LIL ULYSSES 666 by Paul Curran

It feels weird talking to a camera. I must look like a terrorist or a school shooter. I’ll turn off the light. That’s better. Your music sucks anyway. What makes you say that? I thought it sounded funny. You’re the one who asked me here.  Let’s rape and kill some kid. Do you mean physically or metaphorically? I mean metaphysically. That’s predictable. Many lyrics are worse. Are you taking notes? I heard you faked your own death. Glued on a beard and hitched a boat ride to Indonesia. Killed a backpacker and stole her passport. I’ve got the scars to…

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PAYCHECK by Joseph Grantham

Scott had a reading in St. Louis and Julia couldn’t go with him because she had to teach, so I went with him because I lived in their house and was unemployed and Scott needed company. We drove to a gas station and Scott bought cigarettes and then we drove halfway to St. Louis and while we were driving Scott showed me his favorite albums by Nick Cave and we smoked a lot of cigarettes and then we got a room in a hotel in a place called Santa Claus, Indiana. It was late at night and we were hungry…

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THE RAZOR by Kevin Sampsell

This is the black shirt my ex-wife gave me before the divorce. The one her father used to wear. I have another one just like it, but it has long sleeves. These short sleeves fit me better. I imagine her dad wearing it. Standing outside, on the roof of his house, a cool breeze blowing through the looseness of the cloth, against his sloping shoulders. His arms, freckled and tired at the end. Patches of gray hair, waving. I wonder if he died in this shirt. Probably not. You don’t pick a black shirt to die in. I look in…

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DUETS AND THE CRACK IN EVERYTHING by Nayt Rundquist

She’ll break open the world, just a bit, and tell them how they’ll end, how they’ll get there, who’ll wrong them along the way. They’ll drown in it, their fates, choking to take it all in, no matter how certain they’d been they could swim. But she’ll be there, on the shore, waiting to pull them sputtering back to present, steaming stew to fend off the chill. Creaking floorboards in her age-shriveling hut groan as she grunts across them, fists stabbing her curving spine. Her clawhand brandishes her knife, her only artifact that still carries a sheen. The blade slices…

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ALTOIDS BURN SO GOOD by Jennifer Greidus

Cheetah’s mom is dead. So’s his dad. He lives with his almost-deaf uncle Grant. His uncle plays a lot of solitaire and has a lot of different girlfriends. When Cheetah was in fourth grade, Uncle Grant was a volunteer fireman. He laughed a lot. He made casseroles and brought them over on Sundays. Now, Uncle Grant doesn’t put out fires, cook, or even laugh. For three months, he hasn’t left the apartment. Uncle Grant made Cheetah change the locks because the rent’s been overdue since June. Cheetah would like to be a volunteer fireman, but he can’t until he’s eighteen….

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A SILENT MOVIE by Chris Dankland

On the sixth day, Victor started staring at Antoine’s feet. A pang shot through him every time he saw Antoine’s plump toes wiggle. They were soft, pampered feet that had only walked on the prostrate backs of others. I bet they’re tender, thought Victor, licking his cracked and bleeding lips. Like the winged feet of Mercury, Antoine’s feet had only trod the most rarefied of airs. He didn’t even carry his fucking camera onto the boat, thought Victor, snarling. The chauffeur had done it. Antoine appeared to be passed out. Not dead yet, his chest was still moving. But how…

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THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED by Anastasia Jill

THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED, we lost our power first as lights and machines shut down like stale organs folding into their lives without blood. Mucus membranes settled in the trenches of my eyelid and produced chemical tears. “It’s okay,” we told ourselves. “I am not afraid.” After a few hours, lungs couldn’t take it, clawed their way out of our rib and sacrificed themselves to the noxious gasses. My nuke tipped fingers counted the columns remaining down our spine. We only got to three before the vapor consumed us. “It’s okay,” we said again. “I am not afraid.” Other…

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SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES, OR THAT ONE TIME FRANNY TOOK PATRICE OUT by Bob Raymonda

Patrice walks into her kitchen, opens the cupboard, pulls out a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, and sighs. She’s wearing a matching set of duck pajamas with a thinly rolled joint clamped between the corner of her lips. She runs the tap to fill a half-washed pot and lights the joint on the stovetop before setting the water to boil. The clock on her microwave flashes twelve. The power went out last Wednesday and she just can’t bring herself to reset it. Her anxiety calms as she smokes and watches the bubbles start to collect at the bottom of…

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FRIENDSHIP WOLFCHEESE by Jonathan Cardew

Slide through the doors of the convenience store. Live a little in your skin. This skin was given to you in about 1975. Friendship Wolfcheese made sure you got the kind of skin that earned you favor. Ask for cigarettes. Carefully enunciate the vowels and the consonants. Friendship Wolfcheese was very particular about sounds. Marlllllborooooo Liiiiiights. Feel the heat in your cheeks. Why the heat in your cheeks? Marllllllborooooo Liiiights. He doesn’t understand you. This boy of fifteen, with the fresh coat of paint on his face. Squints in your direction. He’s speaking, but the speaking isn’t happening in your…

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CORPORATE CLIMATE by Benjamin Niespodziany

Corporate encourages that we ride to work on company pogo sticks. Company bicycles and unicycles are also okay, but everything else is frowned upon. “We can’t force anyone,” the CEO laughs. Sheryl hates to bounce, rides in on a skateboard every morning. Everyone used to adore Sheryl, used to throw morning glories at her in the staff parking lot. Now co-workers spit on her as they pass her new office in the broken elevator full of fax machines. I remain a loyal employee, a pogo commuter covered head to toe in Band-Aids. My bruises and scabs are the only things…

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