITHOUT TELLING ME YOU’RE A HOT MESS by D.E. Hardy

I should have known it was a bad time to have a friend over. I was 15. My parents were divorcing, the house divided into a his/hers venn diagram, the kitchen being the overlapping space. I should have foregone the offer of a snack, and led my friend straight to my room that was squarely situated on the her-side of the floorplan. Better, I could have suggested my friend and I walk to her house where we could have eaten whatever we wanted. Even in before-times, my family rarely had anything good in the fridge.  I should have shut the

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DESPERATELY SEEKING ARISTOTLE’S FRIENDSHIP OF VIRTUE by Chris Kelso

Let’s argue that reality is plural: the solipsistic loneliness of individual perception becomes our first hurdle. We try to get over that by sharing some kind of rudimentary interior with others—where common goals and grammars can unite and define us as joint proprietors of a greater cognitive space. So how do you deal with people not liking you? What strategies can you call upon when you reach out for connection only to find an opposing electrical charge exerting its repulsive force against you? It seems strange to imagine that in the age of social-media anyone would reject this idea of

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THE DOCKMASTER MUST NEVER SEE THIS by Claire Hopple

Gretchen starts with ditching her cell phone. She connects a landline and absconds with an old friend’s answering machine.  She receives a message from a wrong number telling her to meet at a houseboat by the river tomorrow at nine. The voice doesn’t specify whether that’s A.M. or P.M. She plays the message over and over, repulsed. The following day, she settles on a bench beside the river. There’s only one boat. It’s docked directly in view of the casino. It’s not a houseboat. Not at all. Regardless, this must be the place. Hampered by the stranger’s lack of specificity

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MEN WHO CAN’T HUNT by James Cato

Who but Leatra would sashay onto my lopsided porch late for a 6 PM appointment, her pink top with ribbons tied tight across the front. I didn’t correct her when she called me a masseuse but felt the beginnings of dislike before she lay naked with a towel slack at her hips on the table. Resisting the urge to yank her platinum braid, I ran grapeseed oil on her back in a drizzling loop.  Who but Leatra would tighten at the mention of my brother Ely. I told her how this therapy studio had been his bedroom before he vanished,

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B.R. YEAGER on film with Rebecca Gransden

What film, or films, made the first deep impression on you? The first films I truly loved were incredibly basic, because I was a kid. And I was a blockbuster kid. I was obsessed with Aliens, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, etc. And I still love those movies, even though they’ve long been replaced as my favorites. But I think the biggest mark they left on me was a love of grandiose scope and spectacle. There’s plenty to critique about those films with regard to emotional or intellectual complexity, but in terms of presenting a spectacular, grandiose vision they’re pretty impeccable.

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TWO MICROS by Grace Q. Song

MAGICIAN’S HAT You find an upside-down magician’s hat on a table. It’s made of velvet, smooth as moonlight between your fingers, and a stripe, broad and white, wraps around its base. No one’s around. The first thing you pull out is a wand. Next, a deck of fresh cards. Pigeons and rabbits who disappear into the dark corners of the room. These are ordinary things you’d expect to find in a magician’s hat, nothing too surprising. So, you keep pulling and pulling, magic trick after magic trick, until things finally begin. The twenty-fifth item is a red Starburst, followed by

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