Fiction

michael prihoda

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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jenny fried

EYE BITES by Jenny Fried

What You Need to Know I cut off a rat’s head with a guillotine, and it told me I looked like someone who ate cereal for every meal, which was one I hadn’t heard before. I do not in fact eat cereal for every meal, but there’s no use fighting with a rat head. I learned not to argue when I tried to kiss someone and was so nervous I missed her mouth. At first she told me it was cute, but later she said she didn’t know why she bothered with me. I got lost in the forest once.

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zac smith

FLIPPED by Zac Smith

Brad flipped his car after hitting a fire hydrant, right downtown, right on Fifth Street, right near our old apartment, the prefurnished one with the broken window and the red wall and the kitchen that had bookshelves instead of cabinets, he was driving, something happened, who knows, he hit the hydrant and the car went upward, upward, from the height of the hydrant and the height of the curb, and the car veered upward and over the hydrant, and the hydrant’s base cracked under the weight and pressure of the car and the angle of it, and the cracked base

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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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mike corrao

NO THANK YOU by Mike Corrao

becomingplateaubecomingmachinebecomingplacebecomingbodybecomingbirdsongbecomingdirectionbecomingstasisbecomingmattressbecomingthinbecomingessencebecomingmaterialbecomingpersonbecomingurnbecominganimal (or No Thank You)   There are a thousand plateaus spanning across this plane. Each occupied by strange machines eating each other, who stare at the remains for as long as they can bear to. “What kind of fucking place” is this: somewhere locked within itself. A body that crawls out of stasis, so tired of its previous immobility that it stretches out in every direction until it is so thin that it cannot see itself. It feels like there is a jackhammer at the face of my chestplate. And it’s telling me that I’m late for whatever I’m

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benjamin devos

THE LOBSTER by Benjamin DeVos

I clock in at Pirate Cove and try to find a good place to hide. I stay in the bathroom as long as possible. Until my boss barges into the stall and tells me to get my ass in gear. The shift’s starting. The first table is always the worst because I’m not ready to act like a pirate. I’m never ready to act like a pirate. My first table is a father with his daughter. “We are ready to order,” the father says. “I want to get the best of the best.” He’s young, but his hair is already

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edward mullany

NINE STORIES by Edward Mullany

Bay Ridge I’d fallen off my barstool and had been helped back up onto it by the man who’d been sitting next to me and who was laughing at me, or with me, as I was laughing at myself, though this man wasn’t someone I’d known before I’d entered the bar that afternoon, several hours earlier, when I’d found myself on the street on which it was located, having walked a long way, without much purpose or direction, from the neighborhood in which my apartment was, and in which I’d been arguing with the person with whom I’d been living

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christopher gonzalez

MINOR GRIEVANCES by Christopher Gonzalez

Adam tells me no one else will be by the water after such a bad snowfall. Edgewater Park should be deserted: just us and the lake, frozen into solid hills. It would be quiet, which I preferred—I kept quiet about a lot. Like the Grindr app I downloaded onto my phone as soon as I turned eighteen. How I’ve scrolled down that wall of guys, those photos of abs and round bellies, and the few faces concealed beneath the bill of a trucker’s camouflage snapback. I’ve tap-tap-tap-tapped the flame icon on a number of profiles, hoping to create a breadcrumb

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BUTTLOAD by Caleb Echterling

The king’s chief of staff flipped the display numbers. The occupants of the blandest room in the kingdom clutched their flimsy tickets, and sucked in a collective breath. Trumpets flared, and a crier bellowed, “Petition the King Day, now serving A377.” A group of well-dressed, barefoot gentlemen rose to their feet. “That’s us, move aside,” they said as they elbowed through the crowd into the throne room. “Your majesty, we are representatives of the Cloth-Sellers Guild. Look!” They each thrust one bare foot into the air. “We all have different sized feet.” King Rupert stroked his beard. “I’m afraid the

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PLAGUES AND OBLIGATIONS by Simon Henry Stein

After nine days of nights, I went. On each of those nights I hadn’t gathered more than four hours of sleep, adrift still-dressed from the previous day on a bed that used to boast plural ownership. On three or four of those nights, I twisted toward the ceiling and tried to mumble a prayer or blessing so quiet it wouldn’t bother anyone, not even me, but failed. Baruch atah Adonai––blessed are you, Lord. That’s as far as I would get. There’s even a prayer to wake up having slept without sleep greeting death halfway, the Hashkiveinu. I don’t remember the

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