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HOLD YOUR BREATH by Spencer Litman

Meet your wife in the hallway. Do not make the door handle click by turning it with too much force. Avoid kicking the toys scattered like landmines on the carpet. You do not want to wake your daughter, but you need to see her breathing. Walk to the crib rail like a procession of two. Place your hands on your wife’s shoulders in case she melts like she did when she found your son cold-dead in the middle of the night. Repeat this ritual while your daughter sleeps every forty minutes for the first six months of her life.  Try

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wilhelm scream

THE WILHELM SCREAM by Gregg Williard

Before her senior year of high school she spent every day of the sweltering summer on the side porch of her parents’ house writing an essay on existentialism while her little brother, back to her and arms outstretched for balance, inched past the windows outside, wobbling on a ledge no deeper than his heels until he lost his balance and plunged, screaming, into a sea of lava five feet below, then climbed up the drain pipe and did it again, all morning, every morning: inch along the ledge to Kierkegaard, lose balance to Heidegger, wave arms to Hegel, scream piercing

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SCUFF MARKS by Alecz Yeager

The corner of a tortilla chip rested vigilantly against the surface-smooth chest of Ivan’s “School is overrated” t-shirt. Next to it pooled a puddle of drool that was escaping from the twelve-year old’s chapped lips. The remainder of chips lay hidden beneath his hand that limpishly slept inside a plastic cereal bowl. It was five o’clock in the afternoon, and after eight hours of middle school boredom, Ivan had come home, sat in his favorite chair, cracked open a root beer, and began eating chips and salsa: a perfect mirror to his father’s drunken habits. When his mother woke him

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CONTACT LESS by Adam Lock

Reaching with a blind hand, Rebecca pulls a loaf from the back row and reads its scarf. David buys the wrong sort; he buys bleached, ghost-bread, even though he knows she doesn’t like it. The price of bread is an economic barometer. There’s a trick to selling a house: bread in the oven. She sniffs the loaf. Bread is as old as farming, as old as the domesticated dog. She wants a dog. David doesn’t. In the UK, we throw six million loaves into our waterways each year. This disrupts the whole ecosystem and is bad news for amphibians, fish,

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ANALOGUE by Sara Kachelman

I share a face with a famous killer. Before I was nobody. Now women ask to have their pictures made with me. When we stand together I slide my hand down their backs until they quiver. It thrills them. I am a dangerous man! The killer kills women. He says it is not sexual. I know him. We stood next to each other in a lineup. I admit he is attractive. We shook hands at the station. “You are good at what you do,” I said. “You are good at what you do,” he replied. Then he winked. I had

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ANIMAL HOUSE by Kara Vernor

Hard Rock Hare clamped headphones over his ears and hopped around in front of the stereo. He liked The Clash and Black Flag, but today he listened to Johnny Cash. He thought Cash was good too, if not a little somber. Stoner Hare reclined on the couch and smoked a joint, first watching his roommate’s pogo, then becoming distracted by the involuntary twitching of his own nose. He focused on it, his eyes crossing a bit, and tried to still it with his mind. The Tortoise barged in, as much as a tortoise can barge. He said, What’s going on

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MY BEST FRIEND, HER BIG HOUSE by Jessi Gaston

I live with my best friend in a mansion. My room is a small box. Sometimes we go swimming in the mornings, other times only I do, in white underwear that’s small and classic and only gets caught up sometimes on the insides of my thighs. It’s purple outside when we finish swimming, and I use my grey towel to dry up so I can have wheat thins inside. We close all the windows and watch tv on my best friend’s tv set while we sit on hard wood benches. Then we go to sleep before the Sun comes, in

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A WANTED WOMAN by Paul Beckman

I told him not to call anymore so he started sending me postcards. I had my lawyer tell his lawyer onay on the postcards or any mail. Then the texts started. This time we went to court and the judge gave him a restraining order and we left figuring that was that and no more and good riddance to bad rubbish but the planes started flying low and slow pulling messages—I Love U— I Miss U, etc. So it was back to court and the judge threatened him good and added planes to the list and threw in drones for

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bram riddlebarger

MARBLES by Bram Riddlebarger

“Sit down and take a load off,” said Jack. “We’ve been working like the queen’s bees.” “Yeah,” said Tommy. He was tired. “Which one did you go out on today, Tommy? I thought I saw that #4 sagging a little.” Jack wasn’t joking. Tommy was real fat. He was tired, too. “No,” said Tommy. “I stayed on shore and flirted with that cute little Amy. The one with only one eye. Besides that, she’s real cute.” “Are you shitting me?” “Nope,” said Tommy. They drank warm beer out of brown bottles. Jack couldn’t believe this Tommy. “Hitting on the ladies,

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chelsea houghton

SISTERS ARE NOT DOGS by Chelsea Houghton

My sister ran away when she was fifteen. She disagreed with my parents about something – she’d been a bad girl most likely, I don’t know, I was too young to be included. We’d never really got along. I was happy, it was quiet without her. No bitching or barking in the middle of the night. Always taking the best bits and leaving me with the scraps. We didn’t hear from her for weeks. She’d been sleeping in friend’s rooms, once in a neighbour’s garage. She was fed and cared for from place to place, until her friend’s parents found

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