FICTION

DING! by Will Finlayson

The kid must have defected. He’s still lying there in the dirt—red-faced and full-uniformed, one arm in the pig’s water trough, that red insignia hot on his sleeve—and what should they do with him? They point fishing spears and pitchforks and kitchen knives at him. Tie him up in the barn that’s what’s to do, Nema says. Kill him right here and now is what it is to do, says Jenko. It’s that we should turn him in to a judge, Harlem says. Isn’t that the wartime law? So they tell Harlem that he should take the kid to the

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michael seidlinger
FICTION

PEOPLE WATCHING by Michael Seidlinger

You aren’t alone even though it still feels that way, long gaps of nothing between discussions that seem to have everything to do with the weekend, which leads you to the assumption that tonight won’t be much. You are with someone familiar, been around, floating along with the same circle since as far back as you’re willing to remember, and you are both searching the shopping mall for the others, convinced that they had told one of you to meet them at the food court. “Why, I have no fucking clue,” he says. But that’s really not ever worth considering

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troy james weaver
FICTION

DOG PERSON by Troy James Weaver

For over an hour she’d been thinking about killing the baby. Was it a baby? A toddler? He sprawled between two exhausted, resigned parents four rows behind her. They had been in the air for six hours, somewhere over the Pacific, and she’d just had it already with the carts of stale food, the fake smiles, the snoring old men, and now, now more than anything, the crying of the kid, especially after having had the worst sex of her life that morning. It went on and on and on. She tried to plug her ears with her fingers, some

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joseph grantham
FICTION

DETECTIVE STORY by Joseph Grantham

There was this woman’s voice. It came on the radio at about 11 p.m. every night. The jazz station. KCSM 91.1. Think her name was Dee Alexander. She told her listeners to breathe in fresh air and exhale negativity. She told us to love our children and to take care of ourselves. She told us the world needed us. I’d always hear her in the car on my way home from the gym. She made things better for a little while. I didn’t have any children to love but I needed help taking care of myself. I was going to

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FICTION

LITELIFE by Jimmy Chen

The receptionist hid the instant message regarding the logistics of an imminent gathering behind her work email, though the only thing visible to others in the waiting area was the back of her computer, which featured a ubiquitous apple with a sole bite mark in its side. Those who waited did so with the fragile purposefulness of people completely consumed by their phone, and so weren’t actually “waiting”—an anti-event generally marked by ennui and restlessness—but rather, simply tending to labyrinthine text threads and neglected emails which, therefore, imparted a sense of accomplishment they ultimately found pleasurable. Behind her, on a

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FICTION

OLIVER by Kevin Maloney

I was sitting in a McDonald’s in Elkhart, Indiana, eating a Big Mac, crying and swallowing. The beef, or whatever gray rubber they wedge between the white bread and Thousand Island, was foul and made my stomach churn, but under my disgust was the pleasure of my unshackling. In Burlington, Vermont, the communist outpost where until 13 hours ago I’d lived in unhappy matrimony, everybody was vegetarian or vegan. Somehow, I’d gotten sucked into that nonsense; for eleven years, I’d subsisted primarily on kale, a leafy green that tastes the way doilies look. It was my wife’s doing. She wanted

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xTx
FICTION

A GOOD BARGAIN by xTx

I am 4’9, 323 pounds. I cannot leave my house. I cannot lift myself from the couch. I cannot find the remote control. I cannot rub my feet. My butler robot can only make so many fried egg sandwiches. My maids have been instructed to black out all mirrors. I cannot remember what my face looks like. The sheet I wear is beige. How will I clean myself without you? If you went to KFC and bought a bucket of chicken and drove to my house, when you used the intercom at the main gate and I heard your voice

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