Fiction

STRAWBERRY by James Jacob Hatfield

It’s not because I have Alzheimer’s, I’ve always been like this. The most fun I get nowadays is when I find things I lost.  But I do remember her journal is underneath the couch. Before I’d never think to read her journal. But now that she’s gone I’d better retrieve it or else I’d forget about her completely.  Reaching under our couch is like sticking your hand into that ominous hole in the wall of a cave. Feeling for a lever. Pencils. Dog toys. Remotes. Items that are sorely missed only when they’re needed. And are treasured only for the

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SIMPLE ANSWERS TO ESSENCE QUESTIONS AT THE INTERNATIONAL PAPERWEIGHT FESTIVAL by Pat Foran

Long before the wildness of fire engulfed their town, and well after self-winding watches had become a thing, the townspeople thought of themselves as a simple people who enjoyed simple pleasures. They saw light in paper moons and love in the soft ridges of the infinite arrowing of the universal “recycling” logo. They believed in paper planes and in the notion of shared paper routes. They spent their evenings pressing paper roses between the pages of 1959 Buick Le Sabre brochures. The townspeople took particular pride in the International Paperweight Festival they hosted each summer in the paper mill parking

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PLUCKERS by Amanda Anderson

I was in the bathroom that fateful day, my butt cheek hoisted up in one hand, tweezers zeroing in on the mole with the other, when my boyfriend walked in. His eyebrows pinched together in disapproval. He asked me what I was doing. I stuttered, searching for a more attractive explanation, then finally told him I was plucking the hair out of the mole on my ass. He asked cheerfully if he could step in and take over. I handed him the tweezers, glad he wasn’t repulsed, only to see a sizable boner emerge in his pants. And so a monthly

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NOVELS_IM_GOING_TO_WRITE.DOCX by Aatif Rashid

Space Battles (1999) Like Star Wars, but from the perspective of a ten-year-old kid. He has a sword and a laser gun, and he and his friend save the galaxy from a group of evil aliens. Space Battles II (2000) Sequel to Space Battles I. The kid is now eleven, and he saves the galaxy again from an even bigger group of aliens. Space Battles III (2001) Sequel to Space Battles I and Space Battles II. The kid is now twelve, and he and his friend have a falling out. The first group of aliens comes back, though, so they

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SHAGGING FLIES IN BALLARD by Alexandrine Ogundimu

I resolve to confess my feelings on Saturday. You take me to the batting cage up in Mountlake Terrace but the machines are so awful they eat our tokens and give us nothing back, no high-arching softballs or baseball bullets. I would never say anything because I am meek and unmasculine but you get a refund because you are handsome and friendly and always get what you want and I am jealous—of your confidence and looks and talents and physicality and how much sex you have. There’s a bucket of baseballs in your trunk so we drive to a park

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EVERY DAY IMAGINE DROWNING by Melanie Carlstad

I was at work holding onto a trowel and my father wasn’t dead. I argued this point to my colleague, Mary Anne, who was afraid of worms.  Here’s the gist, Mary Anne, I said. We are at work. We are gardening. You are afraid of the worms writhing between your fingers, and on top of that, my dad isn’t dead.  Mary Anne screamed. There was nothing else to do but scream about the ringed pink flesh of the worms.  Everything was drippy from yesterday’s rain. The juniper bush and the ivy leaves strangling it dripped on us. Our feet sank

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THE OPENER by Marissa Higgins

Bobby tossed the stuffed chihuahua between his bare hands, Suboxone in his right coat pocket and a picture of Alyssa at two months in his left. Should have worn gloves, he knew. Cape Cod winters tug the cold out of bones. The bus depot, of course, wasn’t heated. What if I can’t find you in the parking lot, he said over the phone when they arranged the meeting. Just stay in one place, Alyssa’s grandmother said, and then she named it. Sharon added: You’ll recognize your blood.  The call went clipped like that: Yeah, he was still at the halfway

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PATTY by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

The problem with dolls who can do things is that they get bored, you have to keep them busy. If you don’t they get clingy, and it’s so easy to forget to keep the little gold chain on around their neck. They say if you forget about the little gold chain the dolls will chase you everywhere, and then it’s stab, stab, stab.  But mostly they’re just you, only smaller, which is gross in its own way. As you get older, they become more childish, until finally you have to put them in a shoebox and bury them in the

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CRISP EDGES by Helena Pantsis

Bud reached into the chip bag. It crinkled, loud and coarse by the cheap, jagged foil. He dug his hand around the salt-covered potatoes, angling for the perfect one. You never want to start too big. You have to aim for those mid-range chips, the ones the size of a beer bottle’s bottom. He pulled one out, smacked his lips around it, and sucked on the tips of his fingers before going in for another. He couldn’t stop. That’s how they get you, the chip companies, the corporate potato pigs, by drowning their spuds in moreish delicacies that rot your

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THE FUNHOUSE by Matt Lee

My first and only job during a disastrous year in New York was at the DVD Funhouse. Little storefront on 6th avenue between 21st and 22nd street. Flatiron District.  The place sold bootleg DVDs, Canadian imports mostly, with the ISBN barcodes scratched off. The first floor was for walk-in customers, people coming off the street to peruse the racks. I worked in the basement. The place stretched on forever. Pallets and pallets of junk. Crates of old Blockbuster rentals. Books on tape. Useless novelties galore. I was in charge of online sales. I turned the place around. When Victor hired

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