Flash

CALCULUS by Calvin Westra

Last to first, his girlfriend dumped him, he did not get the job, his accent sailed out the window of my car, and he sneezed harder than I’d ever seen before. It was an incredible sneeze, the kind that has you spitting and slobbering over the windshield, catching your breath, feeling like something knocked the wind out of you. We watched as the accent flapped over the median, through oncoming traffic, and off among the tumbleweeds. I said, “Is that what I think it is?” And he said, “Yeah, that’s right. My accent.” It was a horrible accent and I’d

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HOT SAUCE GLOW by Jody Rae

Is it true we’ll spend the next nine months across worn-down Neapolitan-chocolate-brown carpet that we tell ourselves we’ll cover with a rug, but never do? The cinder block walls are painted dried vanilla ice cream on warm pavement. Like a wound that won’t heal, the thick drapes won’t close all the way and they bleed a strawberry sunset over Wide Open Spaces, an autumn-tinged campus and the regal-yet-defunct Boise train depot.  For a split second, I think you are giving me the cold shoulder when I come home from class and you are asleep with your eyes open and, yes,

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THE DOGS WENT BACK ON ALL FOURS by Evelyn Winters

The man went out to get the mail. He opened the mailbox and looked inside. There were envelopes and a magazine. The magazine was Gourmet. It was a monthly for his wife, but his wife was dead. The periodical people probably didn’t know she died. If they do find out will they cancel her subscription? he wondered. The night’s air was brisk and clear. Walking weather. The street was quiet. He was one of those sad men you see walking around with their eyes on the pavement. Trudged in the rain. Trudged under the sun. Dragging his feet. But now

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GONE BABY GONE by Patricia Q. Bidar

Arthur and I are lucky. A client of mine on 110th and Broadway—I clean houses—had a family thing and needed to leave the country for a few months. Arthur and I could stay. It’s late morning. The door buzzer sounds and Arthur springs up. His old friend, Joey Chestnut. What we know so far is that Joey’s gotten clean, or at least a lot cleaner than the last time we saw him. He has a lady now. Maybe she’s a calming influence. Now Arthur and Joey are going on a fishing weekend. They’re traveling light because just yesterday Arthur’s Pacer

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LAST-DITCH EFFORT: A FAMILY DRAMA TOLD IN NINE CHAPTERS by Torrey Kurtzner

Flip a Coin Christmas morning, 1999. My mother and father were seated on a couch in our living room. Neither seemed to acknowledge the other’s presence. Instead, they both stared lifelessly at a nearby wall. Holiday festivities be damned; it was just another day in matrimonial hell for my folks. My father awkwardly turned to face my mother. “Merry Christmas,” he said begrudgingly, holding out an envelope. “It’s an Applebee’s gift card.” My mother glanced at the envelope and sighed. “I don’t think I love you anymore,” she said. “Oh?” “Yes. You’re not surprised, are you?” “No, not at all,”

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TELL ME YOU’RE A HOT MESS WITHOUT TELLING ME YOU’RE A HOT MESS by D.E. Hardy

I should have known it was a bad time to have a friend over. I was 15. My parents were divorcing, the house divided into a his/hers venn diagram, the kitchen being the overlapping space. I should have foregone the offer of a snack, and led my friend straight to my room that was squarely situated on the her-side of the floorplan. Better, I could have suggested my friend and I walk to her house where we could have eaten whatever we wanted. Even in before-times, my family rarely had anything good in the fridge.  I should have shut the

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THE DOCKMASTER MUST NEVER SEE THIS by Claire Hopple

Gretchen starts with ditching her cell phone. She connects a landline and absconds with an old friend’s answering machine.  She receives a message from a wrong number telling her to meet at a houseboat by the river tomorrow at nine. The voice doesn’t specify whether that’s A.M. or P.M. She plays the message over and over, repulsed. The following day, she settles on a bench beside the river. There’s only one boat. It’s docked directly in view of the casino. It’s not a houseboat. Not at all. Regardless, this must be the place. Hampered by the stranger’s lack of specificity

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MEN WHO CAN’T HUNT by James Cato

Who but Leatra would sashay onto my lopsided porch late for a 6 PM appointment, her pink top with ribbons tied tight across the front. I didn’t correct her when she called me a masseuse but felt the beginnings of dislike before she lay naked with a towel slack at her hips on the table. Resisting the urge to yank her platinum braid, I ran grapeseed oil on her back in a drizzling loop.  Who but Leatra would tighten at the mention of my brother Ely. I told her how this therapy studio had been his bedroom before he vanished,

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THE EARTHWORM by Jennifer Ritenour

Earthworm unfurls from an egg. No siblings. Only this one worm of two sexes. E wiggles in fluid and then presses herms face against the soft wall of the cocoon. A beat comes from the other side. Aware of hermself, E is now alive. E thrusts and pushes until the wall tears. Darkness, slick cool mud. The cocoon is now deflated behind herm. The lub dub, lub dub, lub dub is the pulse of Mother Earth and also the beat of herms five hearts. Earthworm slides through the dirt. Stomach pangs. E opens herms mouth. Soil flows in and through

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ON THE TOILET MAKING UNWINNABLE DEALS WITH GOD by Garth Miró

“I’ll be right there!” I called out to my girlfriend.  I’d just stuck my cooking-oil-lubed arm halfway up my asshole when her friends arrived for lunch. Someone’s birthday. Heard them out there, smiling, kissing one another. There was clinking and keys and hellos and I was supremely fucked. When you smoke a lot of heroin you get really constipated. When you get really constipated you sometimes get impacted. Then you’re an animal.  I was sweating. I jammed my arm up further, and really, it was probably only my hand, but I heard something rip. No. There was no turning back.

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