Archives

ARBORIST by Lanny Durbin

Guy was just standing there in my backyard. He was hacking at the Sweet Gumball Tree that reached up through powerlines and my touched my neighbor’s roof with its old, outstretched arms. Chopping at it with an axe. I’d been watching him for fifteen minutes from my kitchen window. He’d barely gotten through the stiff bark. The spiky little gumballs that grew from the tree’s veins were raining down on him. He just kept chopping, chopping, chopping. This was bullshit. I’d called off work again, spent the morning willing myself from the bed. I’d driven across town to the used

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TIME-EATERS by Kaiter Enless

“I don’t have no problem.” “Sure seem like you do.” He shook his head, a fractional gesture, noticeable only due the couple’s proximity. “Well, I don’t. Was you what started yappin.” She folded her arms below her breasts, turning slightly away, staring at nothing, muttering, “Fine.” “Yeah. It is. Why you being this way, Lyla? Ain’t never was like this between us before. Now, all a sudden, you’re constantly screwing up your face, hmph-ing all over the place, snapping at me for no good reason, constantly try’n ta start something…” “Ain’t try’n ta start nothing.” “Good, cuz there ain’t nothing

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ANIMAL HOUSE by Kara Vernor

Hard Rock Hare clamped headphones over his ears and hopped around in front of the stereo. He liked The Clash and Black Flag, but today he listened to Johnny Cash. He thought Cash was good too, if not a little somber. Stoner Hare reclined on the couch and smoked a joint, first watching his roommate’s pogo, then becoming distracted by the involuntary twitching of his own nose. He focused on it, his eyes crossing a bit, and tried to still it with his mind. The Tortoise barged in, as much as a tortoise can barge. He said, What’s going on

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SURVIVOR! by Julia Tausch

The grouchy buildings of The Six, the dirty snow’s hectic dance – it was all far beneath me now. Keely, my thirteen year-old niece, had taught me to call Toronto “The Six.” She reeked of perfume that seemed to combine garbage with vetiver and beets but was surely expensive. The smell emboldened me – rot and beauty enmeshed. It blurred my warring worries and desires. So far, I loved flying. The soothing keen of the engines; my seat a mini-empire, a customizable media-pod; the shiny dossier in my seatback pocket pregnant with a secret I was itching to share. I

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alone i am always smoking by Clare Schneider

Tobacco companies support nicotine patches because, studies have shown, that without counseling, nicotine replacement therapy hardly ever works. Tobacco companies view all “nicotine products as a way to support smoking” i quit smoking for you and then you left me. this seems unfair. Girls who start smoking before age 15 are nearly 50 percent more likely to get breast cancer a woman watches me intently as i smoke outside a restaurant a man walks past me while i’m on the phone smoking someone sees me smoking in my car and rolls up their window my drunk uncle rubs my shoulder after i

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SHE GETS A LOT OF HELP by Kristina Ten

“You have a beautiful home here,” says the man’s boss, taking note of the layered window treatments and the gleaming hardwood floors. Over the mantel hangs an abstract painting of a female nude—tasteful, the boss thinks: wide, flesh-toned brushstrokes, no embarrassing details. All of this bodes well for the man, who the boss knows is angling for a promotion. That’s why the boss has been invited to dinner at the man’s house, and why he’s told his wife, who was invited as well, though more as a courtesy, that the night probably wouldn’t be of much interest to her. The

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PABLO’S HAIR by Sandra Arnold

When we got to the farm Bill explained that the dead boy’s parents had asked him to keep the pregnant mare and her two year old colt till they found a buyer, but none of the guys who came to look at her could even catch her. “Don’t worry, Beth,” he reassured, “I’ve asked Pablo to do a bit of schooling so she’ll be calm enough for you to ride.” We turned the corner into the barn and saw the colt tied to the fence. His mother, a beautiful bay, was tied to a pole while Pablo, sweat soaking into

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EXCERPTS FROM THE MEMOIR I NEVER WANT TO WRITE ABOUT MY BLINDNESS by Zack Peercy

Me, Myself, and Eye My earliest memory is my mother’s panicked expression as she grabbed my face and told me to look at her. I assured her, as best a three-year-old could, that I was looking at her. I had developed a lazy eye, but that wasn’t my first foray into the world of eye troubles. When I was thirteen months old, I was a quiet baby who didn’t cry, but whose eyes darted back and forth and watered continuously. I’m told my eye pressure at the time was 40, which is extremely high. I was diagnosed with open-angle juvenile

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THE FILTHY OLD MAN by Connor Goodwin

The filthy old man crunched his hand and tossed an empty can over his shoulder, eyes on the road. It landed on a pile of other cans and started a noisy avalanche of aluminum. Some of the crushed cans were tied up in yellow plastic bags from Super Saver, but most were loose and littered the floor. When he had time, he’d take them to the can guy. The can guy operated out of a parking lot. It was just him and a bunch of flies. The compactor looked like a tall semi-trailer. At the base was a conveyor belt

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COMPLACENCY DESCRIBED BY TEST SUBJECT 6 by Cavin Bryce Gonzalez

The terrarium has always been. It’s made of glass with a great mesh lid on top. A lamp provides warmth throughout the day. We were once scientists and art teachers and coffee baristas. Now we’re just people. Some still go by their name. Some go by titles. They call me Six because I was the sixth one to wake up here. When the mesh lid is drawn back and The Hand reaches down from above to deliver food and presents we rush to the center, fight for our scraps despite there being enough. The youngest of us scuttle off with

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