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jim ruland

RECOMMENCE by Jim Ruland

Carol is calling from Los Angeles. She wants to know how the cat piece is going. The cat piece isn’t going is how it’s going. I write for a golf magazine. Not the magazine per se, but the blog. A golf blog. I hate everything about it. Its obsession with swing mechanics. Its upper crust entitlement. I even hate the way it sounds. Golf blog. It reminds me of the noise that escaped from my brother-in-law the time he got a piece of $6 gristle stuck in his windpipe and almost died. When the waiter delivered his filet mignon he’d

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simon graham

GAME THEORY by Simon Graham

For a time I dated a girl who was also an orphan. It was really great at first, us being orphans together. We had no responsibilities or allegiances, and we had plenty of money. Sarah and I used our money to play games. I liked games because they stopped me thinking about doing what I had done prior to dating Sarah, which was putting my body against hot surfaces. I had done this because it made me stop thinking about being an orphan and because there are very few fun games to play on your own. Sarah liked games as

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hannah stevens

CALL OF THE CIRCUS by Hannah Stevens

She didn’t know they were coming but she knew when they’d arrived. It was April and the weather was too good for the time of year. She heard the noise on the breeze: the faint, twisted sound of faraway music from a tent. She was outside and sat on steps framed by wisteria. Purple flowers hung from the thin tangled limbs of the plant and the heavy, tapered bunches reminded her of grape vines. Her feet were pale and bare and the tops of them burned. Every few minutes there was a lyric caught between the music in the air.

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bram riddlebarger

SOY by Bram Riddlebarger

It was when he started drinking the milkshakes that the trouble began. Before two weeks had passed he had ballooned up fifty pounds and was beating the pulp out of every motherfucker that came within an inch of his mind’s eye. His power, he believed, came from his special method, patent pending, of milkshake making. It had to do with split-second timing between milk added and ice cream stirred, although quick wrist action was as necessary a factor as any. Of course, he didn’t use an electric blender. It was just pure spoon on glass like a junkie and his

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TIME TO MEET YOUR GOD by Chris Dankland

Mr. Coyote stuck his long down-curved nose through a crack in his apartment door. He pushed his head outside and looked left. He sniffed the stale apartment building hallway. He looked right. Nobody there. Thirty seconds later he left his posh 30th floor apartment holding a big bag of trash slung over his shoulder. He was wearing black gloves. Mr. Coyote calmly walked down the hall, opened the building trash chute, and dumped the bag of trash down the chute. He looked left. He sniffed the stale apartment building hallway. He looked right. And that, he thought, is the end

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CARS THAT TREATED ME POORLY by Jennifer Greidus

These aren’t pictures of my cars. In fact, they may not even be pictures of the years of my cars. They are the color of my cars, the model, the make. The years, however, are a blur of heartbreak, manslaughter, and ice storms. Volvo 66: My mother conceived her second child in this car. (Remember, not this car but a car such as this car.) There was a big scene and a miscarriage, which led to a complicated D&C, and then we had to have a memorial for the fetus. I am an only child. Honda Accord: I drove this

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sam pink

INTERVIEW WITH SAM PINK by Benjamin Scott

Sam Pink is the author of a dozen books, including Person, The No Hellos Diet, Hurt Others,  and Witch Piss.  I interviewed him about his latest book The Garbage Times/White Ibis, his paintings, and his time living in Florida. BS: You lived in Chicago for a while but several years ago you moved to Florida. What sparked the move and why have you moved back to Chicago? SP: I moved to Florida for the person I was dating. I moved back when we broke up. BS: Sorry to hear about that. Does Chicago seem different? Where is the best place to

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X-R-A-Y ISSUE #3

DOWNLOAD ISSUE #3 MAY 2018 marisha gene hicks // lanny durbin // juliet escoria // scott mcclanahan // derick dupre // kelby losack // ted prokash // nathaniel duggan // sam pink // benjamin scott // claire hopple // jennifer greidus // chris dankland

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LILLY AND THE NINE-TOED WOMAN by Toom Bucksaw

Lilly brushed her teeth and saw another woman’s face in the mirror. She stared into her eyes and wished she could ask that woman where the fourth toe of her left foot had gone. Why hadn’t she taken better care of herself? Didn’t she know Lilly would need her toes someday? Lilly pulled her socks on and tried to forgive her. In the big room Ellis was still sleeping on the floor with his head on the couch. The mechanical blinds on the window were creakily opening and shafts of sunlight were pooling on his face. Lilly didn’t let him

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daniel handelman

HONOR SYSTEM by Daniel Handelman

“Maybe some people have both,” she said. She was rolling up a joint. It had too much weed in it. The edges didn’t connect. “The way she writes the male,” she said. “She knows the male. But does the male know the female?” She leaned back into the couch. They’d gone to a motel. There was no Americana, no plastic flamingoes. It was a motel with none of that. It wasn’t what she pictured. “There must be a male who knows the female,” he said. “Out of seven billion people, it is possible there is a male who knows the

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