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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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danny swain

I AM A WRITER by Danny Swain

I make up symptoms to get unnecessary hospital treatment. Because I’m a writer. I don’t bathe for years and scratch smiley faces in the dirt on my body. I photograph the faces and send them to random strangers through the post. Because I’m a writer. I drink booze until my soul intrudes on the secret meetings between God and Satan. Because I’m a writer. When my dog died I had sex with it. Because I’m a writer. I hang out with tramps who I only speak mock Chinese to. Because I’m a writer. I traveled forty miles west and tried

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sara chansarkar

NOT FOREVER, SNOWMAN by Sara Chansarkar

You be my Christmas, Snowy. Keep me company this holiday season, that’s all. No Forevers for me, now. Forever lasted only four years and 17 days and left me with this I-am-sorry-note on a neon post-it stuck under the coffee machine, this black-and-white check scarf hung between my coats, and a weight pulling me down like dumbbells attached to my body parts. I’d seen that little minx and the sorcery in her mascaraed caramel eyes ─ the liquid ones made to steal ─ as they bore into his. She’d smiled at me wicked as she sized up my full body.

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clio valentza

A CATALOGUE OF TEMPORARY OBJECTS by Clio Velentza

One by one they sat for their portraits. Littlest ones first. They stopped at the door and undid their braids. They rubbed their hair with vinegar and pinched their cheeks. The oldest ones were fearsome, they didn’t know how to listen anymore. One pricked her finger and spread the blood on her lips. They rolled up their ribbons and stuck them in their shoes. They spat and brushed their eyebrows. One by one. Littlest ones first, these ones still had hope. The photographer had one grey eye and one black. He would close an eye to look at them, and

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marc olmsted

ART NAZIS by Marc Olmsted

Spainhammer’s gone, of course.   Flattop blond muscleman Viking male stripper and street hustler who wrote for Curtains’ ReSurface, grumbling about not getting paid, and mad at Crazy House Press publisher Enoch Poorboy (whom he threatened with a syringe of his own AIDS blood ) – that was the event of Floyd Lice’s “ironic” Hitlerian performance rant at the Bijou, where my Japanese friend Tony Amida ran into the famous Satanist’s daughter “who was surprised they let Asians in.”)   I liked Mick Spainhammer and sat on Tony’s back porch 1988, both of us smoking cigarettes, as he discussed the

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kevin hatch

RENTAL by Kevin Hatch

My sister was a Blockbuster Video. She was a happening place. She kept her aisles clean, her shelves organized. Children begged for candy inside her. Families made special trips to see her. My sister was the church of Friday night. She was too inviting. A track-star type took her out, filled her with words and other flesh. Made her too-family. Made her un-happening. Made her un-rewindable. Her posture changed. Late-fees and rental-rates changed. People tried to be polite. She breathed dust in their face, forced expired candy in their hands until they just stopped coming. My sister drove her Honda

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