Flash

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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andrew higgins

DULUTH by Andrew Higgins

The plane fulfills its purpose: we are no longer ascendant. The engine winds down smoothly, a game show loss sort of draining. The tarmac is ice-sheathed but our skid in was mild. Men outside in reflective gear gesture meaningfully towards the hull, and we look at them through the ovular windows with a small, first-world pity. My body is still hallucinating movement at six-hundred miles per hour. We are all seated uncomfortably, waiting for permission, exchanging mild sentiments until we can get off. The thin fury of air-conditioning is louder than before. The seatbelt chime rings, finally, and we all

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tyler dillow

EXCERPTS FROM COOPERSTOWN, ND by Tyler Dillow

I wash my hands, then my face. He carries me in a bag. A brown paper sack, rough and unevenly cut around the edges. It’s dark. He takes me out of the bag and hangs me, right above his headboard. Coffee boils on the stovetop. Snow falls outside as seen through a window. Music plays as heard through ears. Bodies touch hands; hands touch bodies. Altogether naked. Altogether, a mug sits on the corner of a table as held by gravity. All held down by the feet of a person. On the floor, linoleum; on the linoleum, dust. Outside wet,

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joseph haeger

UNCLE POOH’S SECRET RECIPE by Joseph Haeger

The first time I made grits I used water, the same way I made my oatmeal. Granted, I’d never had grits, but was told it was a staple food in the south, so when I saw a two-pound bag for a dollar at the Grocery Outlet it seemed like a no-brainer to give it a shot. I mean, this was a food that helped mold a culture. The red sedan in front of me slows down, or I come up on her too fast. I tap my brakes to keep a comfortable distance between us. My speedometer reads thirty-five exactly.

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sam phillips

BE SCARED OF YOUR YOUNG by Sam Phillips

What if it’s all torn down, she asked me. I thought this was an odd question coming out of such young mouth. I wondered what exactly it was they teaching her at the preschool. We, me and her mother, me and my wife, are giving nearly half of our income to to that place. What if it’s all torn down, she asked again and I had to figure out how to reply. Time was running out. Well what if what is all torn down? My reply was hopeful, I wanted the next words she said to recapture her innocence. The

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s.f. wright

THE PAINTER by S.F. Wright

Lands wanted to be the next Jackson Pollack; his parents and siblings told him he should pursue a field in which he could get a real job. But Lands couldn’t see himself as a professional, and he figured, while he had the chance (his parents would pay for college, even if it was art school), he might as well study what he wanted. Art school was, at times, memorable. Lands didn’t live the promiscuous, bohemian lifestyle he imagined an artist-in-training would, but he did get laid once (a fellow student who later left school to join a religious convent after

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LIL ULYSSES 666 by Paul Curran

It feels weird talking to a camera. I must look like a terrorist or a school shooter. I’ll turn off the light. That’s better. Your music sucks anyway. What makes you say that? I thought it sounded funny. You’re the one who asked me here.  Let’s rape and kill some kid. Do you mean physically or metaphorically? I mean metaphysically. That’s predictable. Many lyrics are worse. Are you taking notes? I heard you faked your own death. Glued on a beard and hitched a boat ride to Indonesia. Killed a backpacker and stole her passport. I’ve got the scars to

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