Archives

THE MASTIFF by Max Halper

“My life is over,” I said in the dark my first night inside. A full minute passed. “Shut the fuck up,” said my cellmate.  A month later I hanged myself. I did it from the bunk with my undershirt. There was no pain. My cellmate slept through it. When he woke up I was so dead I seemed more a facet of the cell than an occupant. He looked at me and nodded, as if my body imparted some keen insight. He determined I had managed to escape, had bored a tunnel through the only wall in the prison they

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THROUGH THE LAUNDROMAT WINDOW by Rachel L.E. Klammer

Jane watches the world from across the laundromat. Her apartment window affords a view of the parking lot and inside the laundromat. Jane watches a plump and elderly man wash horse blankets for the third time that month. A sign near his machine says ‘please do not wash horse blankets.’ Jane has been watching the laundromat for three months, ever since she first moved to town during the ever-clinging winter. It is April now, and still snow and melting icicles crawl over building roofs. There will be snow lumped in the edges of some valleys and higher altitudes of the

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BOY RACER WILL HAVE HIS REVENGE by Brendan Sheehan

Boy Racer fell from the sky, fully formed. He was born a lanky sixteen-year-old with perfect skin and a tricked-out car. Boy Racer couldn’t remember anything before 1996, the start of his junior year at Santa Carla High. He couldn’t remember buying his car—a purple Maxima with a super wing spoiler, suicide doors, and lime-green underglow. He couldn’t remember choosing his wardrobe—a closet full of wifebeater shirts, Cuban link chains, and Adidas 3-Stripes pants. He couldn’t make sense of why he always smelled of Cool Water cologne or why even after a shower his Caesar cut was still shellacked with

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SIMON & SCHUSTER by Marc Tweed

Bill Gunderson was more than a coworker to me, in fact I’d gone kayaking with Bill maybe three weeks before they chucked his severed head off the 29th floor of the Pemberton Building. He was our top seller the year before that ordeal, three out of four quarters. The guy was a data security sales machine. It was a windy evening this happened. I remember his head making a sound like an empty coconut when it hit the concrete and bounced twenty feet in the air, coming to rest directly in front of my girlfriend, Veraldine, whose exquisite face elongated

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THE WHALES WILL THANK HER by Julie Chen

She seeks to save water when using the toilet. If it’s yellow, let it mellow, though she knows that can lead to malodor, so she makes sure to flush before she goes out or to bed, or if she hasn’t hydrated well and her pee is a deep autumnal mustard, like her favorite sweater. When she goes grocery shopping, she uses tote bags, of which she has many. The real challenge is to also bring those plastic bags in which one weighs produce. One can avoid them with fruits like bananas, whose peels are thick enough to shield from germs,

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TO RIDER STRONG by Jade Hidle

You won’t remember me. It’s been twenty-nine years since my last letter.  I always did my homework alone, because my mother didn’t know enough English to help. I always finished it early, so that I could watch you on Boy Meets World. Your gapped-tooth mischievous grin, your chokers, your hair-flipping. I knew bad boys at school, but we didn’t have any like you. You were a white bad boy, which is a good bad boy. And you made being wounded look so cool.  I thought you would understand and that you would then elevate me to your level, turn my

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BOY CRAZY by Lauren Barbato

The young married women at the conference upstate agree that it’s nice to be around someone so boy crazy. That’s how they say it: boy crazy.  The young married women help you flirt with Ben, the writer from Seattle via Georgia. They accompany you to the pricey cocktail bar downtown and conveniently leave early. Ben walks you down a sleepy street with few lights to your tiny cabin rental. You show each other your tattoos as mosquitos nibble your ankles.  In three years, you’ll be married, the young married women say. We want to come to the wedding. *** Lawrence

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STRAWBERRY by James Jacob Hatfield

It’s not because I have Alzheimer’s, I’ve always been like this. The most fun I get nowadays is when I find things I lost.  But I do remember her journal is underneath the couch. Before I’d never think to read her journal. But now that she’s gone I’d better retrieve it or else I’d forget about her completely.  Reaching under our couch is like sticking your hand into that ominous hole in the wall of a cave. Feeling for a lever. Pencils. Dog toys. Remotes. Items that are sorely missed only when they’re needed. And are treasured only for the

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GAY BROMANCE 2011: TROUBLE IN PARADISE EDITION by Unity

After a five-month stint as an unpaid “gardening intern” at the Tennessee trans sex cult compound outside Smithville, after a month or so helping my sister catch painted buntings for science in the ruralest part of backwoods South Carolina, and, finally, after a month’s worth of dogsitting, also for my sister, in beautiful coastal Wilmington, NC, I went back to New York. Forrest, Hannah and Zibby picked me up in Baby Scribbla, Forrest’s antique Mercedes Benz – his first, to my knowledge, but certainly not last. The car couldn’t shift into fifth and so we skirted the Interstate wherever possible

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SIMPLE ANSWERS TO ESSENCE QUESTIONS AT THE INTERNATIONAL PAPERWEIGHT FESTIVAL by Pat Foran

Long before the wildness of fire engulfed their town, and well after self-winding watches had become a thing, the townspeople thought of themselves as a simple people who enjoyed simple pleasures. They saw light in paper moons and love in the soft ridges of the infinite arrowing of the universal “recycling” logo. They believed in paper planes and in the notion of shared paper routes. They spent their evenings pressing paper roses between the pages of 1959 Buick Le Sabre brochures. The townspeople took particular pride in the International Paperweight Festival they hosted each summer in the paper mill parking

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