DIRTY LAUNDRY by Lisa Johnson Mitchell

I pour bleach over the mound, purging, once again, the family secret: Daddy’s arrest—indecent exposure. Socks fall in. Slipped them off right before having sex with my husband, during which I thought of Benjamin, high school lover.  Will Mom die today? Bed sore as big as a baseball. Not eating or drinking. Been seven days. Hampton Gardens is five minutes away, thank Christ. Flannel nightgown, shove it in, hope I don’t have another nightmare where I’m digging into my giant thigh with a knife, the insides like a Christmas ham. I told Mom I loved her, that she was the…

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ANGRY GNOMES by Sarp Sozdinler

“What can you do?” The hot dog vendor sighs from behind the mist of steam. He fishes for a stick of sausage and then plops it on the sliced bread. “New York is a falling city.” Never before has June given the street talk any credit, that New York is this kind of place or that. The signs have been following her since she moved downtown over a year ago, but she often chooses to look the other way. Avoid it or not, those cream and mustard stains in the vicinity of hot dog carts and ice cream trucks aren’t…

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THE MELT by Jennifer Todhunter

My son doesn’t turn from solid to liquid or liquid to gas when the melt occurs. He remains in the same state physically, but mentally there is a shift. Heat has been applied in the form of my disappearing from his line of sight, or heading to the bonfire for a beer, or talking to a friend who is a guy who is not his dad, my ex. There is a fusion when the melt occurs, his person to my person, a shadow that follows me wherever I go, that demands we leave this instant, that cries as if I’ve…

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DERICK DUPRÉ on film with Rebecca Gransden

What film, or films, made the first deep impression on you? The first movie I bought that didn’t suck was Godard’s Breathless. I was eighteen and deeply into Joan of Arc and other stuff from the Kinsellaverse. I’d read somewhere that they were inspired by his work, so I thought I’d check him out. I went to a nearby Borders and browsed the racks. It was a crappy old edition where the special features were like, “Scene Access” and “Interactive Menus.” I loved it. Then I had the age 18-20 insufferably-into-Godard phase. I remember sort of bragging to my parents’…

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EULOGY by Dan Melling

Derek came in sad-faced because Alastair’d died, said, Alastair’s dead, but I’ve not worked in seven months because the pub’s been closed, so I said, Who’s Alastair? Derek’s face got sadder, said Big Alastair, with the jewelry and I remembered him. He was a dickhead. I said, Oh yeah, and got Shelly over to talk to Derek, but Shelly wouldn’t care either. Alastair was a dickhead who always wore two watches and two thick gold chains and a ring on each finger and whistled when he wanted a pint and one time slapped a girl’s arse as she walked past….

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CLUTCHING by Melanie Maggard

Maybe you’re off the highway, cleaning out the deep fryer at a bowling alley in a college town in Virginia, the alleged state for lovers. You’re a boy in jeans and a Fresh Prince t-shirt, a short apron splattered with an eagle rising from a pool of blood. Townies and good ol’ boys order deep-fried chicken wings, burgers, nachos with canned cheese sauce the color of cantaloupes. They heehaw, drunk on Buds and Jim Beam, high on the split they just picked up in the last frame. You cringe with each dropped “g,” but we’re all dying, anyway. You’ve dropped…

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JONAHS AND THE WHALES by Avra Margariti

You tell me your father Jonah was eaten by a whale when you were a boy. Right before your eyes, you say. One moment you were fishing together in your old boat; the next, the beast breached, snatching your father between shadow-thin teeth as if he were bait. You had to row yourself back to shore. Your spindly arms took weeks to regain sensation. Your heart never did.   Is there a Jonah here? the delivery person asks as they hand me a loaded speargun wrapped in brown paper. Your name is also Jonah. The junior who will soon outlive the…

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THREE FLASH STORIES by Michael Haller

WORK   I answer a phone for the company. I sit behind a desk in a room and answer the telephone when it rings. When the telephone is not ringing I sit in my chair and wait for the phone to ring. When the phone rings I pick up the handset and listen to the voice on the other end, and when the voice is finished saying what it has to say I hang up and try not to think. Then the phone rings and I answer it. My boss tells me I am doing a splendid job, but I…

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GOTTERDAMMERUNG by Howie Good

Welcome to the Age of Autonomous Machines, where the brown bears of Kamchatka are cold, ragged, and hungry, and under perpetual ban, and rivers brim with jizz and blood, and fish have the twisted mouths of stroke victims, where saints travel incognito on New York City subways and God speaks to them in a gravelly two-packs-a-day voice, where a peeling billboard declares it’s time to look ahead to the past, when the public gallows stood silhouetted at dusk against a sky of faded red plush. & Blinking like a sick mole against the harsh white light of the desert, the…

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THE FLIGHT PATH by Megan Peck Shub

The morning my friend passed away—not a euphemism here, for passing is just what she did, through her protracted process, a slow shifting from life to whatever it is that is not life—some engineers launched a rocket at the Cape. I’d flown down from New York at 4 AM, but I arrived too close to the end for me to cut in, so I stayed at my parents’ house, waiting for the call.  That night, in someone’s backyard, my other friends and I, we stood there, conscious of our collective remaining behind. It was one of those suburban Florida backyards,…

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