Fiction

BEACHY COVE BEACH by Sofia Banzhaf

My father looks up the wet steps illuminated by the beaming headlights at the top of our driveway. He opens the door for me. Thanks, I say. But what I’m really saying is: thanks for not asking about who is picking me up. Thanks, in fact, for never asking me anything. Thanks. The car door is heavy because it’s a truck. I imagine myself as a tiny monkey, swinging the door open and hanging on the handle, feet off the ground. I close the door with a slam. Hi, I say. How was your evening, he says, deviating from his

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DESERVED IT by Sebastian Mazza

But I know, it’s my own damn fault. – Jimmy Buffett The lightning bolt lit up the parking lot, fizzing, spitting, then evaporating into the gloom. After my eyes adjusted, I could just make out Dad’s fuzzy supine form across the lot and the man still standing over him. Before that night I’d never seen the man, who looked a bit woebegone and clumsy and irresponsible, a bit stocky with a bristly mustache, but not like a truly bad person, even now in memory. I’ve tried to pull up anger at him but end up mad at Dad instead, at

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MICHAEL by Sean Thor Conroe

Michael, who stayed posted out front of Walgreens, requesting eats from entering and exiting Walgreens customers, was presently posted out front of Walgreens, requesting eats from entering and exiting Walgreens customers. “Yo what’s good,” I said as I approached, timing this utterance and my gaze, should he choose to reciprocate either, with the moment we crossed paths, so as to avoid a prolonged interaction. Michael averted eyes and seemingly deliberately pretended to not see or hear me. Kneeling, he adjusted the Velcro on his foot brace, through which his enlarged, pale, callused toe was visible. Once past the San Pablo

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VICTORY PARTY by Sheldon Lee Compton

He talks to me through the trees. Not through them, like he’s standing on one side of a treeline and I’m standing on the other, but like he is the trees. We will stay together, become taproots, strong and lasting, he says. Or we are both oaks. Discussing trees and strength becomes tedious, and, sometimes, he starts in about my little sister. Those conversations don’t last very long. *** The Olympics. 1984. Summer, because both Daddy and the man were wearing tshirts instead of coats. And because I’ll always remember Katarina. It was their fight that brought the police to

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WARMAR by Sean Kilpatrick

One day I could speak the language hidden beneath my scabs. There were alphabets above the vacuum overhead that revealed themselves to me, but it was like diving after a flea with safety scissors. Almost enough grown to fill a coffin, still using gunshots to count sheep at night, I discovered, quite by fluke, much to the chagrin of the anorexic model whose head I crayoned off, how repugnantly negotiable human beings found love. I needed a denomination of stray to be cast adrift with, someone also awake, bowed out of society, willing to mate, common sense of history notwithstanding,

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I HOPE THERE’S NUZZLING by Marisa Crane

The universe is held inside a crunch bar. Everyone knows it. We are all just waiting for the sloppy giant to unwrap that beautiful blue wrapper and take a big bite out of it. And then what? Well, fuck if we residents of the universe know. We’re just here. Will time stop? Cease to exist? Learn how to dougie all on its own? Will Saturn and Jupiter finally rekindle their romance or will Venus slip on her lace thong and distract Saturn yet again? Will the protons and electrons set aside their differences and make a pot roast together? Or

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LAYING ON HANDS by Aaron Buchanan

At Garron Lake Baptist, all the hands were up in supplication to God as bodies swayed and voices sang “Just As I Am.” In the front, Pastor Charlie Schmidt was laying his sweaty, psoriasis-afflicted hands on Grace Switowski. Pastor Schmidt prayer was heard above the din of chanting, moving bodies. His voice elevated above the song, booming out over the microphone clipped to his lapel each time he said “blood” of our savior, Jesus Christ. Grace Switowski was 24. Stringy brown-gray clumps of hair fell from patches on her mostly-bald head like wet papier-maché.  At the front of the worship

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jocelyn hungerford

FAITHFUL by Jocelyn Hungerford

A cool Sydney night at the beginning of spring. We were smoking a joint on the verandah. The lights on the harbour twinkled and the possums were rasping out their mating calls. He’d been ‘scraping it together’ for a year, he said, to be able to come here. A few weeks’ respite. Fights, a kid, a mortgage, a business. ‘Why don’t you leave?’ I asked. He looked shocked. ‘Because she’s my child. I won’t do to her what was done to me.’ I hmmed and murmured a soothing noise. I could feel his mood sinking. It seemed to be my

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scott garson

FUTURE COOKIE by Scott Garson

They were running a charter school out of a city building that stood in a quiet bureaucratic limbo of disrepair. Hanes had laryngitis, but Gutierrez asked him to cover L3 for the teacher whose name he always forgot, a twenty-some boy who was unable to smile without blinking convulsively, as he might with a fist in his face. The boy had a cold. Meanwhile the boy’s students showed up, took seats, and moved to straighten themselves in their endless fight against sleep. Hanes knew one or two. Yevgeny, Ukrainian man, droll, somewhat pedantic. Fallou, kid from Senegal, hard-core: stocked dry

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harris lahti

DARK WOODS by Harris Lahti

Another flashbulb blanches the room white. “Smile,” her mother tells the purple, howling baby swaddled in its crib. Everywhere the baby—in picture, on magnets, JPEGs plastered across the internet. Roswell can’t even pull a frozen pizza from the refrigerator without being confronted with its alien face. Roswell flips the channel from the couch. A nature documentary. Onscreen, a peregrine falcon divebombs an unsuspecting pigeon, and the baby’s howls mix with its cries. “I think I’ll have a beer,” she tells her mother. “I think I’ll have some unprotected sex,” she says. “Or maybe I’ll take the truck out for a

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