EDITOR PICKS

blake middleton

CHARLIE by Blake Middleton

i took some adderall the other day and for some reason i decided it was time to replace my old washing machine with a new washing machine my roommate got a lighter stuck in the part of the washer where all the lent and other bullshit builds up so we were scared that the washing machine was gonna catch fire or explode i had been putting off changing it out for weeks i didn’t know how to change out a washing machine and hadn’t really felt like learning i kinda hoped my roommate would do it eventually but whatever, i

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juliet escoria

OUTTAKE FROM JULIET THE MANIAC by Juliet Escoria

We waited all evening for Nicole’s parents to leave, a cord of excitement running taut between the two of us. When their Land Rover finally pulled out of the driveway, we waited ten extra minutes, just in case her parents forgot something and came back. Only then did we take the rolled-up scarf from Nicole’s closet, a neat package containing a lighter and two perfectly rolled joints, the result of Nicole practicing with tobacco while me and my clumsy fingers sat and watched. We took the bundle and crawled out her bedroom window onto the roof. We pressed ourselves against

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scott mcclanahan

INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT MCCLANAHAN

Scott McClanahan is the author of The Sarah Book, The Incantations Of Daniel Johnston, Hill William, Crapalachia, and The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1. He is the owner the finest small volume library in the state of West Virginia.  What’s a book that first put the hook in your heart? Or if there isn’t a single book or author that got you hooked on reading, maybe you can tell me what age you were when literature started playing the pied piper song to you. I think I’ve always fetishized books. There was a ton of children’s stories my mom

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gene morgan

XBOX VIDEO GAME REVIEWS 2018 by Gene Morgan

Fortnite Fortnite is a riot simulator for children. Characters lives are short like ours– the game is filled with moments to reflect upon hard choices, choices in the format of a fun cartoon-like murder game young boys love. Fortnite for Xbox is a perfect way to get killed over and over again and feel emotion as you grow old and work a job and come home to smoke weed from a battery, make vegan hot dogs, take kids to basketball practice, and fall asleep before making love. This game is an easy diversion in an otherwise asinine journey where you

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eilot tuerie

CUCK by Eîlot Tuerie

I have had sex in a church with a girl who lied that she was under the age of consent. I have tied someone up and left them on my bed while I had sex with someone else. I have had sex with three different people at different times on the same day. I have had sex with someone whose eyes watered as she remained perfectly still on the floor of my girlfriend’s living room. I had sex with someone who hadn’t had sex in such a long time that she bled all over the dining room rug. I have

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“LIVEBLOG” EXCERPT by Megan Boyle

MARCH 27, 2013 1:20AM: going to change up the game. really. um. this is really going to happen. so, in grad school, my dad and his friend motivated themselves to finish their dissertations by agreeing to mail one $100 check to the nixon administration for every day late. so. here is what i must do by tomorrow 12AM, this is my ‘dissertation:’ -return attorney’s phone call about accident settlement i’m receiving -write and print cover letter at library -mail apartment application binder -mail book packages -call dad about getting keys to storage unit thursday -refill birth control -pack one box

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rebecca gransden

BABY WITH A FLAMETHROWER, CHEWING GUM ON A MOUNTAIN by Rebecca Gransden

Stay back! I will melt your mugs with fire if you move an inch, you police cordon shitmorons. Your pink stinks. Especially you. Stares at squat policewoman centre left I’ve filed my baby teeth into pointy baby fangs, and I will bite with my baby jaw if you try to stop me. The pitball in the alley showed me how to do it. I watched its eyes too, you know. Baby arcs flamethrower flame overhead making an infernal rainbow against a starry ink sky My burping today is toxic gas, regurgitated from last night, from the barrels of radioactive waste

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FOLK SINGERS, SKINHEADS, AND BEARS by Alistair McCartney

Folk Singers We have never enjoyed folk songs. In fact, we had a profound dislike of folk singing—all that plaintive strumming did not agree with us—that is, until the other evening, when we reluctantly attended a smoky folk club in downtown Los Angeles and the sleepy folk singer with the pair of lips tattooed on his neck sang the lines Ravage me, tattoo me, I’m a window, put your wrist in a soft bag and smash right through me as if he were singing directly to us. Ever since that evening, we have been huge fans of folk singing, folk

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vanessa norton

EMPATHY by Vanessa Norton

The man who lived downstairs kept a wooly pig as a pet. Sometimes, he would stab the pig with a kitchen knife until the pig fell over. He insisted that the pig enjoyed being stabbed; in fact, he would come to the door just to get it. Falling over meant the pig had surrendered to the sublime. My boyfriend had a hard time taking care of himself. He was a drooler. He forgot to rinse at the end of his shower, so his body was often covered in suds. He walked around town with his cock swinging from his fly—unintentionally—but

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FRIENDHYRE by Leland Cheuk

Feedback Entry Form: I really wanted to go to DonutFest but none of my actual friends were as fervid about donuts as I, so I thumbed FriendHyre on my phone and hired someone for just $20. I thought of the cost as a surcharge on the event, which had a $50 cover for all the donuts you can eat from the top ten artisanal vendors in The City. I bought two tickets and met up with Damon at 9 a.m. in front of The Copper Mine, that warehouse concert venue by the river. We shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, and went

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CHERYL by Michael Seymour Blake

There was a loud crash outside the apartment. We were in bed talking about leaving the city just as we always had around ten p.m. every night for the past million years. I’d bring up a photo of some paradise with green grass and a nice big blue sky, no skyscrapers or office buildings in sight, and Terry would go, “Yep, that’s the place for us,” and then we’d settle back into our misery and forget all about it. I was delinquent with two of my loans, Terry took a pay cut to save her job, and we had a

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michael mungiello

MILK by Michael Mungiello

I’m on my way to mom’s apartment. * I’m at mom’s apartment. Wow, nice. She’s really spruced up the place. Mom? I’m in here! Down the hallway, wood floor, wood walls, wood doors, wood frames around photos (of me as a baby, me at my wedding, none in between); plants. Mom? Kitchen. Mom’s cluttered kitchen, Tchotchke salt shakers, detergent blue water sitting in the sink, a mini-TV in the corner and a little man saying in the Voice of Concern A Storm Is Coming. I look at the whole scene through the linty light coming through mom’s drawn translucent curtains.

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nick farriella

NOOSE TATTOO by Nick Farriella

When my uncle showed up at my door unexpectedly, he had a noose tattooed around his neck and carried a long rope bundled up in his hand. Over the few days he lived with me, he’d toss the rope over the counter when coming in the door. He’d sling it over his shoulder out in the yard when doing what he called, “Jailareobics;” propane tank bicep curls, cinder block shoulder presses, push-ups with his feet three stairs up. When I said, “Uncle Frank, what’s up with the rope?” He said something about casting his own judgment, that the rope was

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RELAX INN by J. Edward Kruft

Pat sat in his boxers on the edge of the bed, digging into his ear with a Q-tip. When Barb finally turned off the hairdryer in the bathroom, he called to her. “I sure wish you hadn’ta done this.” “What’s that you say?” asked Barb, entering the room in her slip. “I said,” he emphasized, “I wish you hadn’ta done this.” “Oh,” she swatted the air, “they’re nice enough folks.” “I don’t even know why they’re staying here. They got that goddamn travel trailer just sitting there, wasting away.” “Well, they’ve been on the road a long time. Mitzi said

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lily hackett

ANIMALS by Lily Hackett

I only ordered so I could have the wine got for the cat’s man. But in the takeaway box, they had black shells and polished eyes. They had big claws. I searched for ‘Clawed prawns’. Crayfish. I left a message. I saw one twitch, thrash in the sauce. Its shining eyes were on me. It crawled out from the tub. The seven legs went click across the tub’s rim and click click, softly, on the wooden table. It moved clumsily, trailing chopped shallot. The second followed. Each was as long as my hand. They had toad bellies and dog whiskers.

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LILY IN THE LIGHT by Megan Pillow

Lily isn’t sleeping, but I still try to get up from the bed without making a sound. The curtains are closed, and I open them a peep so that a thin shaft of light comes in, not enough so that anyone from the outside can see us. The shaft travels to the bed, to the body lying there, like someone has traced a line across her belly with a golden brush, and beneath that lick of gold, her skin, oh, Lily’s skin lights up like one of those paper lanterns that you set on fire and send into the sky.

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NILSSON SCHMILSSON by Anthony Sabourin

I was outside on my street watching an apartment building on fire. I was watching it with the people who lived in that building, the people who’d left it. At three floors, it wasn’t a big apartment building, but it was a big fire. It was crackling, and flames were shooting out of windows and smoke was filling the night sky. I looked at everybody. It was nighttime when the fire started, and so you could see these snapshots of how people were living inside their homes. A couple wore rumpled office clothes paired with sweatpants, caught between two routines.

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WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? by Josh Olsen

Instead of buying a new costume for Kelso, our 7-year-old Aussie/Collie mix, we repurposed an easy one from years before, and strapped a small rubber jockey to his harness. All of the puppy parents at the doggy daycare costume party kept referring to Kelso as a jockey, although technically he was the horse in the horse and jockey relationship, but still I failed to correct them, not wanting to be the asshole who insists the green guy with the bolts in his neck is actually “Frankenstein’s Monster,” not Frankenstein. There were no fewer than three dogs dressed like Wonder Woman,

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PEOPLE I WISH I WAS by Socrates Adams

ONE He writes a song a day. He keeps a diary next to his bed and every night, without fail, using his guitar, he transcribes thoughts into the book. The tunes are repetitive folk melodies. They are circular, looping reminders of the pattern of his days, weeks, months. He works as an actor. He attends read-throughs of scripts he likes. The projects he really loves rarely get off the ground. He is a dreamer and dreams of affecting the lives of other people. He lives alone. He’s tried relationships but they don’t fit with the rest of his life. He

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BONE RATE by Kristen M. Ploetz

The marble lobby smells like old paper and spiders have taken residence in the dark corners of the tooth dentil trim. From behind a framed pane of cheap glass, ten wanted men stare at Naenie. Eight of them are smiling. She glances long enough to know some are dangerous, but all of them are broken. Of the three windows, the middle is open for business. As Naenie waits her turn, she watches the woman in a red coat. With a gloved hand, the woman slides a small white box toward the clerk and drops three coins into his palm. Naenie

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