THE BROKEN TEETH DIARIES by Joe Bielecki

We used to be in a mouth but were evicted by a fist in the winter outside of a bar by a bouncer. We weren’t unhappy in our home, but we didn’t mind being free from being drowned in alcohol and choked by smoke every day. The snow was cool. We hibernated like little white bears. We mingled with razor sharp salt that was used to tear through the ice that the snow was packed down to create. Our enamel was scraped away slowly. Small cracks formed and were filled with melted snow that froze in the night and expanded…

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BONDO by Harris Lahti

That summer I started working at Lexington Home for minimum wage. I spent shifts convincing residents to swallow pills brimming from paper cups. It was a powerful position. Or at least that’s what I told friends. I told them I could’ve swallowed every pill if I wanted. But the only question anyone ever asked was: “What happened to you?” I was permanently limping. My hips, shins, elbow were riddled with lumps and eggs. The city of Albany was full of cracks that stopped skateboard wheels dead and, it seemed, I’d found every one. I discovered the pink goo of car…

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A CATALOGUE OF TEMPORARY OBJECTS by Clio Velentza

One by one they sat for their portraits. Littlest ones first. They stopped at the door and undid their braids. They rubbed their hair with vinegar and pinched their cheeks. The oldest ones were fearsome, they didn’t know how to listen anymore. One pricked her finger and spread the blood on her lips. They rolled up their ribbons and stuck them in their shoes. They spat and brushed their eyebrows. One by one. Littlest ones first, these ones still had hope. The photographer had one grey eye and one black. He would close an eye to look at them, and…

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KENTUCKY SHITS by Giovanni DeJaneiro

Steven lived alone in a small house on a cattle ranch at the bottom of a hidden valley.  He didn’t have city water, air conditioning, or internet. The kitchen stank. Empty beers crowded the table and counters and stovetop.  A flyswatter hung on the wall—flies hummed through the air. Dishes towered in the sink. Bright orange slime curdled in a dirty saucer, seemingly the source of the hideous reek. He inflated a mattress in the family room, where a floral couch faced a huge wood stove.  Grains of rice, toenail clippings, bottle caps, and dirty tissues overspread the coffee table….

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THEME PARK SUICIDE by Teddy Duncan

I’d been to six flags before and I knew that there was a ride called goliath that you could manually unbuckle the seat belt even after the ride had begun. I don’t fully understand what I was thinking at the time but I don’t think anyone does when you get away from a sickness like that, like when you have a stomach ache and forget what it feels like for your stomach to be normal and you wish and hope and pray for it to be normal and for the stomach ache to end, so that normal becomes a glorious…

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OPENING WEEKEND by Clare Nazarena Tascio

OPENING WEEKEND THE HARD PART IS THAT IT ISN’T HARD. TO GO ON LIVING. AFTER. THE LIVING JUST…GOES. JUST GOES ON AND ON! WITHOUT ME. AND I HAVE TO WATCH IT GO. AND I CAN’T CATCH UP TO IT. AND I CAN’T REALLY WANT TO. SO IT GOES. ON AND ON.   SOMETIMES I SIT IN THE FRONT ROW, BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO SIT IN THE FRONT ROW, AND BECAUSE IT’S LIKE SITTING REALLY CLOSE TO A BONFIRE. I WANT YOU CLOSER AND BIGGER. BUT SOMETIMES I SIT ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK. WHEN I’M THAT FAR AWAY…

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DROP SHOT by Louis Dickins

Sonia is ashamed of her husband. She’s sitting with a crowd of people at the local tennis courts in horror, as her husband Paul prepares to serve. He hasn’t won a game, and he and his opponent are deep into the third and final set. It’s a hot, windy day at the South Morang Tennis Club. There’s a barbeque sizzling in the corner and cups of cordial set up for the kids. It’s the quarterfinals of the local tournament, and Paul’s lifelong dream of winning the cup is being violently dismantled. At 48 years old, Paul is seriously overweight and…

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GRANDMOTHER by R.E. Hengsterman

A low metal growl rises, and I leap from the bed. Ten… nine. By seven, she’s reached the cornered hill of Fletcher and Fields. Her brakes protest with a tinny squeal. By five, I’m half dressed. At three, the throaty rumble of the eight-cylinder engine grows.  By the time I reach zero, Grandmother has arrived. She slides from the bench seat of her station wagon and navigates the piles of dog shit left by our beagle.  Her pink, black-strapped handbag drapes her forearm. Her coifed hair is motionless. She has pressed her clothing into fine lines of order.  Mother, Father, and…

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EXCERPT FROM “COLLEGE NOVEL” by Blake Middleton

The next day around 6:00 p.m. Jordan drove to the corner store near his apartment and bought a Peach Cisco. He drove down I-95 with the windows down and drank Cisco and listened to Propagandhi. In the song the lead singer sang about sticking an American flag up someone’s asshole. In the parking lot of Eric’s complex Jordan sat in his car and swallowed an Adderall then drank some Cisco. He walked toward Eric’s apartment. All the apartments looked the same. People were starting to come home from work. Jordan walked up the stairs to the third floor. He knocked…

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THE HYPOCHONDRIAC SOCIETY by Michael Prihoda

The Hypochondriac Society met every Thursday night in the basement of Knox Presbyterian Church. The church was like a Russian nesting doll: the Presbyterians on Sunday morning, some Mennonites on Sunday night; a children’s Montessori school met in part of the basement during the week or whenever the hell kids attended school nowadays and for a while I think Paul, this one guy I knew from somewhere (maybe he served me food at Shish, that Mediterranean deli on Grand near the university that I generally avoided because, well, undergrads) said Monday nights were AA meetings but I didn’t buy that….

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