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A SHADOW THE LENGTH OF A LIFETIME by Sheldon Lee Compton

The last address was easy to remember. But in a year living on the outskirts of downtown Portsville, Calup still confused First Street with Second Street about every other time. Maybe that’s what happened with his last letter. Confusion was now his general state of mind, even on good days, when it was only mild. At eighty-six years old, there were more days when he could remember what was in his lunch box the day the Number 2 tipple burned on Shelby Creek than he remember what street he lived on. The post office lady pulled to his mailbox. He

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LIKE NEEDLE TO RECORD by Tomas Moniz

Terrance tells me choose a record and I struggle. He’s a new friend. A very sexy friend. I need friends. We have one in common, Metal Matt, who’s orchestrated this meetup, aka blind brunch date, slash hook-up. But with friends with records like these, you know. Plus I don’t want to offend. There’s Rihanna, understandable. Peaches, okay. But the predominance of ‘80s music stupefies. The closest thing to metal: Alice in Chains. I figure sure why not. I pull the album from the shelf.   I say, How’s this, and hold the record high. He’s in the kitchen constructing our

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BLUE BLOODED by Thomas Barnes

On the second date she brought up the lights in the water. “What do you mean you haven’t seen them,” she said. “You’re from here. It’s all up and down the shore, real late. The witching hour or past it.” “Just summers when I was a kid,” I said. “Now I don’t stay out late. Early shift.” The diner faced a parking lot, the parking lot of the black ocean. End of season loomed. Emptiness inherited the town. Waves lashed the thin shore and wind ripped at dune grass. Gulls hung in the air, motionless and screaming. “What about tonight,”

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THE COAT by Robert John Miller

You don’t wear coats. You wear layers. You’re outside, what, five minutes, ten minutes at a time? Apartment to bus. Bus to work. Next door for lunch. Coats are such a bougie luxury. What are these people preparing for? Ice fishing? Everest? You’re never more than ten seconds from a clean well-heated place. But you tire of the questions. And there’s an online flash sale. Maybe a coat would be nice. Remember: You know nothing about buying coats. But that one on sale looks like the ones everyone has. Red patch. White thread. Maybe a goose is involved. Two days

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wilhelm scream

THE WILHELM SCREAM by Gregg Williard

Before her senior year of high school she spent every day of the sweltering summer on the side porch of her parents’ house writing an essay on existentialism while her little brother, back to her and arms outstretched for balance, inched past the windows outside, wobbling on a ledge no deeper than his heels until he lost his balance and plunged, screaming, into a sea of lava five feet below, then climbed up the drain pipe and did it again, all morning, every morning: inch along the ledge to Kierkegaard, lose balance to Heidegger, wave arms to Hegel, scream piercing

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MORE by Tyler Dempsey

Servants scatter. The psychoanalyst enters the room. He regards his surroundings: Apollo’s wife, Aphrodite, scrolls Facebook. Her Admirers lounge. Various articles—bedside tables, a rocking horse, bowling pins, Fruit Roll-Ups—lay adrift across the floor. Aphrodite refurbishes goods, like Fruit Roll-Ups, from thrift stores. Apollo enters, his humor betrays immense slaying. He approaches an Admirer, slays him. Tosses a bloody scimitar to the recliner. The Admirers scoot over. He sits. —How do you feel? —Tired. He cracks a Pabst Blue Ribbon, gallantly. Loosens his golden codpiece. Apollo props his heels on the dead Admirer. —I was whipping adversaries. The sun was angling,

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AUTOGRAPH PARTY by David Williamson

All the girls have their binders and they are all beaming, and she just has her arms all covered in her sleeves and wondering if her mother will come back before the party ends. It appears to her that the ends of Beth Beachie’s mother’s mouth almost touch her ears. Beth Beachie’s mother smiles crazy and starts it off by going to the record player and dropping the needle. A song plays that she thinks she’s heard before in a department store. Beth’s Beachie’s mother rings the bell. All the girls bounce around the floor and come together like atoms

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JEANETTE by Steve Anwyll

I’ve never worn a wig before. But as she walks up to the van. I know for a fact that hers isn’t on right. The netting isn’t supposed to be down so far. It ruins the illusion. It makes her look insane. But who the hell am I to judge her motivations? Mark takes the large rolling luggage from her. He does his best to stuff it into the storage space behind me with all the other bags. A noble feat I’m sure he’ll fail. Until I hear the latch gently catch. And envision our belongings shooting out the back.

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THERE WAS A LADY WHO HAD SHARKS UNDER HER SKIN by Philip Webb-Gregg

There were bears there too, and tigers and wolves, and all manner of carnivorous things. She walked around all her life, not knowing why she hurt so much. Always wondering why she was so hungry and so thirsty; always leaping at passing flames without a thought for her skin, which was worn and scarred from so many lost opportunities. And she would roar, sometimes, in the night, without knowing why. Or her mouth would suddenly be full of fangs and the taste of blood. And she would weep for the death she felt in her stomach, and kneel upon the

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REFILL by Fernando Schekaiban (translated by Toshiya Kamei)

Here I am again, in this café that has transformed into a shelter of excuses. I don’t know why I come back here every week. But I know myself and my pretexts. Some say I’m patient – those who value me the most – while others call me nuts. I’d say I’m in love with the sound my favorite chair makes – the one in the only corner available to customers – when you drag its wooden legs. OK, the chair is not the recipient of my love, nor is my visit to an “overcrowded” place, which allows me to

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