Short

THE CELEBRATION by Zac Smith

Usually, when my week was shitty, I liked to order Thai food… I was the only one in the family who liked Thai food, which meant I didn’t get to order it much… But since I was getting divorced and living alone in a shitty apartment, I got to order it as much as I wanted… I was getting into it in a big way, basically… Since most weeks were shitty, I ordered Thai food most weekends… And I never got sick of it… Thai food is varied and complex… It can be very exciting, but also comforting… A perfect

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OPEN MOUTHED by Kwan Ann Tan

I knew I was in trouble the moment my co-worker caught me humming the female part to the last duet in La Boheme. ‘That sounds familiar,’ Lucy said as we stacked rows and rows of fragrant soap. ‘My grandmother loves that opera. She’s never seen it in person though, which is a shame. Maybe I should bring her one of these days.’ We laughed and continued restocking the shelves. It was a job that made a pair of opera tickets near impossible. The sound system crackled to life, and my faint memories of the song were drowned out by saccharine

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BABIES DON’T KEEP by Janelle Bassett

I packed my blue kiddie-sized suitcase that said “Off to Grandma’s House.” In went the socks that I liked to roll down into ankle worms. In went the hairbrush with my spelling bee name tag stuck on the handle to claim it as mine—just like the dark greasy hair wound through it. Usually the suitcase referred to my dark-haired Grandma, because that’s where I took it. This time I was packing for a trip to my red-haired Grandma’s, but the suitcase was still right about where I was headed. I put in a wax air freshener shaped like a teddy

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GENIUS by T.J. Larkey

I’d been a process server my whole life. Well not really. I remember my dad driving me around a lot after school, leaving the car running as he knocked on strangers’ doors. At seven seeing his Vietnam Vet fearlessness for the first time, ducking a crackhead wielding a broken lawn lamp. At fifteen working in his house/office, and at seventeen feeling so lucky to have a job that didn’t leave me smelling like grease. And at nineteen using the savings to move away to California. So it really only felt like it. Like I’d never done, and wouldn’t ever do,

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SALAD GIRLS by CK Kane

I don’t want my mom to die not because I like her, but because she’ll be the nastiest ghost. Unrelenting in death. I just know it. I pull her boots off like always. Using both hands, I make an ugly face and lean my body trying to pull. She moans like always. Whenever she’s not on a horse she’s in this bed. Crumbs of caked mud and crap get on the white sheets as the second boot finally gives and I almost fly across the room. Still in her breeches and a turtleneck, she pulls the covers over her save

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LONELINESS AND HEARTACHE IN THE DISCARDED APPLE CORE PIT OF AMERICA’S ROTTED DREAM FOR AND OF ITSELF by Nathaniel Duggan

Lately Frank has been feeling especially Frank-like, his days reduced to the potato chip crumbs he has failed to brush from his lap—as if he, the essence of himself, is a shirt that can be slipped on or off and has been worn perhaps a few too many weeks in a row. He wets the bed more than when he was a child, although back then his piss was hot and searing as shame, whereas now it is simply cold as a metal unexpectedly touched. His sweat, too, is cold. His dreams are muggy as incest, bratty stepsiblings fucked. He

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THE KRASNERS by Aaron Kreuter

When I think back to those days it is fear that I remember, fear that I keep returning to, fear that I cannot get away from. First there’s the free-floating, general fear of adolescence: the fear of fitting in, the fear of saying the right thing, the fear of a body under revolt. And, for the most part, it wasn’t on the school playground or the mall food court, but at Kol B’Seder, the Reform synagogue my parents joined when I was twelve, where the major battles against these fears were waged. I fell in love in those hallways, made

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THE ROAD 2 NOWHERE by KKUURRTT

My friend Brian joined a cult. He was always doing stupid shit like that. This one time when we were fifteen he jumped off a bridge cause fucking Mike Langer dared him to. He broke his shinbone when he hit the water and spent the rest of summer in a cast. It wasn’t all bad though. Langer sold weed and gave him a half-ounce for free because he felt terrible about daring him to do it even though we were playing Truth or Dare on a bridge which was dumb on everybody’s part. Honestly, we’re lucky it came up as

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HAZARD by Nicholas Rall

Ethel and Edith tried to keep their eyes open, resting in a square of brownish dying grass; an empty lot. There used to be a family who lived there, and I could see the kids play in the driveway from our window, until men with big, yellow machines tore it down and it stayed like that until the girls took me with them. They’d been in the neighborhood for a few hours, walking through about half the state of Florida, staying close to the interstate. Usually they could get a ride but not that night, and it was time to

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ARE YOU MY MOTHER? by Allie Zenwirth

A I used to get these pangs of want, filled with unnamable desires. You would find me jumping. You would find me erratic. I want to make something. I want to dance with somebody… I want to feel the heat with somebody… yeah… With somebody who loves me. Я хочу. I want… I want… I want… I don’t know… I want…  If you were that stranger at the bar you would ask me, “How do you have so much energy?” and I would say, “I don’t know,” and then  jeté away.  Now I’m drained, all my juice is gone. Instead

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